No Christmas party is complete without a special holiday dessert! And the good news is there are many amazing ones to choose from, including classic, modern, chocolate, and sugary sweet desserts, and everything in between!
All the dessert ideas on this list contain basic instructions on how to make them, the ingredients you will need, and any tips or specifics on creating a successful dish.
Moreover, they’re all modifiable for dietary restrictions and needs as well. You can also find gluten-free, sugar-free, or vegan versions with a little bit of extra research too.
So, without further ado, if you want a new recipe to try out or want to refresh your current baking arsenal, check out my list of the top 23 holiday desserts you must try this Christmas season!
Eggnog-Panettone bread is a sweet dessert that only takes about half an hour to make.
I like it because it tastes delicious and is easy to make in a flash. Panettone is an Italian sweet bread you can find in many bakeries that specialize in
Ingredients include a loaf of panettone, sugar, egg yolks, half and half, rum, vanilla extract, and nutmeg.
Leave the rum out if you prefer not to cook with alcohol; it will still be delicious!
Serve it on its own or with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream for that special touch.
Toffee is an excellent holiday treat to serve at a party, give as a gift, or set out during a gathering as a sweet appetizer.
A candy thermometer is the only must-have tool for this recipe.
It might sound intimidating, but it is the best way to get perfect toffee every time.
To make this chocolate toffee recipe, you will need butter, pecans, sugar, kosher salt, vanilla extract, and milk chocolate chips.
If you prefer to keep it free of nuts, leave them out and enjoy the sweet and chocolatey taste.
The best part is you can make this recipe in under an hour!
Similarly to toffee, Christmas bark makes a great gift or holiday treat that is easy enough for anyone to make.
I love that this chocolate and peppermint Christmas bark recipe only calls for two main ingredients, but if you prefer to add other ingredients, feel free to make it your own!
All you will need for this recipe is a plastic bag, a meat mallet or rolling pin, a bag of dark chocolate chips, and peppermint.
You can add peppermint extract if you like to up the peppermint flavor and scent.
Melt the chocolate, stir the crushed peppermint in, then spread it into an even layer on a pan and let it harden. That is it!
Christmas Tree cake is a perfect dessert for the holidays, especially holiday parties, because it makes enough for many people, and you are free to interpret it how you like!
I like this recipe because it has a three-dimensional frame, but it is not hard to execute.
The recipe calls for vanilla cake and frosting, but you can use any flavor you want, as long as it is in the same quantity.
After baking the cake, assemble the cakes in tiers, then frost them with a fluted tip to create leaves.
Add M&Ms, gumdrops, and other candy for decoration once you have the tree completed.
Chocolate chip cookies are
a classic dessert no matter the time of year.
However, serving this classic treat at your holiday gathering is the best way to keep everyone happy and have an option for everyone.
For this recipe, you will need sugar, brown sugar, flour, butter, egg, chocolate chips, vanilla extract, baking soda, cornstarch, and salt.
I like this recipe because it adds red and green M&M candy to make it more festive.
In about 3 hours, you will have the perfect yuletide chocolate chip cookies!
Gingerbread cookies are extremely common around Christmas time, and for a good reason!
The iconic gingerbread man shape, the winter spice mix of cinnamon and nutmeg, and the ability to decorate them how you want to make them an excellent holiday dessert!
For this recipe, you will need
classic baking ingredients like unsalted butter, brown sugar, molasses, vanilla extract, an egg, flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, and cloves.
Pro Tip: gingerbread cookies from scratch will take you one or two days because you must let the dough rest for a few hours before cooking.
Budget your time accordingly. Use royal icing or cookie icing to decorate and top it off!
In the same vein as gingerbread cookies, a gingerbread house is iconic in the winter season.
Making gingerbread houses is a staple at any holiday gathering or party. It is fun for the whole family!
To make a 9-inch by 9-inch gingerbread house, you will need unsalted butter, dark brown sugar, all-purpose flour, ground ginger, ground cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, salt, eggs, and molasses.
This recipe also calls for optional lemon zest and optional orange zest, but it gives the gingerbread an irresistible tang, so do not skip it!
One thing to remember about a gingerbread house is that the dough must be sturdy. To do this, refrigerate the dough overnight and cook it the next day.
You might not know what these holiday cookies are called, but you probably know what they look like!
Linzer cookies are a holiday staple and are easy to construct. Choose your favorite jam, then sandwich it in between two of the almond-flavored cookies. That is all!
To make these cookies, you will need flour, almond flour, butter, salt, white sugar, vanilla extract, egg, lemon or orange, ground cinnamon, almond extract, powdered sugar to garnish, and your choice of jam.
