40+ Mouthwatering Holiday Desserts

We hope you saved room! Our delicious dessert recipes are a festive finish to your meal.

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Photographer: Luca Trovato, Writer: Rachel Bertone

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Instead of traditional pumpkin pie, try this rich, luscious cheesecake. The crust is made from gingersnap cookie crumbs. Yum!

Plum Upside Down Pudding Cake

Photo: Tara Sgrol

Plum Upside Down Pudding Cake

Prepare this creamy dessert in a cast iron skillet. The buttermilk batter is the perfect complement to the sweet plums.

Recipe: Plum Upside Down Pudding Cake

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Napoleons

Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Napoleons

Pumpkin desserts don’t just belong in a pie shell. Try puff pastry sheets layered with the key ingredient—pumpkin butter. It’s the perfect finish to a holiday meal.

Recipe: Pumpkin Cream Cheese Napoleons

Bourbon Balls

Photo: Jean Allsopp

Bourbon Balls

Prepare these bite-size delights a few days in advance so that the bold bourbon flavor has time to mellow. With hints of vanilla and pecan, all rolled in powdered sugar, these are just right for a cocktail party.

Recipe: Bourbon Balls

Pecan Tarts

Photo: Howard L. Puckett

Pecan Tarts

Serve classic holiday flavor in a not-so-traditional way with these sweet tarts, which are as delicious as they are fun to nibble on.

Recipe: Pecan Tarts

Chocolate Coca Cola Cake

Photo: Howard L. Puckett

Chocolate Coca Cola Cake

Whip up this Lowcountry favorite for an alternative to your everyday chocolate cake and a tasty addition to a casual holiday celebration.

Recipe: Chocolate Coca Cola Cake

Baked Pear Caramel with Berry Sauce

Photo: Michael Jensen

Baked Pear Caramel with Berry Sauce

The berry sauce and lemon zest add just the right amount of tartness to the caramelized sugar, chopped pears, and vanilla.

Recipe: Baked Pear Caramel with Berry Sauce

Coconut Buttermilk Pie

Photo: Howard L. Puckett

Coconut Buttermilk Pie

Impress your dinner guests with minimal effort. This simple pie includes toasted coconut, a buttermilk batter, and dots of semisweet chocolate morsels—all in a premade crust.

Recipe: Coconut Buttermilk Pie

Tres Leches Boston Cream Cake

Photo: Ray Kachatorian

Tres Leches Boston Cream Cake

Three different milks achieve the rich moistness of this spin on Boston Cream Pie.

Recipe: Tres Leches Boston Cream Cake

Creamy Cheesecake with Espresso Fudge Sauce

Photo: Ralph Anderson

Creamy Cheesecake with Espresso Fudge Sauce

If you love the tangy flavor of cheesecake, try adding a new layer of decadence with rich espresso fudge.

Recipe: Creamy Cheesecake with Espresso Fudge Sauce

Banana Crème Brûlée

Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner

Banana Crème Brûlée

Helpful Hint: Prepare these the night before; they need to chill in the fridge at least eight hours.

Recipe: Banana Crème Brulee

Berry Cobbler

Photo: Ralph Anderson

Berry Cobbler

Nothing says comfort food like warm berries baked in a doughy crust. Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Recipe: Berry Cobbler

 

 

Caribbean Spice Cake

Photo: Jean Allsopp

Caribbean Spice Cake

Channel the islands during even the coldest months with this cake made of butternut squash, tamarind nectar, and a blend of spices. Top with yogurt sauce and serve alongside Mango Compote.

Recipe: Caribbean Spice Cake

Honey’s Carrot Cake

Photo: Howard L. Puckett

Honey’s Carrot Cake

Enjoy the sweetness of carrots, spices, and pecans topped with a cream cheese frosting. Let the cake chill before serving so the frosting will set.

Recipe: Honey’s Carrot Cake

 

Lemon-Buttermilk Tart

Photo: Howard L. Puckett

Lemon-Buttermilk Tart

Slice into this easy-to-prepare tart made of lemon zest, eggs, sugar, buttermilk, and cornmeal baked in a pie shell and sprinkled with nutmeg.

