70 Best Easy Christmas Desserts for a Crowd

Updated: Feb. 13, 2024

Cookies, cakes, fudge squares, drinks and more—here are the Christmas desserts that will entice all your guests toward the sweets table.

The holidays are a time for togetherness, laughter and seasonal treats people wait all year for. But after creating a stunning centerpiece, handcrafting seasonal cocktails and serving the ultimate Christmas feast, the last thing you want to think about is what’s for dessert. This year, make some easy Christmas desserts that will feed the whole crew. That way, you can spend less time in the kitchen and more time relaxing—and eating Christmas cookies and sipping eggnog—with your family.
Stuck with a lot of leftover candy cane? Worry not! we got you covered with these candy cane recipes.

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Hot Chocolate Cookies

These cheery cookies are a guaranteed crowd-pleaser. For best results, use instant cocoa mix, which you can find in the coffee and tea aisle of the grocery store.
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Holiday Rum Balls

While the recipe suggests rolling these rum balls in additional confectioners’ sugar, mix things up with cocoa powder, shredded coconut, crushed nuts or chocolate sprinkles. Store the balls in an airtight container for up to a few weeks in the refrigerator.
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Festive Cranberry Cake

This holiday showstopper serves 16 guests. For maximum wow factor, adorn the cake with pretty sugared cranberries and rosemary after baking.
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Peppermint Puff Pastry Sticks

These impressive-looking sweets are made with frozen puff pastry, so they’re ready in a flash with no mixing or rolling. Dunk them in coffee or fluffy hot chocolate for an after-dinner treat.

Here are some more unique peppermint desserts that you can enjoy this holiday season!

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Buttery 3-Ingredient Shortbread Cookies

Use high-quality sugar, butter and flour for best results. We recommend European-style butter, which contains at least 82% butterfat.
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Peanut Butter Snowballs

They’re sweet, they’re cute and they require no baking whatsoever. Best of all, peanut butter snowballs are ready to go in 15 minutes, plus freezing time.
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Layered Candy Cane Dessert

If you’re short on oven space, put this festive no-bake dessert on the menu. The irresistible layers of cream cheese, white chocolate pudding and whipped topping are made even better with a crunchy Oreo cookie crust.
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My Christmas Fudge

You’ll be able to package the 96 squares of fudge as gifts for everyone this year! Check to make sure you’re using evaporated milk, rather than condensed milk, for this recipe. Condensed milk contains added sugar that isn’t necessary for the already-sweet dessert.
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Cranberry Shortbread Stars

The recipe has six ingredients, most of which you probably already have on hand in the pantry. Of course, chopped dried cranberries are the star of the show. Use any holiday cookie cutter if you don’t have stars.
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Pecan Banana Bundt Cake

We love a good store-bought shortcut, and this treat uses a package of yellow cake mix to save you time. Chinese five-spice powder gives the cake an extra boost of flavor your guests will rave about.
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Cathedral Cookies

Cathedral cookies look like the work of a bakery, but they’re easily replicated at home with just six ingredients. One reader suggests rolling the cookies in confectioners’ sugar if you aren’t a fan of coconut.
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Cider Wassail

Heat up a warm, nonalcoholic drink that will make your whole house smell like Christmas. It’s an irresistible blend of spiced apple cider, orange juice and pineapple juice that your holiday visitors will love.
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Goody-Goody Gumdrops

Christmas is all about snacking, so strategically place these treats in decorative bowls wherever your guests gather. We love red and green for the holidays, but you can use food coloring to make them any color you like.
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Lacy Brandy Snaps

You can store unfilled brandy snaps in an airtight container for up to five days, then fill each cookie with whipped cream right before eating. If you have any extra brandy, use it to make these equally tasty black bottom brandy bites.
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Ribbon Fantasy Fudge