Stamp out a Christmas tree, a star, or a gingerbread man in the center of the second set of cookies to let the jam shine through the center for the iconic Linzer cookie look.
Biscotti is an excellent treat that pairs well with coffee or tea by a warm fireplace and good company.
Holiday biscotti is a twist on the traditional twice-baked Italian cookie that makes for a perfect party treat.
Ingredients for holiday biscotti include all-purpose flour, butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla extract, orange extract, baking powder, salt, dried cranberries, pistachios, and orange zest.
Coarsely chop the pistachios and cranberries. This is a crucial step for optimal taste.
I like this biscotti because it has the perfect ratio of nuts and fruit. It is also the perfect pairing with a cup of warm tea or coffee on a winter day!
The best part is that it is ready in just over an hour, so you do not have to do tons of planning to enjoy this treat.
Sugar cookies are a staple for any time of year because they are versatile cookies that are fun to decorate and make your own.
Their versatility makes them the perfect holiday party treat! Perhaps make sugar cookies and create a decorate-your-own cookie bar!
I like this Christmas sugar cookie recipe because the cookies do not spread in the oven, and the dough forms easily into shapes like candy canes or snowflakes.
To make these delicious and versatile cookies, you will need unsalted butter, an egg, granulated sugar, vanilla extract, baking powder, all-purpose flour, and table salt.
The recipe also includes instructions on making your own icing, but you can buy it from the store if that is what you prefer.
Sweet potato pie is
a Southern staple at Christmas time, but it is not only for Southerners. Anyone can make this recipe!
For this classic holiday pie, you will need baked sweet potatoes, butter, sugar, vanilla extract, eggs, milk, and an unbaked pie crust.
You can serve this pie slightly warm or keep it cool in the refrigerator.
My favorite part about this recipe is that it lends itself to many creative toppings. My favorite is toasted marshmallow whip!
You can also use whipped cream, homemade ice cream, or salted caramel sauce. Make it your own, and it is guaranteed to be a hit at your holiday party!
Hot tip for this recipe: bake the sweet potatoes before you use them! It provides a richer flavor than boiled sweet potatoes.
Apple pie is another classic and versatile dessert on this list. It is a recipe many people have already in their arsenal, and picking apples in the fall is a frequent pastime in many areas.
Take your freshly picked apples and bake a decadent pie using your favorite recipe!
I like this recipe because the apples soak in a cinnamon and sugar concoction that lets the sticky and sweet mixture seep into the apples before baking.
You will need apples, granulated sugar, pie crusts, all-purpose flour, light brown sugar, ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, one lemon, one egg, and a couple of tablespoons of sugar.
our favorite apples for baking to use in this recipe.
Bread pudding is an old-fashioned recipe that always is a favorite during the holidays, and it is a great way to use stale bread!
To make this recipe, you will need stale bread, eggs, milk, ground cinnamon, vanilla extract, butter, and sugar.
French bread is the best to use for this recipe, but you can use sandwich bread, dinner rolls, challah, and more!
I like that this recipe is easy enough to make, and it includes ingredients you likely have on hand, so it is the perfect spontaneous holiday dessert!
Pumpkin pie is one of the most popular Thanksgiving desserts there is, and I enjoy it the entire winter holiday season.
I think pumpkin pie tastes best when you make it with oven-roasted pumpkin, but canned pumpkin does the trick just the same!
To make your perfect pumpkin pie, you will need pumpkin puree, sweetened condensed milk, eggs, ground cinnamon, ground ginger, ground nutmeg, salt, and an unbaked pie crust.
This recipe serves eight and takes about an hour to complete from start to finish.
You can use the store-bought pumpkin pie spice instead of the prescribed spice blend. It will taste about the same, so it is all a matter of personal preference!
If you want a cake that looks too good to eat, this is the one for you!
holiday dessert hailing from France, this yule log cake is easy to make but requires some technique on the decoration to get the perfect log look.
To make this Buche de noel, you will need eggs, sugar, salt, vanilla extract, all-purpose flour, dutch-process cocoa, cornstarch, espresso powder, vegetable oil, and buttermilk for the cake.
For the filling, combine heavy cream, vanilla extract, sugar, instant clearjel, and mascarpone cheese.
Use chopped chocolate wafers, heavy cream, salt, unsalted butter, and vanilla extract for the frosting.
This is a more technical dessert, but if you are up for the challenge, it has an impressive payoff in looks and taste!
Like the classic Christmas carol, bring your guests figgy pudding!
