Simple Zero Waste Desserts & Drinks {To Make Any Day!}

Reducing plastic waste is a goal for many people in the zero waste movement, especially when it comes to non-recyclable and single-use plastic packaging. So when we think of prepping food it can be a little overwhelming to figure out how to reduce plastic waste in your kitchen.

I created a 3-part series this month, in honor of Plastic Free July, that highlights all the ways to plan and prepare plastic free meals and food of all types! This final post in the series shows you how to create zero waste desserts and drinks, which many of us enjoy the most!

I was inspired when I saw this Tasty YouTube video where Alix, a Tasty chef, and Sara, who is a zero waste blogger from Matchbox Kitchen, faced off to bake a zero waste chocolate cake.

I love that someone like Alix who is not well versed in the zero waste lifestyle was able to attempt this challenge and succeed! So even if you are not a zero waste rockstar, you can still accomplish these recipes with ease while also protecting our planet from plastic pollution.

Here are some tips on how to avoid plastic packaging as much as possible while creating delicious desserts and festive drinks!


When you are planning and shopping for your zero waste desserts, zero waste drinks, and really any zero waste meal, keep these tips in mind to help you reduce your plastic waste. 

  • Plan ahead. This will help you avoid buying ingredients you don’t need. 
  • Shop at local farmer’s markets and don’t forget your own reusable bags/basket!
  • If you have access, shop at a zero waste store. 
  • Purchase in bulk, when possible.
  • If bulk ingredients are not available, consider buying in bulk online, like at Azure Standard. These bulk packages are similar to what would be delivered to a store so don’t feel guilty about the packaging.  Just buy the largest quantity possible and split with a nearby friend or neighbor. 
  • Buy flour, baking soda, sugar, and other similar ingredients in paper bags/boxes, if bulk ingredients are not available. 
  • Less is more! Avoid leftovers or freeze them to enjoy later.
  • Consider making your own nut milk instead of buying cow’s milk.  (You can find a recipe for cashew milk below in the zero waste drinks section.)

Want to save time and money finding the zero waste swaps for your family? Download the FREE guide to 9 Zero Waste Swaps Every Family Can Make!


Likewise, there are ways to reduce your plastic waste when it comes to the tools that you use to bake and prepare meals in the kitchen. As always, it is best to use what you have first and not to toss away perfectly good kitchen supplies in favor of zero waste swaps. However, if you are in the market for any of these tools, check out these ideas to help you make your plastic-free desserts and plastic-free beverages.

  • Use silicone baking mats vs. wax paper/ parchment paper.
  • Make sure you use compostable parchment paper if you go that route.
  • Use reusable cupcake liners vs. disposable liners.
  • Bowls: If you purchase new, make sure to buy glass or stainless steel bowls instead of plastic.
  • Measuring Cups: Stainless steel measuring cups are preferred over plastic versions.
  • Bakeware: Glass, stainless, ceramic, or cast iron are the best and healthiest options!
  • Use beeswax wrap, such as Bees Wrap, instead of single-use plastic wrap
  • Mason jars/glass containers are great options for plastic-free food storage.
  • Glass storage containers, such as Snapware Glass Storage, are another good option.
  • Use reusable storage bags, such as Stasher bags, instead of plastic baggies. 
  • Glass cake stands are great for display and storage! However, shop secondhand to reduce waste even more or use something you have at home already.
  • Cake Decorations are often plastic and disposable. Edible cake decorations are a better alternative, or you can make your own reusable decorations with items you can upcycle from home!
  • Use reusable piping bags vs. disposable plastic bags.
  • Decorate with an offset spatula vs. disposable plastic bags.


Watermelon Granita Recipe

zero waste dessert - watermelon granita
Photo by: Raised On Veggies

Just 3 simple ingredients make this a great plastic-free treat. Plus it is a great recipe to enjoy with your kids – after they help you make it! 

Blueberry Cobbler – 

plastic free dessert - blueberry cobbler
Photo by: Fluxing Well

Using some of the tips listed above, it is possible to make this recipe with zero or very little waste. You can also try making your own cashew milk (see recipe below) or other nut milk for this recipe. 

Homemade Ice Cream Sandwich – 

plastic free homemade ice cream sandwich
Photo by: Well, If She Can Do It

Skip the plastic packaged ice cream sandwiches from the grocery store and make your own instead! Try to get creative when storing these ice cream sandwiches in the freezer.  You can try silicone storage bags, rectangular silicone suction lids, or silicone stretch lids instead of plastic wrap, which are all washable and reusable for years to come!

Steamed Caramel Custard Pudding – 

carmel custard pudding
Photo by: Spoons of Flavor

Make sure to buy your eggs in compostable cartons or directly from a farm using your own cartons/carrier! Also, you can buy milk in glass containers or try making homemade nut milk, such as cashew milk (see recipe below).


Instant Pot Vietnamese Iced Coffee

zero waste iced coffee
Photo by: Recipes From A Pantry

Say goodbye to your takeout coffee habit with this iced coffee recipe! This plastic-free coffee alternative can be prepped ahead and is also affordable. To keep your recipe plastic-free and zero waste, consider using a stainless steel ice cube tray (if you don’t already have an ice cube tray at home).

Homemade Cashew Milk

homemade cashew milk
Photo by: Little Sunny Kitchen

You can easily make your own cashew milk and this recipe doesn’t require any straining which makes it a quick, easy-to-make recipe to replace traditional cow’s milk. 

Agua Fresca

agua fresca - zero waste drinks
Photo by: Little Sunny Kitchen

This refreshing plastic-free beverage is good enough for adults and will definitely please your kids too. It’s a great non-alcoholic, zero waste drink for a hot day! To keep it healthier, skip the sugar or try maple syrup or honey, as Diana suggests! Store in a glass bottle as pictured, or reuse a kombucha (or similar) glass bottle.

Frozen Pineapple Virgin Margarita – 

virgin pineapple margarita
Photo by: Paleo Gluten-Free Guy

This non-alcoholic margarita is a super easy frozen zero waste beverage for a special treat! Use fresh lime juice when possible to keep it plastic free and skip that plastic lime from the juice aisle!

Raw Honey Limeade

raw honey limeade
Photo by: Creative Green Living

This is another great mocktail for a summer day that uses fresh ingredients. You can avoid the use of plastic packaging by using honey in a reusable glass bottle! 


In the end, be proud of the changes you are making to reduce your plastic waste – even if the changes seem small! If we all try to do better each day, we will make great strides toward reducing the plastic waste that ends up in our environment. 

Do you have a favorite zero waste dessert or zero waste drink recipe to share with us?  Please leave the recipe below for everyone!

Related articles:

Simple Plastic Free Meals {That Even I Can Make!} (Part 1 of series)

Super Simple Plastic Free Snack Ideas For Families (Part 2 of series)

DIY Healthy Lunchables for Kids

Is BPA-Free Plastic Safe?

Avoid Plastic In Your Kitchen (Because It’s Harming Your Health)

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zero waste desserts and drinks

Want to save time and money finding the zero waste swaps for your family? Download the FREE guide to 9 Zero Waste Swaps Every Family Can Make!


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