18 Magnificent Make-Ahead Holiday Dessert Recipes
Categories: Holidays

18 Magnificent Make-Ahead Holiday Dessert Recipes

Our holiday social calendars are filled with family parties, friendly gatherings, office holiday parties and countless other festive activities. No one wants to show up to a party empty-handed. Bringing an easy dessert is a great way to contribute something everyone can enjoy, but after spending your day in the kitchen you still have to pull together a bangin’ outfit and fierce makeup — who even has time for all that? That’s where we come in. Here are 18 delicious make-ahead desserts to whip up this holiday season. Consider this list our gift to you.

1. Cranberry Custard Pie: The sweet custard base and pops of tart cranberries in this pie make waiting until the next day to eat it pure torture. Bake in a deep-dish crust to accommodate all the filling and store covered on your counter until it’s time to dig in. (via The Food Charlatan)

2. Chocolate Cream Pie: This light and creamy chocolate pie is completely no-bake, so take advantage of a free afternoon to make a whole bunch at once. Put the pie in the freezer to harden and pull it out 10 minutes before serving for easy slicing. (via Culinary Hill)

3. Pomegranate Pistachio Meringues: Ok, so these do take a while in the oven, but putting them together could not be easier. Make the meringue shells ahead of time and store them in the freezer in an air-tight container. On the day of, all you need to do is add the yogurt/pistachio/pomegranate topping. You got this, girl! (via Cooking Canuck)

4. Mini Chocolate Peanut Butter Pies: You will have more than enough time to get ready if you make these chocolate and peanut butter dreamboats. They only need a quick five minutes in the oven (for the crust) and can be made up to seven days in advance. (via Carlsbad Craving)

5. Brown-Butter Cranberry Tart: You had us at brown-butter. Make the tart and topping the day before and keep the pie on the counter, but refrigerate the cranberries. Bring the sauce to room temperature and enjoy! (via The Food Charlatan)

6. Toasted Meringue Cream Pie: This is one impressive dessert in both looks and preparation. There is absolutely zero baking involved, and that sky-high meringue topping is stable enough to hold up in the refrigerator overnight, even after it’s already been brûléed. Bonus: You’ll finally have an excuse to use your kitchen torch. (via Bon Appetite)

7. Wonton Apple Pie: If your friendsgiving is filled with fellow foodies, then this modern twist on a classic dessert is perfect. There is a bit of prep work involved, but half of it can be done the day before, so it won’t feel like work at all. Top with a generous dusting of powdered sugar before serving and get ready to watch your friends’ eyes light up. (via A Fork and a Pencil)

8. Cranberry Salad: This light and fluffy marshmallow salad is just the right dessert to follow a huge feast. Plus, it’s a cinch to make and will leave your hands free for other things (like pulling off a festive updo). A few hours before serving, just mix in the whipped cream and marshmallows, then chill (literally and figuratively). (via Creme de la Crumb)

9. Pumpkin Caramel Tart: Break out your springform pan for this beautiful tart and give that ordinary pumpkin pie a run for its money. Both the tart and caramelized hazelnuts can be prepared (separately) up to two days in advance and combined the day of. That party dessert table will never be the same again. (via Bon Appetite)

10. Berry Chantilly Cake: This airy sponge cake with layers of sweetened whipped cream is actually better when made in advance so the fresh berries have a chance to soak up as much flavor as possible. Frost the cake with the leftover filling or go rustic and leave it naked. Either way, it will be the star of the party. (via Sweet and Savory)

11. Peppermint Trifle: Layer cubes of red velvet cake, chocolate mousse and peppermint mousse to create a dessert that looks just as good as it tastes. Shortcuts like using store-bought whipped cream to make the mousse and a boxed cake mix will help lighten your load and still leave you with a killer dessert. (via A baJillian Recipes)

12. Dulce De Leche Cups: One unexpected tool makes putting together these bite-sized beauties easier than ever: a paintbrush. Once you master the basic technique, you can get creative with the flavors. These would be divine with dark chocolate and a salted caramel filling. (via Garnish With Lemon)

13. Gingerbread Bread Pudding: These delicious bread pudding cups with sweet bourbon sauce are just as yummy when eaten for breakfast (hello, leftovers!) as they are for dessert. They can even be made up to four days in advance. Basically, they can do no wrong. (via Well Plated)

14. Amaretti Tiramisu: The flavors of strong espresso paired with mascarpone cheese and chocolate shavings are undeniably delicious. Prepare in small mason jars and chill in the refrigerator. When it’s time for dessert, everyone can dig in at the same time. (via Vikalinka)

15. Pumpkin Pinwheels: Mystify the kids’ table with this cake’s magical swirl, and delight the adults with its rich and creamy flavor. Cover the cooled cake with plastic wrap before storing in the refrigerator (or double wrap and stick it in the freezer) for up to four days. (via NeighborFood)

16. Gingerbread Pear Trifle: Save yourself some extra work and grab a store-bought gingerbread cake to make this dessert. By the time it sits in the refrigerator all night soaking up the flavors of the custard and cinnamon-spiced pears, you’ll never know the difference. (via Fresh from Eva’s Kitchen)

17. S’mores Truffles: Enjoy the distinct taste of marshmallows, chocolate and graham crackers without having to start a fire. Sprinkle freshly coated truffles with graham cracker crumbs and let them sit until the chocolate hardens. This just might be your new favorite way to eat a s’more. (via High Heels and Grills)

18. Peanut Butter Cup Cookies: While these are better when you can make and eat them on the same day, the basic dry mix can be made weeks in advance. You’ll cut your steps in half on the day of, which is helpful when your to-do list is a mile long. (via Marty’s Musings)

Will you whip up any of these make-ahead desserts to save time this holiday season? Talk to us in the comments!