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30 Mini Christmas Desserts That Are Equal Parts Delightful and Delicious

From cheesecakes to cookies to teeny-tiny pies

mini pecan pies with whipped cream and caramel sauce
Photo: Jon Cospito/Styling: Erin McDowell

If we had to choose between eating one normal-size cookie and popping seven tiny ones into our mouth in rapid succession, we’d choose mini every time. We can’t exactly explain the allure of teeny-tiny treats, but we can provide these 30 mini Christmas desserts—from cranberry, pistachio and chocolate panettone to tiramisu to citrus monkey bread—that are sure to make your holiday season that much more magical. Set out a few leftover goodies (if there are any, that is) for Santa on Christmas Eve—we hear he has a big appetite.

48 Christmas Dessert Recipes That Can Get Anyone in the Holiday Spirit


1. Mini Cranberry, Pistachio and Chocolate Panettone

  • Time Commitment: 2 hours and 50 minutes
  • Why I Love It: crowd-pleaser, special occasion–worthy, <500 calories

You may be accustomed to dry, store-bought panettone, but we promise this version is unlike anything you’ve had before. Not only are they fun-size, but they’re also light, airy and moist. Excuse us while we help ourselves to seconds and thirds.

2. Mini Caramel Pecan Pies with Cinnamon Roll Crust

  • Time Commitment: 45 minutes
  • Why I Love It: beginner-friendly, crowd-pleaser, kid-friendly

Two desserts in one bite? Don’t mind if we do. Just look at those Instagrammable caramel drips. (You’ll start with store-bought pie crust, so don’t stress over their drool-worthy appearance.)

3. Mini Citrus Monkey Bread

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour and 50 minutes
  • Why I Love It: crowd-pleaser, special occasion–worthy, kid-friendly

They might be mini, but they sure are sticky. You can make the dough yourself or use premade pizza dough from the supermarket. Serve these cuties with coffee and a tall pile of napkins.

4. No-Bake Mini Mason Jar Spiced Cheesecakes

  • Time Commitment: 45 minutes
  • Why I Love It: no cook, crowd-pleaser, special occasion–worthy, beginner-friendly

These little guys take all of ten minutes to assemble, but they’re packed to the brim with seasonal flavor. And without having to bake them, your oven will be free to accommodate dinner and sides.

5. Mini Cranberry Potpies

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour and 5 minutes
  • Why I Love It: beginner-friendly, special occasion–worthy, kid-friendly

Tonight, sharing is optional. These pies can be shared by two people, but if you want them to be personal pies, we won't judge. Oh, by the way, that gorgeous crust? It’s frozen puff pastry.

6. No-Bake Sugar Cookie Truffles

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour and 30 minutes
  • Why I Love It: no cook, beginner-friendly, kid-friendly, <10 ingredients

You can start with store-bought sugar cookies to save yourself some time. (And no, you don’t have to reveal your shortcut.) These two-bite babies will be gone within seconds, since they're super poppable and kid-friendly.

7. Mini No-Bake Gingersnap Icebox Cakes

  • Time Commitment: 2 hours
  • Why I Love It: no cook, make ahead, crowd-pleaser, kid-friendly

If you aren't familiar with icebox desserts, they're typically no-bake, only requiring assembly and chilling in the fridge. Try not to drool over these warm-spiced stacks just yet: They still need to be drizzled with caramel sauce.

8. Mini Apple Cinnamon Tarts

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour
  • Why I Love It: special occasion–worthy, beginner-friendly, <10 ingredients

They look like a fancy bakery treat, but they have a secret. (OK, we'll spill: It's frozen puff pastry again.) The second secret? Scoring a small square inside each piece to layer each apple keeps the tarts looking neat and tidy.

9. Mini Chocolate Snowball Cakes

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour and 15 minutes
  • Why I Love It: kid-friendly, crowd-pleaser, make ahead

You’re about to win the lunchbox snack game and the classroom holiday party in one fell swoop. For a festive (and kitschy) twist, try tossing the shredded coconut in a touch of green or red food dye before coating the cakes.