If you’re short on oven space, this fudge uses only the stovetop and the fridge. Gooey marshmallow cream comes together with chocolate and peanut butter for a dreamy fudge that’s just as good for gifting as it is for snacking.
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Moist Cream Cheese Pound Cake

No one will guess that this decadent pound cake is made with only six ingredients. Top the finished product with fresh fruit, whipped cream and confectioners’ sugar.
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Easy Reindeer Cookies

Kids will love decorating the cookies with mini pretzels, candy eyes and M&Ms. If you don’t have a piping bag, use a tip-top bag with the corner snipped off.
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Frozen Peppermint Delight

Calling all overachievers: You can make this frozen dessert up to two months in advance, then stash it in the freezer for when unexpected guests arrive. There’s more than enough for everyone to have seconds…and thirds.
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Cinnamon Star Cutouts

If you have a few pantry ingredients and a star cookie cutter on hand, you can whip up these sweet, rustic cookies anytime. Dress them up with icing, sprinkles and sugared pearls, if desired.
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Homemade Hot Cocoa

Treat your guests to a hot chocolate bar, complete with mix-ins and toppings. Instant coffee, vanilla extract, maple syrup, cinnamon and even cayenne pepper make great additions. Offer whipped cream, marshmallows and chocolate shavings for added flair.
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Pretzel Strawberry Bark

Freeze-dried strawberries, ruby chocolate candy bars and crushed pretzels work together to create this Christmas dessert, which will last for up to three months in the freezer. If you’re going to eat it right away, store it in an airtight container at room temperature or in the fridge for up to two weeks.
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Swedish Butter Cookies

These butter cookies have a rich, decadent flavor thanks to a touch of maple syrup. Once you’ve made this Swedish treat, it’s time to try more of the best cookies from around the world.
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Carrot Fruitcake

You love carrot cake. You love fruitcake. Why not combine the two for the holidays? Here, the usual cream cheese frosting is swapped for a drizzle of sweet icing made with confectioners’ sugar and 2% milk.
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Chocolate Almond Crescents

You don’t need cookie cutters or any special tools to make these moon-shaped sweets. Pop them in a cookie tin lined with parchment paper for a thoughtful gift, or serve them with coffee after a big holiday dinner.
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Bring your visions of sugarplums to life! If you have a food processor, these date and nut balls are a breeze to whip up. They’re also pretty nutritious as far as desserts go, so you could even serve them for breakfast.
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White Candy Bark

Your party guests will think you bought this bark at a fancy bakery, but it’s actually deceptively simple to pull off. Just melt the white baking chips in the microwave, combine the ingredients and spread it into a baking pan, then chill and serve.
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Hazelnut Chocolate Chip Pizzelle

You’ll need a pizzelle iron to make these traditional Italian waffle cookies, but once you get the hang of the new tool, you’ll be a pro. To offer a couple flavors, pair the hazelnut chocolate chip pizzelles with anise pizzelles.
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Three-Chip English Toffee

Crunchy and complex, buttery English toffee is layered with three kinds of melted chips and a sprinkling of walnuts. Place the pieces in holiday cookie tins for coworkers, neighbors, family and friends.
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Vanilla-Butter Sugar Cookies

Look no further for the quintessential sugar cookie recipe. The longer these cookies bake, the crispier they get, so remove them from the oven when the edges begin to brown.
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Christmas Gingerbread Trifle

You can use homemade or store-bought gingerbread men to create an impressive-looking trifle. Eggnog and French vanilla pudding mix bring such a smooth richness to the dessert, guests might not even know most of the ingredients aren’t homemade.
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Maple Pralines

Desserts with five ingredients are game changers when the last thing you want to do is keep standing in the kitchen. Make a double batch of these pralines—what doesn’t get eaten up by your holiday visitors is delicious chopped and eaten with vanilla ice cream.
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Chocolate Marshmallow Peanut Butter Squares

Line the baking pan with greased tinfoil that’s slightly larger than the pan itself for easy removal and cutting. Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
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Brown Sugar Pound Cake

