39 Things to Bake When You’re Bored

Whether I’m bored, happy, sad, anxious, or hungry, the solution is usually the same: head to the kitchen and find a few things to bake. It’s the perfect weekend activity, after-work way to de-stress, or midday pick-me-up that never fails to make me smile.

And I’m starting to think that baking is my love language, too. Even though a chocolate chip cookie isn’t going to solve the world’s problems, I feel a certain peace knowing that I can at least make a friend smile with some homemade baked goods. I’d like to think my roommates love this about me since it means our kitchen is usually stocked with treats. That always seems to be the way to anyone’s heart, after all.

36 Delicious and Easy Things to Bake at Home

Get out of your comfort zone! In my experience, some of the most fun things to bake are the recipes that challenged me and taught me new baking methods or techniques. Just have fun leaning into the challenge, and don’t stress yourself out. Because truly, the best part is yet to come: eating and sharing your masterpiece with your loved ones.

So, turn on your favorite playlist, preheat your oven, and work your way down our list of things to bake when you’re bored. And don’t forget to share the love when you’re done.

Pies

Pumpkin Pie with Gingersnap Crust

Why We Love It: First off, we always love pumpkin pie. There’s something so comforting about the warm, spicy, and sweet flavor that we’ll happily indulge in all throughout the year—not just Thanksgiving. But classic recipes can often lean on the boring side of things. So, to amplify the flavor, Camille livened things up with cinnamon, nutmeg, and a gingersnap crust. The result of her experiment is nothing short of divine.

Hero Ingredient: Give it up for that gingersnap crust. No one will miss the pie dough.

Classic Buttermilk Pie

Why We Love It: A classic buttermilk pie combines a tangy, custardy filling with a buttery crust. Seriously—what’s not to love? This recipe comes straight from Camille’s mom, who would make it each year for Thanksgiving. With plenty of vanilla, nutmeg, and yes—butter—it’s an easy bake that’s sure to have everyone begging for more.

Hero Ingredient: A buttermilk pie is nothing without plenty of buttermilk. It’s responsible for this pie’s unique, signature flavor.

No-Bake Pumpkin Pie Bars

Why We Love It: Okay, sure—not a pie exactly, but that’s just because these cutie little bars are way easier to make. If you love the classic pumpkin pie flavors but want something that’s make-ahead, let me introduce you to the perfect dessert. These bars are made up of multiple layers: a graham cracker crust, pumpkin filling, and soft peaks of whipped cream. It’s impossible not to have these blow you away.

Hero Ingredient: The secret to the most pumpkin-y pumpkin filling? Homemade pumpkin butter—and it’s easier than you think.

Cookies and Bars

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Why We Love It: No matter the season, these chewy pumpkin chocolate chip cookies will always satisfy my sweet craving. They’re balanced with a tiny bit of saltiness to complement the sweetness. Unlike other chocolate chip cookie recipes, the chopped chocolate chunks ensure these cookies stay extra indulgent.

Hero Ingredient: Pumpkin puree gives these cookies their unique, cozy flavor.

Healthy Oatmeal Cookies

Why We Love It: Whenever I whip up these oatmeal cookies, my roommates and I will devour them for breakfast, lunch, dinner (and, of course, dessert). They’re not overly sweet, but super simple to make in a pinch when you need a fast dessert without all the sugar.

Hero Ingredient: I’m of the opinion that every cookie needs a sprinkling of flaky salt on top.

Chewy Pumpkin Spice Cookies

Why We Love It: For PSL fans, these pumpkin spice cookies might just give your favorite bev a run for its money. While no one wants to order the coffee version year-round, these cookies are perfect for whenever you need a dose of coziness.

Hero Ingredient: This cinnamon glaze is to die for.

Flower-Pressed Shortbread Cookies

Why We Love It: These might just be the most gorgeous cookies you’ll ever make. While the recipe stays true to its roots and remains easy, we love the little flourish of edible flowers that makes them all the more special. Serve these at an afternoon garden party with iced tea or as a sweet and simple after-dinner treat.

Hero Ingredient: Good butter makes for good shortbread. But I’d have to say, with this recipe in particular, the egg yolks edge it to earn top billing. Good ones give your cookies a gorgeous, golden hue.

Gluten-Free Lemon Bars

Why We Love It: Since creating this recipe, I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve made these lemon bars. They are one of my favorite things to bake because I developed this gluten-free recipe with my mom, and those moments in the kitchen with her are some of my most treasured memories. Sentimentality aside, these lemon bars are the ultimate light and refreshing dessert that seems to complement every single meal. And, they come together in just 10 easy steps.

