Home Recipe Roundup 37 Best Make-Ahead Christmas Desserts

37 Best Make-Ahead Christmas Desserts

These make-ahead Christmas desserts will get you into the holiday spirit without all the stress of baking multiple desserts!

Christmas is the most wonderful and delicious time of the year.

Slice of Homemade Christmas Fruit Cake with Cranberries
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And with a little bit of planning, you can ensure there are delightful desserts to enjoy all season long.

The trick is to make the desserts ahead of time. That’s where these recipes come in.

Whether it’s a traditional red velvet cake or festive church window cookies, these treats will surely bring some holiday cheer.

With this round-up, you’ll get ahead in your party prep, allowing you to actually take part in the Christmas fun.

Let’s get started!

1. Peppermint Bark

Peppermint bark is a timeless holiday treat you can make in advance to make Christmas prep a breeze.

This crunchy candy treat has layers of peppermint-infused white and dark chocolates sprinkled with crushed candy canes.

It’s a perfect centerpiece for any dessert table!

Best of all, it’s surprisingly easy to make ahead of time and store until the big day.

2. Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

Making holiday cookies is one of my favorite Christmas traditions.

These chocolate crinkle cookies are always at the top of my go-to list.

The shiny, crackly sugar on the outside makes these soft and chewy chocolate-filled look oh-so-pretty.

And they’re always such a crowd-pleaser!

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Not only do they look festive, but the deliciously rich flavor always follows through in every bite.

This holiday season, you can’t miss out on that unmistakable deliciousness of chocolate crinkle cookies.

3. Traditional Christmas Pudding

Traditional Christmas pudding dates back centuries and is a classic holiday dessert that folks around the world gather to enjoy.

Also called plum or figgy pudding, it’s a dense cake mixed infused with spices and brandy-soaked dried fruits.

This baked pudding has grown to become an icon of Christmas celebrations.

Many families even produce their own plum puddings to share during the holidays.

4. Lamingtons

Lamingtons are a traditional Australian dessert beloved by sweet tooths all around the world.

They’re made of squares of sponge cake that have been dipped in a thin layer of chocolate icing and then coated with desiccated coconut.

I mean, how delectable does that sound?!

This delightful treat dates back to 1895 in Brisbane, Australia, when Lord Lamington’s chef created them as a snack for tea time.

Today, lamingtons remain as popular as ever and come in all sorts of varieties.

There are fruit-flavored marshmallow versions to coffee-drenched sweets.

5. Rum Balls

Rum balls are a delicious no-bake make-ahead treat perfect for holiday entertaining!

My recipe uses a combination of crushed Nilla wafers and pecans, mixed together with cocoa powder, powdered sugar, and rum.

It’s like chocolate truffles, but with a kick.

You can also use butterscotch, brandy, or various liqueurs instead of rum for a different boozy twist.

They’re super easy to make and can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

6. Christmas Tiramisu

Christmas is a great time of year to indulge in decadent dishes.

If you’re looking for something new, how about some Christmas tiramisu?

What makes this tiramisu perfect for Christmas is the use of panettone.

It’s an Italian Christmas bread similar to brioche but studded with dried fruits and nuts.

This dessert combines panettone with smooth pastry cream and mascarpone.

It’s sprinkled with cocoa powder on top, creating a simple yet stunning dessert.

7. Christmas Cheesecake

If you’re looking to elevate the classic cheesecake, look no further than this one.

This recipe amps up the already-delectable dessert by topping it with a layer of white chocolate mousse.

Then, it’s showered with candied cranberries.

It doesn’t matter if you’re spending the holidays with your family or enjoying a traditional Christmas dinner in an intimate setting.

There will always be room for a slice of this irresistible cake.

8. Classic British Christmas Cake

Get ready for a festive cake to remember.

British Christmas cake is dense, fruity, and very boozy.

Many people start making it as early as September and “feed” it with brandy for the weeks leading up to the big day.

The traditional covering is marzipan and royal icing.

For the picture at the top (my cake from last year), I cheated with a drizzle of royal icing and rosemary and cranberries for garnish.

9. Passion Fruit Tart

Take a bite of this passion fruit tart and be treated to a mind-blowing, phenomenal experience.

