No-Bake Holiday Desserts

When your oven, microwave, and even your neighbor's oven are full, don't worry—there's always room for dessert. Check out a few of our no-bake desserts that call for minimal hands-on time and deliver top-notch flavor.

  • Sweet Chocolate Log
    Randy Mayor; Cindy Manning Barr

    Sweet Chocolate Log

    If you're looking for Christmas dessert recipes that satisfy, savor a super-rich bite of this chocolatey treat. Crushed vanilla wafers, grated orange rind, Marsala wine, and honey add bright punches of flavor. Serve with a cup of espresso and dessert is done.
  • Bourbon Balls
    Photo: Jean Allsopp

    Bourbon Balls

    Need an easy dessert for holiday guests or potluck parties? Spice things up with these simple sweets that come together in no time. For less intense bourbon flavor, prepare at least one week ahead.
  • Uptown Figs
    Buffy Hargett

    Uptown Figs

    Dress up plain figs with almonds and an orange-and-cream-cheese filling for a simple, elegant-looking dessert that's perfect for a crowd. The figs can be made ahead, but let them stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.
  • Key Lime Coconut Snowballs

    Key Lime Coconut Snowballs

    A quick roll in shredded coconut gives these sweet-and-tart treats a snow-dusted presentation. Graham cracker crumbs lend this dessert its crunchy texture. If you can’t find Key limes, use regular limes instead.
  • Banana Cream Pie Smoothie
    Randy Mayor

    Banana Cream Pie Smoothie

    Plan a quintessential quick-and-easy, no-bake dessert: a rich and tasty smoothie. Make a pitcher for a special on-the-go snack during the holiday season, or for a smooth treat on late nights while listening for reindeer on the rooftop.
  • Ambrosia


    Breeze through dessert by picking up a few key ingredients ahead of time. Purchase a pound cake from your local supermarket, then jazz it up with toppings, sauces, and drizzles. This fruit-filled ambrosia, spiked with sweetened coconut and dark rum, makes for a colorful—and tasty—cake topper.
  • Chocolate Parfaits

    Chocolate Parfaits

    You'd never know this decadent chocolate parfait contains fat-free, sugar-free instant pudding, but it's true. The Southern Living Test Kitchen made the creamy dessert with both regular and sugar-free pudding mixes and were pleasantly surprised to find they preferred the taste of sugar-free. Seconds, anyone?
  • Strawberry Zinfandel Trifle
    Valerie Martin

    Strawberry Zinfandel Trifle

    Serve this colorful trifle in a large glass bowl to showcase the combination of sliced strawberries, lemon pound cake, and whipping cream. A splash of dry red Zinfandel gives this strawberry shortcake an upscale punch.
  • Chocolate-Raspberry Tiramisu
    Photography: Randy Mayor; Styling: Melanie J. Clarke

    Chocolate-Raspberry Tiramisu

    Shortcut this classic Italian dessert by using split ladyfingers, a rich mascarpone cheese filling, and a hint of raspberry-flavored liqueur. Dust the plate with cocoa and garnish with mint sprigs for a beautiful presentation. If your sweet tooth needs another hit, drizzle chocolate sauce over the dessert before serving.
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