57 Traditional Christmas Desserts to Bake Up This Year

The holiday season is all about traditions, like trimming the tree and listening to our favorite carols. This also includes making plenty of traditional Christmas desserts like Yule logs, rum balls and, yes, even fruitcake.

1 / 57

Grandma’s Red Velvet Cake

It’s just not Christmas at our house until this festive cake appears. This is different from other red velvet cake recipes I’ve had; the icing is as light as snow. If you ask me, it’s one of the best traditional Christmas desserts in my recipe box. —Kathryn Davison, Charlotte, North Carolina

Go to Recipe

Pair this holiday classic with one of our brand-new Christmas dessert ideas.

2 / 57

Chocolate Yule Log Recipe

For many years, this impressive chocolate Yule log recipe has been a traditional Christmas dessert for our family— everyone just loves it! Plus, I’m always asked to bring the rich chocolaty treat to our annual church Christmas function.

Also check out this vintage Yule log is a no-bake, one-bowl treat that’s sure to impress during the holidays.

3 / 57

Upside-Down Fruitcake

I get tired of people bad-mouthing holiday fruitcakes. It’s one of my favorite holiday flavors and I look forward to it every year. This year, I decided to combine it with everyone’s favorite, upside-down cake. Try to say no to this fruitcake; I dare you! —James Schend, Taste of Home Deputy Editor
4 / 57

Spiced Pecans

These spiced pecans are a treat enjoyed by people of all ages. They are nice to have on hand during the Christmas season to serve as an appetizer, add to a cookie plate or give as gifts packaged in decorated jars or containers! I love making foods that will delight my family or guests. —Brenda Schneider, Armington, Illinois
5 / 57

Italian Rainbow Cookies

My family has made these classic Italian rainbow cookies for generations, and this homemade version is so much better than the bakery version. They are always a special treat during the holidays or any time of year! —Cindy Casazza, Hopewell, New Jersey
6 / 57

Pineapple Upside-Down Bundt Cake

This upside-down pineapple Bundt cake, which is a variation on the classic confection, couldn’t be easier because it starts with a cake mix. —Pat Remour, East Moline, Illinois
7 / 57

Granny’s Gingerbread Cake with Caramel Sauce

We love the buttery caramel sauce that tops this cake. Gingerbread is one of our favorite traditional Christmas desserts.—Joy Sparks, Muskegon, Michigan
8 / 57

Eggnog Cake

This impressive layered eggnog cake, perfect for holiday parties, will make you wish eggnog wasn’t a seasonal ingredient. —Debra Frappolli, Wayne, New Jersey
9 / 57

Linzer Heart Cookies

This specialty cookie takes a little extra effort, but the delectable results are well-worth it. I bake the tender jam-filled hearts when I need something fancy to serve for Valentine's Day or other special occasions. —Jane Pearcy, Verona, Wisconsin
10 / 57

Baked Cranberry Pudding

This is an old-fashioned pudding that’s a cranberry lover’s delight. Serve warm topped with whipped cream for an elegant look, or in bowls with rich cream poured over for a homey touch. —Lucy Meyring, Walden, Colorado
11 / 57

White Chocolate Christmas Torte

Talk about a scene-stealer! This raspberry-filled cake, an exceptional dessert for any meal, is an especially lovely ending for a holiday feast. —Carol Gillespie, Chambersburg, Pennsylvania
12 / 57

Gingerbread Men Cookies

No holiday treat platter would be complete without gingerbread men cookies! This is a tried-and-true recipe I'm happy to share with you. —Mitzi Sentiff, Annapolis, Maryland
13 / 57

Double Nut Baklava

It may take some time to make this rich, buttery treat, but it's well worth the effort! The blend of coconut, pecans and macadamia nuts is irresistible. —Kari Kelley, Plains, Montana
14 / 57

Sacher Torte

Guests will be surprised to hear that this Sacher torte recipe starts with a convenient cake mix. Each bite features chocolate, almonds and apricots. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
15 / 57

