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72 Quick & Easy Christmas Desserts for a Crowd

Last-minute Christmas party? We've got you covered with these Christmas desserts that come together in less than half an hour and feed at least a dozen people.

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Hot Chocolate Cookies

Using hot cocoa mix and marshmallow bits in the cookie dough really makes these hot chocolate cookies taste like the cozy drink. —Lisa Kaminski, Wauwatosa, Wisconsin

Go to Recipe

These easy holiday recipes have only five ingredients!

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Rum Balls

I make these rum balls for special occasions with my wonderful family and friends. These easy Christmas desserts are so quick to make and pack a festive punch. —Diane Duschanek, Council Bluffs, Iowa
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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 Thanksgiving celebration, the recipe is a real time-saver at a hectic time of year. —Gladys Wilson, Anchorage, Alaska

Christmas PieCaken is here for the holidays—find out where to buy PieCaken today and get your order in!

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Peppermint Puff Pastry Sticks

I wanted to impress my husband’s family with something you’d expect to find in a European bakery, and these chocolaty treats are what I came up with. The flaky pastry melts in your mouth. —Darlene Brenden, Salem, Oregon
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Shortbread Cookies

With only a few ingredients, these butter shortbread cookies are so simple to prepare. —Pattie Prescott, Manchester, New Hampshire
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Peanut Butter Snowballs

This recipe for peanut butter ball cookies is a nice change from the typical milk chocolate and peanut butter combination. I once prepared them for a bake sale at my granddaughter’s school, and I’ve also put them in gift boxes to share with neighbors at Christmas. —Wanda Regula, Birmingham, Michigan

Find more fast Christmas desserts you can make on Christmas Eve.

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Layered Candy Cane Dessert

This easy Christmas dessert has the magical flavor of candy canes plus the bonus of an Oreo cookie crust. And it looks like a winter wonderland. —Dawn Kreuser, Green Bay, Wisconsin

Craving something sweet? Dive into these easy 13 x 9 Christmas desserts.

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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

What better quick holiday treat is out there? Check out our best recipes for Christmas fudge.

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Cranberry Shortbread Cookies

My family loves shortbread and I love cranberries, so I decided to put the two together to make cranberry shortbread cookies. The star shape is a festive addition to my holiday cookie tray. —Sonya Labbe, West Hollywood, California
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Pecan Banana Bundt Cake

My daughter, Liz, often made this banana bundt cake for us as an easy Christmas dessert. It was delicious and different. She discovered five-spice powder during a culinary class field trip. —Marina Castle Kelley, Canyon Country, California
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Cathedral Cookies

Children love the colorful marshmallows in these festive confections, which look like stained glass when they’re sliced. They practically light up the room from the serving platter at our holiday parties. —Carol Shaffer, Cape Girardeau, Missouri

Also, check out the holiday recipes our community cooks can’t wait to make this year.

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Wassail

This traditional wassail recipe came from a dear friend in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where we lived for many years. Because it’s warm, wonderful and non-alcoholic, we’ve even served it at church. This wassail drink is also perfect for a holiday open house. —Maryellen Hays, Wolcottville, Indiana
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Goody-Goody Gumdrops

My jewel-toned squares are softer than store-bought gumdrops, and their terrific taste has a true old-fashioned quality people love. You can’t eat just one! —Richard Bunt, Painted Post, New York

Keep Christmas classic—try these vintage and old-fashioned Christmas dessert recipes.

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Brandy Snaps

These cream-filled brandy snaps are the perfect sweet treat. Include them on a holiday cookie platter or serve them at the end of a meal with coffee or tea. —Natalie Bremson, Plantation, Florida
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Ribbon Fantasy Fudge

I developed this easy Christmas dessert for my husband, who likes anything that has chocolate and peanut butter together!

If you love Christmas fudge and other nostalgic holiday recipes—you’ll love these traditional Christmas desserts.

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Moist Cream Cheese Pound Cake

Warm a slice of this cream cheese pound cake in the microwave for about 25 seconds. Then serve it with a scoop of butter pecan ice cream, fresh fruit or alone. —Betty Smith, Evans, Georgia

Feeling festive? Try making one of these Christmas cake recipes.

