There are so many reason to love living alone: Being able to leave your outfit rejects on the floor a little longer, singing at the top of your lungs to musical soundtracks, or eating dinner in your underwear, to name just a few hypothetical examples. One thing that’s not so fun is figuring out how to cook for a party of one without wasting food or getting sick of the leftovers. And if you have sweet tooth, it can be even tougher. Thankfully, there’s a new viral food trend that can help: Single-serve desserts.
Single folks know the struggle of craving a lone homemade cookie or piece of warm, gooey cake and ending up with enough to feed your whole office the following day (not that they’re complaining), but now with so many single-serve recipes to choose from, you may not have to spare the slightest crumb — plus they’re simple enough for even a novice baker. In fact, you may not even have to turn on your oven at all. With this single-serve cooking trend on the rise, there’s a little something for every kind of home cook and every kind of sweet tooth.
Whether you’re into fruity or chocolate-y, piping hot or cool and creamy, healthy-ish or rich and decadent, you can get your fix in the perfect portion. The best part is, you don’t need any fancy equipment, but if you plan to become a regular single-serve dessert maker, you might consider investing in a mini cast iron skillet and/or mini tart pans to really step up your game. That said, some of these recipes need little more than a mason jar or a mug (which you’ve probably already got handy) plus your ingredients to get started. Ready for dessert?
Ahead, find 10 options straight from culinary experts that will make your solo cooking adventures so much sweeter.
Single-Serve Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookie
“Without a doubt, my favorite single-serve dessert is a chocolate chip skillet cookie” says Jenna Moran, founder, CEO, and creative director of Whimsy and Spice. “My mom would always make this on my birthday and it is one of the first recipes I replicated when I learned how to cook.”
To make one for yourself, start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees, then combine 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar and 1 tablespoon granulated sugar with 1 tablespoon room temperature butter in a bowl and use a fork to mix it until combined. Add 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract and 1 egg yolk and mix until all the ingredients have combined. In another bowl, combine 1/3 cup all-purpose flour, 1/8 teaspoon baking soda, 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar, and 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt. Add contents of both bowls together and mix well, then sprinkle in 1/4 cup of chocolate chips. Press mixture into a greased mini cast iron skillet and bake. “This should only take around 12 to 14 minutes, or until the edges of the cookie are browned slightly (the center will not quite be done, but don't worry about this, it will continue cooking outside the oven),” says Moran. “Let the cookie cool and once it has, then voila! Your single-serve chocolate chip skillet cookie is ready to eat.”
Two-Serving Lemon Poppy Seed Muffin
Joy Wilson, founder and “Chief Sweet Tooth” of Joy the Baker has been having fun with what she refers to as micro-batch baking these days, so of course she’s got a couple tasty single-serve dessert recipes up her sleeve — starting with one that’s ideal for those looking for something sweet in the morning. “This recipe for just two Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins will have you feeling like you woke up early to snag a warm muffin from the best bakery in town,” Wilson tells TZR. “These two muffins are easy to whip up and perfect for you and your sweetie, or you and...you. I like them best served fresh from the oven with a generous smear of softened salted butter.” Get the full recipe full recipe here on the baking expert’s website and start your day off deliciously.
Single-Serve Cinnamon Roll
Not crazy about lemon-flavored treats? No problem. Wilson also has a single-serve cinnamon roll recipe that is oh-so satisfying. “There’s literally nothing better than a warm cinnamon roll fresh from the oven, but sometimes a full tray is too much to commit to,” Wilson says. “This recipe for a single cinnamon roll bakes up just as fat and juicy as the center cinnamon roll in a tray, but it’s just one and it’s all yours!” Wilson. Can’t wait for the morning to make one? Head straight to the full recipe here for everything you need to start baking.
Personal Chocolate Banana Cream Pie
As Pastry Chef & Culinary Director of the super popular Biscuit Love in Nashville, Lisa Marie White makes sweets for a crowd all day, every day. But when she’s in the mood for a petite treat just for herself, she’s got a recipe for a mini chocolate banana cream pie that fits the bill every time. “Because I occasionally crave chocolate — well, who am I kidding, I always do — this acts as a smaller version to satisfy the sweet tooth in the best way as I have no business (or will power) to have a whole pie in my home,” she explains.
