83 Holiday Desserts That Are Festive *and* Downright Delicious

editor@purewow.com (PureWow)
·10 min read

It’s the most wonderful time of the year: holiday baking season. And we’re kicking it off with Christmas cookies, festive pies and elegant cakes, just to name a few. Whether you’re a party guest or entertaining the family this year, keep these 83 festive holiday desserts—like caramel-stuffed gingerbread crinkle cookies and candy cane ice cream sandwiches—in your back pocket. They’re easy, delicious and chock-full of cheer.

RELATED: 43 Mini Thanksgiving Desserts That Are (Almost) Too Cute to Eat

1. The Easiest Sugar Cookie Recipe Ever

Rolling them out is a breeze. Let the kids take care of the tough part, aka decorating.

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2. Giant Cinnamon Roll

Psst: Store-bought crescent roll dough is the secret ingredient.

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3. Caramel-Stuffed Gingerbread Crinkle Cookies

We have nothing against old-school gingerbread, but we’re swooning over the gooey, molten center in these sweets.

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4. Matcha-Cranberry Linzer Cookies

You’re about to blow minds at the annual cookie swap.

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5. Christmas Crack

You can never have too many 10-minute recipes in your arsenal.

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6. No-Bake Sugar Cookie Truffles

Aka the best way to use up leftover sugar cookies.

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7. No-Bake Mini Mason Jar Spiced Cheesecakes

Red currant jelly and homemade whipped cream make these little guys super sophisticated.

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8. Peppermint Devil’s Food Hi-Hat Cupcakes

Sorry, buttercream. You’ve been dethroned by mint-marshmallow frosting.

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9. Champagne Doughnuts

More festive than popping a bottle…but don’t let that stop you from indulging in both.

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10. Easy Cranberry-Pecan Sandwich Cookies

Cookie swap? Holiday party? Aunt Jackie’s house? Check, check and check.

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11. Chocolate Peppermint Bundt Cake

This beauty by Coterie member Maria Lichty is beyond impressive.

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12. Baked Pears with Maple Syrup and Almond Crumble

A classic recipe that proves that sometimes, less is more.

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13. Mini Caramel Pecan Pies with Cinnamon Roll Pie Crust

Go ahead, have seconds (and thirds).

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14. Sticky Toffee Honeycomb Cake

Think of it as sticky toffee pudding’s fancy, gooey cousin.

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15. Adaptogen Chocolate Bark

Chocolate bark just got a goop-worthy glow up. (The bee pollen is purported to boost your immune system, BTW.)

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16. Cinnamon Roll Cake

You can serve it for dessert, but it’d look damn good as part of your Christmas brunch spread.

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17. Chocolate-Peppermint Icebox Cookies

Make the dough ahead of time and quickly bake the cookies before company arrives.

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18. Gluten-Free Flourless Cocoa Cookies

Even better news? They’re only 123 calories per cookie.

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19. Mini Citrus Monkey Bread

Face it: Tiny desserts are just a billion times cuter and more fun than their full-sized predecessors.

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20. Chocolate Dipped Almond Cookies

It’s not the holidays without these beauties from Coterie member Heidi Larsen.

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21. Cinnamon Sheet Cake with Cider Frosting

All our favorite cold-weather favorites in one unexpected dessert.

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22. Hedgehog Cookies

Hey, Coterie member Stefani Pollack: These are genius. Choose between tiny Rudolphs with pretzel antlers and gummy-topped Santas.

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23. Mini Chocolate Snowball Cakes

Confession: Sometimes we get a tad (read: very) nostalgic for a Hostess snack cake.

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24. Butterscotch Icebox Cookies

They’re only seven ingredients away…

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25. Chocolate Bread Pudding Cake

Elevate a classic by using a springform pan, lots of cocoa and a drizzle of homemade icing.

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26. Homemade Candy Cane Ice Cream Sandwiches

It’s never too cold for us to scarf down one of these gems by Coterie member Jane Ko.

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27. Easy Nutella Mousse

Admit it, you have a jar stashed (more like hidden) in your pantry.

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28. Eggnog Cookies

They’re divinely soft and chewy under the eggnog-cream cheese frosting.

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29. Salted Gingersnap Mallomars

The original has stood the test of time for a reason.

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30. Hazelnut and Nutmeg Brown Butter Ganache Cake

Not feeling dairy in the ganache? Substitute coconut cream for heavy cream.

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31. Almond Butter Shortbread Cookies

Looks like Coterie member Jess Larson put us on her nice list.

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32. Matcha Black Sesame Nougat Chews

Well, well, well. Aren’t you fancy?

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33. Gingerbread Whoopie Pies

Where have you been all our life?

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34. Maple-Pecan Icebox Cookies

Roll the dough into a log, let it chill, then slice and bake to your heart’s content.

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35. Mint Matcha Pomegranate Pavlova

Talk about taking a color scheme and running with it.

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36. Vanilla Bean Icebox Cookies

Way classier than a snowman cutout, but just as simple.

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37. Brownie Pecan Pie

This decadent mashup is nearly impossible to mess up.

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38. Chocolate Peanut Butter Stacks

We love a no-bake beauty. Especially when it’s covered in holiday sprinkles.

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39. Easy Salted Oat Fudge

It’s practically healthy, right?

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40. Pistachio Icebox Cookies

Toast the pistachios to make them as nutty and fragrant as possible.