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Easy Reindeer Cookies

One year my son wanted to buy everyone in his class a present. I suggested we bake them a treat instead. We made this easy Christmas dessert using a cookie mix, pretzels, chocolate chips and Red M&M’s. —Gretchen Vandenberghe, Toledo, Ohio
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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

For more ideas, check out our top 10 peppermint recipes.

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Cinnamon Star Cutouts

These cookies fill your home with an irresistible aroma as they bake. My grandmother made them every Christmas when I was a child. I have fond memories of helping her in the kitchen. —Jean Jones, Peachtree City, Georgia
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Hot Chocolate Recipe

This homemade hot chocolate recipe will make people think you fussed but it is so simple. —Hershey Food Corporation, Cheryl Reitz, Hershey, Pennsylvania

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Pretzel Strawberry Bark

This strawberry bark recipe is my candy take on the classic Strawberry Pretzel Dessert. It uses ruby chocolate, which is fairly new on the market. If you can’t find it, you can substitute white chocolate in its place. —James Schend, Taste of Home Deputy Editor
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Swedish 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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Carrot Fruitcake

Even those who don’t care for fruitcake love this easy Christmas dessert. It’s a fun way to “dress up” that old favorite, carrot cake. Try it—your friends and family will agree. —Ann Parden, Chunchula, Alabama
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Chocolate Almond Crescents

If you like chocolate-covered almonds, you’re in for a treat. These buttery, crumbly cookies make a thoughtful holiday gift. —Vicki Raatz, Waterloo, Wisconsin
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Sugarplums

When our kids read about sugarplums in a holiday tale, they were intrigued. I figured out a no-bake way to make this easy Christmas dessert from dried fruits and nuts. —Suzanne McKinley, Lyons, GA
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White Candy Bark

This speedy candy recipe can be varied depending on the type of fruit or nuts you have on hand. Since we have a walnut tree, I use walnuts, but pecans could also be substituted, as well as dried cherries in place of the cranberries. —Marcia Snyder, Grand Junction, Colorado
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Berry Dream Cake

I use cherry gelatin to give a boxed cake mix an eye-appealing marbled effect. It’s so festive-looking. Top this easy Christmas dessert with whatever fruit you like! —Margaret McNeil, Germantown, Tennessee
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Matcha Bark

How could you not love this brilliant green color? The flavor is a little earthy and it pairs well with lemon. —James Schend, Taste of Home, Deputy Editor
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Hazelnut Chocolate Chip Pizzelle

I’ve experimented with different varieties of pizzelle recipes, but this is definitely a favorite. My dad likes to help make them so that we don’t run out! —Aimee McCullen, Youngwood, Pennsylvania
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Three-Chip English Toffee

Three-Chip English Toffee

With its melt-in-your-mouth texture and scrumptiously rich flavor, this is the ultimate easy Christmas dessert! Layered on top are three kinds of melted chips plus a sprinkling of walnuts. Packaged in colorful tins, these pretty pieces make impressive gifts. —Lana Petfield, Richmond, Virginia
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Butter Sugar Cookies

These butter sugar cookies are one of my favorite cookies to bake for Christmas. The dough recipe is versatile, so you can use it for other holidays, too. Children like to help with the cookie decorating. —Cynthia Ettel, Glencoe, Minnesota
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Christmas Gingerbread Trifle

Trifle desserts make eye-catching centerpieces. I garnish mine using candy canes and red and green M&M’s. Think of the merry possibilities as a kid-friendly project. —Cheryl Tompkins, Kingsville, Missouri
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Maple Pralines

This easy Christmas dessert rekindles memories of my grandfather and his love for making maple syrup. When I was in college, my mother would send me a package of her pralines during sugaring season. They were so popular with my friends, I barely managed to tuck away a few for myself.
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Chocolate Marshmallow Peanut Butter Squares

I combined a couple of recipes to create these crunchy, chocolaty peanut butter marshmallow bars that burst with flavor. The bars could also pass for fudge! —Dawn Lowenstein, Huntingdon Valley, Pennsylvania
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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
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Contest-Winning Pumpkin Cheesecake Dessert

