things to bake

31 Foolproof Things to Bake for Beginners and Pros

Baking is a fun and relaxing activity for many people all over the world. And part of the fun is that you end up with delicious goodies to share with your loved ones. But where do you start if you’re new to baking? Or if you just want to add some foolproof bakes to your repertoire?

Here’s a list of foolproof things to bake for novices and expert bakers alike! Nothing is too complicated, has too many steps to follow, or requires special ingredients or tools. These recipes are perfect for when you just want to raid the pantry.

#1. Homemade Chocolate Chip Cookies

An unrivaled classic, chocolate chip cookies are truly an American original. These soft and chewy delights are loaded with chocolate, so you’ll get some in every gooey bite. Go basic with semi-sweet or white chocolate or use bittersweet chocolate or peanut butter chips, but don’t skip the sea salt caramel chips — they’ll take your cookies to the next level.

#2. Flourless Chocolate Brownie Cookies

One-bowl cookies that are rich, chocolatey, and gluten-free? With a meringue-like outside and a dense and chewy brownie middle, these cookies will be an instant hit! Try these fudgy, chocolatey treats the next time you want to whip up a quick dessert in just 15 minutes!

#3. Russian Tea Cakes (Snowball Cookies)

Here’s a holiday classic that is great year-round! These delectable shortbread-style cookies studded with chopped pecans are surprisingly simple to make; the hardest (and messiest) part is rolling the finished cookies in powdered sugar. Experiment with your favorite nuts — pecans or hazelnuts would be stunning!

#4. Classic No-Bake Cookies

Ready for an awesome beginner cookie you can whip up with the kids for their first project or late at night when that sugar craving hits hard? All you need are some basic pantry staples. Just keep an eye on the temperatures to avoid overcooking. This easy, no-bake recipe delivers the perfect soft, tender, and fudgy cookies.

#5. Soft and Chewy Oatmeal Cookies

Is there a better breakfast than a healthy chewy oatmeal cookie that feels like a delicious treat? This recipe calls for an old favorite — raisins — but you can use dried cranberries instead or add nuts or chocolate. Dense, chewy, and perfectly spiced, these oatmeal cookies are a classic!

#6. Sugar Cookies

Sugar cookies may seem basic or plain, but a truly good sugar cookie recipe is hard to find! With this recipe, you get cookies that have nice crunchy edges and a perfectly soft middle. Rolling them in sugar before baking gives the cookies a crisp bite. Serve as is, or have fun decorating with various holiday or birthday themes.

#7. Millionaire’s Shortbread

If you’ve never had millionaire’s shortbread, you’re missing out on a real treat. It’s all about crunchy, buttery shortbread topped with chewy caramel and rich chocolate ganache. Don’t let the multiple steps hold you back! The no-fuss caramel is made with sweetened condensed milk and corn syrup, making this recipe virtually impossible to mess up.

#8. Easy One-Bowl Brownies

If you want the convenience of boxed brownies from a homemade recipe, look no further! These fudgy bars are decadent, studded with chocolatey chunks of your choice, and made in only one bowl, allowing easy clean-up. Eat these warm from the oven or turn them into out-of-this-world brownie sundaes.

#9. The Best Blondies

A good blondie is a little chewy and soft in the middle, sports a rich vanilla flavor, and is loaded with butter and brown sugar. Mix in white chocolate chips and macadamia nuts, chocolate chips, pecans, or toffee bits, or eat them blissfully plain! It’s not just a brownie for people who hate chocolate but a decadent dessert in its own right.

#10. Sour Cream Lemon Shortbread Bars

Tender lemon shortbread forms the base layer for these summertime favorites! While this simple shortbread is baking, mix the lemon filling and try not to finish everything right out of the bowl! The added sour cream helps cut the acid from the lemons, but your mouth will still pucker at the first delicious bite.

#11. Oatmeal Carmelitas

Dense, chewy, and full of chocolate, caramel, and oats, these easy bars are a longtime favorite. Be very careful when you’re baking them because the crust tends to get hard quickly. To avoid this, set your timer for 5 minutes less than the recipe recommends and then adjust accordingly; you can always add more time, but you can’t salvage overbaking.

#12. Magic Cookie Bars

Also known as seven-layer bars, these easy bars are made with a graham cracker crust, sweetened condensed milk, chocolate and butterscotch chips, pecans, and coconut. Reduce the sweetness by using bittersweet chocolate and unsweetened coconut, or try white chocolate or peanut butter chips for variation. Top with shredded coconut flakes for more texture.

#13. Easy Blueberry Cake Bars

Make this delicious blueberry snack cake for an afternoon treat or an easy dessert. Experiment with in-season fruit like peaches or strawberries, or use cranberries for a holiday feel. If you don’t care for almond extract, go ahead and use vanilla. Serve with fresh blueberry sauce for some tart sweetness.

#14. World’s Best Banana Bread

This banana bread is second to none. Every bite is moist and full of banana flavor without being overpowering. Use a mix of white and brown sugar for extra richness, and bake on the middle rack of your oven for the best results. Enjoy warm from the oven with butter or as a snack with a little cream cheese.

#15. Mom’s Apple Cake

A moist cake, this dessert is full of cinnamon and apples with a hint of orange flavor. This cake is baked in a tube pan, but if you don’t have one, use whatever you have; just remember to adjust the baking time. Enjoy as a dessert, snack, or with a cup of tea for a delicious breakfast!