The buttery-crumbly crust is the perfect foundation for the light and airy passion fruit creme it holds.

Together, the layer’s flavors and textures work in harmony in creating something truly magical.

10. Christmas Chocolate Truffles

Christmas sprinkles make simple chocolate truffles extra spectacular!

In case you didn’t know, truffles are embarrassingly easy to make.

In fact, you only need two things to make them: chocolate and sweetened condensed milk.

Once the mixture sets, you can then shape them into balls, and voila.

You can end there, or as mentioned above, give them extra Christmas cheer with holiday-themed sprinkles.

11. Texas Pecan Pie

Texas pecan pie is the ultimate southern Christmas dessert!

Rich and delectable, this southern specialty combines the perfect crunch from pecans with a gooey filling.

It originated in Texas over a century ago, but it continues to be a favorite during Christmas gatherings to this day.

While the recipe has changed over time, you can’t go wrong with a traditional Texas pecan pie.

For that, this recipe has you covered.

12. Pumpkin Crunch Cake

Pumpkin crunch cake is perfect for the holidays because it combines two holiday favorites: pumpkin and crunch!

With a layer of moist pumpkin cake topped with crunchy candied pecans, this festive treat will be the highlight of any dinner table.

It’s excellent for those who can’t get enough of fall flavors.

13. Christmas Rocky Road

Make the traditional rocky road extra fun and Christmassy with this holiday recipe!

It’s studded with macadamias, mini marshmallows, pistachios, dried cranberries, and get this, Turkish delight.

Needless to say, this rocky road definitely has a burst of wonderfully unique flavors and textures.

Whether served as an after-dinner treat or as a lunch box snack, Christmas rocky road never fails to hit the spot.

14. Whipped Shortbread Cookies

The holidays wouldn’t be complete without a plate of delicious, homemade whipped shortbread cookies!

These cookies are so buttery they almost melt in your mouth. They’re so light and airy, one cookie is never enough!

Enjoy these delightful delicacies with a hot cup of cocoa and you’ll have a very merry Christmas, indeed.

15. Biscoff Cheesecake

Biscoff cheesecake is a dreamy dessert sure to tantalize your tastebuds in the most magical ways!

Biscoff cheesecake is the ultimate indulgence.

It brings together two of our favorite ingredients: smooth cream cheese and sweet, crunchy cookie butter.

Unlike regular cheesecakes, you get a layer of Biscoff cookie crust topped with fluffy cream cheese and a cookie butter filling.

The balance between tart and creamy, as well as crunchy and buttery creates an unbeatable flavor combination.

16. Christmas Ice Cream Cake

When it comes to picky eaters, you can’t go wrong with ice cream cake.

So this year, why not celebrate the holidays with this festive, Christmas-themed ice cream cake?

Use Oreo cookies for a crunchy crust and layer them with ice cream sandwiches for extra sweetness.

Top it off with peppermint ice cream, melted chocolate, and Christmas sprinkles for the perfect finishing touches.

I’m telling you, this outrageously decadent dessert will surely be the most talked about item at your party.

17. No-Bake Cherry Cheesecake

This no-bake cherry cheesecake is a heavenly dessert you can easily put together with minimal ingredients.

It’s just as rich and creamy yet light and airy as any other cheesecake.

But it has a little special something that makes it perfect for Christmas.

A sweet, velvet cherry pie filling gives the cake that joyous Christmas vibe.

It’s a simple addition that makes the classic dessert even more irresistible.

18. Christmas Gingerbread Trifle

Nothing speaks of Christmas quite like a gingerbread cookie.

Turning it into a trifle amps it up by multiple levels, making it a jaw-dropping holiday centerpiece.

This stunning dessert is made with layers of booze-infused gingerbread cookies, dulce de leche whipped cream, and vanilla whipped cream.

If you’re looking for an easy way to make your holidays extra special, this recipe has you covered.

19. Gingerbread Cookies

Nothing beats the comforting and timeless appeal of a gingerbread cookie!

These Christmas cookies have the perfect amount of crunch.

Every bite is filled with the classic flavors you know and love like molasses, butter, and warm spices.