With its gingersnap crust and maple syrup drizzle, this rich and creamy spiced pumpkin dessert never fails to get rave reviews. It cuts nicely, too. —Cathy Hall, Phoenix, Arizona
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Fruit Cake

This is my own fruitcake recipe, and it’s a family favorite. The mixture of fruits and nuts helps make it a tasty treat. —Allene Spence, Delbarton, West Virginia
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Butterscotch Gingerbread Cookies

Every time I make this easy Christmas dessert, the spicy aroma takes me back to my childhood. I helped Mom make them and delivered them to neighbors. —Kara Cook, Elk Ridge, Utah
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Cranberry Christmas Cake

The ruby cranberries in this recipe stay bright and beautiful, and their tartness is irresistible. I’ve made this cranberry Christmas cake many times to share. —Marilyn Paradis, Woodburn, Oregon
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Sugared Date Balls

When I was a youngster, Mom always baked this easy Christmas dessert dotted with chewy dates and crunchy walnuts. Much to the delight of my family, I’ve continued her delicious tradition.
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Christmas Sugar Cookie Recipe

I add a hint of lemon to these delightful sugar cookies. For make-ahead convenience, freeze the dough up to three months, then thaw in the fridge before baking and decorating them. —Katie Koziolek, Hartland, Minnesota
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Dutch Apple Pie Tartlets

These adorable mini apple pie pastries make a delightful addition to a dessert buffet or snack tray. The recipe calls for convenient frozen phyllo shells, so they're surprisingly easy to prepare. The lemon curd filling adds a unique flavor twist. —Mary Ann Lee, Clifton Park, New York
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Irish Creme Chocolate Trifle

I was given a bottle of Irish cream liqueur as a gift and had leftover peppermint candy, so I created this easy Christmas dessert. It’s always rich and decadent. —Margaret Wilson, Sun City, California
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Chocolate-Raspberry Fondue

You don’t need a fancy fondue pot to make this melt-in-your-mouth concoction. I serve the dip in my small slow cooker. Folks love the chocolate-raspberry combination. —Heather Maxwell, Fort Riley, Kansas.
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Rainbow S’moreo Cookies

Homemade Oreo-style cookies are pretty great on their own, but they’re even better when you add graham cracker crumbs to the cookie dough, stuff them with marshmallow creme, and then roll them in sprinkles. You can change the color of the sprinkles depending on the holiday or occasion you’re baking them for. —Colleen Delawder, Herndon, Virginia
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Butter Mint Cookies

These delicate mint cookies were a big hit when I made them for a party at work. —Anita Epitropou, Zion, Illinois
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Cherry Surprise Cookies

I tuck a rich chocolate surprise into each of these cute bites. Candied cherries add a colorful finishing touch. —Gloria McBride, Payson, Utah
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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

There’s nothing quite like a festive pie during the holidays. Discover our favorite recipes for Christmas pies.

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White Chocolate Peppermint Crunch

This is my favorite confection to make at Christmas. Not only is it easy, it’s delicious as well. I like to fill small bags with the crunchy candy to place in gift baskets. —Nancy Shelton, Boaz, Kentucky
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Butter Pecan Fudge

Toasted pecans add a nutty crunch to this creamy fudge, perfect for holiday giving. People always seem to rave about its wonderful caramel flavor. —Pam Smith, Alta Loma, California
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Decadent Fudge Cake

Everyone loves the rich flavor in this decadent cake made with four types of chocolate. —Anna Hogge, Yorktown, Virginia
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Dipped Gingersnaps

I get tremendous satisfaction making and giving time-tested yuletide treats like these soft, chewy cookies. Dipping them in white chocolate makes this much-loved, easy Christmas dessert even more special. —Laura Kimball, West Jordan, Utah
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Little Holiday Cakes

My college friend shared this cupcake recipe that has pie crust on the bottom, raspberry jam in the middle and cake on top—scrumptious for a buffet or potluck. —Dana Beckstrom, Salt Lake City, Utah
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Triple-Chocolate Peppermint Cookies

Santa is sure to stop by your house if you leave these minty triple-chocolate peppermint cookies waiting for him. They’re quick and easy for the whole family to make together. —Teresa Ralston, New Albany, Ohio
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Jeweled Thumbprints

