20 Holiday Desserts That You Can Make Ahead
As the holiday season approaches, it’s time to start planning the festive feasts and delightful treats that will make this time of year even more memorable. While the main course often takes center stage, let’s not forget about the mouthwatering desserts! In this article, we will explore 20 delectable holiday desserts that can be prepared in advance, allowing you to spend more time with loved ones and less time stressing in the kitchen. From classic apple pie to irresistible chocolate mousse, these make-ahead desserts are sure to be a hit at your holiday gathering.
1. Apple Pie
What better way to kick off our list than with a timeless favorite – apple pie! This classic dessert can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Simply prepare the pie crust and apple filling, assemble, and pop it in the oven when you’re ready to indulge in its luscious flavors.
2. Pumpkin Cheesecake
No holiday dessert selection would be complete without a creamy and decadent pumpkin cheesecake. This dessert can be made a day or two in advance and chilled until serving. With its velvety texture and spiced pumpkin flavor, it’s guaranteed to be a crowd-pleaser.
3. Cranberry Bread
If you’re looking for a dessert that embodies the essence of the holiday season, look no further than cranberry bread. This moist and tangy treat can be baked ahead of time, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap, and stored at room temperature until needed. It pairs perfectly with a cup of hot cocoa or a dollop of whipped cream.
4. Gingerbread Cookies
Nothing says “holiday” quite like the warm, aromatic spices of gingerbread cookies. The dough for these festive treats can be prepared in advance, rolled into shapes, and refrigerated or frozen. When the time comes, all you have to do is pop them in the oven and let the sweet smell of ginger fill your home.
5. Chocolate Mousse
If you’re a chocolate lover, you’ll undoubtedly swoon over this make-ahead dessert. Chocolate mousse can be prepared a day or two ahead of your event and chilled in individual serving dishes. The rich and velvety texture, combined with the intense cocoa flavor, will leave your guests begging for more.
6. Pecan Bars
For those who crave a sweet and nutty treat, pecan bars are the ideal solution. These gooey delights can be made a week ahead of time and stored in an airtight container at room temperature. The combination of crunchy pecans, buttery crust, and caramel-like filling is simply irresistible.
A Holiday Dessert Buffet
Now that we’ve covered some individual desserts, let’s discuss the idea of creating a holiday dessert buffet. This allows your guests to choose from a variety of treats and indulge in a bit of everything. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
7. Assorted Mini Pies
Mini pies are a charming addition to any dessert spread. Bake an assortment of flavors like cherry, blueberry, and chocolate cream, wrap them tightly, and refrigerate until needed. Your guests will love having the option to sample their favorite pie flavors without committing to a whole slice.
8. Festive Sugar Cookies
Add a touch of holiday magic with festive sugar cookies. Shape the dough into holiday-themed designs like snowflakes, reindeer, or Christmas trees. Decorate them with colorful icing and store them in an airtight container until your dessert buffet is ready to go.
9. Peppermint Bark
Peppermint bark is a classic holiday treat that is both delicious and visually appealing. Melt white chocolate, mix in crushed peppermint candies, and spread it onto a baking sheet. Allow it to harden and break it into bite-sized pieces. Store it in a cool place until your guests are ready to indulge.
10. Eggnog Cheesecake Bars
Elevate the flavors of the season with eggnog cheesecake bars. This rich and creamy dessert can be made a day in advance and chilled until ready to serve. The smooth eggnog filling atop a buttery graham cracker crust will make everyone’s taste buds dance with joy.
Impressive Make-Ahead Desserts
Now, let’s explore a few more elaborate, yet entirely make-ahead desserts that will wow your guests:
11. Baked Alaska
Baked Alaska is a showstopping dessert that is surprisingly simple to make ahead. Prepare the cake base and ice cream layer in advance, freeze, and cover with a meringue topping. When it’s time for dessert, pop it in the oven for a few minutes until the meringue is golden brown.
If you’re a fan of Italian desserts, tiramisu is a must for your holiday spread. Layered with ladyfingers, mascarpone, and a hint of coffee, this elegant dessert can be assembled a day in advance and chilled overnight to let the flavors meld together.
13. Chocolate Truffles
Indulge in the decadence of homemade chocolate truffles. These bite-sized delights can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator until ready to serve. With endless flavor variations and a dusting of cocoa or sprinkles, they are perfect for gifting or adding to your dessert table.
14. Caramel Flan
Impress your guests with the creamy and caramel-infused goodness of flan. This silky-smooth dessert can be made a day in advance, allowing it to set and chill. Serve it in individual ramekins for a stunning presentation.
Healthy Make-Ahead Options
For those looking for healthier dessert alternatives that can be made ahead of time, try these guilt-free options:
15. Berry Parfait
Layer fresh berries, yogurt, and granola in a glass jar or dessert dish for a refreshing and nutritious make-ahead dessert. This delightful treat offers a burst of fruity flavors with a satisfying crunch.
16. Chia Seed Pudding
Chia seed pudding is a versatile and nutritious dessert option that can be prepared ahead of time. Mix chia seeds with your choice of milk, sweetener, and flavorings such as vanilla or cocoa. Let it sit in the refrigerator overnight for the chia seeds to absorb the liquid, resulting in a creamy and pudding-like texture.
17. Frozen Yogurt Bark
A lighter alternative to ice cream, frozen yogurt bark can be customized with your favorite flavors and toppings. Spread a layer of Greek yogurt on a baking sheet, add fruits, nuts, or chocolate chips, and freeze until set. Break it into pieces and store in the freezer until you’re ready to indulge.
18. Coconut Macaroons
For those with dietary restrictions, coconut macaroons are a delightful gluten-free and dairy-free option. These sweet treats can be made ahead of time, stored in an airtight container, and enjoyed at room temperature.
With these 20 make-ahead holiday desserts, you’ll be able to satisfy everyone’s sweet tooth while still having time to enjoy the festivities. Whether you opt for classics like apple pie or venture into more elaborate options like baked Alaska, these make-ahead desserts will surely bring joy and happiness to your holiday season. So, get your apron ready, gather the ingredients, and let the holiday baking begin!