83 Holiday Desserts That Are Festive *and* Downright Delicious
It’s the most wonderful time of the year: holiday baking season. And we’re kicking it off with Christmas cookies, festive pies and elegant cakes, just to name a few. Whether you’re a party guest or entertaining the family this year, keep these 83 festive holiday desserts—like caramel-stuffed gingerbread crinkle cookies and candy cane ice cream sandwiches—in your back pocket. They’re easy, delicious and chock-full of cheer.
1. The Easiest Sugar Cookie Recipe Ever
Rolling them out is a breeze. Let the kids take care of the tough part, aka decorating.
2. Giant Cinnamon Roll
Psst: Store-bought crescent roll dough is the secret ingredient.
3. Caramel-Stuffed Gingerbread Crinkle Cookies
We have nothing against old-school gingerbread, but we’re swooning over the gooey, molten center in these sweets.
4. Matcha-Cranberry Linzer Cookies
You’re about to blow minds at the annual cookie swap.
5. Christmas Crack
You can never have too many 10-minute recipes in your arsenal.
6. No-Bake Sugar Cookie Truffles
Aka the best way to use up leftover sugar cookies.
7. No-Bake Mini Mason Jar Spiced Cheesecakes
Red currant jelly and homemade whipped cream make these little guys super sophisticated.
8. Peppermint Devil’s Food Hi-Hat Cupcakes
Sorry, buttercream. You’ve been dethroned by mint-marshmallow frosting.
9. Champagne Doughnuts
More festive than popping a bottle…but don’t let that stop you from indulging in both.
10. Easy Cranberry-Pecan Sandwich Cookies
Cookie swap? Holiday party? Aunt Jackie’s house? Check, check and check.
12. Baked Pears with Maple Syrup and Almond Crumble
A classic recipe that proves that sometimes, less is more.
13. Mini Caramel Pecan Pies with Cinnamon Roll Pie Crust
Go ahead, have seconds (and thirds).
14. Sticky Toffee Honeycomb Cake
Think of it as sticky toffee pudding’s fancy, gooey cousin.
15. Adaptogen Chocolate Bark
Chocolate bark just got a goop-worthy glow up. (The bee pollen is purported to boost your immune system, BTW.)
16. Cinnamon Roll Cake
You can serve it for dessert, but it’d look damn good as part of your Christmas brunch spread.
17. Chocolate-Peppermint Icebox Cookies
Make the dough ahead of time and quickly bake the cookies before company arrives.
18. Gluten-Free Flourless Cocoa Cookies
Even better news? They’re only 123 calories per cookie.
19. Mini Citrus Monkey Bread
Face it: Tiny desserts are just a billion times cuter and more fun than their full-sized predecessors.
21. Cinnamon Sheet Cake with Cider Frosting
All our favorite cold-weather favorites in one unexpected dessert.
23. Mini Chocolate Snowball Cakes
Confession: Sometimes we get a tad (read: very) nostalgic for a Hostess snack cake.
24. Butterscotch Icebox Cookies
They’re only seven ingredients away…
25. Chocolate Bread Pudding Cake
Elevate a classic by using a springform pan, lots of cocoa and a drizzle of homemade icing.
27. Easy Nutella Mousse
Admit it, you have a jar stashed (more like hidden) in your pantry.
28. Eggnog Cookies
They’re divinely soft and chewy under the eggnog-cream cheese frosting.
29. Salted Gingersnap Mallomars
The original has stood the test of time for a reason.
30. Hazelnut and Nutmeg Brown Butter Ganache Cake
Not feeling dairy in the ganache? Substitute coconut cream for heavy cream.
32. Matcha Black Sesame Nougat Chews
Well, well, well. Aren’t you fancy?
34. Maple-Pecan Icebox Cookies
Roll the dough into a log, let it chill, then slice and bake to your heart’s content.
35. Mint Matcha Pomegranate Pavlova
Talk about taking a color scheme and running with it.
36. Vanilla Bean Icebox Cookies
Way classier than a snowman cutout, but just as simple.
37. Brownie Pecan Pie
This decadent mashup is nearly impossible to mess up.
38. Chocolate Peanut Butter Stacks
We love a no-bake beauty. Especially when it’s covered in holiday sprinkles.