When I moved here from Malta more than 20 years ago, a kind neighbor lady took me under her wing and baked many cookies for me. This is one of her recipes that I treasure. —Maria Debono, New York, New York
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Classic Sugar Cookies

Use cookie cutters to cut seasonal shapes from a few cups of Gloria’s dough. Prepared frosting and colored sugar make it a snap to decorate this easy Christmas dessert.
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Peanut Butter Cornflake Cookies

“These simple saucepan cookies are a snap to make,” assures Marg Mitro of Grafton, Ontario. “In fact, I can whip them up in 10 minutes for school lunches. The little treats are a big hit with any crowd—young or old,” she adds.
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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
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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
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Shortbread Cut Out Cookies

I found this recipe in a magazine over 30 years ago and have made these shortbread cutout cookies for Christmas ever since. They’re an oh-so-simple recipe to whip up during the hectic holidays. —Jean Henderson, Montgomery, Texas
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Tender Pecan Logs

Folks always ask me to make these tender nutty logs. Not overly sweet, they’re just right with a steaming cup of coffee or tea. —Joyce Beck, Gadsden, Alabama
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Cranberry Bundt Cake

Cranberry sauce gives this easy Christmas dessert its pretty swirled look. Serve slices for dessert after dinner or as coffee cake for brunch. —Lucile Cline, Wichita, Kansas
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No-Bake Chocolate-Pecan Tartlets

At the last minute, I frantically came up with this easy Christmas dessert for a holiday tea. The tartlets were quickly gobbled up. Now, I make them for our annual Teacher Taster’s Choice and special family gatherings. —Joy Johnson, Culbertson, Montana
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Cream Cheese Spritz

A hint of orange and cinnamon highlights these Christmastime classics. I like to add colorful sprinkles before baking them. The recipe is from a booklet that came with a cookie press in the 1950s…and I still have the press! —Sarah Bedia, Lake Jackson, Texas
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Sacher Torte Squares

Sacher torte is a Viennese cake that requires several steps. My squares are an easy alternative, but they still feature the classic apricot and chocolate flavors. —Arlene Erlbach, Morton Grove, Illinois
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Cranberry Lime Macaroons

It wouldn’t be the holidays for my family and friends if I didn’t make these chewy lime-flavored macaroons. I usually make several batches of this easy Christmas dessert a week during the season. —Alisa Costa, Chatham, New York
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Red Velvet Spritz Cookies

I had never come across a red velvet spritz recipe, so I decided to create one. The hint of cocoa makes these taste like red velvet cake. Add peppermint flavoring for a little extra kick. —Crystal Schlueter, Northglenn, Colorado
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Fudgy Macaroon Bars

Anyone with a sweet tooth will make a beeline for my dessert tray when these rich squares show up. They're attractive on the platter and delectable with fudge and coconut. —Beverly Zdurne, East Lansing, Michigan
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Peanut Butter Blossom Cookies

Here’s proof that peanut butter and chocolate just belong together. These peanut butter blossom cookies are an easy family favorite and never fails to make my children smile. —Tammie Merrill, Wake Forest, North Carolina
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Creamy Caramels

I discovered this easy Christmas dessert in a local newspaper years ago and have made these soft buttery caramels ever since. I make them for Christmas, picnics and charity auctions—and they are so much better than store-bought caramels. Once people have a taste, they ask for the recipe. —Marcie Wolfe, Williamsburg, Virginia
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Miniature Christmas Fruitcakes

I’ve found that people who normally won’t eat fruitcake make an exception when they sample these. Using mini muffin pans for baking creates fun, single-serving cakes. —Libby Over, Phillipsburg, Ohio
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Haystacks Recipe

My grandmother used to make this haystacks recipe to give to my cousin Vonnie and me when our parents didn’t want us to have any more sweets. —Christine Schwester, Divide, Colorado

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

Hazel Wheaton
Hazel is a writer and editor who has worked in the publishing industry for over 25 years in the fields of travel, jewelry arts and food. As the editor of the Taste of Home Christmas Annual (among other titles), she's in the holiday spirit all year round. An enthusiastic baker, she's known for her cookies, cakes and other baked goods. And she still wishes she could cook like her mother.