46 Desserts from Around the World

Take a trip with desserts from around the world, like German apple cake, Spanish flan, Thai sticky rice, Argentinian alfajores and much more.

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Germany: Oma’s Apfelkuchen

My husband’s German family calls this Oma’s apfelkuchen, which translates to “Grandma’s apple cake.” They’ve been sharing the recipe for more than 150 years. I use Granny Smith apples, but any variety works. —Amy Kirchen, Loveland, Ohio

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Lebanon: Rose Water Rice Pudding

Rose water rice pudding is a popular Middle Eastern treat. Pomegranate seeds and chopped pistachios add a simple yet elegant touch to this floral Lebanese specialty. —Michael & Mathil Chebat, Layla’s Lebanese Restaurant, Lake Ridge, Virginia
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Mexico: Classic Tres Leches Cake

Tres leches means "three milks." This cake gets its name because it uses three kinds of milk—evaporated, condensed and cream. This tres leches cake's light and airy texture has made it a classic in Mexican kitchens for generations. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Cyprus: Melomakarona

Growing up in Cyprus, we would see this melomakarona cookie everywhere during the holidays. Every year my mother, Thelma, would make plate after plate of these all Christmas long. It’s just not the holidays without them. —Paris Paraskeva, San Francisco, California
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India: Kulfi

I grew up near Little India in California, and I loved the desserts from Indian sweets shops. One of them sold kulfi, a spiced and nutty frozen custard in cone molds. Here I use a shortcut method to make kulfi quickly and without any special equipment. The whole milk can be replaced with mango pulp for mango kulfi. —Justine Kmiecik, Crestview, Florida
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New Zealand: Custard Square

With layers of luscious vanilla custard and flaky puff pastry, custard square is a bakery classic in New Zealand. It’s popular in Australia, too, where it’s known as “vanilla slice.” —Lauren Habermehl, Pewaukee, Wisconsin

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United Kingdom: Bread Pudding with Nutmeg

I always make this bread pudding recipe for my dad on his birthday and on holidays. He says it tastes exactly like the bread pudding with nutmeg he enjoyed as a child. —Donna Powell, Montgomery City, Missouri
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Spain: Creamy Caramel Flan

A small slice of this impressively rich, creamy, caramel flan dessert goes a long way. What a delightful finish for a special meal or holiday celebration. —Pat Forete, Miami, Florida
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France: Beignets

I’ve always loved beignets, but never thought I could make them myself. Turns out they’re easy! Sometimes I’ll even make a quick berry whipped cream and pipe it inside for a fun surprise. —Kathi Hemmer, Grand Junction, Colorado
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Poland: Khrustyky

This crispy, dainty pastry dusted with confectioners’ sugar has an eggy flavor similar to cream puffs. I honor my Ukrainian heritage by serving khrustyky on Christmas Eve as part of the traditional feast of 12 dishes. Each dish symbolizes one of the apostles. —Carol Funk, Richard, Saskatchewan
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Argentina: Chocolate Alfajores

Argentina: Chocolate Alfajores

Chocolate alfajores, also known as alfajores de chocolate, are a popular South American dessert made of slightly sweetened shortbread cookies filled with a rich and creamy milk caramel called dulce de leche. It’s best to chill the dough at least 2 hours so the cookies hold when baking. —Kimberly Scott, Kosciusko, Mississippi

Learn how to make this traditional alfajores recipe!

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Brazil: Pacoca

Pacoca (Brazilian peanut candy) is an easy treat that has only five ingredients! It’s a popular sweet in Brazil, and after you try it, I’m sure you’ll love it, too. —Francine Lizotte, Surrey, British Columbia
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Italy: Tangerine Chocolate Semifreddo

When I wanted a new frozen treat for my family, I came up with this citrusy, chocolaty version of classic Italian semifreddo. For an elegant presentation on special occasions, top each serving with whipped cream, a tangerine section and baking cocoa. —Claire Cruce, Atlanta, Georgia
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United Kingdom: Old English Trifle

Loaded with cake cubes and fruit, an old English trifle is always welcome at a holiday dinner. The creamy, homemade custard is well worth the effort. —Nancy O’Connor, Glen Ridge, New Jersey
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China: Almond Cookies

Each Christmas, my mother baked these Chinese almond cookies and stored them in clean coffee cans. When she passed away, I started giving our kids a can of these sentimental sweets. (Traditional Chinese almond cookies typically use lard, but butter is a great substitute if you don’t have lard on hand.) —Jane Garing, Talladega, Alabama

Try this tanghulu recipe next!

