35 Easy Holiday Desserts
The holidays are busy enough, so put some of that stress aside with easy dessert recipes everyone will love. Whether your holiday season calls for gingerbread, cake, brownies, chocolate bark, cookies, or fruity cobbler, we've got a simple, delicious dessert that will fit your occasion.
The Ultimate Unbaked Brownies
These incredible brownies are a lot of things all at once: they're no-bake, vegan, and gluten-free. They're also incredibly delicious, and feature a luxurious layer of chocolate ganache on top.
Easiest Peach Cobbler Ever
Peach cobbler is already easy, but with only three ingredients, this one takes the cake (mix). If these items aren’t already in your pantry or fridge, you can pick everything up at the store for well under $10. The end result is super sweet, but not in a way that makes you cringe, and offers plenty of juicy peaches and cobbler topping to go around. If you prefer to use fresh peaches, just macerate them in sugar so they’ll be nice and juicy before you stick them in the oven. Add cinnamon or sliced almonds to the topping for an extra touch, and don’t forget the scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Pistachio Tahini Cinnamon Rolls
Delicious and not too sweet, the flavors of tahini, pistachios, and cardamom combine beautifully in a fluffy, light roll. These cinnamon rolls take a little extra time, but they’re so worth the effort—especially since most of the work is hands-off. Working with yeast is nothing to be afraid of. If you’re worried about your water being too warm or cool, use a thermometer to keep the temperature in check. These rolls would be fantastic at breakfast or brunch, but they’re also perfect for a snack or treat with a cup of coffee or hot tea.
Butternut-Nut Butter Bars
If zucchini and pumpkin can make a name for themselves in the dessert realm—why not butternut squash? These gluten-free cookie bars pack an impressive level of toasty, fall flavor into every bite thanks to a combination of nutty brown butter, roasted butternut squash, nut butter, and a downright addictive creamy cashew butter-cream cheese icing (seriously, you’re gonna wanna spread this on everything—make a double batch) that’s elevated with a crunchy topper of toasted pepitas and cashews. We opt for rice flour over all-purpose because this gluten-free alternative can better absorb moisture from the squash to yield a delightfully tender—not wet or overtly cakey—texture. While roasting fresh squash contributes a depth of caramelized flavor you really don’t want to miss out on, you can find canned butternut squash in some supermarkets and online if you need a speedier swap; in fact, you could even use canned pumpkin in place of the pureed squash. In short, these brown butter butternut blondies will give every bit of convincing you may need need to believe that golden, sweet butternut squash deserves a spot on the holiday dessert table as much as any pumpkin-based treat.
Million Dollar Pie
Don't be fooled by the name, this Million Dollar Pie is actually quite inexpensive to make—but it tastes like a million bucks. Plus, it couldn't be simpler to toss together and requires no baking. Whip it up for a holiday meal or spur-of-the-moment party.
White Chocolate OREO Cookie Balls
Red Velvet Pudding Shots
Nothing tastes and looks like the holidays quite like a classic red velevet cake. Easier to prepare, these dessert shots capture all of the rich goodness of red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting; it's a boozy treat everyone is sure to love. Make these shots as instructed for a Christmas party or top with edible metallic sprinkles for a festive New Years treat.
Hot Toddy Cake
Incorporating black tea into the batter imbues this incredibly tender, cocktail-inspired cake with moisture and a gentle tea flavor. Brushing the brown-sugary spice cake with a rich whiskey syrup puts the bundt’s cozy factor over the top. And finally, finishing the cake with a zippy fresh lemon and ginger glaze delivers that perfect, sunny touch of brightness needed for a balanced cocktail. It’s all the soothing warmth of a steamy hot toddy, baked into an eye-catching bundt cake—what more could you ask for?
