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Sometimes the craving for a slice of chocolate cake just won't go away. But when it's just you, your PJs, and a full Netflix queue, baking an entire cake or batch of brownies seems like overkill - and you know you'll be tempted to go way past one.
While it's usually not hard to do some basic division and pare down a dinner that serves four to serve one, how in the world do you split an egg into fifths?
Answer: You don't. Instead, you make one of these single-serving desserts. No more worries about leftover apple pie or eating an entire batch of snickerdoodle cookies in a week.
With these single-serving and microwaveable recipes, you get to eat the entire thing! Just remember: These desserts are pretty high in sugar, so file them under “desserts” rather than “snacking staples.”
1. Gooey brownie chocolate mug cakeShare on Pinterest
This is definitely a cake to #TreatYoSelf or share with your BFF on movie night. It's worth every. Single. Bite. The fudgy brownie is dotted with chocolate chips - and why not drizzle caramel sauce on top? Cook carefully to your desired doneness. We recommend gooey or super-gooey.
2. Double chocolate peanut butter mug cookie
While this is called a cookie, it has a consistency like a cake. Ready in less than five minutes, it turns out rich and fudgy, with a peanut butter and chocolate center that's perfectly ooey-gooey. Leave out the PB if you prefer plain chocolate cake.
3. 4-ingredient Nutella mug cake
Nutella brings out the kid in us. The chocolate-hazelnut spread found on breakfast tables (if you're lucky) brings nutty-cocoa flavor to a decadent dessert. Make that kid even happier with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top.
4. Chocolate chip cupcake
Vegan and oil-free, this cupcake uses almond milk and applesauce as binders and can be made with any gluten-free flour. The coconut cream frosting just may just become your go-to cake topper since it's rich and fluffy - you're going to want to lick the bowl.
5. Red velvet mug cakeShare on Pinterest
This is a great little Valentine's Day cake with real cream cheese frosting. (The recipe's easily doubled.) And if you're single and celebrating yourself on Valentine's Day, still go ahead and make two. We won't tell anyone.
6. Funfetti cupcake
Life's better with sprinkles, and if you bake at all, chances are you have the ingredients on hand to whip up this speckled cupcake any time. No cake mix necessary - all you need is flour, sugar, vanilla, and a few other staple dessert ingredients.
7. Carrot cake
Cinnamon and nutmeg spice up this version of the classic springtime dessert. Top your mug cake with Greek yogurt rather than cream cheese frosting and sprinkle with crushed walnuts or pecans for a pretty presentation.
8. Pumpkin cake
When there's no time to bake a pie, make a cake - in the microwave. Just ¾ tablespoon of sugar sweetens this cake without overpowering the delicious pumpkin and cinnamon flavors.Share on Pinterest
9. Microwave cheesecake mug cake
Proof that cheesecake can be made without an oven, this version cooks quickly and looks like the real thing when you slide it out of the mug - though you may want to be a bit forgiving on the creamy factor. Let it cool for an hour in the fridge - warm cheesecake just doesn't taste like cheesecake.
10. Cinnamon streusel coffee cake
The best part about coffee cake is the sweet, crunchy topping. Layering it with the cake batter means double the deliciousness, and baking it in a jar adds a touch of cuteness. Top with cream cheese frosting if you wish. (We know you do. We do, too.)
11. Banana cake
This dessert is gluten-free and has zero added sweeteners - the banana and unsweetened almond milk provide enough natural sweetness. Add dark chocolate chips since their rich flavor goes so well with bananas.
12. Snickerdoodle cookie in a cupShare on Pinterest
The homey scent of cinnamon rises from this buttery, brown-sugary treat. Two generous shakes of the secretly healthy spice are blended into the batter. This mug snickerdoodle looks like it was baked in an oven - even though it takes just a minute in the microwave.
13. XXL dark chocolate and sea salt brownie cookie
Because more chocolate is always better, this dessert has cocoa baked in and dark chunks dotting the top, along with a generous sprinkle of sea salt. Soft and fudgy, it's the stuff chocolate dreams are made of.
14. Deep-dish chocolate chip cookie
How do you make cookies even better? You make them deep-dish. Using oat flour and almond meal keeps this cookie gluten-free, and coconut oil replaces butter or eggs, so it's vegan. Bake to your desired doneness - chewier or crispier.
15. No-bake cookie dough
Admit it: We've all eaten raw cookie dough. But this recipe lets you enjoy that deliciousness without any fears of salmonella or an upset stomach. It's a genius combo of almond butter, almond flour, vanilla, honey, salt, and chocolate chips.
It can stand in for a protein bar, too, with almost 13 grams of protein.
16. Microwave pumpkin oatmeal cookie
This cookie is truly wholesome. In addition to fiber from the oats and pumpkin, it has some omega-3s from flaxseeds and protein from nut butter. Its natural sweetness comes from bananas and raisins. And this spicy treat turns out soft and chewy like a muffin top.
Puddings and mousse
17. Chocolate chia puddingShare on Pinterest
Having leftover chia seed pudding on hand makes this dessert super speedy to create. Blend it up with sweet dates and cacao and then top with melted chocolate and nuts or berries for a gorgeous treat that can be made vegan.