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Sweden: Budapest Roll

If you’re a fan of Yule logs and pumpkin rolls, taste my Swedish specialty made from hazelnut meringue. People are in awe every time I bring it somewhere. —Catherine Walbridge, Boise, Idaho
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Germany: Bienenstich

This bee sting cake (aka bienenstich) may look daunting, but it’s well worth the effort. Take each step at a time, and you’ll be surprised how easy it is to make. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Scotland: Grandma's Shortbread

My Scottish grandmother was renowned for her baking, and one of the highlights whenever we visited my grandparents was her bringing out the baking tin. Her shortbread cookies were my favorite, and now, whenever I make them, I remember her. This is not a thin, crispy dessert shortbread; it’s a deep bar that is best served with a cup of tea. —Jane Kelly, Wayland, Massachusetts
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Israel: Malabi with Pomegranate Syrup

Malabi is a very famous, easy sweet milk pudding from Israel. For this recipe I learned from a friend, you can use rose syrup instead of pomegranate syrup. —Kanwaljeet Chhabra, Eden Prairie, Minnesota
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Turkey: Baklava

Many ethnic festivals are held in my city throughout the year. One in May is the Greek Hellenic Festival. My family enjoys baklava—a traditional walnut strudel. The recipe uses phyllo dough, which is not difficult to work with. Just have your ingredients ready to go and follow the directions on the package. The results are scrumptious and well worth the effort. —Judy Losecco, Buffalo, New York
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Mexico: Arroz Con Leche

Sweet and simple, this creamy arroz con leche recipe is real comfort food in any language. You’ll love the warm raisin and cinnamon flavors. It’s great served cold, too. —Marina Castle Kelley, Canyon Country, California
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Austria: Raspberry Linzer Cookies

These wonderful cookies require a bit of extra effort to make and assemble, but the delight on the faces of family and friends when I serve them makes it all worthwhile. —Schelby Thompson, Camden Wyoming, Delaware
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Indonesia: Kolak Pisang

When I ate bananas Foster the first time, it reminded me of this dish. The concept is the same—sliced bananas with a very sweet sauce. However, the bananas used are plantain bananas, and instead of rum to enhance the sauce, this dessert uses creamy coconut milk. —Loanne Chiu, Fort Worth, Texas
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Mexico: Chocolate Wedding Cakes

These spiced balls are a yummy twist on a traditional favorite. Sometimes I add mini chocolate chips to the dough and, after baking, dip the cooled cookies in melted almond bark. —Joanne Valkema, Freeport, Illinois
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Croatia: Poteca Nut Roll

My mother-in-law brought this recipe from Yugoslavia in the early 1900’s. It was a tradition in her family to serve it for holidays and special occasions. Now it’s my tradition. Family members often help roll our the dough and add the filling. —Mrs. Anthony Setta, Saegertown, Pennsylvania
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United Kingdom: Rhubarb Fool with Strawberries

A fool is a classic British and Irish dessert that’s usually made with whipped cream and cooked fruit. Try my quick version with rhubarb and berries. —Cheryl Miller, Fort Collins, Colorado
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Italy: Almond Biscotti

I’ve learned to bake a double batch of this crisp almond biscotti recipe, because one batch goes too fast! —H. Michaelson, St. Charles, Illinois
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Christmas Pavlova

Australia: Pavlova

Crisp and crunchy on the outside, soft and almost marshmallowy on the inside, this elegant pavlova gets dressed up for the holidays. —James Schend Taste of Home Deputy Editor
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Italy: Anise Pizzelle

These lovely, golden brown anise pizzelle cookies have a crisp texture and delicate anise flavor. I create them using a pizzelle iron. —Barbara Colucci, Rockledge, Florida
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United Kingdom: Plum Pudding

In A Christmas Carol, everyone claps for plum pudding. Our family has made this pudding our own tradition, and it really is something to clap for. —Ruthanne Karel, Hudsonville, Michigan
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Denmark: Flaky Danish Braids

