You always have a knob of ginger on hand for quick marinades, dressings and stir fries. But have you ever thought to use it in dessert? Ginger—whether it’s minced, juiced, ground or candied—works wonders in sweets. It can make an otherwise cloying treat taste complex and balanced. Plus, it’s absolutely magical when paired with a wide range of fruits, from oranges to apricots to pears. Read on for 22 ideas that are sure to spice up your winter rotation.
22 Ginger Desserts That Will Spice Up Your Winter Baking
- Time Commitment: 1 hour and 45 minutes
- Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, special occasion-worthy
Place this beauty on the table and let the oohs and ahhs roll in. It’s sweet, spicy and practically decorates itself, thanks to the buttery brown sugar-pineapple topping.
- Time Commitment: 45 minutes
- Why We Love It: make ahead, beginner-friendly, crowd-pleaser
These are sort of like a hybrid of old-school molasses cookies, classic chocolate chip cookies and warm-spiced gingerbread. Be sure not to overbake them to maximize their chewiness.
- Time Commitment: 50 minutes
- Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, <10 ingredients, special occasion-worthy, gluten free
Steeping fresh ginger in the wine syrup keeps this dessert fragrant and balanced, since the root’s spice and aroma can hold its own against the pear’s sweetness.
- Time Commitment: 1 hour and 25 minutes (plus chilling)
- Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, vegan, gluten free, special occasion-worthy
There’s ground ginger in the gingersnap crust, crystallized ginger in the pistachio topping and fresh ginger syrup in the chocolate filling—need we say more?
- Time Commitment: 1 hour and 15 minutes
- Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, make ahead, beginner-friendly
Sweet, tangy, rich cream cheese frosting is the ultimate foil for warm winter spices like cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. Crown the loaf with a few strands of candied ginger for good measure.
- Time Commitment: 35 minutes (plus freezing time)
- Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, make ahead, <10 ingredients, gluten free
Acidity is spice’s best friend. In other words, fresh lemon juice and ginger are a match made in dessert heaven. Chill the ice cream for three hours if you want a soft-serve consistency or six hours for a firmer texture.
- Time Commitment: 2 hours and 30 minutes
- Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, make ahead, special occasion-worthy
The key to these adorable treats is using a fluted cookie cutter to cut the dough. The cookies are visually enticing without the help of icing, but a simple vanilla glaze couldn’t hurt.
- Time Commitment: 1 hour and 30 minutes
- Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, special occasion-worthy, beginner-friendly
Upside-down cakes are always best served fresh, but you can prepare the brown sugar-caramel topping ahead if you must. Just cover it tightly and keep it in the fridge for up to two days.
- Time Commitment: 3 hours
- Why We Love It: make ahead, special occasion-worthy, crowd-pleaser
If just looking at these snow-topped delights doesn’t put you in the holiday spirit, we don’t know what will. (It may even get you ready to celebrate Christmas in July.) Don’t sweat the filling: It’s just store-bought soft caramels.
- Time Commitment: 30 minutes
- Why We Love It: make ahead, crowd-pleaser, beginner-friendly, <10 ingredients, gluten free
Crystallized ginger adds spice and chew to this simple-yet-giftable chocolate bark. Use dairy-free chocolate to make it vegan.
- Time Commitment: 35 minutes
- Why We Love It: beginner-friendly, crowd-pleaser, make ahead
Sweet, chewy and adorned with crispy edges, these cookies are a far cry from humdrum oatmeal raisin. Add toffee bits or butterscotch chips to the mix for an extra dose of caramel flavor and salt.
- Time Commitment: 2 hours and 45 minutes (includes cooling time)
- Why We Love It: make ahead, crowd-pleaser, beginner-friendly
Cream cheese shortbread + ginger-lemon curd + a dusting of confectioners’ sugar = a dessert bar for the books. We wouldn’t mind a drizzle of raspberry coulis on top either.
- Time Commitment: 3 hours and 30 minutes (includes cooling)
- Why We Love It: kid-friendly, make ahead, crowd-pleaser
We love you, vanilla-spice cream cheese filling. Be sure to chill the cookie dough for at least a full two hours; if you don’t, the cookies will spread in the oven and turn out too crispy for whoopie pies.
- Time Commitment: 25 minutes
- Why We Love It: <30 minutes, beginner-friendly, crowd-pleaser
The cookies’ intense flavor is all thanks to candied ginger, ginger paste and ground ginger. Chocolate curbs the spice just enough with a touch of welcome sweetness.
- Time Commitment: 2 hours and 45 minutes
- Why We Love It: special occasion-worthy, crowd-pleaser, make ahead
Traditional millionaire bars are made up of layered shortbread, soft caramel and chocolate, sort of like a fancy Twix. These start with spiced shortbread, infused with both ground and fresh ginger.
- Time Commitment: 25 minutes
- Why We Love It: <30 minutes, beginner-friendly, make ahead, crowd-pleaser
Sure, these festive molasses cookies *do* look cute topped with Christmas tree sprinkles, but they’re fair game year-round, if you ask us. (Just don’t skip the white chocolate.)
- Time Commitment: 1 hour and 10 minutes
- Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, special occasion-worthy, make ahead
Beneath a toasty layer of light-as-clouds meringue hides a game-changing ginger-chocolate frosting that will wow your guests. Ginger is also used in the cake batter in the form of pumpkin pie spice.
Taryn Pire is PureWow’s associate food editor. A former bartender and barista, she’s been writing about all things delicious since 2016, developing recipes, reviewing restaurants and investigating food trends at Food52, New Jersey Family Magazine and Taste Talks. When she isn’t testing TikTok’s latest viral recipe, she’s having popcorn for dinner and posting about it on Instagram @cookingwithpire.