Peanut butter cups. |Meaghan Penrod, special to the Record-Journal

4 easy gluten free no-bake desserts

4 easy gluten free no-bake desserts

4 easy gluten free no-bake desserts

We’re in the middle of the hottest part of the summer and if you’re like me, you’d rather not use the oven right now. But despite the heat, my sweet tooth never takes a vacation. The solution? No-bake desserts! They’re easy to put together and leave the oven completely out of the mix.

Below are some of my favorites. All of the recipes are gluten free but feel free to use a gluten-full alternative if you aren’t bothered by gluten! 

Peanut Butter Bars

These bars are basically like a giant peanut butter cup! They’re a crowd favorite and are always quick to go. 


1 package gluten free graham crackers 

2 sticks of butter, melted

1 cup peanut butter

2 cups powdered sugar

8 peanut butter cups

1.5 cups semisweet chocolate chips

1 tbs coconut oil


Place the graham crackers in a food processor or blender and blend until there are no big pieces left (should be about the texture of sand). If you don’t have a blender/food processor, you can just place the crackers in a ziplock bag and crush them with a rolling pin.  Add the crumbs to a large bowl.

To the bowl, add melted butter, peanut butter, and powdered sugar. Stir until combined.

Press the mixture into a pan. For thicker bars, use an 8x8 pan. For thinner bars, use a 9x13 pan. 

Chop up peanut butter cups into bite-sized pieces and press them onto the top of the mixture in the pan. 

Melt chocolate chips with 1 tbs coconut oil. You can either do this on the stovetop using the double boiler method or in the microwave 30 seconds at a time, stirring in between until fully melted. 

Pour chocolate on top of the peanut butter mixture.

Place in refrigerator until it’s solidified (about 4 hours) and serve!


Coffee-Free Chocolate Tiramisu

This dessert is the perfect summer dessert! Cool, creamy, and beautiful to present!


1 package Schar gluten free lady fingers 

1 box chocolate pudding mix

2 cups cold milk (I used almond milk, but any milk works)

2 packets of hot chocolate mix (and the amount of water it calls for on the package)

8 oz mascarpone cheese

8 oz cool whip 


Make the hot chocolate according to package directions. Let it cool while you do the next steps. You likely won’t need the 2 full servings, but you’ll need more than 1.

Make the pudding according to the package instructions. Most will call for whisking mix for 2 minutes with 2 cups of cold milk. Let it sit and set aside.

Mix together the mascarpone and cool whip. Set aside.

Pour your hot chocolate into a flat dish (I used a plate with high sides—you want enough room to fully dip your lady fingers). One by one, using half of the lady fingers, dip both sides into the hot chocolate so it’s fully coated (they soak it up quick!). Place each dipped finger into a 9x9 casserole dish until the bottom is covered. Feel free to break one in half in order to fully cover the bottom. 

Spoon half the mascarpone/cool whip mix on top of the cookies and spread it evenly.

Spoon half the pudding on top next and spread it out.

Do another layer of dipped lady fingers and then repeat steps 5 and 6. 

Optional: You can swirl a little extra mascarpone/cool whip mix into the top pudding layer to give it a marbled finish. 

Let it set up in the fridge for at least 4 hours, but overnight is best. 


Freezer Pumpkin Cheesecake

Even though it’s still summer, I’m starting to see all the fall-lovers posting about how they can’t wait to pull out their pumpkin decorations! This freezer pumpkin cheesecake is the perfect compromise—cool and refreshing like ice cream with just a hint of fall fun. 


1 package gluten free graham crackers, crushed

5 tbs unsalted butter, melted

1 package full-fat cream cheese, at room temperature

1 cup canned pumpkin (make sure it’s just pumpkin and not pumpkin pie filling)

1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1 can full-fat sweetened condensed milk

8oz cool whip 


Blend the graham crackers until smooth in a food processor or blender, or crush in a ziplock bag with a rolling pin. Add to a bowl and mix in melted butter. Stir until crumbs are fully coated.

Spray a pie dish or a 9 inch spring-form pan with non-stick cooking spray and then press the crumbs into the bottom of the pan. 

In a separate bowl, add the cream cheese and beat with a mixer until it’s nice and creamy. Add in the pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice and stir until combined. 

Add in sweetened condensed milk and stir until combined and smooth.

Fold in the cool whip until combined and smooth. 

Pour the mix on top of the crust. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the freezer for at least 6 hours or overnight.

When you’re ready to serve, remove from freezer and cut slices with a sharp knife.  

Homemade Peanut Butter Cups

These are a huge favorite in my house and I regularly make them for my neighbors as well! They recently were given a very expensive box of European chocolates and they told me they liked these peanut butter cups better 😊 


12 oz bag of chocolate chips (you can do milk chocolate or dark chocolate, whichever you prefer!)

1 tbs coconut oil

1 cup peanut butter

1 cup powdered sugar


Mix peanut butter with powdered sugar and set aside.

Melt chocolate with coconut oil—you can either do this using the double boiler method on the stove or in the microwave, microwaving for 30 seconds at a time and stirring in between until melted.

Line a muffin tin with paper baking cups. 

Spoon a little chocolate into each cup—enough to just coat the bottom. 

Add a spoonful of peanut butter on top of chocolate layer.

Top peanut butter with another spoonful of chocolate, making sure peanut butter layer is fully covered. 

Place them in the fridge until they’re fully set! Typically takes about 2-3 hours. 


While all of these recipes make for perfect summer treats, you may just want to make them all year round! 

Meaghan Penrod lives in Connecticut and is the creator of the gluten free food blog Low Key Gluten Free. She shares recipes, restaurant finds, products, and tips for living with Celiac Disease. You can follow her at @lowkeyglutenfree on Instagram and Facebook or check out her blog at


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