More Than 50 Essential Holiday Dessert Recipes

Holiday desserts
Cameron Whitman/Stocksy United

Whether you're looking for a traditional pumpkin or pecan pie, or something a little different like a seasonal crème brûlée or Yule log; you're sure to find a recipe that piques your interest on this list. Choose from a wide variety of scrumptious pies, cakes, puddings and fruit cobblers.

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    Snickerdoodle Creme Brulee
    Diana Rattray

    This crème brûlée was inspired by snickerdoodles; everyone's favorite holiday cookies. Cinnamon flavors the creamy custard and caramelized topping.

     

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    pumpkin cake roll
    Diana Rattray

    This pumpkin cake roll is always a hit, and it's easy to see why. The pumpkin cake is filled with a fabulous sweetened cream cheese filling. It's a nice change of pace from a pumpkin layer cake.

    Make an extra cake and freeze individual slices. Perfect when you need a special dessert for unexpected guests. 

     

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    old-fashioned biscuit pudding
    Diana Rattray

    This old-fashioned biscuit pudding is a great example of Southern ingenuity. Day-old biscuits are transformed into an irresistible dessert.

     

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    Pumpkin Sheet Cake with Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting
    Diana Rattray

    The browned butter cream cheese frosting makes this pumpkin sheet cake an instant hit.

     

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    Apple Crisp Pie
    Diana Rattray

    With this pie, you get the best of both worlds - a rich pastry crust and a crumbly, buttery oat topping.  Use a homemade pie crust or refrigerated pastry sheets.

     

     

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    skillet pear upside-down cake
    Diana Rattray

    This impressive pear cake will wow your friends and family! Fresh fall pears and brown sugar make an irresistible topping for the cake.

     

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    Carrot Cupcakes With Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting
    Diana Rattray

    Carrot cake fans will love these cupcakes. They're finished with the traditional cream cheese frosting. 

     

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    pumpkin creme brulee
    Diana Rattray

    This dessert is surprisingly easy to make, and it can be prepared in advance. Make the custard a day in advance. Just before serving, top it with the sugar and torch it to make the signature caramelized crust.

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    Brown Sugar Cheesecake With Caramel Pecan Topping
    Diana Rattray

    If you would like to get away from the typical pumpkin spice and apple desserts, this brown sugar cheesecake is an excellent choice. The cheesecake is baked in a graham cracker and pecan crust, and then it's served with an amazing caramel pecan sauce. Can you say "yum"?

     

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    pumpkin pie
    Matty Jasperson / Getty Images

    Here's an excellent pie for your vegan guests. The pie is easy to make with tofu. It's also lower in fat than the typical pumpkin pie.

     

     

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    moist carrot cake with pineapple and cream cheese frosting
    Diana Rattray

    This carrot cake is finished with a rich and creamy cream cheese frosting. Top the cake off with toasted coconut or pecans.

     

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    Homemade Bourbon Pumpkin Pie
    Diana Rattray

    A splash of Kentucky bourbon adds spirited flavor to this pumpkin pie. Take your pumpkin pie to a new level with this recipe.

     

     

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    Sweet potato pie
    Maren Caruso / Getty Images

    This classic sweet potato pie is a great alternative to the ubiquitous pumpkin pie. Add it to your holiday dessert menu!

     

  • 14 of 57
    apple cranberry cake
    Diana Rattray

    This cake brings two of our favorite seasonal fruits together. It's a wonderful dessert to make for a holiday dinner or festive seasonal party.

     

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    Chocolate Delight Layered Pudding Dessert
    Diana Rattray

    This is another popular dessert, perfect for office parties and holiday menus. The dessert requires only 10 minutes of baking (for the graham cracker crust). The layers are made with pudding, cream cheese, and whipped topping.

     

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    Apple Cranberry Cobbler
    Photo: Diana Rattray

    This cobbler is yet another way to make a fabulous holiday dessert that isn't a pie. The apple cranberry filling makes it the perfect cobbler for seasonal entertaining or for a potluck dinner.

     

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    apple pie dip and chips
    Diana Rattray

    This dip is essentially a deconstructed apple pie. Serve it as a holiday dessert or party snack. 

