Make-Ahead Christmas Dessert Recipes

When it comes to Christmas dinner, there is so much going on it's nice to have some things already prepped. And since dessert is *one* of the most important parts of any holiday meal, we have a variety of easy Christmas treats that can be made ahead of time. From decadent pies to delicious cookies, these make-ahead easy Christmas desserts will have you spending less time in the kitchen and more time with your loved ones. Talk about a holiday treat!

Staff Picks

Fried Apple Pie Rolls

Rating: 4.55 stars
11
In this healthy take on apple pie, egg roll wrappers stand in for pie crust, saving you calories and the headache of rolling out dough. We like to use Granny Smith apples because they hold their shape and provide tart balance to the sweet filling. Try dipping these handheld crispy treats in whipped cream.

Frozen Pumpkin Mousse Pie

Rating: 4.86 stars
22
While pumpkin pie deserves respect as a Thanksgiving icon, it's fun to shake up tradition. Surprise your family and friends with a frozen pie this year--it just might become one of their holiday favorites. No need to let them know how easy it is.

Cinnamon Swirl Apple Pie

Rating: 5 stars
1
Instead of topping your apple pie with a full crust, cover the dough in cinnamon sugar, roll it up and slice it like cinnamon rolls to make beautiful cinnamon swirls to top the pie. The fragrant cinnamon bun-like topping makes homemade apple pie even more special!

Sweet Potato Pie with Cream Cheese Swirl

Rating: 4.29 stars
7
This creamy sweet potato pie recipe is seasoned like a pumpkin pie with plenty of cinnamon and nutmeg and gets nice ginger flavor from the gingersnap crust. For the best results, roast sweet potatoes in the oven; in a pinch, microwave them instead.

Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream

Rating: 4.27 stars
11
Here's a simple recipe for low-fat vanilla ice cream. Our version has all the richness you'll need but about 90 fewer calories than store-bought premium ice cream and a whopping 15 grams less total fat and 10 grams less saturated fat per serving.

Apple-Cinnamon Fruit Bars

Rating: 3.57 stars
7
These easy apple-cinnamon fruit bars make a big batch--perfect for fall potlucks and parties.

Phyllo-Wrapped Apple Dumplings with Apple Cider Sauce

In this apple dumpling dessert recipe, apples are sprinkled with raisins, brown sugar and spice then wrapped in lightly buttered phyllo dough before being baked into a gorgeous parcel. For the sauce, apple cider is reduced to create a sensational accompaniment for these crispy apple dumplings.

Sticky Toffee Pudding with Maple Sauce

Rating: 4 stars
1
This is a healthier version of the gooey-rich sticky toffee pudding recipe served in the winter at Joanne Chang's Asian restaurant Myers+Chang in Boston. Lightly sweetened with maple syrup, the cake is chock-full of rich, naturally sweet dates. Adapted from Baking with Less Sugar by Joanne Chang (Chronicle Books, 2015).

Chocolate Nut Bark

Rating: 4.91 stars
11
Use your favorite combination of nuts to make this quick and easy chocolate nut bark.

Cranberry Upside-Down Cake

Rating: 4.91 stars
11
The basic recipe for this cake is very versatile and can be made with apples, pears, peaches or any full-flavored, slightly acidic fruit. The cake is best served warm. (Recipe adapted from The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters.)

Pear Custard Pie

Rating: 5 stars
1
A velvety, light custard surrounds ripe pears in this healthy pear pie recipe. Serve with a dollop of vanilla whipped cream.

Glazed Chocolate-Pumpkin Bundt Cake

Rating: 3.93 stars
71
You don't have to have pumpkin pie to still enjoy pumpkin and spice in a Thanksgiving dessert. Pumpkin helps keep this cake tender and moist while, delicate spices add the classic Thanksgiving flavors.
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Inspiration and Ideas

Vegan Gingerbread Cookies
Coconut oil stands in for butter in this dairy-free, eggless cookie recipe for completely mouthwatering gingerbread cut-outs. Decorate cookies with a simple vegan icing or sanding sugar.
Cinnamon Swirl Apple Pie
Instead of topping your apple pie with a full crust, cover the dough in cinnamon sugar, roll it up and slice it like cinnamon rolls to make beautiful cinnamon swirls to top the pie. The fragrant cinnamon bun-like topping makes homemade apple pie even more special!

Meringues

Rating: 4.4 stars
5

Perfect meringues depend on totally yolk-free whites. The seemingly fussy step of separating each egg into a small bowl before combining them guarantees yolk-free whites for bakeshop-quality meringues every time. These crispy little morsels travel well and make great gifts too.