The fact that they’re beyond adorable doesn’t hurt, either.

20. Candy Cane Dessert

If you’re feeling adventurous this Christmas, why not treat your family to something a little different?

With layers of Oreo crust, peppermint cheesecake, vanilla pudding, and whipped cream, this dessert is definitely a show-stopper.

It’s a delicious, new twist on our favorite Christmas flavors, and it works.

21. Chocolate Mousse

Homemade chocolate mousse is a classic dessert that never disappoints.

With a light and creamy texture and flavor, it’s the perfect finish to a hearty Christmas meal.

It’s luxurious enough to be served as-is.

If you want to be extra about it, top it off with a sprinkle of cocoa powder, a strawberry slice, or sweetened cream.

22. Gingerbread Cheesecake

An easy way to transform cheesecake into a holiday dessert is through the addition of gingerbread. This recipe will teach you how.

Infusing both the crust and cream cheese filling with warming spices gives the cheesecake deeper, more playful flavors.

Whether you serve it as a light after-dinner treat or as a fun centerpiece for the holiday table, this gingerbread cake will definitely impress.

23. Cream Cheese Fudge

This cream cheese fudge offers the perfect combination of velvety sweet chocolate and tangy cream cheese.

The addition of the cream cheese not only adds a twist to the flavor but also helps to cut the sweetness of the chocolate.

This unique fusion of classic tastes appeals to a wide range of palates.

It’s a fun combination that can turn any skeptic into a believer. It’s a delicious Christmas miracle if you please.

24. Gingerbread Ice Cream

If you’re looking for a unique ice cream flavor that’ll stand out from the others, then gingerbread ice cream could be your new favorite.

This festive delight combines molasses, ginger, orange zest, and other spices to create an unforgettable Christmas flavor.

It’s a one-of-a-kind treat full of sweet and warming flavors that you can’t find anywhere else.

25. Lemon Meringue Roulade

This lemon meringue roulade is a sponge cake filled with lemon curd and topped with toasted meringue.

Its heavenly combination of sweet, creamy tartness makes it a unique treat in the world of desserts.

The sponge cake provides a light backdrop to balance the bold flavors of lemon and meringue.

If you’re looking to impress, you can’t go wrong with this one.

26. Strawberry Pretzel Salad

Craving refreshing summer flavors this Christmas season? This strawberry pretzel salad has you covered.

This dessert features layers of a crumbly pretzel crust, sweetened cream cheese filling, strawberry jelly, and whipped cream.

Its intriguing combination of textures as well as sweet and salty flavors will absolutely make your mouth water.

27. Classic Nanaimo Bars

Nanaimo bars are a classic for Christmastime in Canada.

They originate from Nanaimo, British Columbia.

This confection is made from a chocolate-flavored base with layers of custard buttercream and melted chocolate on top.

These delectable treats will bring joy and excitement to any celebration no matter where you’re from.

28. Church Window Cookies

These church window cookies are as visually pleasing as they are palatable.

A combination of walnuts, shredded coconut, and multi-colored marshmallows is encased in a smooth and crunchy chocolate shell.

They’re not just a perfect holiday dessert, but also an excellent pick-me-up for any day.

29. Santa Hat Cheesecake Bites

For a crowd-pleasing Christmas dessert sure to wow everybody, look no further than these delectable Santa hat cheesecake bites!

These bite-sized treats are cleverly topped with upside-down strawberries, creating that Santa hat look.

Not only do they look festive, but they also have an incredibly creamy texture that melts in your mouth.

This simple yet festive dessert will surely bring smiles all around.

30. Red Velvet Crinkle Cookies

These crinkle cookies combine the flavors of rich red velvet with zesty lemon.

The end result is a soft cookie that almost melts in your mouth.

Serve them warm with ice cream or cold on their own, and they’re sure to spread extra holiday cheer.

31. Patti LaBelle’s Sweet Potato Pie

Adding fall flavors to your Christmas spread is always a good idea.

There’s no better way to do it than with Patti Labelle’s famous sweet potato pie.

The star baker adds extra oomph to the southern dessert with a buttery crust and warming spices.

You can enjoy the pie all year round. But there’s something truly special about biting into a slice during the winter holidays.