I like this recipe because it stays true to the authentic, old-world way of making this English holiday dessert. Budget two days to make this dessert, so it will taste as it is intended.
To make figgy pudding, you will need many ingredients.
Ingredients include dried currants, raisins, sultanas, candied orange peels, candied lemon peel, chopped walnuts, brandy, fresh white breadcrumbs, all-purpose flour, baking powder, salt, ground cinnamon, mixed spice, shredded beef suet, dark brown sugar, eggs, apple, molasses, orange zest, and lemon zest.
This laundry list of ingredients combines to make a sweet and decadent traditional dessert.
Let the brandy and fruit mix sit overnight for ultimate absorption and flavor!
Pecan pie is another Thanksgiving and fall celebration staple.
You can whip it up in about an hour and serve it with ice cream or whipped cream, but it is also delicious without any accompanying ingredients.
Ingredients for this recipe include pecans, white sugar, brown sugar, butter, eggs, vanilla, syrup, and a pie crust.
Make sure the pie cools completely before serving. It can be served warm, but it tastes best when it is completely set.
If you are making it for a Thanksgiving get-together, make it the night before to ensure that it is totally set before serving.
Red velvet cake is a popular choice for birthday celebrations and holidays alike.
It is a great cake to make for Valentine’s Day or Christmas due to its festive red coloring and white frosting.
For this red velvet cake recipe, you will need baking soda, fine salt, sugar, all-purpose flour, cocoa powder, vegetable oil, buttermilk, eggs, white distilled vinegar, and vanilla extract.
You will also need walnuts for the garnish, cream cheese icing, and red food coloring to make it that iconic shade of deep red.
Sticky toffee pudding is a similar dessert to bread pudding, but much sweeter and, as the name suggests - sticky.
This British holiday classic is easy for anyone to make and takes about an hour from start to finish.
For the cake, you will need Medjool dates, unsalted butter, baking soda, boiling water, brown sugar, unsulphured molasses, eggs, baking powder, vanilla extract, all-purpose powder, and salt.
For the toffee sauce, you need unsalted butter, heavy cream, brown sugar, vanilla extract, and unsulphured molasses.
This dessert is best served warm. However, some people add vanilla ice cream on top. Try it for your next holiday party!
Buckeye candy is the homemade version of Reese’s cup candy.
The peanut butter middle and decadent chocolate outer layer make them popular for gifts around the holidays or as a fun and snackable dessert any day of the year!
To make these candies, you will need creamy peanut butter, salted butter, vanilla extract, powdered sugar, and dark chocolate melting wafers.
You can also use chocolate chips and coconut oil instead of melting wafers if you do not have access to them.
My favorite part about these candies is that they are no-bake. In a half hour, you will have delicious treats!
Candy Cane cookies are a Christmas staple because of their iconic candy cane shape.
Some people prefer to make candy cane cookies in a traditional, circular cookie shape, but I prefer the two-toned candy cane twist shape!
To make these candy cane cookies, you will need sugar, butter, milk, vanilla extract, peppermint extract, egg, flour, baking powder, salt, and red and green food coloring.
This recipe is easy to follow, and it takes about half an hour of cook time.
Tip: if you let the dough rest in the refrigerator for four hours, it will produce a better-tasting cookie.
Gingersnaps mix the ginger flavor of gingerbread with the snap of
a traditional cookie.
These are great for Christmas time, but they also work as a dessert throughout the fall season due to their versatility and warm seasonings.
You will need ground ginger, ground cloves, ground cinnamon, vanilla extract, granulated sugar, molasses, brown sugar, unsalted butter, salt, all-purpose flour, and baking soda.
I like this recipe best because it is easy to make, and they last for about two weeks in an air-tight storage container at room temperature.
Stained glass cookies are similar to Linzer cookies in their design. What separates them is the filling.
Linzer cookies use jam or jelly, and stained glass cookies use jolly ranchers!
Ingredients include jolly ranchers, unsalted butter, granulated sugar, salt, eggs, vanilla extract, and all-purpose flour.
Be sure to crush the jolly ranchers to fill the shaped hole instead of using whole jolly ranchers.
I like this recipe because it is customizable. You can make the cookies in any shape you want, and you can use any jolly rancher flavor you prefer!
Holiday desserts are some of the most fun dishes to make because oftentimes, you eat them when you are enjoying good company.
I love making many of these dishes for my gatherings around the holidays, and I hope you will too! Which recipe will you try next?
popular fall desserts to make before the holiday season comes!
1. Choose your favorite recipe.
2. Gather the necessary ingredients. 3. Prep and cook your recipe. 4. Enjoy!