     

  • 18 of 57
    skillet pear pandowdy
    Diana Rattray

    If you want to make a pie but don't like to make pie crust, make a pandowdy! The pastry mixture is cut into strips and baked atop the pear filling, making it much less fussy than the typical pie crust.

     

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    Hand Held Apple Pies
    Diana Rattray

     Everyone can have their very own apple pie with these hand-held apple pies. 

     

  • 20 of 57
    Classic Pumpkin Pecan Pie
    Diana Rattray

    If you can't decide between a pumpkin pie or pecan pie, this pie is for you! It's a delicious rich pumpkin pie with a pecan pie topping. Who says you can't have your pie and eat it too?

     

     

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    Honey Cake
    Pastry and Food Photography / Getty Images

    This traditional cake is made with honey, spices, and a combination of raisins, currants, dates and nuts.

     

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    Honey Apple Cake
    Anita Schecter

    This moist apple cake is a buttermilk cake with the addition of honey, cinnamon and diced apple.

     

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    Espresso Creme Brulee
    Diana Rattray

    This smooth, creamy espresso crème brûlée is made with that wonderful caramelized sugar crust. A culinary torch is a great tool to have in your kitchen, but it can be broiled as well. Just take care to turn it and watch carefully. Add the sugar to the crème brûlée just before serving time.

     

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    lemon pound cake slice
    Diana Rattray

    This lemon pound cake is flavored with sweet-tart lemon syrup. The syrup is drizzled over the warm baked cake.

     

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    Sweet Potato Cobbler
    Diana Rattray

    If you prefer your sweet potatoes in a dessert, this cobbler is a great choice. Serve the cobbler with a big scoop of ice cream or drizzle some sweet cream over it.

     

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    Apple Mincemeat Tart
    Elaine Lemm

    Use purchased or homemade mincemeat in this British-style apple and mincemeat tart. 

     

  • 27 of 57
    Pumpkin Bread Pudding
    Diana Rattray

    This spiced pumpkin bread pudding is jazzed up with dried cranberries. Serve the bread pudding with a caramel sauce or brown sugar pecan praline sauce.

     

  • 28 of 57
    Easy Apple Cranberry Pie
    Diana Rattray

    Canned cranberry sauce and apple pie filling make this holiday-ready pie incredibly easy. 

     

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    Impossible Sweet Potato Pies
    Diana Rattray

    These single-serve pies are an easy preparation, and they taste great! Top them off with whipped cream and cinnamon-sugar.

     

  • 30 of 57
    Candy Cane Cake
    Elizabeth LaBau

    This fancy moist chocolate cake is filled with candy cane buttercream frosting. Decorate it with small candy canes and chocolate curls. The cake makes a fantastic centerpiece on any dessert table.

     

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    Easy Pumpkin Cheesecake in Pie Crust
    Diana Rattray

    This cheesecake is baked in a pie crust. Garnish servings with whipped cream and warm caramel sauce.

     

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    Yule log
    Clive Bozzard-Hill - Getty Images

    This impressive Yule log is a rolled cake with a chocolate buttercream filling and coating. The roll is made to look like a log with a branch.

     

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    Maple Cheesecake
    Laurent Rouvrais / Getty Images

    This cheesecake is baked in a graham cracker walnut crust. Drizzle some maple syrup over the cheesecake or make a maple cream sauce to serve with it.

     

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    Transparent Pie With Part Brown Sugar
    Diana Rattray

    This is a departure from the standard seasonal fare, but your guests are sure to approve. The transparent pie is similar to a sugar pie or chess pie. Partially bake the crust to avoid a soggy bottom.

     

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    banana pudding
    Diana Rattray

    This Southern favorite is a great choice for a dessert menu. Serve the pudding in a large glass bowl that will show the layers or serve it in individual dishes.

     

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    Chocolate Pie - Mississippi Mud Pie
    Diana Rattray

    This Mississippi mud pie has a moist chocolate filling, and the hard, crusty top resembles the cracked, dry Mississippi River mud. Something the kids are sure to get a kick out of!

     

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  • 37 of 57
    snickerdoodle skillet cookie
    Diana Rattray

    Slice this big cookie into wedges and serve them with caramel sauce and ice cream.

