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

Boot Tracks

Rating: 4.5 stars 11
Patti Anderson, a professional quilter, had never entered a cooking contest before she took our challenge. This quick, no-fuss, chewy chocolate cookie is made on your waffle iron. No need to haul out the big mixer, you can mix the batter with a small hand mixer or even by hand. Kids love these!

Flourless Chocolate Cookies

Rating: 3.5 stars 7
These flourless cookies get their volume from whipped egg whites (like a meringue) instead of grains, making them gluten-free and melt-in-your-mouth delicious. A chocolate chip in each bite adds to the rich chocolate flavor.

Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream

Rating: 5 stars 5
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.
By EatingWell Test Kitchen

Fried Apple Pie Rolls

Rating: 4.5 stars 15
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.
By Breana Killeen

Meringues

Rating: 4.5 stars 2
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.
By EatingWell Test Kitchen

Peppermint-Chocolate Greek Yogurt Bark

Rating: 5 stars 4
This eye-catching frozen peppermint-chocolate bark was inspired by Williams Sonoma's Original Peppermint Bark--our loose interpretation of the treat is frozen and made with Greek yogurt, chocolate and crushed candy canes. For the creamiest bark, be sure to use full-fat yogurt, as fat-free yogurt can get icy when frozen. Serve this healthy dessert when you want all those festive holiday flavors in a lightened-up--and totally delicious--package. Just don't stuff your Christmas stockings with this bark because it melts quickly.
By Adam Hickman

Chocolate Nut Bark

Rating: 5 stars 6
Use your favorite combination of nuts to make this quick and easy chocolate nut bark.
By EatingWell Test Kitchen

Greek Walnut Spice Cake

Rating: 4.5 stars 2
A rich, flavorful syrup infuses this Mediterranean-inspired walnut coffee cake with the bright aroma of oranges and cloves. Heart-healthy olive oil and whole-grain barley flour add subtle complexity and texture to this nutty treat.

Dried-Fruit Bars

Rating: 5 stars 2
Make a batch of these easy homemade dried-fruit bars to tuck into your kid's lunchbox all week.

Cranberry Crumble Bars

Rating: 3.5 stars 7
These cranberry-orange bars freeze well. Make a batch on a free afternoon and pop them in the freezer so you'll always have a healthy dessert on hand when company calls.
By Summer Miller

Chilled Key Lime Mousse

Rating: 3.5 stars 2
This refreshing chilled Key lime mousse is a perfect union of cream and foam, tangy lime and soft sweet custard. The method is simple but a little unusual--you make a custard with fresh Key lime juice rather than milk or cream. Key limes, which are about the size of a Ping-Pong ball, are wonderfully fragrant and more acidic than regular limes. They are available all year at well-stocked supermarkets. If you can't find them, by all means use regular limes.
By Lori Longbotham

Apple-Cinnamon Fruit Bars

Rating: 4 stars 4
These easy apple-cinnamon fruit bars make a big batch--perfect for fall potlucks and parties.
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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!
Italian Hazelnut Cookies
Rating: 4.5 stars 4

These crispy cookies are made with Piedmontese staples--hazelnuts and eggs--and called Brutti Ma Buoni: literally, “Ugly But Good.” But they are really more plain-looking than “ugly,” and pack a powerful, sweet, nutty burst of flavor, making them welcome at any table.