24 Mardi Gras Desserts for Your Party

Transport your party to New Orleans with these Mardi Gras desserts. Yes, beignets and king cake are classic options, but there are plenty of other rich foods that capture the Big Easy vibe!

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New Orleans Beignets

Beignets are an absolute New Orleans staple, and no visit to the city is complete without grabbing a plate at Cafe du Monde. Luckily, there’s no travel necessary when you make beignets for your Mardi Gras party. It’s important to let the dough rise overnight in the fridge to create the lightest, puffiest beignets possible, so plan ahead.

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Mardi Gras King Cake

What is king cake? Although it’s called a “cake,” this famous Mardi Gras dessert is more of a sweet bread—think cinnamon roll meets coffee cake. Regardless of its name, it’s absolutely delicious! To switch things up, swap out the almond cake and pastry filling for cinnamon sugar and cream cheese or fruit and nut fillings like raisins, apples, cherries or pecans.
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Bourbon Pecan Pralines

One of our favorite Mardi Gras desserts is pralines, a sugary sweet candy that melts in your mouth. You’ll find this treat all over New Orleans, and making it is relatively simple. Heating the ingredients to the soft-ball stage (236°F) may sound intimidating, but it’s easy to do with a candy thermometer.

Your event isn’t complete without some of our best recipes for Mardi Gras.

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Bananas Foster Sundaes

It’s said that this dessert was created at Brennan’s Vieux Carré Restaurant on Bourbon Street as a way to use up excess bananas. The dish is often made tableside with a technique called flambé where rum is lit on fire in an impressive performance. We skip the theatrics with this dessert and make it on the stovetop—no fire extinguisher needed to enjoy this tasty treat.
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Mardi Gras Cupcakes

These festive cupcakes capture the spirit of the classic Mardi Gras king cake—decorated purple, green and gold to represent justice, faith and power—but their miniature form makes them easier to serve. Separating the batter to mix with flavored gelatin adds to the fun, and layering the cupcakes creates a gorgeous color contrast.
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Turtle Praline Tart

This five-ingredient dessert looks like it took hours to make, but it actually couldn’t be easier. The pie crust needs to be prebaked, but the remaining ingredients set up in the refrigerator to create a no-bake tart. Get ready to hand out the recipe, because this is one of those Mardi Gras desserts that gets gobbled up fast!
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Majestic Pecan Cake

Pecan trees are native to the American south, which explains why they’re such a popular ingredient in Mardi Gras desserts. This three-layer cake uses these rich, buttery nuts to create a celebration-worthy cake. It’s made completely from scratch (including the frosting), so it takes a little effort, but it’s well worth it when you take your first bite.
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Bananas Foster on the Grill

Taking this classic New Orleans dessert to the barbecue gives the bananas grill marks that look gorgeous when you bring this dish to the table. Just be sure to keep your bananas inside the peel when you slice them in half. The fruit will soften and turn mushy (in a good way) as it cooks, and it would be a real pain to turn the bananas without the peel providing a little structure.
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Chewy Pecan Pie Bars

Not all Mardi Gras parties involve sitting around a table. You might be up dancing or playing games instead. These pecan pie bars are perfect if you want a dessert that can move with your guests. They taste exactly like pecan pie, but they’re handheld and easy to eat. Of course, you could serve them on a plate with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, too.
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Springtime Beignets & Berries

These deep-fried doughy delights get a burst of freshness when they’re served with fresh berries. To customize the recipe for your Mardi Gras party, add purple, green and gold sprinkles to the whipped cream before serving. Or color the powdered sugar with decorating dust and dust the platter in three different waves.
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Rum Raisin Creme Brulee

Crème brûlée is a fabulous party treat because it looks like an elegant restaurant dessert (but it’s pretty easy to make at home). Infuse those already fantastic flavors with rum-soaked raisins, and you have the perfect Mardi Gras dessert! You can use a handheld culinary butane torch to create the sugary exterior or pop the dishes under the broiler. (Just make sure you use a broiler-safe ramekin, of course.)
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Bananas Foster Gelato

This brilliant recipe captures all the flavors of bananas Foster in a convenient frozen form. Hosting a dinner party can be stressful, especially when you’re also busy putting up Mardi Gras decorations! Gelato is easy to make in advance, and it stores in the freezer until you’re ready for dessert. Keep it in an airtight container and place a piece of plastic wrap between the gelato and the lid to keep it from developing freezer burn.
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Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Monkey Bread