Recipe: Lemon-Buttermilk Tart

Holiday Gingerbread with Molasses Whipped Cream

Photo: Tina Cornett

Holiday Gingerbread with Molasses Whipped Cream

It just isn’t the holidays without the timeless flavor of gingerbread. Give this traditional dessert an extra kick with molasses whipped cream.

Recipe: Holiday Gingerbread with Molasses Whipped Cream

Pumpkin Custard

Photo: David Tsay

Pumpkin Custard

This dessert is incredibly simple and sure to wow friends and family. Just combine ingredients in a blender, pour into custard bowls, bake, and chill.

Recipe: Pumpkin Custard

 

Macadamia Nut Tart

Photo: Ralph Anderson

Macadamia Nut Tart

Sometimes the best dessert has a tropical crunch. Place nuts in a tart shell and pour over a delicious caramel mix.

Recipe: Macadamia Nut Tart

White Chocolate-Key Lime Pie

Photo: Howard L. Puckett

White Chocolate-Key Lime Pie

Tame the tartness of this dessert by introducing rich white chocolate. It’s sure to become a holiday favorite.

Recipe: White Chocolate-Key Lime Pie

Orange Flan

Photo: Ralph Anderson

Orange Flan

Serve up this traditional Mexican dessert with a citrus spin. The trick to achieving the right texture is sweetened condensed milk.

Recipe: Orange Flan

Chocolate-Walnut Brownies

Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner

Chocolate-Walnut Brownies

This dessert classic is packed with nutty flavor and makes the perfect finger food for a party.

Apple Huckleberry Tarts

Photo: Caroline Kopp

Apple Huckleberry Tarts

Combine savory baked apples with the unexpected flavor of huckleberries.

Recipe: Apple Huckleberry Tarts

 

 

Easy Red Velvet Cupcakes

Photo: Jim Bathie

Easy Red Velvet Cupcakes

Try this simple, handheld version of a Southern staple for a sweet surprise.

Recipe: Easy Red Velvet Cupcakes

Graham Cracker Shortbread S’mores

Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner

Graham Cracker Shortbread S’mores

Preparing these tasty treats makes a fun activity for the kids.

Recipe: Graham Cracker Shortbread S’mores

Chocolate Truffle Loaf with Raspberry Sauce

Photo: Sara Gray

Chocolate Truffle Loaf with Raspberry Sauce

This frozen dessert is a chocolate lover’s dream. Drizzle with raspberry sauce—a cinch with frozen berries.

Recipe: Chocolate Truffle Loaf with Raspberry Sauce

Float Away Layer Cake

Photo: Blake Pearson

Float Away Layer Cake

The name says it all—one bite of layers of coconut, mango, and pineapple will transport you to a sunny tropical island.

Recipe: Float Away Layer Cake

Open-Face Apple Pie with Salted Pecan Crumble

Photo: Jennifer Davick , Styling: Linda Hirst

Open-Face Apple Pie with Salted Pecan Crumble

The sweet cinnamon topping get its crunch from pecans and a pinch of Kosher salt.

Recipe: Open-Face Apple Pie with Salted Pecan Crumble

Pineapple Upside-Down Gingerbread Cake

Photo: Jim Franco , Styling: Rebecca Donnelly

Pineapple Upside-Down Gingerbread Cake

Pineapple Upside-Down Gingerbread Cake puts a holiday spin on a traditional cake that will have your guests coming back for more.

Recipe: Pineapple Upside-Down Gingerbread Cake

Chocolate-Earl Grey Pound Cake

Photo: Fran Gealer

Chocolate-Earl Grey Pound Cake

For topping, you can either douse cake in the dark chocolate sauce or provide dipping bowls so guests can control the amount.

Recipe: Chocolate-Earl Grey Pound Cake

Chocolate-Bourbon Cake

Photo: Fran Gealer

Chocolate-Bourbon Cake

This rich chocolate cake gets a sensational finish from a Coffee-Bourbon Syrup. It's so delicious that you can skip the ice cream, and we never skip the ice cream.

