25 Christmas Dessert Recipes That Aren't Pumpkin Pie

When it comes to Christmas meals, desserts are usually the center of attention. Dessert tables at Christmas everywhere proudly displays an array of delicious holiday treats that make the celebrations even sweeter and more festive. But rather than hauling out the recipe book with the same old traditional recipes you've served in years past, why not jump into a new selection of sugary delights? 

From quick breads brimming with the blended zing of cranberries and citrus to creamy puddings topped with tropical fruits, your options for a Christmas dessert can be a unique gift that everyone in attendance will definitely treasure. Here are 25 Christmas dessert recipes that aren't pumpkin pie to impress your family with this holiday season — ones that they will never forget.

1. Old-Fashioned Apple Fritters

Apple is a classic holiday flavor that tends to get trampled in the pumpkin spice stampede that starts in fall and continues through winter. Fritters make great bite-sized treats that bring apples back to the center of the table. Bursting with fresh apples, these fried and glazed crispy wonders are ideal finger foods for guests to pop onto their plates. Since they taste best when served fresh out of the fryer, it's a good idea to make them the day of the big feast. If they cool off before dessert is served, reheat them in the toaster oven for a few minutes.

Recipe: Old-Fashioned Apple Fritters

2. Extra-Moist Butter Cake

The simple decadence of a butter-filled cake is a comfort few dessert lovers can resist. It's a straightforward slice of sweetness that gets right to the heart of the matter, with unadorned vanilla-and-butter goodness that takes baking back to basics. With a little plain yogurt added to the mix, this classic bake becomes a super-moist sponge that stands alone as a delicious dish. You can also drizzle it with chocolate or caramel sauce to take the flavor profile up a notch. Cut into cubes and arrange with fruit and syrups for a charcuterie-style display with a sugary touch.

Recipe: Extra-Moist Butter Cake

3. Salted Caramel Cake

Salted caramel has made itself right at home on the foodie scene, much like this cake will at your holiday get-together. It's a culinary magic trick of tongue-tingling flavors, with salty balancing sweet in a duet that's sure to entice. Buttermilk and heavy cream turn the sponge into a stunner, while a glaze of fresh caramel sauce and a generous sprinkling of flaky salt transform it into a dessert spectacle. Use a Bundt pan for decorative flair to make the presentation even prettier.

Recipe: Salted Caramel Cake

4. Classic Vanilla Pizzelle

With their crisp, tender texture and delicate pastry-like flavor, pizzelles are a flexible treat that let your guests customize their desserts. These gourmet waffle-like cookies are a great option for those who prefer something less sweet on their plate but still want to indulge in the festive holiday desserts. And for anyone in search of a more decadent treat, a pizzelle smeared with fruity jams, jellies or even a drizzle of chocolate ganache or caramel sauce will send you straight to the highest levels of a dessert heaven. Their embossed designs add a touch of elegance to every plate they grace.

Recipe: Classic Vanilla Pizzelle

5. Old-Fashioned Apple Dumplings

These nostalgic flavor bombs consist of traditional dough cradling whole apples, creating a personal-sized apple pie for each guest to enjoy. Flavored with cinnamon and drizzled with fresh caramel sauce, apple dumplings bring a trio of quintessential holiday flavors together in every bite. Top them with ice cream, and you will have an apple pie à la mode that brings sentimental sweetness to your Christmas dessert array. You can also go the extra mile and top them with fresh whipped cream and candied walnuts that will raise your dessert's culinary enchantment to new heights.

Recipe: Old-Fashioned Apple Dumplings

6. Coconut-Cardamom Tapioca Pudding

This island treat is an addition to your Christmas dessert table that your guests won't see coming. Once they taste this creamy, spicy concoction, they'll definitely appreciate that you took your sweets selection a delicious new direction. Tender tapioca pearls share the dish with creamy coconut milk and warm waves of umami cardamom flavor. This pudding takes a bit of pre-cooking prep work, so make sure to factor extra time into your schedule. Top the pudding with fresh fruits for a burst of bright colors and delicious flavors. 

Recipe: Coconut-Cardamom Tapioca Pudding

7. Easy Apple Pie

With a meal as involved as Christmas dinner, there's no need to frazzle yourself further over desserts with this easy apple pie recipe. It's as simple as blending sliced apples with cinnamon and sugar and piling them into a tender pre-made crust. A pretty lattice top adds a gourmet touch to a traditional pie that everyone will love for its comforting familiarity. Ramp up the apple quotient with a spoon of crockpot apple butter instead of a whipped cream topping. There may be no more direct way to access the true holiday spirit than with a good ol' apple pie.

Recipe: Easy Apple Pie

8. Moist Cranberry Bread

Take the cranberries off the main table and add them to the dessert table with this easy-to-make sweet bread treat. This quick bread combines tangy cranberries and zesty orange juice to create sunshine in a dessert form. The orange juice does more than just add a happy kick to mix; the acid also helps bring out the flavor of the cranberries to create a finely balanced culinary alliance. A tablespoon of orange zest ensures that the flavor gets its own texture to complement the burst of cranberries your guests will find in every slice.

