This year, don’t waste time trying to impress everyone by replicating your grandmother’s famous recipe; knock their socks off with something new, like one of these easy holiday dessert recipes.
Do you have a signature holiday dessert? If so, by all means, stick with that this year. You wouldn’t want to disappoint the people who’ve spent 364 days looking forward to it.
But maybe you don’t have a go-to holiday dessert recipe? Maybe you’re the one who always volunteers to bring paper products to the gathering. Or maybe your idea of “homemade” is arranging store-bought cookies on a platter. Maybe you’re banned from the kitchen ever since the fire incident of ‘o9.
Whatever your reason for foregoing holiday baking, it’s time that changed. The easy holiday dessert recipes compiled here are all easy and mouthwatering. Some of them don’t even require you to use the oven. Be careful, though; you just might find a new signature holiday dish.
Easy Holiday Dessert Recipes
This pound cake is a decadent alternative to even the most indulgent pie. The cake itself is moist, buttery, and flecked with melty toffee bits. The whole thing is smothered with the kind of rich, gooey caramel icing that you haunts your dreams in all the best ways.
If you don’t think it was possible for a four-ingredient dessert steal the show at a holiday gathering, give these bars a try. They’re ridiculously easy to put together- no baking!- but your friends and family will go crazy.
With all the heavy fare that’s typical of a holiday meal, consider changing it up with something lighter. This pound cake doesn’t lack on flavor, but it isn’t as rich as some alternatives, either. To fancy things up, you could serve it with a homemade whipped cream, flavored with cinnamon or peppermint.
Most people are suckers for really good cookies. Not a lot of people make them from scratch anymore, so that simple act immediately elevates your dessert contribution over lots of others. Add to that the fact that these cookies are out of this world, and you’re likely to head home with a clean platter.
These brownies are a chocolate-lover’s dream, and chance are there’s a chocolate-lover or two at your holiday gathering. The brownies are rich and fudgy to begin with, and then they’re dotted with chocolate chips that get gooey in the oven. You’ll be the hero of the chocolate-lover set, and you’ll likely win a few converts in the process, too.
You can’t mention “sea salt” without sounding sophisticated; it just isn’t possible. So when someone compliments these cookies and you subtly mention they’re sprinkled with sea salt, you’ll come across as fancy. It won’t matter that you basically took a regular chocolate chip cookie recipe, added peanut butter, and sprinkled the finished product with a little salt.
I know technically the cinnamon roll part of these bars makes them seem more suited for breakfast. And they can be. But let’s be real: you’ve got a box cake mix, kicked up with a few special ingredients, and smothered in cream cheese frosting. Call them Cinnamon Cake Bars if it makes you feel better, but these puppies can definitely pass as dessert.
These bars are magical. Seriously. It doesn’t matter if you have a relative who hates cranberries and white chocolate and oatmeal. These bars exist in some alternate universe where those things don’t matter, and all the person eating them tastes is rainbows and unicorns. Don’t ask how it works; just make them.
You know how you always have grand plans for a Martha Stewart level holiday dessert? And every year you scour Pinterest for the perfect recipe, but you never end up making it? Because you panic or because, by the time the day gets here, you’re just so tired, or because who the hell even knows what pastry flour is, anyway? So you just end up making plain chocolate chip cookies? This is the recipe that will save you. It’s even easier than cookies- no shaping individual balls of dough- but it’s hardly more complicated.
No one doesn’t like sugar cookies. Seriously, it’s, like, a rule. I’m not talking about the crumbly, mealy, undercooked excuses for cookies you get at the grocery store. I’m talking about the homemade version; the kind with the perfectly crisp outside and buttery center, with just the right amount of sweet frosting. No one doesn’t like those.
I know, I know. “Scones? For dessert? Isn’t that kind of a reach?” Maybe, but bear with me. These aren’t your typical double-as-a-doorstop scones. These are made with rich cocoa and chocolate chips and drizzled with the best maple glaze you’ll ever have. They’re lick-your-fingers good. So if these scones aren’t the perfect companion to your post-meal cup of coffee, I don’t know what is.
Resist the urge to phone it in this year with that store-bought lemon meringue pie and make these smooth and creamy lemon dream bars instead. They’re deceptively easy to make, plus they’re surprisingly difficult to mess up. Bonus: they aren’t too rich, which makes them the perfect dessert to cram in your mouth when your nosy aunt corners you to inquire about what you’re doing with your life.
These cookies are unexpected morsels of goodness. The cookie is chocolate but not too rich, and the icing is decadent enough to make up for them. This is a perfect recipe for making the night before so you can sit back and relax the day of.
Crack(er) candy- named because it’s that addicting- is one of those weird combinations of ingredients that shouldn’t work. But is so does. You begin by making an easy two-ingredient caramel and pouring it over a baking sheet lined with saltines. You bake it, top it with chocolate chips, and put it back in the oven long enough for the chips to melt. Spread them around, break it into pieces, and watch it get devoured.
Okay, I know mug brownies seem like a stretch, but hear me out. How fun would it be to make these for everyone, and bring along an assortment of delicious mix-ins? You could chop up Oreos, candy bars, nuts. It would be like a sundae bar, but with a fresh-baked brownie. Just don’t forget the ice cream!