We love monkey bread, but it’s even more delicious when the dough balls are stuffed with chocolate and baked with bourbon-infused chocolate and caramel sauces. The homemade dough is light and fluffy, but it can be a little time-consuming. As a shortcut, use a couple cans of refrigerated biscuit dough instead.
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King Cake with Cream Cheese Filling

This shortcut king cake recipe comes together in about 45 minutes, making it ideal as a last-minute Mardi Gras dessert option. The sugary cream cheese filling is packed with warm cinnamon, and the refrigerated crescent roll dough crisps up beautifully in the oven. Top it off with a few drizzles of colorful icing, and this one is a winner!
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Favorite Chocolate-Bourbon Pecan Tart

Pecan pie has a special place in our hearts, but we’ll never say no to a tart version that’s loaded with chocolate and bourbon. This tart can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator; just bring the dish to room temperature before serving. It can also be frozen for three months and thawed overnight in the fridge.
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Candied Pecans

Pecans are a quintessential part of southern cooking, and candying them in butter and sugar creates a light but flavorful dessert. Make sure you spread the pecans out in an even layer on the baking sheet before popping them in the oven, or they won’t toast evenly. As a bonus, any leftovers can be used on a salad for lunch tomorrow.
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Banana Bread Pudding

Is bread pudding a breakfast or a dessert? Both! This recipe uses pieces of bananas to amp up the bananas Foster vibe, so it’s a wonderful dessert for a Mardi Gras dinner party. We wouldn’t be upset if it was served during a Mardi Gras brunch, either.
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Frosted Anise Sugar Cookies

Anise-flavored spirits like Ojen are often served at Mardi Gras celebrations, so why not double down on that unique licorice flavor by infusing it into dessert? These cookies take about 40 minutes to prepare, but plan enough time to let them cool fully before adding the icing. Pick up some Mardi Gras-themed sprinkles and have fun!
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Berry-Filled Doughnuts

A filled doughnut called packzi is one of the most famous Fat Tuesday snacks, so berry-filled doughnuts absolutely fit the bill for your next Mardi Gras dessert platter. There’s no need to make the dough from scratch, either; you’ll be amazed at how well refrigerated biscuit dough works here! By the time you dust them with confectioners’ sugar, no one will be the wiser.
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Margarita Cake

Extravagant drinks are a big part of Mardi Gras, and this cake captures all the flavor of a margarita without any of the booze. If you can’t find the frozen margarita mix called for in the recipe, substitute a can of frozen limeade or liquid margarita mix instead. Don’t forget to check out our collection of the best Mardi Gras drinks.
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Praline Cookies

These cookies achieve the perfect balance between crisp bottoms and chewy interiors, and the pop of pecan flavor shines through with every bite. They taste incredible with the sugary icing, but we’ve also served them without it and didn’t receive any complaints.
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Bread Pudding with Bourbon Sauce

This slow cooker dessert recipe is a lifesaver if you’re struggling to get everything together for a Mardi Gras party. The bread pudding is completely hands-off, cooking in about three hours on low in the slow cooker, freeing you up to work on the event’s other components. When it comes time to serve, bring the sauce ingredients to a boil, scoop the bread pudding into cups or bowls and drizzle on the sauce.
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Banana Cream Eclairs

If doughnuts are served at most Fat Tuesday celebrations, we think éclairs also belong on the Mardi Gras desserts menu—especially when they bring a strong bananas Foster energy! If you end up with extra banana whipped cream after filling the puffs, serve it on the side with fresh berries or use it to top coffee or hot chocolate.
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Banana-Hazelnut Pain Perdu Duet

Pain perdu is basically a fancy name for French toast, and this recipe combines some of our favorite Mardi Gras desserts into one dish. It has a cream cheese filling like king cake and brown-sugared bananas like bananas Foster. It could easily be served for brunch, but we love it for dessert, too.

Lindsay D. Mattison
Lindsay is a professional chef, recipe developer, writer and developmental editor. After years of working in restaurant kitchens, she turned to writing to share her skills and experience with home cooks and food enthusiasts. She's passionate about using local, organic ingredients and teaching others how to incorporate seasonal food into their diet. Lindsay still cooks professionally for pop-up events, writes for several publications and is the co-author of two books about Ayurveda.