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41. Biscoff Pie

We’re pretty positive your friends will polish this off in 15 minutes flat.

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42. Black Forest Cake

We’ll take this over a cardboard Yule log any day.

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43. Minty Chocolate Holiday Cake Bites

Go ahead, have a second. And a third. And a fourth…

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44. Vegan Gluten-Free Gingerbread Men

Because no one should have to skip dessert, especially on Christmas.

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45. Champagne Caramel Krispie Treats

IDs, please. We’re making these boozy cuties for New Year’s Eve, too.

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46. Pecan Pie Cookies with Butter Pecan Frosting

If your friends want to believe you ordered them from a posh bakery in town, so be it. But feel free to brag and set them straight.

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47. Chestnut Cranberry Blondies

They’re gluten-free, thanks to chestnut flour.

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48. Cranberry Chai Spice Thumbprint Cookies

Bursting with blood oranges, cranberries and cinnamon.

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49. Bailey’s Chocolate Bundt Cake

In this case, instant chocolate pudding mix is your friend.

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50. Ombré Citrus Upside-Down Cake

Be prepared to see your masterpiece on all your guests’ Instagram stories.

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51. Caramel Coconut Macaroons

If their toasty, burnt sugar flavor isn’t enough to convince you, maybe it’ll help to know that you can make them in less time than it takes to binge an episode of The Queen’s Gambit.

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52. Eggnog Panna Cotta

You’re about to turn at least one eggnog hater at the party into a believer.

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53. Upside-Down Banana-Caramel Bread

We see your banana bread and raise you a rich, luxurious caramel sauce.

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54. Caramel-Chocolate Macadamia Tart

From the easy press-in crust to the simple caramel custard, it’s basically a giant, high-end candy bar.

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55. Hot Chocolate Bombs

Just drop one in a mug, pour hot milk over it and boom: You’ve got hot cocoa with all the fixings.

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56. Ginger Cherry Pie

The butter crust has allllll the gingerbread spices.

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57. Eggnog Snickerdoodles

Psst: You’ll find rum extract right by the vanilla at the supermarket.

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58. Cinnamon-Mascarpone Pudding

Make it on Christmas Eve and store it in the fridge until it’s time for dessert.

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59. Southern Egg Pie

Creamy egg custard + flaky pie crust = silky, buttery bliss.

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60. Gingerbread Lattice Cookies

It’s as simple as weaving strips of dough into a lattice and cutting out the cookies.

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61. Cardamom Cream-Filled Bundt Cake

FYI, the cake’s warm spices pair beautifully with mulled apple cider.

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62. Baileys Chocolate Truffles

Careful: Before you know it, you’ll have eaten a whole dozen by yourself.

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63. Chocolate-Peppermint Linzer Cookies

Hard peppermint candies turn the white chocolate ganache pink on their own, but feel free to add a drop of food dye to make it even more vibrant.

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64. Pecan Brittle Bark Cookies

Meet chocolate chip cookies’ over-the-top cousins.

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65. Sugar Cookie Chocolate Crème Brûlée

We’d ask Santa for a kitchen torch if we were you…

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66. Eggnog Custard with Raspberry Jam

We know exactly what to do with that leftover carton of nog in the fridge.

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67. Peppermint Patties

Need a last-minute gift for the host? A tin of homemade candy should do the trick.

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68. Bourbon Pecan Sticky Buns

The pecans are soaked in brown sugar-bourbon marinade before being added to the dough.

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69. Brown Sugar Cookies with Dulce de Leche

Want to stack them in a tin? Let the cookies sit out overnight so the dulce de leche loses its stickiness.

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70. Rocky Road Cookies

Fudgy cookies full of nuts and marshmallows in 30 minutes? Call it a Christmas miracle.

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71. Caramelized Butternut Squash Upside-Down Cake

Yup, this picturesque number is basically destined for your Thanksgiving table.

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72. Gingerbread Bundt Cake

Be sure to whisk the dry ingredients separately before adding them to the wet—it’ll help you avoid pockets of unmixed flour and spices in the batter.

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73. Slow-Cooker Salted-Caramel Rice Pudding

Meet the underdog of the dessert world. It’s comforting, rich and deserving of time in the limelight.

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74. Jammy Shortbread Bars

Crumbled freeze-dried raspberries make for such a pretty finishing touch.

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75. Sweet Potato Pecan Pie

We haven’t seen a mashup this amazing since buffalo chicken mac and cheese.

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76. Orange and Chocolate Brioche Tarts

Fall in love with citrus season all over again.

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77. Chai Crème Brûlée

The best desserts are caffeinated.

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78. Caramelized Pear Tartlets

Store-bought pie crust (and six other ingredients) saves the day.

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79. Pear Mug Pie

Come for the caramelized pears, stay for the sugared pie crust stars.

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80. Peppermint Bark Crepe Cake

Complete with peppermint whipped cream and crushed candy canes.

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RELATED: 45 Christmas Dessert Recipes That Can Get Anyone in the Holiday Spirit

81. GINGERBREAD SWIRL FUDGE

This one-pan holiday wonder is even better than the classic cookie.

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82. MINI NO-BAKE GINGERSNAP ICEBOX CAKES

A finishing drizzle of caramel sauce is optional, but highly encouraged.

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83. CARROT CAKE DOUGHNUTS WITH CREAM CHEESE GLAZE

Make these guys for dessert…or breakfast. They’ve got carrots so they’re, uh, healthy.

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