#16. Zucchini Muffins

Next summer you have a bumper crop of zucchini, set some aside for these vegetable muffins. You’d often squeeze the water out of the shredded zucchini, but don’t — we want them moist and soft, not dry. Just keep the shredded zucchini in a colander and let the water drain out. With a crisp, sugary top, these muffins are healthy and so tasty!

#17. Apple Cider Muffins

Nothing says fall like an apple muffin spiced with cinnamon! These easy apple cider muffins don’t even need apples, but you still get a mouthful of flavor from using apple pie spice. Topped with a sprinkling of spiced sugar, they’re a fantastic snack to pair with a hot cup of coffee.

#18. Easy “Funfetti” Cupcakes

Why use a confetti cake mix when these homemade ones are just as easy and far more flavorful? Sour cream adds moisture to the cupcakes, and there is plenty of vanilla to boost the flavor. Use regular sprinkles or nonpareils; just stir the nonpareils carefully to avoid a muddy color. Top with a thick, fluffy buttercream frosting!

#19. Margarita Cupcakes

These delicious cupcakes invoke memories of white sand beaches and tropical breezes. Tequila and lime permeate every bite from the cake to the frosting, delivering a taste of margarita in every bite. The recipe calls for tequila, but you can leave it out if you don’t want to use it. The lemony frosting is delicious on its own too!

#20. Dark Chocolate Cake

Moist and rich with a delicate crumb, this dark chocolate cake is sure to be a regular in your kitchen. This recipe is versatile and can be used for a sheet cake or a layer cake. Frost with the buttercream of your choice, or go simple and serve with homemade whipped cream or powdered sugar.

#21. Basic Yellow Cake

Every home baker needs a basic yellow cake in their repertoire; you can use this versatile recipe as the basis for fun birthday cakes, sophisticated wedding cakes, cupcakes, or even peach or pineapple upside-down cakes. Top with your favorite frosting or serve warm with fruit and whipped cream.

#22. Gingerbread Cake

This gingerbread cake bears only a slight resemblance to the dry gingerbread you’re probably used to, and there is nothing ordinary about this version. This cake is deliciously moist and is packed with spices like ginger, cinnamon, and cloves. Use the lemon-infused frosting with the recipe, or coat with a cinnamon cream cheese frosting for a really rich dessert.

#23. Basic Pie Crust

Perfecting a flaky pie crust is perhaps the one thing all bakers strive for! Just remember to always include fat in your dough and that gluten will give you a tough crust. This recipe uses just butter, flour, and cold water, but you can also add a small amount of vinegar or lemon juice for added flakiness.

#24. Custard Pie

This is an excellent recipe for a simple beginner pie since it only uses a bottom crust. Plus, the custard filling doesn’t need to be cooked. Be careful not to over-bake this pie or it will “weep” or get watery as it cools and crack on the top. Remember to keep an eye on the oven temperature.

#25. Triple Berry Pie

Plump and juicy blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries come together in this pie full of summer flavors. Use fresh berries when they are in season, but frozen berries work well, too; just remember to thaw and drain them. If a lattice crust is too fiddly, use a whole top crust. Perfect for the holidays, this classic berry pie is a showstopper!

#26. Best Pecan Pie

Using a crunchy and buttery pecan filling in a flaky crust is a recipe for the perfect pie. For the best flavor and peak richness, use dark brown sugar and dark corn syrup in addition to the vanilla extract. Serve warm with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream!

#27. New England Pumpkin Pie

A holiday classic, this pie will be a sure-fire hit at your turkey day table. This old-school New England recipe includes plenty of cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger, with a little bit of molasses for a deeper flavor. If making your own pie crust is a step you’re not ready for, use a refrigerated dough or a frozen pie shell.

#28. Classic Key Lime Pie

A light, creamy sweet and tart filling on an easy graham cracker crumb crust makes for a perfectly tangy pie. This classic dessert will not be complete without a homemade airy whipped cream topping to balance the tartness. It’s easy, simple, and can be made ahead of time.

#29. Crème Brûlée

Crème Brûlée is like magic — vanilla, cream, egg yolks, and sugar combine beautifully to be baked in a water bath, yielding a rich and creamy custard. Make these the day before and let them chill overnight to finish setting. Then sprinkle the tops with sugar and melt with a blowtorch for a crackly finish.

#30. Classic Cheesecake

Velvety smooth and creamy, cheesecake is truly a classic dessert. And this recipe is good to attempt if you feel intimidated by it. Remember to mix the filling until just combined for the best creamy texture, and bake in a water bath for ideal results. Serve with your favorite toppings — whipped cream, salted caramel, or a decadent strawberry sauce!

#31. Pumpkin Cheesecake

A luscious ginger snap crust, with or without nuts, is the perfect platform for spiced pumpkin and cream cheese filling. A warm caramel sauce topping takes this cheesecake to a whole new level. This sinfully rich, decadent cake will soon become a family favorite.

AboutRibana Hategan

Ribana is a certified pastry chef and passionate home cook who curates and develops recipes that are high on nutrition. She develops and tests cost effective, nutritious meals using quality ingredients to help people better their everyday eating experiences.