You’ll need a fluted tube pan or bundt pan to make this recipe. Just make sure you properly grease the pan with solid shortening to prevent the cake from sticking.
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Contest-Winning Pumpkin Cheesecake Dessert

If you can’t decide between pumpkin pie, cheesecake and gingersnaps, this award-winning dessert is a mashup of all three. Serve with sweetened whipped cream and a drizzle of maple syrup.
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Holiday Fruitcake

To make a classic cake extra special, soak the fruit in alcohol, like rum, spiced rum or brandy; or a nonalcoholic option like orange juice, apple juice or spiced tea. Soak the fruit in a covered container overnight, then drain the liquid before adding the fruit to the recipe.
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Butterscotch Gingerbread Cookies

Here’s a secret cookie ingredient that will keep your guests guessing: butterscotch pudding. Once the cookies have cooled, decorate them with icing and edible pearls.
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Cranberry Christmas Cake

Quick, you have an hour until your guests arrive…and you’re expecting 20 people! With this foolproof big-batch dessert, you can spend less time baking and more time socializing. Serve it with homemade cranberry orange sauce to make it even more special.
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Sugared Date Balls

Decadent, chewy and naturally sweet thanks to chopped dates, cookie balls keep holiday baking simple. While you can buy pre-chopped dates at the grocery store, our readers recommend chopping fresh dates by hand for the best texture.
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Dutch Apple Pie Tartlets

These cute mini pies look like the work of a professional chef, but you can easily make them in your own kitchen. Store-bought lemon curd works great, but if you want to be extra ambitious, you could try making your own with our homemade lemon curd recipe.
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Irish Creme Chocolate Trifle

We love any excuse to make a trifle recipe, and this six-ingredient wonder doesn’t disappoint. Serve it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a shot of espresso.
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Contest-Winning Mocha Fondue

Everything tastes better when it’s dipped in chocolate, so get creative! We love sliced fruit like bananas, strawberries and pineapple chunks, as well as cubed pound cake and mini marshmallows.
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Butter Mint Cookies

Peppermint extract makes these cookies extra special. Luckily, the recipe makes three dozen cookies, because your family will be grabbing these by the handful.
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Cherry Surprise Cookies

If you master our basic cookie dough, you can make all kinds of unique cookie creations. For starters, try these colorful cuties with a chocolate surprise inside.
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Eggnog Cheesecake

Our favorite holiday drink meets our favorite year-round dessert. Refrigerate the cheesecake overnight for the best texture…if you can wait that long, of course.
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White Chocolate Peppermint Crunch

Transform your kitchen into a high-end bakery with these sweet and crunchy treats. For extra minty results, our readers suggest stirring a teaspoon of peppermint extract into the melted candy coating.
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Butter Pecan Fudge

Instead of shopping for presents this year, give everyone on your Christmas list a box of decadent butter pecan fudge. In 20 minutes, you’ll have 64 pieces ready for gifting or snacking.
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Decadent Fudge Cake

Calling all chocolate lovers! While this dessert requires a few specialty ingredients and the bake time is somewhat long, it will be worth it when you hear the “oohs” and “aahs.”
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Dipped Gingersnaps

Here, a classic cookie gets a snazzy new makeover with a white chocolate drizzle. Store them in an airtight container at room temperature for up to seven days.
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Little Holiday Cakes

Store-bought pie dough and red velvet cake mix do most of the heavy lifting so you can focus on more important things. You know, like sipping eggnog.
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Triple-Chocolate Peppermint Cookies

From dipped in chocolate to dusted with sugar, the decorating opportunities are endless. If you love minty cookies, we have even more peppermint cookie recipes to try.
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Jeweled Thumbprints

This holiday favorite can even be frozen in advance. Just layer the unfilled cookies between waxed paper in freezer containers, then fill with preserves when your family is ready to eat.
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Easy Peanut Butter Balls