Ice Cream Kolachkes

These sweet pastries have Polish and Czech roots and can also be spelled "kolaches." They are usually filled with poppy seeds, nuts, jam or a mashed fruit mixture. The ice cream is a unique twist on traditional kolachkes, and it's simplest to use a square cookie cutter to cut the dough. —Diane Turner, Brunswick, Ohio
16 / 57

Christmas Pavlova

Crisp and crunchy on the outside, soft and almost marshmallowy on the inside, this elegant pavlova gets dressed up for the holidays. It’s one of my favorite traditional Christmas desserts. —James Schend Taste of Home Deputy Editor
17 / 57

My Christmas Fudge

This fudge is virtually foolproof and so creamy you won't believe it. I've searched for years for the richest fudge, and this one does it for me. You can add just about anything you like to customize it.—Barbara Miller, Oakdale, Minnesota
18 / 57

Holiday Spritz

I tried substituting rum extract for vanilla in a classic Christmas recipe, and the end result was a cookie that tasted a lot like eggnog! —Lisa Varner, El Paso, Texas
19 / 57

Hungarian Walnut Cookies

As a child, I always looked forward to eating these goodies at Christmastime. Now I make them for my own family. —Sharon Kurtz, Emmaus, Pennsylvania
20 / 57

Black Walnut Layer Cake

My sister gave me the recipe for this beautiful cake years ago. The thin layer of frosting spread on the outside gives it a chic modern look. —Lynn Glaze, Warren, Ohio
21 / 57

Rosettes

These traditional Christmas treats are deep-fried, crisp and delicious with a delicate, lacy look. Dipping the edges into icing helps defines the beautiful pattern. —Iola Egle, Bella Vista, Arkansas
22 / 57

Festive Cranberry Cake

Each fall here in Alaska, an abundant crop of wild cranberries is ripe for cooking. This cake, a favorite in my family, makes good use of the harvest. What’s more, since you can prepare it the night before your holiday celebration, the recipe is a real time-saver at a hectic time of year. —Gladys Wilson, Anchorage, Alaska
23 / 57

Holiday Ambrosia Cake

I riffed off a much-misunderstood traditional Christmas dessert: fruitcake. I added pineapple, coconut and pineapple juice, which made it really moist and gave it a bit of a tropical taste. – Dotty Stodulski, North Port, Florida
24 / 57

Kipplens

My Great-Aunt Hilda makes this recipe every Christmas, and everybody loves them! Kipplens taste a lot like Mexican wedding cakes, but I like my aunt's version better. —Susan Bohannon, Kokomo, Indiana
25 / 57

Gingerbread Pumpkin Trifle

Trifles make for great traditional Christmas desserts. I like to spice up our holiday dinner with this special dessert featuring two popular seasonal flavors. A delicious alternative to pumpkin pie, it’s my favorite potluck contribution. —Deborah F. Hahn, Belle, Missouri
26 / 57

Jeweled Coconut Drops

Red raspberry preserves add a festive flair to these tender coconut drops. Perfect for potlucks and cookie exchanges, the shaped cookies never last long when I make them for my husband and two sons. —Ellen Marie Byler, Munfordville, Kentucky
27 / 57

Cheesecake with Berry Sauce

This creamy cheesecake is a family tradition; I've even shipped it to my daughter as a special treat. Using frozen seasonal berries, it's an excellent dessert any time of year. —Jeanette Volker, Walton, Nebraska
28 / 57

29 / 57

Aunt Rose's Fantastic Butter Toffee

I don't live in the country, but I love everything about it—especially good old-fashioned home cooking! Every year, you'll find me at our county fair, entering a different contest. This easy toffee recipe is a family favorite. —Kathy Dorman, Snover, Michigan
30 / 57