Hero Ingredient: A graham cracker crust, especially this gluten-free one, can’t be beat. 

Peanut Butter–Banana Cookies

Why We Love It: You would never know that these PB banana cookies are vegan and free of gluten and refined sugar just by tasting them. They’re decadent and crisp, while being made with only whole, real ingredients. Plus, they aren’t too sweet, making them perfect for a snack at any time of day, multiple times a day.

Hero Ingredient: The coconut sugar keeps these cookies refined-sugar-free and perfectly crispy. 

Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Brownies

Why We Love It: I’m never not craving brownies. I can’t think of a single scenario in which I could possibly turn down an ooey gooey brownie, and this GF/DF recipe makes it all the more tempting for me to give in. These are the first gluten- and dairy-free brownies that I’ve made that aren’t disappointedly crumbly. They come together in one bowl and will probably be gone in one hour. 

Hero Ingredient: The almond butter keeps the crumbles away, while the flavor stays. 

Why We Love It: This double chocolate skillet cookie is what all chocolate lovers’ dreams are made of. It’s crispy on the outside, gooey on the inside, and pairs perfectly with a scoop (or two) of ice cream. Plus, it’s easy to bake and pretty foolproof, making the process stress-free and fun. What’s not to love?

Hero Ingredient: The vanilla extract and espresso powder deepens the already-delicious chocolate flavor.

Salted Caramel Cheesecake Brownies

Why We Love It: If you’re wanting to up your brownie game, look no further than these salted caramel cheesecake brownies. This recipe is one of the most fun things to bake because it brings in so many elements: the perfect fudgy brownie, a no-bake cheesecake layer, and the easiest homemade caramel. It comes together beautifully to create a sweet, salty, chocolatey dessert that you’ll make again and again.

Hero Ingredient: The cheesecake layer is game-changing. 

Chickpea Chocolate Chip Cookies With Tahini

Why We Love It: This is a sophisticated take on your favorite cookie. While you may think classic chocolate chip cookies don’t need an upgrade, it’s always fun to get a little creative. The tahini and chickpea flour add the perfect nuttiness to these delectable cookies, satisfying your sweet tooth with every bite. 

Hero Ingredient: Trust us, don’t swap for peanut butter. The tahini is both unexpected and delicious.

Cast-Iron Skillet Chocolate Chip Cookies

Why We Love It: This cookie skillet is made in one bowl, then baked and served from a single skillet. Simplicity aside, it’s also so unbelievably good. I prefer to eat it straight out of the oven topped with ice cream so that it’s warm, gooey, and delicious.

Hero Ingredient: M&M’s forever and ever. 

Vegan + Gluten-free Chocolate Chip Cookies from Café Gratitude

Why We Love It: This GF and vegan cookie recipe is one to save because it’s something everyone can enjoy. From your friend with a food sensitivity to your kids with sugar cravings, I dare you to find someone who has a negative thought about these chocolate chip cookies. They have a perfectly chewy, moist texture and are made with whole ingredients you can feel good about eating. 

Hero Ingredient: I’m very generous with the vegan chocolate chips (because why not?).

Muffins, Cupcakes, and Breads

Pumpkin Loaf Cake

Why We Love It: If you’ve yet to try your hand at a pumpkin bread recipe—let this be your first. Topped with a delicious homemade cream cheese frosting and crushed nuts of your choice, everyone will be begging for this recipe after the first bite.

Hero Ingredient: Cinnamon is the perfect, spicy-sweet touch.

Cranberry Orange Muffins

Why We Love It: A little bit zesty and sweet in one bite, these cranberry orange muffins are the perfect year-round snack or dessert. The secret ingredient? An addition of Greek yogurt for creaminess and moisture creates a fine, tender crumb.

Hero Ingredient: Dried cranberries add the perfect touch of tartness.

Citrus Olive Oil Muffins

Why We Love It: It’s very possible that all of my favorite things to bake feature edible flowers. How could you not love them? They make it possible to step up your sweet treat with a simple flourish that frees you from experimenting with any tough decorating techniques. (Piping? No thanks.) These “muffins”—call ’em cupcakes, if you’d like—have a perfect, moist crumb thanks to the olive oil. And the pop of citrus keeps them tasting fresh and light.

Hero Ingredient: These muffins boast countless powerhouse ingredients, but I’ll give the award to the Greek yogurt. Combined with the olive oil, it’s responsible for these treats’ fluffy, delicious bite.