     

  • 38 of 57
    Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Pie
    Diana Rattray

    This cheesecake pie is filled with mini chocolate chips. Drizzle warm chocolate ganache over the pie just before serving.

     

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    Apple Pie Cake
    The Spruce Content Team

    Is it a pie or is it a cake? It's both! Use a cast iron skillet to bake this delicious apple dessert.

     

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    10 Minute No-Bake Pumpkin Pie
    Diana Rattray

    Use a ready-made graham cracker crust to make this delicious pumpkin pie in 10 minutes.

     

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    Three red velvet cupcakes on table
    Mrs_2015 / Getty Images

    These festive red velvet cupcakes are holiday-ready. Add some colorful sprinkles to the cream cheese frosting.

     

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    Sweet Potato Loaf Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
    Diana Rattray

    Top this fabulous cake with the included cream cheese frosting and toasted coconut or chopped pecans.

     

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    Orange Frosting on Butternut Squash Cupcakes
    Diana Rattray

    Bake these easy butternut squash cupcakes for a holiday dessert table or party. Add chopped pecans or make them nut-free.

    Fluffy caramel cream cheese frosting would be a great addition to these cupcakes. 

     

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    Chocolate Loaf Cake With Chocolate Glaze
    Diana Rattray

    When you're planning your holiday dessert menu, don't forget the chocolate lovers! This chocolate loaf cake is moist and delicious. The cake is finished with an easy chocolate glaze, making it wonderfully decadent.

     

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    New Orleans Bread Pudding With Whiskey Sauce
    Diana Rattray

    This bread pudding is a fabulous end to a holiday feast. The whiskey sauce is the perfect topping, but you might offer a butterscotch sauce or caramel sauce.

     

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    plum tart
    Elaine Lemm

    Fresh ripe plums are the star of this gorgeous tart. The tart is filled with an almond cream frangipane and topped with sliced plums.

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    sweet potato cheesecake pie
    Diana Rattray

    This is a rich cream cheese sweet potato pie. Use a homemade or ready-made graham cracker crust for the pie. Serve it with whipped cream and enjoy!

     

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    Pumpkin Pie with Graham Cracker Crumble
    Diana Rattray

    A crunchy graham cracker crumble makes a fabulous topping for this pumpkin pie. Bake the pie with the topping or sprinkle the crumble over individual servings.

     

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  • 49 of 57
    Photo: Diana Rattray

    Everyone will love this yummy layered dessert, and it's so easy to fix. The canned cherry pie filling makes preparation a breeze, and the pretzel crust gives it interesting flavor and crunchy texture.

     

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    Apple Bundt Cake With Caramel Glaze
    Diana Rattray

    This apple cake is loaded with chopped apples and nuts. It's finished with an easy caramel icing, but feel free to top it with a vanilla icing or drizzle servings with caramel sauce.

     

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    pecan pie
    Jason Poole/E+/Getty Images

    Pure maple syrup and brown sugar elevate this amazing pecan pie. It's an excellent choice for your holiday table.

     

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    Butternut Squash Pie
    Diana Rattray

    The filling for this pie is similar to a pumpkin pie filling in texture and flavor. Replace the ubiquitous pumpkin or sweet potato pie with this yummy pie.

     

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    hummingbird cake
    Creative Photo Services/StockFood Creative/Getty

    This is a very popular cake made in three (or four) layers. It's a moist cake with pineapple, chopped pecans and bananas. A cream cheese frosting tops it off. Toast the pecans for extra flavor.

     

  • 54 of 57
    pumpkin pudding
    Diana Rattray

    This pumpkin pudding can easily replace a pumpkin pie. It's lower in fat and carbs, and you don't have to fuss with a crust!

     

  • 55 of 57
    Apple Cranberry Crisp
    Diana Rattray

    Fresh, crisp apples and cranberries team up in this fantastic fruit crisp. It takes an apple crisp to a whole new level. 

     

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    pear crisp
    Diana Rattray

    This scrumptious crisp is an excellent way to use fresh pears; making it a delightful dessert for any occasion.

     

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    Caribbean Christmas Cake - Black Cake
    Cynthia Nelson

    Rum-soaked fruits, cinnamon and Demerara sugar flavor this fabulous cake.