18. Stovetop rice pudding
Leftover rice from yesterday's dinner can become dessert tonight! Customize this recipe using brown rice for more nutrients and your desired milk and sweetener to taste. We like adding raisins and cinnamon, too.
19. Butterscotch pudding for oneShare on Pinterest
Say hello to real instant pudding! This one's made from ingredients you recognize (and likely have in your pantry and fridge), like brown sugar and butter, and it takes all of five minutes. Since it requires only a mug, cleanup's easy - and you can say goodbye to Jell-O.
20. Microwave bread pudding
Make this cozy dessert healthier with your favorite whole-grain bread. What we love about this recipe is how adaptable it is to the seasons. In the fall, flavor it with apples and cinnamon. In winter, bring on the chocolate chips. And in spring and summer, layer the cubes of bread with fresh berries.
21. Silky peanut butter pudding
The secret in this velvety, three-ingredient vegan dessert? Silken tofu. The peanut butter is all you taste, though. Add sweetener as desired - and you still get 13 grams of filling protein in your mug.
22. Frozen hot chocolateShare on Pinterest
This recipe is as easy as banana “ice cream,” and you could go to faux ice cream heaven by making yourself a mug full of one scoop of each. But do yourself a favor and use regular whipped cream.
23. Strawberry-coconut soft serve
Not into bananas? Make homemade soft serve from coconut milk by pureeing it with frozen berries. All berries are great sources of fiber, so mix in your faves!
24. Peanut butter chocolate chip ice cream
We've got a thing for faux ice cream made from frozen bananas - what can we say? It often needs no additional sweetener, and even if you add things like PB and chocolate to make it taste richer, it's still healthier than a pint of the real stuff.
Pies, cobblers, crisps, and shortcakes
25. One-minute blueberry cobblerShare on Pinterest
With minimal prep work, this dessert comes together in six minutes. Plus, blueberries contain anthocyanins, those pigments that keep your heart and eyes healthy and may protect against cancer, diabetes, and neurological diseases. Khoo HE, et al. (2017). Anthocyanidins and anthocyanins: Colored pigments as food, pharmaceutical ingredients, and the potential health benefits. DOI: 10.1080/16546628.2017.1361779
26. Breakfast strawberry shortcake
This lightly sweet dish is as appropriate for the morning as it is for an evening treat, thanks to some healthy ingredient substitutions.
Just ¼ cup of spelt flour packs 5 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber and has a nutty flavor. Just a few fresh strawberries provide almost 30 percent of your daily requirement for vitamin C. You can also top it with Greek yogurt rather than whipped cream if you prefer.
27. Five-minute peach cobbler
This recipe takes a couple of shortcuts, such as using those individual cups of peaches packed in juice (fresh or frozen peaches work just as well). Cake mix is the secret to the texture. So easy - and so good topped with ice cream.
28. Apple crisp
Microwaveable sweets never get old. This one - with the classic combo of apples, cinnamon, brown sugar, and oats - cooks up to be caramel-y, chewy, and soft. It's like biting into fall any time of year.
29. Pecan pie in a mug
The best part of pecan pie is the gooey, buttery inside, so skip the crust (and the hassle) and make this! Like other nuts, pecans are a good source of plant sterols, which have been shown to lower cholesterol. Ras RT, et al. (2014). LDL-cholesterol-lowering effect of plant sterols and stanols across different dose ranges: A meta-analysis of randomised controlled studies //www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4071994/
30. Pumpkin pie in a mug
The texture might be a bit softer and spongier than a pie, but the taste is still all there in this 10-minute treat. Gingersnap cookies are the base for the quick crust, giving even more spice to this super pumpkin-y dessert.
Brownies, bars, breads, and balls
31. Brownies à la anytimeShare on Pinterest
No need to bake a whole pan of brownies since they're best hot and gooey. This version comes out rich and dark. Add chocolate chips or nuts if you're into that, and serve straight from the (microwave) oven, à la mode.
32. Pumpkin cinnamon rolls
Cinnamon rolls are like burritos - typically sold only in size gigundo. This appropriately portioned recipe uses oat and wheat flours, plus Greek yogurt for the icing, so these rolls are a tad healthy, too.
Eat with a spoon or remove from the ramekin to pull apart with your hands.
33. Peanut butter ballsShare on Pinterest
You could go to the trouble of making a whole batch of truffles or cake balls. Or you could follow this recipe that makes three super-rich chocolate-dipped peanut butter balls - just the right amount.
The peanut butter center is made from three ingredients and then gets a coating of melted semisweet chocolate.
34. Raw vegan blondie
Raw desserts can call for many ingredients and lots of time, but this one breaks that standard. Six ingredients, five minutes, and it's ready. It's vegan, too.
Using walnuts will add a dose of omega-3 fatty acids, and cashews will give you magnesium, which contributes to heart health, blood sugar control, and more.
35. Banana bread in a mug
In just five minutes, you can transform a ripe banana (yeah, that one blackening on your counter) into a mug full of moist, luscious banana bread you can eat with a spoon. You can swap out the white flour for oat or barley flour. And adding chopped walnuts is always a good idea.
Note: All nutrition information sourced from the USDA Food Composition Databases.