Cherry Chocolate Marble Cake

Chocolate and cherries is a combination you’ll often find in traditional Christmas desserts. I like to use a fun Bundt pan to give this marbled cake even more personality. —Sandra Campbell, Chase Mills, New York
31 / 57

Double Whammy Eggnog Cookies

These cookies are an amazing way to use extra eggnog. They've become a new family classic. — Teresa Morris, Laurel, Delaware
32 / 57

Mama’s Buttermilk Coconut Pie

My mama showed me how to make this pie about 40 years ago, just as her mama showed her how to make it. I was 6 when Mawmaw passed away, but I can still remember her cooking in the kitchen in her beautiful cotton dresses dusted with flour. I am honored to teach my daughter how to make this dessert, too. —Lisa Allen, Joppa, Alabama
33 / 57

Lebkuchen

It's tradition for my family to make these German treats together. The recipe came from my great-grandmother's cookbook, and judging from the amount of requests I get, it has certainly stood the test of time. —Esther Kempker, Jefferson City, Missouri
34 / 57

Creme de Menthe Truffles

I found this in a box of recipe clippings and decided to give them a whirl. I'm so glad I did! The minty flavor is perfect for Christmas. —Joe Mattes, Amana, Iowa
35 / 57

Walnut-Filled Pillows

These tender cookie pillows, filled with a delicious walnut mixture, are my husband's favorite. He says it wouldn't be Christmas without them. —Nancy Kostrej, Canonsburg, Pennsylvania
36 / 57

Spiced Rum Fruitcake

Fruitcake is the queen of all traditional Christmas desserts. This version can be made in advance (and actually gets better after a few days). You can substitute Brazil nuts, pecans and hazelnuts for the walnuts—or use a combination of nuts. —Jason Boor, Manchester, New York
37 / 57

Sandbakkelse (Sand Tarts)

Translated from Norwegian, the name of these cookies is “‘sand tarts.” They’re most attractive if baked in authentic sandbakkelse molds, which can be purchased online or in a Scandinavian import shop. Most any decorative cookie mold will do, though, and the interesting shapes will make these tarts the focus of your cookie tray. —Karen Hoylo, Duluth, Minnesota
38 / 57

Sticky Toffee Pudding with Butterscotch Sauce

The classic sticky toffee pudding is a traditional dessert in the United Kingdom. I love that I can just stay home and bake this cake version, featuring saucy butterscotch. —Agnes Ward, Stratford, Ontario
39 / 57

Cherry Divinity

It's just not a party without these light and airy confections on my dessert platter. The recipe is versatile because you can replace the cherry gelatin with any flavor that suits your taste. —Crystal Ralph-Haughn, Bartlesville, Oklahoma
40 / 57

Rich Rum Cake

Who doesn’t like traditional Christmas desserts splashed with a bit of rum? This orangy rum cake is decadent alone or with big swoops of whipped cream. —Nancy Heishman, Las Vegas, Nevada
41 / 57

Frozen Peppermint Delight

If you’re looking for a dessert that’s festive, delicious and easy to make, this is the one for you. Drizzled in hot fudge sauce and loaded with pretty peppermint pieces, this almost tempting treat will have guests asking for seconds. —Pam Lancaster, Willis, Virginia
42 / 57

Gingerbread Snowflakes

Cutting my favorite gingerbread cookie dough into snowflake shapes and decorating them with white icing was ideal for my theme get-together. I save these crunchy treats to enjoy on the way home from our Christmas tree outing. —Shelly Rynearson, Oconomowoc, Wisconsin
43 / 57

Cranberry-Almond Pound Cake

When you want an extra-special dessert for the holidays, it’s hard to beat a seasonal homemade cake. I like to drizzle mine with a simple but elegant glaze flavored with amaretto. —Jackie Howell, Tucson, Arizona
44 / 57

Fig & Almond Cookies

In our family, holiday cookies—like these nutty fig ones—are a big deal. I'm so proud to be passing on this Italian tradition to my two boys. —Angela Lemoine, Howell, New Jersey
45 / 57

