Stock Your Pantry for Easy, Quick Desserts

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Dessert can be amazingly simple and sweet, especially if you stock the pantry accordingly. Prepare for quick desserts so that you can treat guests — or yourself! — anytime.

It can be fun to have friends and family over to hang out and enjoy a bite to eat. It’s even more fun when you’re so prepared that you can spontaneously invite folks over and KNOW you can treat them to a feast — without freaking out or going broke.


Yes! It’s all about building a pantry that truly works for you.

I’ve been working on this concept with my workshop students this past month. When you shop the sales and the clearance racks and keep an eye open for great deals, you can build a mini grocery store in your kitchen — one that has exactly what you need and use at a price that’s better than your average grocery shopping trip.

Then you can shop your kitchen when it’s time to make your weekly meal plan or when unexpected company drops by.  

Here’s an example of what I’m talking about. Not too long ago, I wrote about preparing a snack tray in anticipation of unplanned visitors. Good Cheap Eater Christine wrote to tell me that it was a super duper success the very first time she tried that strategy. After reading the post, she shopped accordingly, and low and behold, folks dropped in unannounced over the weekend!

Needless to say, Christine was able to provide her friends with a tasty spread — and impress the socks off her husband, who was newly reminded what an awesome woman he had married.

I can’t decide which is better, the company-worthy spread or the wowed husband! I can hear  love it when a plan comes together….

Building a pantry that really works for you pays off in money and time savings but also in feeling really good about your skills as a home cook and host or hostess.

This is never more important than when it comes to preparing for quick desserts!

Stock Your Pantry for Easy, Quick Desserts

Quick dessert ingredients are easy enough to run out to the store, but that quick trip can easily cost you 15 bucks for the above items! Why not shop and stock up on sale items and pay about half?

Check your grocery sales flyers each week and see what quick dessert ingredients you can add to your stash. You don’t need to do this all in one fell swoop; that will likely bust your budget. Adding a package of cookies or a carton of ice cream here and there — when they are well priced — can easily build your pantry, making easy quick desserts, well, easy and quick!

Here are some pantry/fridge items to stock for simple, impromptu sweets:

  • ice cream and sundae toppings
  • ice cream, coffee and hot cocoa for affogatos
  • apples, whipped cream, and caramel sauce for Apple Crowns
  • sparkling apple cider, ice cream, and caramel sauce for Apple Cider Floats
  • fresh fruit and tea biscuits
  • frozen puff pastry and applesauce for Chausson aux Pommes
  • chocolate chips and evaporated milk for a quick fondue; fruit and frozen pound cake or puff pastry for dipping

What do you stock for quick desserts?

Ease your holiday stress!

Speaking of easy dinners and delicious desserts…. Want to make the holiday season a little brighter this year?

Ease your seasonal stress by planning in advance how you will handle your holiday kitchen.

Take the Celebrate Simply workshop and get ready to jingle all the way.

Learn more here.

ingredients for quick desserts

About Jessica Fisher

I believe anyone can prepare delicious meals—no matter their budget.

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  1. That’s a great idea now that Christmas is near. I’m sure a few friends are going to drop by to drop of some gifts…

  2. Kathy says

    I keep sugar free pudding around due to lots of diabetics in extended family that may stop buy. I can usually find bananas or something around to add to it for a quick options.

    • Kathy says

      @Kathy, Sorry by not buy.

    • Great idea! As a mom of a kid with food allergies, I always appreciate it when folks go out of their way to make sure food is safe.

  3. Lynn from NC Outer Banks says

    These are great ideas Jessica. I usually have many of these items in the pantry or freezer, but always tend to think of big, more complicated desserts like making cakes and pies, or ice cream ON cakes and pies and not having the ice cream as the dessert itself. I’ve got family coming in within the next few days and I love the list of simple desserts you presented. That fondue for one (or more) ? Sounds delish and I’ve got everything I need including frozen pound cake, plus the perfect little cups to use. Should I change my mind and want to fix affogatos, I’ve got gelato in the freezer as well. Love the simplicity of the apple crowns. They all sound and look so good. Thanks so much.

  4. Lynn from NC Outer Banks says

    Oops, not sure what happened to my comment and I hope I won’t now have a duplicate comment. But I wanted to say thank you Jessica for these great simple dessert ideas. Although I typically have many of these ingredients in my freezer or pantry, I tend to think of more complicated desserts like cake or pies and having ice cream ON the cake or pies. Hadn’t really thought of having ice cream be the dessert itself.

    I’ve got company coming soon and several of these desserts look like great possibilities. I have what I need for the fondue for one (or more) and even have cute little cups for the chocolate mixture. The apple crowns are a healthy option too. And should I decide I want to fix the affogatos, I’ve got gelato in the freezer as well. Thanks again Jessica for these varied options. Happy fall!

  5. Lara says

    The idea is great. I’m just trying to figure out how to keep hubby out of the “stash” in between drop-in-company! LOL!

  6. Alice E says

    I don’t do a lot of desserts, but do usually have some sherbet in the freezer. I also like to have cookies, or maybe cake. And I find a couple of tubes of slice and bake cookies very handy to bake something quick. Just turn on the oven, slice the cookies and put them on the cookie sheet. You are minutes away from hot fresh cookies, and the smell of them baking helps make it special. You could of course freeze drop cookies in a bag ready to bake, but I don’t think they would keep as long in the freezer, since it is easier to keep all air out of a roll of dough than the individual mounds of dough.

    I’m also fond of cooked fruit compotes, but cooking frozen fruit can take longer. However frozen fruit and separately frozen topping could be turned into a very quick fruit crisp.

    One of the advantages of the cookie dough thing over freezing baked cookies, is it’s less likely to be raided by kids and hubbies.

  7. Janet says

    I would add a few items to your stock-up list including peanuts, assorted dried fruit, assorted jam/jelly and chocolate melting wafers. While not strictly pantry items, I try to keep puff pastry and cream cheese on hand as well.

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