Gluten-Free, Vegan Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Why We Love It: I can and will eat carrot cake recipes all year long. These gluten-free and vegan carrot cake cupcakes are one of my go-to’s and one of the most requested recipes I make. Last Easter, I made them in a mini cupcake tin, and they turned out to be the cutest, bite-sized dessert.

Hero Ingredient: You’ll never not add vegan butter to store-bought icing again. 

Two Hands NYC Banana Walnut Bread With Espresso Mascarpone

Why We Love It: I love a recipe that can be eaten for both breakfast and dessert. This twist on banana bread is an Austin favorite at Two Hands and now a family favorite at my house. The recipe for the bread is great on its own, but the simple espresso mascarpone elevates the dish and (warning!) makes it highly addictive.

Hero Ingredient: Finishing things off with a drizzle of honey goes a long way. 

Banana Pumpkin Muffins

Why We Love It: I stand by the fact that it’s never too early for all things pumpkin. No matter the weather, I’m always ready for one of these gluten-free dairy-free pumpkin muffins because they are that good. They are also super easy to make, come together in one bowl, and are refined-sugar-free. I guarantee these will become a year-round staple for you, too.  

Hero Ingredient: Pumpkin people, unite!

Blueberry Power Muffins

Why We Love It: These blueberry muffins are a healthy excuse to eat cake for breakfast. They are gluten- and dairy-free and are delicious for a grab-and-go breakfast, afternoon snack, or even a dessert. I love that they pack in pecans for some extra nutrients, making these more filling than typical blueberry muffins.

Hero Ingredient: Pecan power. 

One Bowl Morning Glory Muffins

Why We Love It: The best way to start your day is with one of these morning glory muffins. They satisfy your sweet tooth just enough but are also packed with oats and grated fruits and veggies to give your day a healthy start. Bake a batch of these on Sunday and look forward to treating yourself to a deliciously healthy muffin every day of the week.  

Hero Ingredient: The super sneaky veggies bring moisture and plenty of vitamins to these unassuming delights.

No-Knead Olive & Rosemary Focaccia

Why We Love It: If baking bread intimidates you, I beg you to try this focaccia. It’s one of the easiest things to bake, though it definitely tests your patience with the resting periods (but it’s so worth the wait!). This bread is studded with rosemary, garlic, red onion, and olives, and will fill your kitchen with the dreamiest garlicky scent.  

Hero Ingredient: California Ripe Olives are the juiciest, richest, and most delicious olives you’ll ever eat.

Cakes and Tarts

Orange Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Why We Love It: Have you ever seen a cake so pretty? While I often say that carrot cake is simply a vehicle for cream cheese frosting, this recipe proves that it can be so much more. The cake itself is perfectly spiced, with a teaspoon of cinnamon leading the charge. From there, this cake stays pretty true to tradition, except for…

Hero Ingredient: … the orange zest! Combined with orange extract, it lends a fresh, citrusy flavor that—IMO—every carrot cake isn’t complete without.

Lemon Icebox Cake

Why We Love It: Let me introduce you to your new crowd-pleasing, favorite cake. If you’re not familiar, icebox cakes sit perfectly at the intersection of incredibly easy and impressive. Layers of whipped cream and cookies go into the freezer to set, and the resulting cake is nothing short of magic.

Hero Ingredient: The lemon curd earns this cake its citrusy, sour name.

Gluten-Free Citrus Cake with Strawberries and Cardamom Coconut Cream

Why We Love It: Though I’m not gluten-free, I’m all for a dessert that everyone can eat—without sacrificing flavor or texture. Simply swap out your regular AP flour for gluten-free and the rest couldn’t be easier. It’s your basic cake-making method, but with the volume turned up.

Hero Ingredient: And don’t you dare skip the cardamom coconut cream. I’ll take another dollop, please and thank you.

Black Raspberry–Bourbon Mascarpone Tartlets

Why We Love It: Your summer dinner party needs these raspberry bourbon mascarpone tartlets. This recipe is guaranteed to surprise your guests and have them begging for seconds. Don’t be intimidated by the number of steps, though! While scrolling through the instructions may feel intimidating, this recipe is simpler than it seems. Plus, you can make all the components up to three days in advance, so feel free to spread out the work.

Hero Ingredient: The pistachio praline crunches the competition. 

Rhubarb Meringue Cake

Why We Love It: Oftentimes, the most fun things to bake are the recipes that are the easiest to whip up and the prettiest to look at. This rhubarb meringue cake definitely fits the bill. It only requires six steps and will have all your guests ooh-ing and ah-ing when they see it. Plus, you can make the compote two days in advance to save some prep on the day you serve the dish. 

Hero Ingredient: The crunchy sliced almonds are the perfect addition to the tender cake. 