Holiday Danish Puffs

It's worth the extra effort to make this delightful candy cane-shaped dessert. Best of all, the recipe makes two pastries, so it's perfect for gift-giving. —Susan Garoutte, Georgetown, Texas
46 / 57

Ginger-Walnut Tube Cake

My husband, Ken, loves this tube cake with its bits of crystallized ginger. Feel free to drizzle it with a lemony glaze. —Nancy Zimmerman, Cape May Court House, NJ
47 / 57

Eggnog Cheesecake

I make good use of extra eggnog by creating this luscious cheesecake. A bit of rum extract adds a special taste. —Kristen Grula, Hazleton, Pennsylvania
48 / 57

Linzer Tarts

With a creamy chocolate and hazelnut filling, these decadent Christmas cookies look and taste amazing. Guests will never guess how relatively easy they are to make. —Mary Maddox, Bellmore, New York
49 / 57

Brown Sugar Pound Cake

This tender pound cake is the first one I mastered. You'll want to eat the browned butter icing by the spoonful. It tastes like pralines. —Shawn Barto, Winter Garden, Florida
50 / 57

Layered Christmas Gelatin

Christmastime always means that this recipe comes out of my recipe box. The traditional holiday colors in this salad make the buffet table look so pretty. —Diane Schefelker, Ireton, Iowa
51 / 57

Pecan Meltaways

This sweet, nutty pecan meltaways recipe is a tradition in our house at Christmastime, but the treats are delightful any time of the year. —Alberta McKay, Bartlesville, Oklahoma
52 / 57

Grandma’s Molasses Fruitcake

This dense, dark, moist fruitcake was my grandmother’s recipe. The flavor just gets better and better as it sits in the fridge, so be sure to make it ahead! —Debbie Harmon, Lavina, Montana
53 / 57

Italian Holiday Cookies

Many of our holiday traditions center around the foods my mother made while I was growing up. These cookies, which we called "Strufoli", bring back wonderful memories. —Sue Seymour, Valatie, New York
54 / 57

Tiny Tim's 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
55 / 57

Almond Ginger Cookies

Think outside the box this season and enjoy these traditional Chinese cookies, each one topped with an almond slice. —Shirley Warren, Thiensville, Wisconsin
56 / 57

Eggnog Cream Puffs

If you want to receive rave reviews and recipe requests, combine two Christmas classics: eggnog and cream puffs. When it comes to Santa, this recipe goes on the "nice" list! —Kristen Heigl, Staten Island, New York
57 / 57

Coconut Rum Balls

My mom has made rum balls for as long as I can remember. They look beautiful on a dessert spread and can be packaged in a decorative tin as a gift. I substituted coconut rum for the traditional rum and added shredded coconut. —Jana Walker, Macomb, Michigan

Next up, check out these spiced desserts that are perfect for the holidays.

Caroline Stanko
Caroline has been with Taste of Home for the past seven years, working in both print and digital. After starting as an intern for the magazine and special interest publication teams, Caroline was hired as the third-ever digital editor for Taste of Home. Since then, she has researched, written and edited content on just about every topic the site covers, including cooking techniques, buzzy food news, gift guides and many, many recipe collections. Caroline also acts as the editorial lead for video, working with the Test Kitchen, videographers and social media team to produce videos from start to finish. When she’s not tip-tapping on a keyboard, Caroline is probably mixing up a killer cocktail, reading a dog-eared library book or cooking up a multi-course feast (sometimes all at once). Though she technically lives in Milwaukee, there is a 50/50 chance Caroline is in Chicago or southwest Michigan visiting her close-knit family.
Lisa Kaminski
Lisa is a former Taste of Home editor and passionate baker. During her tenure, she poured her love of all things sweet (and sometimes savory) into Bakeable, Taste of Home's baking club. Lisa also dedicated her career here 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.