The secret to the crunchy texture might surprise you. It’s cornflakes, which are magical when combined with sugar and peanut butter.
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Ginger-Walnut Tube Cake

You’ll need to toast nuts for this recipe, but don’t worry, it’s simple. Preheat the oven to 350°F, then bake the nuts for five to 10 minutes. If you don’t have the oven available, heat them in a skillet over low heat until the nuts are toasted.
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If you aren’t a fan of nuts, one reader suggests swapping the pecans for mini chocolate chips. Or, hey, you could add both for a salty and sweet mixture.
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Tender Pecan Logs

This six-ingredient recipe requires just 15 minutes of prep time and 15 minutes to bake, so they’re an excellent last-minute addition to your cookie tray. Serve them with coffee or tea.
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Cranberry Bundt Cake

While a stand mixer will help speed this recipe along, it’s definitely possible to make it without one. A can of whole-berry cranberry sauce keeps the cake tart and moist.
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No-Bake Chocolate-Pecan Tartlets

Store-bought mini phyllo tart shells are filled with crushed vanilla wafers, spiced rum, pecans, chocolate chips and condensed milk, then topped with coconut-pecan frosting and chopped pecans. And believe it or not, it only requires a microwave.
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Cream Cheese Spritz

A cookie press is required to make spritz cookies, and there’s a bit of a learning curve. Don’t worry if the dough sticks to the mold at first. Just pop the dough back into the refrigerator and try again when it’s a bit cooler.
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Sacher Torte Squares

If you’ve never heard of this, prepare to be enlightened. A sacher torte is an Austrian chocolate cake that hearkens back to the 1800s. Apricot filling is available in the baking section of many large grocery stores.
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Cranberry Lime Macaroons

While macarons, the French cookie, are fussy and tricky to make, macaroons are decidedly easier. This version is especially simple, which requires no special ingredients and is ready in just about half an hour.
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Red Velvet Spritz Cookies

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas—in your kitchen, that is. Cream cheese, peppermint extract and baking cocoa make these spritz cookies extra flavorful.
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Fudgy Macaroon Bars

Once you’ve mastered these chewy bars, you’ll be ready to open your own bakery. One 13×9-inch baking pan makes three dozen bars, so there’s more than enough for everyone.
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Peanut Butter Blossom Cookies

It doesn’t get more traditional than these Christmas favorites. Try crunchy peanut butter to switch up the texture, or make your own peanut butter if you want more of a homemade touch.
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Creamy Caramels

Great for game night and sitting around the fireplace, these melt-in-your-mouth caramels are about a billion times better than the store-bought stuff. Use a candy thermometer for the best taste and texture.
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Miniature Christmas Fruitcakes

What’s even better than fruitcake? Adorable mini fruitcakes, which can be given as gifts or saved for yourself. They’re ready to eat in less than an hour.
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Chocolate Butterscotch Haystacks

Crispy chow mein noodles are the secret ingredient in these three-ingredient haystacks. If you’re short on stovetop space, melt the chocolate in the microwave.
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Berry Dream Cake

Cream cheese, white cake mix and cherry gelatin are the ultimate shortcuts for a moist and fluffy cake that tastes like, well, a dream. Serve it with a scoop of homemade vanilla ice cream.
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Shortbread Cutouts

While we suggest using vanilla extract for this recipe, creativity is encouraged. Try almond, lemon or orange extract for subtle hints of something different.
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Matcha Bark

Here’s the unexpected treat on the holiday dessert table that everyone will ask about. White baking chips combine with culinary lemon oil, matcha (green tea powder) and sesame rice crackers to create a brilliant green bark that will steal the show.
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Rainbow S’moreo Cookies

There’s no cookie cutter or rolling pin needed for s’moreo cookies. Just roll the dough into 1-inch balls, then flatten them into cookie shapes with the bottom of a glass dipped in sugar. Feel free to use Christmas colored sprinkles if that’s what you have on hand.