Orange-Walnut Olive Oil Cake

Why We Love It: This is one of those recipes I had to try immediately after seeing it. It’s my ideal dessert: not too sweet and full of interesting flavor profiles. I’m not going to lie—it was a bit more labor-intensive than other cakes I’ve made, but aren’t all fun things to bake a bit of a challenge? I’ve never felt more satisfied pulling something out of the oven. My family ate this cake for breakfast, an afternoon snack, and dessert—our taste buds were never bored.

Hero Ingredient: I went nuts over the walnut flour flavor. 

Gluten-Free Strawberry Shortcake

Why We Love It: Strawberries have been my favorite food since I was a toddler, and these GF strawberry shortcakes are now one of my favorite ways to enjoy them. They are crispy, fluffy, light, satisfying, and downright delicious. Our Executive Producer, Michelle, notes that “they re-instilled in [her] a love of slowing down and enjoying the process of creating something from scratch.” I couldn’t agree more. 

Hero Ingredient: The strawberries are the star.  

Simple Pear Galette

Why We Love It: This dessert comes together with just a handful of ingredients, no special kind of pan, and minimal effort. The flaky dough pairs with the sweet fruit to create the perfect, not-too-sweet dessert for any occasion. This is your sign to pick up plenty of pears from the farmer’s market and get baking!

Hero Ingredient: Fresh pears are the perfect pair for this dessert.  

Mina Stone’s Olive Oil Cake

Why We Love It: Olive oil cakes are a new addition to my favorite fun things to bake, and I don’t know why I’ve waited so long to try them. This specific olive oil cake from Mina Stone is super simple, but so moist, citrusy, and delicious. While I’ll eat this cake all throughout the year, the cinnamon and clove flavors make it perfect for your holiday parties.

Hero Ingredient: Obviously, olive oil. 

Berries & Cream Layer Cake

Why We Love It: I made this cake for a Labor Day party last year, and my friends still talk about how good it was. It was simultaneously one of the easiest desserts I’ve ever made and one of the most raved about. I love that you can really put in as much or as little effort as you want, and the results will be the same. For the cake, you can either bake it from scratch, from a mix, or buy one pre-made. The same goes for the whipped cream. The point is, no matter how you go about building the components of this cake, the flavor satisfies every time. 

Hero Ingredient: The whipped cream has me whipped. 

Lemon Ricotta Poundcake with Candied Lemon Slices

Why We Love It: I’m a sucker for anything that boasts this lemon ricotta combo. From pancakes to pasta, the flavor pairing never gets old. Not only is this cake one of my favorite fun things to bake, but this recipe also teaches you how to make homemade ricotta, which is a skill I now brag about all the time. (It’s easier than you’d think!) 

Hero Ingredient: The homemade ricotta is a lotta fun. 

Cobblers and Crisps

Spiced Peach and Pecan Baked Oatmeal

Why We Love It: Baked oatmeal is a fun idea for a healthy and sweet breakfast. This spiced peach and pecan bake perfectly balances the fruity and nutty flavors that everyone strives for in their best oatmeal creations.

Hero Ingredient: Pair with Greek yogurt for an added bit of protein.

Blackberry Cobbler

Why We Love It: One of my favorite culinary activities is finding fun things to bake with whatever ingredients are in season. This specific recipe has two secret ingredients that make it the best cobbler of all time: the zest and juice of an orange and a cornbread-inspired batter. These two swaps make a world of difference and help it taste extra summery and delicious. 

Hero Ingredient: Orange you glad you know about adding this secret ingredient?

Brown Butter Bourbon Apple Crisp

Why We Love It: There’s no better way to welcome fall into your kitchen than with this Brown Butter Bourbon Apple Crisp. It’s a great transitional dish because while it’s full of fall flavors, you can serve it with a cold scoop of ice cream, and still enjoy it on a warm evening. You can customize the dish with different fruits, but whatever you do, don’t skip the brown butter. The richness that it brings and the way it complements the apple, oat, and cinnamon is to die for.   

Hero Ingredient: Bring on the brown butter. 

One Bowl Baked Banana Cashew Oatmeal

Why We Love It: Let’s be honest: I am not a morning person. No matter how much I wish I didn’t, I tend to roll out of bed 10 minutes before heading out the door. Thus, this baked oatmeal recipe is not only fun to bake, but it’s a morning lifesaver, too. It’s a pre-made breakfast that’s nutritious, delicious, and perfect for meal prep or serving a crowd on a weekend.

Hero Ingredient: Peanut butter, please!

This post was originally published on August 18, 2022, and has since been updated.


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