10. Mini Tiramisu

  • Time Commitment: 2 hours
  • Why I Love It: special occasion–worthy, <10 ingredients, make ahead

Don’t mind if we tirami-do. This elegant mini Christmas dessert requires a 45-minute chill before serving, but feel free to keep them in the fridge overnight. That way, the flavors will have plenty of time to deeply meld.

11. Miniature Banoffee Cobblers

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour and 45 minutes
  • Why I Love It: <10 ingredients, crowd-pleaser, special occasion–worthy

If you've ever ventured to the U.K., there's a chance you've tried banoffee pie. For the uninitiated, the dessert combines sweet bananas, fresh whipped cream and a thick, toffee-like caramel sauce atop a buttery biscuit. Here, dulce de leche and graham crackers step in for convenience and brown sugar-y flavor.

12. Mini M&M's Cookies

  • Time Commitment: 40 minutes
  • Why I Love It: crowd-pleaser, kid-friendly, beginner-friendly

In case you haven’t already, it’s officially time to bust out the seasonal candy. These are wonderful fillers for your cookie tray that may ultimately become a favorite of your friends and family. Fair warning: The tinier the cookies, the faster they disappear.

13. Chocolate-Stuffed Brownie Bites

  • Time Commitment: 35 minutes
  • Why I Love It: crowd-pleaser, kid-friendly, beginner-friendly

Because they’re mini, they’re also easy and quick to bake. So simple, in fact, that could whip them up every week if you wanted to. The chewy edges and gooey centers will keep you coming back for more.

14. Vanilla Sugar Dusted Macaroon Trees

  • Time Commitment: 50 minutes
  • Why I Love It: special occasion–worthy, kid-friendly, crowd-pleaser

We’ve always wanted to stroll through a forest of tiny, sugar-topped trees. Even better, the “trunks” are peanut butter cups and the tops are coconut macaroons. The more you know.

15. Mini Gingerbread Houses

  • Time Commitment: 3 hours (plus drying time)
  • Why I Love It: make ahead, kid-friendly, special occasion-worthy

The gingerbread is sturdy enough to rest on the rim of a hot cup of tea, but not so sturdy that it tastes like cardboard—an important consideration when it comes to this warm-spiced cookie. Watch a holiday movie while you assemble the houses.

16. Mini Citrus Pavlovas

  • Time Commitment: 2 hours
  • Why I Love It: gluten free, crowd-pleaser, <500 calories, special occasion–worthy

The winter fruit selection can feel bleak, minus vibrant, juicy, bittersweet citrus. For an eye-catching effect, use a mix of different varieties, from blood oranges to tangerines to grapefruit.

17. Mini Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies

  • Time Commitment: 40 minutes
  • Why I Love It: kid-friendly, crowd-pleaser, beginner-friendly

Mini thumbprints, anyone? Lindsay Ostrom, the recipe developer behind Pinch of Yum, refers to them as "fudgy bliss," and she isn't wrong.

18. Nutella Sandwich Cookies

  • Time Commitment: 2 hours and 30 minutes
  • Why I Love It: crowd-pleaser, special occasion–worthy, gluten free

We love the combination of melt-in-your-mouth meringue cookies and rich, sweet Nutella. For a shortcut, feel free to use use store-bought meringue cookies. Your guests won't know the difference.

19. Three-Ingredient Chocolate Truffles

  • Time Commitment: 4 hours and 25 minutes
  • Why I Love It: special occasion–worthy, beginner-friendly, <10 ingredients, make ahead

Introducing your new favorite party dessert and last-minute holiday gift. Not having to buy a laundry list of ingredients will be a game-changer, especially when you have a million other things to bake. Best of all, everyone will be so impressed by the truffles' sophisticated appearance.

20. Gingerbread Cupcakes

  • Time Commitment: 50 minutes
  • Why I Love It: crowd-pleaser, special occasion–worthy, kid-friendly, <500 calories

Who needs to share a whole loaf when you can have a mini cake all to yourself? That cinnamon-brown butter cream cheese frosting offers nutty, tangy flavor to every bite that will definitely make you want seconds.