Though this recipe takes a bit of time to make, it's completely worth it. The braids are a special breakfast treat on occasions like Easter or a family birthday. People will take seconds and thirds! —Debbie Ewald, Oak Grove, Missouri
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Thailand: Sticky Rice with Mango-Coconut Sauce

As a nice contrast to traditional Christmastime desserts, sweet sticky rice is a refreshing Thai treat made even better with a mango-coconut sauce.—Monnie Norasing, Mansfield, Texas
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United Kingdom: Mince Pies

Most people use canned mincemeat, but this is the old-fashioned way to make a mince pie. It is a sweet holiday dish that will satisfy you and your loved ones. —Diane Selich, Vassar, Michigan
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Sweden: Butter Cookies

It’s impossible to eat just one of these Swedish cookies. Naturally, they’re a favorite with my Swedish husband and children—but anyone with a sweet tooth will appreciate this treat. My recipe is “well-traveled” among our friends and neighbors. —Sue Soderland, Elgin, Illinois
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Hungary: Nut Rolls

It isn’t officially the holidays until I’ve made this treasured nut roll recipe from my husband’s grandmother. The apple-walnut filling is moist, subtly sweet and flavorful. —Donna Bardocz, Howell, Michigan

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Canada: Calgary Nanaimo Bars

This version of Nanaimo bars may claim roots in Alberta, but the original was said to be dreamed up in a British Columbia kitchen. They’re three delicious layers of Canadian goodness. —Carol Hillier, Calgary, Alberta
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Norway: Whipped Cream Krumkake

Our hometown has a rich Norwegian culture. That heritage is evident during our annual Nordic Fest, where this classic krumkake recipe is king. Here’s your introduction to the timeless treat. —Imelda Nesteby, Decorah, Iowa
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Germany: Chocolate Lebkuchen

Having lived in Germany, I try to keep my German cooking as authentic as possible. This lovely lebkuchen recipe is a culinary Christmas custom. —Cathy Lemmon, Quinlan, Texas
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Philippines: Buttery Coconut Bars

My coconut bars are an American version of a Filipino coconut cake called bibingka. These are a crispier, sweeter take on the Christmas tradition I grew up with. —Denise Nyland, Panama City, Florida
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Malawi: Sweet Potato Spice Cookies

Shredded sweet potatoes, butterscotch chips, pecans, coconut and spices are creatively combined in a one-of-a-kind cookie that always brings rave reviews. —Ruth Shaffer, Elizabethville, Pennsylvania
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Italy: Tiramisu

Tiramisu is Italian for “pick-me-up,” and this one is definitely true to its name! My version of the classic Tuscan trifle has both coffee and espresso for layers of java flavor. —Lauren Knoelke, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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Jamaica: Glazed Spice Rum Pound Cakes

My recipe makes two loaf-sized treats, perfect for sharing. The spiced rum flavor really comes through in both the cake and the glaze. —Christine Russell, Littleton, New Hampshire

Don’t miss our full list of Jamaican desserts!

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Greece: Kourambiethes

My daughter-in-law gave me this recipe. Her grandmother was born in Greece and bakes these cookies for special occasions, including Christmas.—Carol Dale, Greenville, Texas
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Paraguay: Dulce de Leche Cheesecake

I'm originally from Paraguay, and dulce de leche reminds me of where I came from. If you can't find it at your grocery store, try caramel ice cream topping instead. It tastes different, but this decadent dessert will still be amazing. —Sonia Lipham, Ranburne, Alabama
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Germany: Raspberry Custard Kuchen

Back where I grew up in Wisconsin, people have been baking this German treat for generations. We love it for breakfast or as a special dessert. It's no fuss to fix and impressive to serve. —Virginia Arndt, Sequim, Washington
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Daifuku Mochi Recipe japanese dessertsCourtesy Wandercooks

Japan: Daifuku Mochi

When you want dessert fast, this five-minute daifuku mochi recipe is your go-to, courtesy of bloggers Laura and Sarah Turner of Wandercooks. Filled with red bean paste (called anko in Japan), these stuffed mochi balls are best eaten fresh.

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Lisa Kaminski
Lisa is an editor at Taste of Home where she gets to embrace her passion for baking. She pours this love of all things sweet (and sometimes savory) into Bakeable, Taste of Home's baking club. Lisa is also dedicated to finding and testing the best ingredients, kitchen gear and home products for our Test Kitchen-Preferred program. At home, you'll find her working on embroidery and other crafts.