32. Christmas Chocolate Ripple Cake Wreath

Nothing quite comes close to the festive and delicious feeling of a Christmas chocolate ripple cake wreath.

It’s made of chocolate Ripple biscuits, cream, and icing sugar, decorated with M&M’s, Maltesers, and other candies.

With its playful flavors and jaw-dropping presentation, your guests won’t be able to resist digging into this wreath.

33. White Chocolate Bark

White chocolate bark is proof that the greatest things are sometimes the easiest to make.

With melted chocolate as your base ingredient, the possibilities for creating unique combinations of flavors and colors are endless.

This recipe uses pistachios, cranberries, and candies for the mix-ins, but feel free to get creative.

34. Pumpkin Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting

Whether you call them pumpkin cookies or sandwich cookies, they make the perfect Christmas treat.

This irresistible dessert is made with two soft, light, pumpkin-flavored cookies frosted with tangy sweetened cream cheese.

The sweet and spicy aroma of cinnamon makes these cookies so inviting, even when they’re still baking in the oven.

These light and tender autumn treats will make your winter holidays even more joyful.

35. Rudolph Reindeer Cookies

Christmas can’t get any cuter than this!

These treats are made with a soft sugar cookie base, pretzels for the antlers, chocolate chips for the eyes, and M&M’s for the iconic red nose.

They’re undeniably the perfect Christmas cookies.

Serve these at the Christmas party and leave your guests with sparkles in their eyes.

36. Pumpkin Dump Cake

This pumpkin dump cake is ideal for when you need an effortless holiday dessert that won’t disappoint!

It combines canned pumpkin, yellow cake mix, pecans, and traditional holiday spices for extra depth of flavor.

The use of primarily pre-made ingredients means you only need a few minutes of prep and an oven.

37. Japanese Strawberry Shortcake

Give your American celebration an Asian twist with this glorious Japanese strawberry shortcake.

This cake features an incredibly light and airy strawberry sponge cake for the base and airy whipped cream layered on top.

Top it with fresh strawberries for a beautiful finishing touch.

37 Best Make-Ahead Christmas Desserts

These make-ahead desserts help make the holidays so much smoother! From cookies to cakes to pies and trifle, these treats make for a jolly good time!


  • Peppermint Bark

  • Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

  • Traditional Christmas Pudding

  • Lamingtons

  • Rum Balls

  • Christmas Tiramisu

  • Christmas Cheesecake

  • Cranberry Christmas Cake

  • Passion Fruit Tart

  • Christmas Chocolate Truffles

  • Texas Pecan Pie

  • Pumpkin Crunch Cake

  • Christmas Rocky Road

  • Whipped Shortbread Cookies

  • Biscoff Cheesecake

  • Christmas Ice Cream Cake

  • No-Bake Cherry Cheesecake

  • Christmas Gingerbread Trifle

  • Gingerbread Cookies

  • Candy Cane Dessert

  • Chocolate Mousse

  • Gingerbread Cheesecake

  • Cream Cheese Fudge

  • Gingerbread Ice Cream

  • Lemon Meringue Roulade

  • Strawberry Pretzel Salad

  • Classic Nanaimo Bars

  • Church Window Cookies

  • Santa Hat Cheesecake Bites

  • Red Velvet Crinkle Cookies

  • Patti LaBelle’s Sweet Potato Pie

  • Christmas Chocolate Ripple Cake Wreath

  • White Chocolate Bark

  • Pumpkin Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Rudolph Reindeer Cookies

  • Pumpkin Dump Cake

  • Japanese Strawberry Shortcake


  • Select your favorite recipe.
  • Organize all the required ingredients.
  • Prep a holiday treat in 30 minutes or less!
Make-Ahead Christmas Desserts

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author avatar
Kim - InsanelyGood
Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

2 thoughts on “37 Best Make-Ahead Christmas Desserts”

  1. I’d love to have the recipe for the dense cake pictured at the beginning of this presentation, also shown at the end (whole cake with white icing and a rosemary wreath with cranberries). It’s also shown in the the photo shot of “Make Ahead Christmas Desserts”, photo on upper right. Please email recipe? THANK YOU!


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