Recipe: Chocolate-Bourbon Cake

Spice Cake with Tipsy Vanilla-Rum Sauce

Photo: Jennifer Davick

Spice Cake with Tipsy Vanilla-Rum Sauce

If you're also serving to children, the sauce tastes just as good without the rum.

Recipe: Spice Cake with Tipsy Vanilla-Rum Sauce

Maple-Glazed Pumpkin-Cranberry Coffee Cake

Photo: Jennifer Davick , Styling: Linda Hirst

Maple-Glazed Pumpkin-Cranberry Coffee Cake

This moist, pretty cake features your favorite fall flavors--warm spices, tangy cranberries, and sweet maple syrup.

Recipe: Maple-Glazed Pumpkin-Cranberry Coffee Cake

Vanilla Buttermilk Crumb Cake

Photo: Jennifer Davick , Styling: Lydia DeGaris Pursell

Vanilla Buttermilk Crumb Cake

Cake flour helps to make this crumb cake light and airy.

Recipe: Vanilla Buttermilk Crumb Cake

Coconut Cupcakes with Coconut-Cream Cheese Frosting

Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner , Styling: Fonda Shaia

Coconut Cupcakes with Coconut-Cream Cheese Frosting

Create a memorable dessert packaged in a pint-size liner. These too-cute-to-eat treats get their vibrant flavor from coconut extract.

Recipe: Coconut Cupcakes with Coconut-Cream Cheese Frosting

Cake de Ron (Rum Cake)

Photo: Howard L. Puckett

Cake de Ron (Rum Cake)

For miniature Bundt cakes as pictured, fill each mini Bundt pan two-thirds full, and bake 35 minutes or until a wooden skewer inserted in center comes out clean.

Recipe: Cake de Ron (Rum Cake)

Banana Crumble

Photo: Levi Brown

Banana Crumble

Bitters aren't just for cocktails. Here, they add unique flavor and aroma to a classic dessert.

Recipe: Banana Crumble

Baklava Tartlets

Photo: Jennifer Davick , Styling: Lydia DeGaris-Pursell

Baklava Tartlets

Instead of layering the honey and nut mixture between buttery layers of phyllo dough as you would do when making traditional baklava, here you spoon the mixture into mini phyllo tart shells.  This is a great recipe for entertaining because your guests can pick these up with their fingers and not worry about making a mess.

Recipe: Baklava Tartlets

Coconut Snowballs

Photo: Alan Richardson , Styling: Betty Alfenito

Coconut Snowballs

Substitute ½ teaspoon coconut extract for vanilla and almond extracts.

Recipe: Coconut Snowballs

Chocolate-Espresso Pots de Crème with Benne Seed Coins

Photo: Jean Allsopp

Chocolate-Espresso Pots de Crème with Benne Seed Coins

Benne (an African word for sesame) seed cookies are a traditional Gullah recipe. The creamy chocolate mousse–like dessert makes a good contrast with these crispy treats. For a twist, we added coconut and almonds to give the cookie a sweeter flavor and extra texture.

Recipe: Chocolate-Espresso Pots de Crème with Benne Seed Coins

Cranberry and Pistachio Brownie Bites

Photo: Jennifer Davick , Styling: Lydia DeGaris-Pursell

Cranberry and Pistachio Brownie Bites

These fudgy treats—which you can make ahead and freeze in an airtight container, unsliced, for up to three weeks—are an ideal addition to a cocktail party menu.

Recipe: Cranberry and Pistachio Brownie Bites

Double Chocolate Bread Pudding

Photo: Laurie Black; Styling: Chelsea Fuss 

Double Chocolate Bread Pudding

White chocolate, dark chocolate, French bread, and a Caramel-Coffee Sauce drizzle combine to make one irresistible end to any meal.

Sweet Potato Tart

Photo: Laurie Black; Styling: Chelsea Fuss 

Sweet Potato Tart with Cream Cheese-Pecan Crust

This delicious spin on sweet potato pie packs plenty of holiday flavor thanks to cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger. It can be made ahead to suit your holiday schedule.

Recipe: Sweet Potato Tart with Cream Cheese-Pecan Crust

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