40. Pistachio Icebox Cookies
Toast the pistachios to make them as nutty and fragrant as possible.
41. Biscoff Pie
We’re pretty positive your friends will polish this off in 15 minutes flat.
43. Minty Chocolate Holiday Cake Bites
Go ahead, have a second. And a third. And a fourth…
44. Vegan Gluten-Free Gingerbread Men
Because no one should have to skip dessert, especially on Christmas.
46. Pecan Pie Cookies with Butter Pecan Frosting
If your friends want to believe you ordered them from a posh bakery in town, so be it. But feel free to brag and set them straight.
47. Chestnut Cranberry Blondies
They’re gluten-free, thanks to chestnut flour.
48. Cranberry Chai Spice Thumbprint Cookies
Bursting with blood oranges, cranberries and cinnamon.
49. Bailey’s Chocolate Bundt Cake
In this case, instant chocolate pudding mix is your friend.
50. Ombré Citrus Upside-Down Cake
Be prepared to see your masterpiece on all your guests’ Instagram stories.
52. Eggnog Panna Cotta
You’re about to turn at least one eggnog hater at the party into a believer.
54. Caramel-Chocolate Macadamia Tart
From the easy press-in crust to the simple caramel custard, it’s basically a giant, high-end candy bar.
55. Hot Chocolate Bombs
Just drop one in a mug, pour hot milk over it and boom: You’ve got hot cocoa with all the fixings.
56. Ginger Cherry Pie
The butter crust has allllll the gingerbread spices.
57. Eggnog Snickerdoodles
Psst: You’ll find rum extract right by the vanilla at the supermarket.
58. Cinnamon-Mascarpone Pudding
Make it on Christmas Eve and store it in the fridge until it’s time for dessert.
59. Southern Egg Pie
Creamy egg custard + flaky pie crust = silky, buttery bliss.
60. Gingerbread Lattice Cookies
It’s as simple as weaving strips of dough into a lattice and cutting out the cookies.
62. Baileys Chocolate Truffles
Careful: Before you know it, you’ll have eaten a whole dozen by yourself.
63. Chocolate-Peppermint Linzer Cookies
Hard peppermint candies turn the white chocolate ganache pink on their own, but feel free to add a drop of food dye to make it even more vibrant.
64. Pecan Brittle Bark Cookies
Meet chocolate chip cookies’ over-the-top cousins.
65. Sugar Cookie Chocolate Crème Brûlée
We’d ask Santa for a kitchen torch if we were you…
66. Eggnog Custard with Raspberry Jam
We know exactly what to do with that leftover carton of nog in the fridge.
67. Peppermint Patties
Need a last-minute gift for the host? A tin of homemade candy should do the trick.
68. Bourbon Pecan Sticky Buns
The pecans are soaked in brown sugar-bourbon marinade before being added to the dough.
69. Brown Sugar Cookies with Dulce de Leche
Want to stack them in a tin? Let the cookies sit out overnight so the dulce de leche loses its stickiness.
70. Rocky Road Cookies
Fudgy cookies full of nuts and marshmallows in 30 minutes? Call it a Christmas miracle.
72. Gingerbread Bundt Cake
Be sure to whisk the dry ingredients separately before adding them to the wet—it’ll help you avoid pockets of unmixed flour and spices in the batter.
73. Slow-Cooker Salted-Caramel Rice Pudding
Meet the underdog of the dessert world. It’s comforting, rich and deserving of time in the limelight.
74. Jammy Shortbread Bars
Crumbled freeze-dried raspberries make for such a pretty finishing touch.
76. Orange and Chocolate Brioche Tarts
Fall in love with citrus season all over again.
78. Caramelized Pear Tartlets
Store-bought pie crust (and six other ingredients) saves the day.
79. Pear Mug Pie
Come for the caramelized pears, stay for the sugared pie crust stars.
80. Peppermint Bark Crepe Cake
Complete with peppermint whipped cream and crushed candy canes.
81. GINGERBREAD SWIRL FUDGE
This one-pan holiday wonder is even better than the classic cookie.
82. MINI NO-BAKE GINGERSNAP ICEBOX CAKES
A finishing drizzle of caramel sauce is optional, but highly encouraged.