20 Festive Holiday Dessert Recipes • Insteading


If you’re in search of some holiday dessert recipes for the festive and chilly season, you’ve come to the right place.

From traditional classics, classics with a twist, and maybe some things you’ve not thought of, we’ve put together a list of recipes that are sure to be family favorites in no time.

Old-Fashioned Gingerbread Cake

This fragrant and moist cake is an oldie and a goodie. If you like your cake a little extra gingery, double up on the spices.

Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars

Photo Courtesy of Sally’s Baking Addiction

Imagine, shortbread crust topped with apple pie filling and finished off with a crunchy streusel topping. This recipe has it all! Gooey salted caramel contrasts perfectly with buttery shortbread and tender apple filling. Consider this dessert a quick and easy alternative to a full apple pie.

Related Post: 9 Tasty Apple Varieties You Should Try

Make a basic shortbread crust using butter, sugar, pure vanilla extract, and salt. The pie filling is apples, flour, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. To make the streusel, you’ll need old-fashioned oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, flour, butter, and homemade salted caramel.

Bourbon Pecan Pie

Photo Courtesy of Once Upon A Chef

This classic pie with a bourbon twist is incredible. Don’t worry. The alcohol evaporates — meaning you won’t get intoxicated — and you might fall in love with it. As far as holiday dessert recipes go, this is a classic. Eggs, sugar, light and dark corn syrup, butter, bourbon whiskey, vanilla extract, salt, pecans, and a pie shell.

Eggnog Snickerdoodle Cookies

Photo Courtesy of The Chunky Chef

What’s a more classic holiday cookie than a snickerdoodle? Especially when there’s eggnog added to the mix? These chewy, cinnamon and sugar cookies are incredible served warm with a small scoop of ice cream or all on their own. As far as holiday dessert recipes go, these check all the boxes. If you want to make these cinnamon sugar cookies, you’ll need eggnog and cinnamon and sugar, of course, as well as some other common cookie ingredients.

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

Photo Courtesy of Gimme Some Oven

I’ve always loved crinkle cookies and their assortment of flavors. This crinkly, cracked, and delicious cookie will require unsweetened cocoa powder, sugar, oil, eggs, vanilla extract, flour, baking powder, salt, and confectioners sugar. The trick to getting this cookie to crinkle is the confectioner’s sugar coating. It draws the moisture from the top which dries it before the rest of the cookie is done.

Peanut Brittle

This old-time favorite was added to many treat tins when I was a kid. My mom would make all sorts of homemade treats and often brittle was in the mix. When it comes to holiday dessert recipes, peanut brittle is one of the best for wrapping up and gifting. Sugar, light corn syrup, water, butter, Spanish peanuts, vanilla, salt, and baking soda are all you need to make this delicious gift.

Vegan Chocolate Cake

Photo Courtesy of Nora Eats

This quick and easy cake is incredibly delicious and looks as good as it tastes. Apple cider vinegar is one of the ingredients but don’t fear, you wouldn’t know it by the taste. Super moist and full of chocolate, this recipe is a good pick for the whole family — vegan or not.

10-Minute Tiramisu

Photo Courtesy of Bigger Bolder Baking

Less hassle with the same rich taste and texture, this 10-minute tiramisu recipe feeds a crowd and is so much easier to make than the traditional recipe. You’ll need heavy whipping cream, mascarpone cheese, sugar, vanilla extract, Amaretto liqueur or brandy, espresso, ladyfingers, and a light dusting of cocoa powder to finish it off.

Classic Sugar Cookies

Photo Courtesy of Sugar Spun Run

Now, what’s a list of holiday dessert recipes without a mention of good old-fashioned sugar cookie? This timeless classic is baked, decorated, and enjoyed every year. It may be old school and simple, but it’s loveable. The best part about sugar cookies is they’re more than just a Christmas dessert. They’re a fun and creative project and tradition for people of all ages.

Vegan Apple Pie

Nothing about this apple pie lets you know it’s vegan other than the name. The crust is similar to that of a traditional apple pie crust, but the butter is substituted with a plant-based alternative.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Photo Courtesy of Joy Food Sunshine

Chocolate chip cookies are extremely popular regardless of the holidays. All you need is butter, white sugar, brown sugar, unbleached flour, sea salt, and chocolate chips or chunks, or both. As far as the texture goes, these cookies check all the boxes: crispy and chewy, a little doughy, and perfectly buttery.

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Photo Courtesy of NAtasha’s Kitchen

When you can’t decide whether you want to make a pumpkin pie or a cheesecake, this is a happy medium. Follow the recipe above, or do what I’ve done before and make one filling for a pumpkin pie, one for a cheesecake, blend the batters together, and bake as you would a pumpkin pie. So good!

Pumpkin Pie

Or, if you want to go the more traditional pumpkin pie route, here’s a classic. The only detail you’ll need to consider is whether you use canned pumpkin puree or the scratch-made stuff.

Peppermint Brownies

Photo Courtesy of Sweet C Designs

Candy canes are in abundance starting in November so why not take advantage of the season and make some festive peppermint brownies? All you need is 6 large candy canes or 12 mini candy canes, eggs, sugar, brown sugar, butter, cocoa powder, peppermint extract, vanilla extract, and flour.

Bread Pudding

Photo Courtesy of Live Well Bake Often

Bread pudding has always been one of my favorites. My grandfather would make it for the winter holidays, so naturally, it’s special to me and had to be included on this list of holiday dessert recipes.

Related Post: How To Make Sourdough

My grandpa liked to use Italian bread, so feel free to try that if you have it on hand. Challah bread, eggs, sugar, milk, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg are what you’ll need on hand for this recipe.

Peanut Butter Lasagna Dessert

Photo Courtesy of Spend with Pennies

Flour, butter, cashews, cream cheese, creamy peanut butter, confectioners sugar, whipped topping, milk chocolate pudding, vanilla pudding, milk, and a chocolate candy bar or chunks. This is a rich and creamy dessert.

Chocolate Babka

chocolate babka
Photo Courtesy of Pretty Simple sweet

This is a traditional Hanukkah treat and boy is it tasty. Made up of a rich brioche dough and a sweet and flavorful chocolate filling, this bread has a light and airy texture that’s delicious topped with a little bit of melted butter.

Hanukkah Sufganiyot (Jelly Donuts)

Photo Courtesy of Once Upon a Chef

Another traditional Hanukkah treat with a story, Sufganiyot is a holiday dessert recipe that’s a cross between a jelly donut and a beignet. They’re delicious served warm with a sprinkling of powdered sugar and a tall glass of milk.

Hot Cocoa Brownie Mug

Photo Courtesy of Celebrating Sweets

While I don’t necessarily care for microwaved foods, other people swear by this super simple, quick and easy treat. Hot cocoa mix, flour, milk, butter, vanilla extract, and a little ice cream to go with it. You can top it with some crushed peppermint candy canes if you want add a festive flair. It is definitely the most foolproof option on this list of holiday dessert recipes.

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

Here’s another vegan recipe that you would never know was vegan if someone didn’t tell you.

What are some of your favorite holiday dessert recipes? Drop us a line and let us know what you remember having when you were growing up. For now, enjoy our favorite holiday dessert recipes.



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