Want to whip one up for yourself? Food process or crush up one or two of your favorite cookies into crumbs and use this to line your mini pie or tart dish. “If you don’t have a personal pie pan use your smallest bowl or cup,” White says. “Now, take 1/4 cup of heavy cream and pour into a microwaveable coffee cup and heat approximately 35 second. Place your favorite chocolate, broken or chopped into small pieces, into a glass or metal bowl and pour the hot cream over the chocolate pieces and let sit for three minutes then start to whisk together. Start in the center and once it has come together widen your circle or whisking until mixture becomes velvety smooth.” This silky mixture is your chocolate ganache.
Next, take 1/2 to 2/3 of the ganache and pour on top of your cookie crust, then layer a few thick slices of banana on top, gently pressing them into the chocolate ganache, and let set in refrigerator to set. Take the remainder of the ganache and add 2 more tablespoons of heavy cream and mix thoroughly, then place this mixture in the fridge to cool down. Once it’s fully chilled, whisk it till until stiff. Use this as your next layer of the mini pie and return to refrigerator to set. Top it all off with freshly whipped cream (sweetened with a touch of sugar, if you like). “Depending on your mood, you can garnish with fancy flake sea salt, sprinkles, or chocolate curls, whatever makes you happy,” White adds.
Single Serve Mason Jar Ice Cream
If you’ve never tried the viral mason jar ice cream from a few years back, this might just be your perfect single-serve dessert. The Spruce Eats has a totally simple recipe that requires no cooking required and is ready in a couple hours. Just add 1/2 cup heavy cream, 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, 1/4 vanilla extract, 1/8 salt, and any other ingredients you want for flavor (fruit, cookie crumbles, candy, etc) into a mason jar. Screw on the top and shake the mixture for a few minutes or until it doubles in volume. If you can dip your spoon in and it comes out nicely coated, you’ve achieved the desired thickness. Then pop your jar into the freezer for two to three hours — or when it becomes the texture of soft serve — and enjoy.
For an ice creamy single-serve dessert that requires even less effort, try this Italian classic. “When traveling in Italy a few years back, I came across my favorite single-serving dessert of all time: The affogato,” says Jessica Randhawa, owner and head chef of The Forked Spoon. “The affogato consists of sweet vanilla ice cream topped or ‘drowned’ with hot espresso. A sweet mid-afternoon treat or after-dinner pick-me-up, this espresso ice cream is just what you need to survive the hot summer months.” We’d argue it also works for any season. Don’t have an espresso maker at home? No problem, Randhawa says you can easily substitute freshly brewed strong coffee instead.
Single-Serve Chocolate Cupcake
Michelle Lopez, the baker behind Hummingbird High is also hopping on the single-serve dessert bandwagon — with a little help from Molly Yeh’s cookbook, Home is Where the Eggs Are. With just a handful of ingredients (many of which you probably already have in your fridge and cupboard), you can easily whip up this this moist, chocolate-y cupcake (frosting included) just for you. Get the whole recipe here.
Single-Serve Peanut Butter Cookie
Sarah Fennel of Broma Bakery does not hold back when it comes to her crave-worthy baked goods on the ‘gram. Recently she showed off a peanut butter cookie recipe that yields just two cookies (OK fine, you’ll have to suffer through seconds), and it had all her followers rushing to the kitchen. Using just peanut butter, unsalted butter, brown sugar, a single egg yolk, vanilla extract, baking soda, and salt, it’s totally easy to make and only takes about 15 minutes of your time. Get the step-by-step instructions here.
5-Minute Molten Chocolate Mug Cake
You can always count on Half Baked Harvest for delicious and wholesome dishes — and recipe developer Tieghan Gerard’s Molten Chocolate Mug Cake is no exception. In fact, it’s pretty legendary. To make it, gather coconut oil, an egg, milk, vanilla extract, honey or maple syrup, all-purpose flour, unsweetened cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, brewed coffee, and semi-sweet chocolate chunks, and follow the recipe here for major gratification in just a few minutes. Top with a scoop of ice cream if you have it and a maybe even a few sprinkles because you only live once.
Single-Serve Apple Crisp
It’s apple pie weather out there, but if you need something a bit more petite — and you want it fast — try this apple crisp from Pinch of Yum to satiate your seasonal craving. The full recipe (which you can find here) only takes five minutes and you can make it in your microwave with ingredients you probably already have. Hello, coziness!