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Dive Into These Luscious Layers of Parfaits

What is it about parfaits that makes them so yummy? Maybe it’s the luscious layers, or because they are often identified as a “healthy” snack, breakfast and/or dessert (which makes for way less guilt!). Whatever the reason may be, parfaits sure are indulgent and one of our favorite treats to whip together and devour!

What is a Parfait?

The word “parfait” actually means “perfect” in French. Parfait’s origin can be traced back to references of a dessert in French cuisine in 1894. They’re most often prepared in tall glasses known as parfait glasses and are typically made with layers of ingredients. While parfaits are often created on the sweeter side, they have been used to serve savory dishes including seafood and vegetables.

French Parfaits vs American Parfaits

Traditional French parfaits are much simpler than what American tradition has made them to be. Traditional French parfaits included basic ingredients like cream, egg, sugar and syrup, whereas Americans often put things in our parfaits such as granola, nuts, yogurt, fruit, etc.

How to Make Parfaits

Parfaits are relatively easy to make and absolutely delicious to eat! They’re completely customizable to your preferences, so you can make your parfait exactly how you like it every time. Choose your base, add-ons and any other preferred ingredients or toppings.

Whatever add-ons and fruit you decide to mix into your parfait, there’s always an essential base:

  • Yogurt: Yogurt parfait recipes are one of the most popular members of the parfait family today due to their healthy attributes.
  • Greek Yogurt: As the popularity of Greek yogurt continues to soar, many people are substituting Greek yogurt for regular yogurt in their parfaits.
  • Cottage Cheese: Just like yogurt, cottage cheese goes great with fruit, and the popular parfaits are a super scrumptious and healthy breakfast, snack or dessert.
  • Ice Cream: Ice cream parfaits are a true dessert and are obviously much more indulgent than yogurt parfaits. An ice cream parfait involves more culinary artistic skills in comparison to an ice cream sundae where the layering is comparatively simpler.

Selecting the Right Ingredients

Every well-constructed parfait has several different layers of goodness, so pick your favorites or follow a recipe.

  • Creamy Layers: When it comes to your creamy layer, you can choose from yogurts and ice cream, or you can try adding in peanut butter, cream cheese, maple syrup, or other spreads to your layered parfaits recipe.
  • Crunchy Layers: Don’t be afraid to get creative with the crunchy sections of your parfaits! Add in crunchy granola, crushed cookies, diced cake or even pie to make your creation fun and delicious.
  • Fruity Layers: No layered parfait is complete without a fruity layer. Chop up your favorite kinds of fresh fruit to add to your recipe, or use pie filling, jam or pureed fruit.

Parfait Recipes

Perfect your parfait-making skills with these fun and delicious recipes.

Pancake Parfaits

Start your morning with layers of tasty flavors by making this recipe for Pancake Parfaits. Make breakfast something to look forward to with pancakes, low-fat creamy yogurt and fresh fruit.
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PB and J Parfait

A refreshing take on a classic sandwich, this PB and J Yogurt Parfait is great for adults and kids alike to enjoy. With only four ingredients, this fruit and yogurt parfait recipe is quick, easy and delicious.
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Protein Parfait

A protein-packed layered parfait is perfect for an easy breakfast or a quick snack. Make this Protein Parfait recipe when you need a tasty boost of energy.
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Strawberry Banana Breakfast Parfaits

Go bananas for breakfast! Strawberry Banana Breakfast Parfaits are the perfect way to start your morning. Make this for you and the family to enjoy together at the breakfast table.
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No-Bake Cheesecake Parfaits

Close up shot of a strawberry and blueberry parfait in a wine glass with grass in the background

A delicious red, white and blue layered parfait is the perfect way to celebrate the holiday! Make these Star-Spangled No-Bake Cheesecake Parfaits for party guests to enjoy while watching the fireworks.
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Patriotic Blueberry Pie Parfaits

Blueberry Pie Parfaits

Show your American pride by making this four-ingredient layered parfaits recipe that will please all of your party guests! Whip up these Patriotic Blueberry Pie Parfaits to enjoy together by the pool or around the bonfire.
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FAQs about Layered Parfaits

What is a parfait?

There are many different types of parfaits out there, but a typical recipe has three layers: creamy, crunchy and fruity. For example, fruit and yogurt parfaits have layers of yogurt, fresh fruit and granola. But the great thing about these treats is that they’re customizable to your preferences.

What type of yogurt is used for a parfait?

You can use any kind of yogurt you’d like in your layered parfait recipe, but the most common types are Greek yogurt, plain yogurt, vanilla yogurt and fruit yogurt.

What do you need for a fruit parfait?

To make a fruit parfait, you’ll need your favorite kind of chopped fruit or fresh berries, and then a creamy layer like cottage cheese and a crunchy layer such as granola or nuts.

How to layer a parfait?

It’s easy to layer a parfait! All you need to do is put even layers of all your preferred ingredients into a glass until it’s full.

What’s your ideal parfait—layers of yogurt, granola and fruit? Cottage cheese, candied walnuts, fruit and honey? Let us know in the comments below! For more delicious desserts, check out our Desserts Recipes Category Page.