21. Peppermint Devil’s Food Hi-Hat Cupcakes

  • Time Commitment: 3 hours
  • Why I Love It: crowd-pleaser, kid-friendly, special occasion–worthy

These aren't just any chocolate cupcakes. They're topped with a massive mound of minty marshmallow frosting and coated in a thin layer of chocolate glaze. We'll take a dozen, please.

22. Eggnog Panna Cotta

  • Time Commitment: 15 minutes (plus chilling time)
  • Why I Love It: make ahead, <10 ingredients, special occasion–worthy, gluten free, <30 minutes

It’s a three-ingredient dessert, but doesn’t taste like it. It’s also a great way to use up leftover eggnog, but we digress. Even though panna cotta can be a difficult treat to conquer (as we've seen on Top Chef), this one is simple enough for newbies.

23. Peppermint Patties

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour and 20 minutes
  • Why I Love It: kid-friendly, <10 ingredients, gluten free, make ahead

These classic candies are easier to make at home than you think. (After all, you’ll need something to do while you watch Christmas Vacation for the hundredth time.) Since you can store them in an airtight container for up to a week, you can gift them to all your friends to boot.

24. Orange and Chocolate Brioche Tarts

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour (plus chilling time)
  • Why I Love It: special occasion–worthy, crowd-pleaser, make ahead

This mini Christmas dessert doesn’t call for traditional pie crust, but that’s not holding it back. You can turn anything into a pie (or a tart) with the right mindset—and a little holiday magic. The brioche dough can even be made ahead and frozen for up to a month.

25. Muffin-Tin Lemon Meringue Tartlets

  • Time Commitment: 2 hours
  • Why I Love It: special occasion–worthy, crowd-pleaser, kid-friendly

Before you get lost in those swoops and swirls, dust off your trusty, albeit underused, muffin tin. Just make sure to use caution when you're toasting the meringue with a kitchen torch—we wouldn't want your holiday shindig to go South (Pole).

26. Mini Pumpkin Pies

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour and 25 minutes
  • Why I Love It: special occasion–worthy, crowd-pleaser, make ahead

The pumpkin craze doesn't have to end with Thanksgiving; plus, a mini pie is everything your guests could ever want. If you're looking to save some time, you can totally use store-bought dough instead of homemade. Your secret is safe with us.

27. Mini Mason Jar Apple Pies

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour and 10 minutes
  • Why I Love It: crowd-pleaser, kid-friendly, special occasion-worthy

This is a beyond cute addition to your mini Christmas dessert feast that no one will see coming. The best part? You can reuse the jars for some boozy shots of eggnog or hot cocoa later.

28. Mini Yogurt Cheesecakes

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour and 30 minutes
  • Why I Love It: make ahead, special occasion–worthy, crowd-pleaser

Greek yogurt replaces half the cream cheese, so these minis are lighter and tangier than standard cheesecake. The pomegranate topping is undeniably wintry as well. Go ahead, have three (or five).

29. Mini Skillet Funnel Cakes

  • Time Commitment: 45 minutes
  • Why I Love It: special occasion-worthy, kid-friendly, crowd-pleaser

This nostalgic delight tastes like a day at the carnival. Don't forget to drain them over paper towels to soak up the excess oil. Oh, and go wild with the confectioners' sugar on top—it's a snow-like finishing touch.

mini christmas desserts: Mini Apple Cider Cakes
Half Baked Harvest

30. Mini Apple Cider Cakes

  • Time Commitment: 35 minutes
  • Why I Love It: special occasion–worthy, crowd-pleaser, beginner-friendly

Made with spiced cider, apple butter and cinnamon, these minis are the epitome of cozy. The chocolate adornments are just a tasty bonus. Serve them with espresso, lattes, hot cocoa or whiskey-spiked mulled cider if you're feeling ambitious.


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Senior Food Editor

Katherine Gillen is PureWow’s senior food editor. She’s a writer, recipe developer and food stylist with a degree in culinary arts and professional experience in New York City...

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Freelance PureWow Editor