Cinnamon Apple Pull-Apart Bread
For a special breakfast that’s sure to impress, this easy Cinnamon Apple Pull-Apart Bread is a must. Not only is it a looker, but every fluffy crevice and golden fold of this loaf is smattered with irresistibly buttery, apple and cinnamon-brown sugar goodness. Using canned biscuits keeps this pull-apart bread recipe simple enough for bakers of all skill levels; however, it’s what you bring to the convenience dough product that yields a treat that tastes completely homemade. If you find that your melted butter begins to re-solidify slightly after you’ve stirred in the vanilla extract, no worries—just pop it back into the microwave for a few seconds and proceed with brushing the biscuit dough rounds. When arranging the stacks of dough into your pan, keep in mind that the dough will need space to rise and expand a bit as it bakes. A tangy cream cheese drizzle over the warm cinnamon-apple bread is certainly a welcome finishing touch, but it’s not essential if you’d rather dig in immediately.
Salted Caramel Gingerbread Poke Cake with Pumpkin Cream Cheese Frosting
The flavors of gingerbread, salted caramel filling, and pumpkin cream cheese frosting marry to become the ultimate fall and holiday poke cake. This cake is a great snack cake or dessert and it's pretty enough to serve to guests. One taste and you're sure to bring this cake to potlucks all season long.
Dark Chocolate Peppermint Bark
Melt chocolate, spread it out, and add your favorite toppings--that's almost all there is to making bark. We added one important step, though: tempering the chocolate (carefully melting and cooling it to specific temperatures while adding large chunks of unmelted chocolate) so the bark stays shiny and snappy. For other flavor options, try White Chocolate, Pistachio, and Apricot Bark or Nutella Bark.
Hello Dolly Bars
Chocolate Infinity Pie
This pie has it all. It's full of chocolate flavor, has a silky-smooth texture, and it's also gluten-free. Also, to make this pie vegan, be sure to use vegan chocolate chips. With this fantastic pie recipe, everyone gets to indulge.
Spiced Pear Cobbler with Ricotta-Thyme Biscuits
There are all kinds of tricks for light, fluffy biscuits, but adding ricotta might not have been one you've heard of before. The cheese adds a richness to the top of this cobbler, as well as being an excellent way to soak up all that delicious juice released from the pears as they cook. The result is a cobbler with a crispy brown top, a flavorful biscuit middle, and a stew of perfectly spiced brandy-stewed pears at the bottom.
Chai Swirl Cheesecake Bars
These eye-catching dessert bars taste like your favorite chai latte, reimagined in cheesecake form. Featuring flavorful swirls of chai-infused cream cheese filling, each bite offers richly aromatic, spiced flavor set against a cool and creamy vanilla cheesecake backdrop. They’re a simple dessert to make, but undeniably impressive.
Picky eater? No problem. Even if you don't love eggnog, you'll love this easy cookie. Whether you make it for Santa or for yourself (no judgment here), this festive recipe is the perfect way to celebrate the holiday season. Though they're delicious without any bells and whistles, the boozy, four-ingredient Eggnog-Bourbon Buttercream is what truly makes these cookies shine. Want something with a bit more spice? Try these Chai Tea Eggnog Cookies next.
No-Bake Fudgy Toffee Bars
These gooey bars will be your new favorite no-bake cookie. Serve chilled for less mess.
Classic Pumpkin Pie
Refrigerated pie dough makes this classic pumpkin pie recipe simple to prepare. Bake the pie on a baking sheet in the lower third of the oven to encourage a crisp crust.
No-Bake Chocolate Eclair Cake
Make this easy dessert a day before serving, as you'll have to refrigerate it overnight.
For an easy dessert that’s sure to please, look no further than our decadent Butterfinger Pie. Although it takes only 15 minutes to whip up, this candy bar-inspired treat is the peanut butter pie upgrade you won’t soon forget.
Baileys Pecan Pie
Pecan pie’s classic custardy texture gets a boozy punch thanks to the addition of Baileys. The dark brown sugar and dark corn syrup make for a dark custard, but you could certainly use light brown sugar and light corn syrup if you prefer. For the ultimate boost in flavor, brush the finished warm pie with the remaining teaspoon of Baileys. Finish everything up with whipped cream or ice cream, or serve it for post-Thanksgiving breakfast with a cup of coffee.
Ultimate Coconut Cake
"Ultimate" is no exaggeration here—this cake features coconut flour, coconut oil, coconut milk, coconut cream, coconut sugar, coconut extract, and (of course) flaked coconut. Given this cake's incredibly moist layers, intense coconut flavor, and lighter-than-air filling, our test kitchen chefs fought over the leftovers.
Olive Oil Chocolate Chip Cookies
You’ve probably heard of olive oil cake, and if you’ve ever tasted one, you know how much rich character olive oil can bring to a dessert. And that’s certainly the case for these anything-but-average chocolate chip cookies. With their crispy edges and perfectly gooey center, they’re downright dreamy. Fruity olive oil subtly shines, complementing the melt-in-your mouth chocolaty factor in this distinctly delicious twist on the cookie jar classic. Although it’s tempting to go straight from the bowl to the oven, it’s important that the cookie dough is thoroughly chilled before baking. Not only will this step make scooping the cookies easier, but refrigeration solidifies the oil, which keeps the cookies from spreading too fast and becoming too thin. Being that olive oil is the star ingredient in this chocolate chip cookie recipe, be sure to use a good quality oil.
Orange Blossom-Thyme Scones
Light as a feather, buttery scones with a hint of orange and just the perfect touch of thyme. Ideal for breakfast or brunch, these delightful scones would be delicious split and topped with strawberries and whipped cream. You find orange blossom water at Whole Foods and other specialty markets, or order it online.
Sticky Cinnamon Roll Babka Buns
If you're looking for decadence, you're in the right place. Though the dough requires multiple steps, the result is a bun that is sweeter, stickier, and more gooey than any bun you've had before. Our chefs joke about wanting to take a nap after experiencing the richness of this dessert. Saigon cinnamon is recommended for a stronger spicy-sweet flavor, but regular cinnamon can be easily substituted. Serve with coffee at brunch or as an afternoon treat.
Peanut Butter Pie
Treat yourself to a light version of peanut butter pie. It tastes like eating a peanut butter and chocolate candy bar, but lightened ingredients like reduced-fat peanut butter, fat-free condensed milk, and light cream cheese keep fat and calories in check without sacrificing any flavor.
You know how some cocktails are so good they're basically dessert? This mudslide cake takes that even further, making the classic dessert cocktail into an actual dessert. The inclusion of both Irish and coffee liqueurs give the cake depth of flavor, and the chocolate glaze and cherries give a nod to the traditional mudslide garnishes. Eat it with a dollop of whipped cream or ice cream. No straw required.
Sheet Pan Oatmeal Toffee-Orange Cream Bars
These toasty-sweet, sheet pan sandwich cookies are fantastic for potlucks or tailgates—heck, whip a batch up on the weekend and enjoy for after-school snacks or dessert throughout the week. Toffee bits and cinnamon kick up the flavor of a traditional oatmeal cookie, while adding fresh orange zest to the filling adds a special touch or bright flavor to these tasty bars. Be sure the cookie is completely cool (out of the pan) before cutting it, or it will crumble. And to ensure a smooth cut, you’ll want to chill the filled cookie really well before slicing into bars.
Ginger Shortbread Cookies with Lemon-Cream Cheese Frosting
Leap for Spring with 6-ingredient, Ginger Shortbread Cookies. Look for minced crystallized ginger at your local grocery on the bottled spice aisle.
Oreo Cookie Pie
Oreos on Oreos on Oreos. This Oreo pie recipe is super easy and a must-make for any fan of Milk's Favorite Cookie.
Bananas Foster Coffee Cake with Vanilla-Rum Sauce
Substitute extra cream for rum in the sauce, if you prefer.
Best Fudgy Brownies
Meet your new go-to recipe for homemade brownies. These decadent treats are extra rich and fudgy, thanks to a double hit of baking chocolate and bittersweet chocolate morsels. They’re incredibly easy to make, plus you probably have most of the ingredients in your pantry already. And while we’re definitely not above boxed brownie mixes, these homemade brownies would certainly steal the show at any party or get-together.
Fudgy Flourless Chocolate-Pecan Cookies
Believe it or not, these chewy, brownie-like cookies are gluten free. Try not to eat them all in one sitting--our Test Kitchen found them especially hard to resist.