Recipe: Moist Cranberry Bread

9. Copycat Starbucks Pumpkin Bread

Avoid the mad dash to the coffee shop for Starbucks-style pumpkin bread and make your own instead. The secret to recreating the popular treat is adding lots of pumpkin — an entire can, to be exact. The result is combination loaf cake and sweet bread, which makes it a Christmas treat worthy of your dessert table. If your guests are pining for an even greater pumpkin flavor, serve your pumpkin bread with a side of copycat Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte and make their holiday dessert dreams come true.

Recipe: Copycat Starbucks Pumpkin Bread

10. Orange Chocolate Loaf Cake

The blend of orange and chocolate signals the holiday season in an elegant way. The base of this luscious loaf is a cocoa-centered batter brightened with the zing of orange zest scattered throughout. A silken vanilla glaze incorporates orange juice as the liquid base to kick up volume on the citrus tingle. The fusion becomes a celebration of rich flavor and dense texture that makes Christmas dessert even more special. And if you're hosting a holiday brunch that calls for a toast, serve this loaf with mimosas for an extra punch of orange.

Recipe: Orange Chocolate Loaf Cake

11. Cookie Butter Banana Bread

Banana bread is a perennial favorite during the holiday season. The addition of cookie butter to this traditional recipe refreshes the formula. Adding a generous ¾ cup helping of cookie butter to the mix brings a sweet, spicy warmth to the flavor profile. You can also set out the rest of the cookie butter from the jar in a decorative dish for your guests to spread on their slices. A swath between two slices makes a dessert sandwich that puts both the bread and the spread to their best use.

Recipe: Cookie Butter Banana Bread

12. Best Harvest Spice Bread

Craving for a pumpkin-based dessert that isn't a pumpkin pie? This best harvest spice bread has got you covered. A bit of pumpkin flavor on the dessert table will warm the happy hearts of holiday traditionalists in your crew. This harvest spice bread brings cake-like luxury to a quick bread recipe topped with chocolate chips and walnuts. The result is an autumnal delight that pairs perfectly with after dinner coffee or tea. Slice it thick to provide lavish servings of soothing spiced sweetness for your diners to savor. The only thing that would make this dessert taste even better is a drizzle of homemade caramel sauce.

Recipe: Best Harvest Spice Bread

13. Creamy Tiramisu Pie

Bring a bit of old-world pastry shop charm to your selection of Christmas sweets with this pie-style take on a classic tiramisu. The filling is a sumptuous blend of creamy mascarpone, heavy cream, and espresso-dipped ladyfingers, all layered in a pre-made pie crust and topped with a hearty dusting of unsweetened cocoa powder to add both flavor and décor. It's a rich stroke of indulgence that elevates your holiday spread with gorgeous gourmet goodness. Serve slices of this decadent creation with authentic espresso for a fantastic Italian-style finish to a magnificent meal.

Recipe: Creamy Tiramisu Pie

14. Easy Derby Pie

Southern sweetness gets a seat at the table when you whip up a traditional derby pie. Think of this confection as a cookie baked in a pie shell, filled with walnuts and chocolate chips and boldly flavored with bourbon and brown sugar. A splash of almond extract balances the walnut and chocolate flavors, recalling the sweet goodness of your favorite childhood desserts. Need something on top to complete the dish? Try some homemade vanilla ice cream made with three simple ingredients and no churning for a fresh take on pie à la mode.

Recipe: Easy Derby Pie

15. Brookies

Can't decide between making brownies or cookies for Christmas dessert? Well, why not combine them in a single spectacular recipe? Brookies are the perfect solution for a Christmas treat that presents festive flavors in a unique way. This duet of beautiful bar desserts layer the best elements of gooey brownies and chewy chocolate chip cookies into a double stack of sweet bliss. The secret to getting distinct layers of both brownie and cookie is chilling the bottom layer of chocolate chip cookie dough until it's semi-frozen, then spreading the brownie batter on top before baking.

Recipe: Brookies

16. From-Scratch Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon is such a comforting autumn spice that having a traditionally breakfast-oriented sweet like cinnamon rolls on your dessert table won't faze anyone. And don't let the "from scratch" element intimidate you, either. These rolls use a simple dough that doesn't require proving, making for an easy Christmas dessert that you can prep a day before and refrigerate. Bake and glaze the rolls just before dessert is being served for a warm and gooey right-out-of-the-oven experience. Add a warm Irish coffee next to every plate and transform your final course into the start of something exceptional.

Recipe: From-Scratch Cinnamon Rolls

17. Fun and Festive Butter Cookies

No dessert heralds the sensation of Christmas happiness better than the sweet simplicity of butter cookies. Sure, you could rely on the familiar Danish tin found in homes around the world. But wouldn't you rather bake a batch from scratch using fresh butter, real vanilla flavoring, and festive sprinkles that add a colorful spark to your dessert spread? Of course you would! Arrange these fanciful beauties on a pretty plate and serve them with warm and spicy chai tea and you will have a delicate yet delightful dessert that everyone will appreciate.

Recipe: Fun and Festive Butter Cookies

18. Classic Bread Pudding

Creamy custard surrounding tender cubes of dense bread becomes a hearty bread pudding that will sends your Christmas revellers into dessert heaven. This traditional-style dessert includes chewy raisins to add intriguing texture to the gooey pudding base. With a dessert that is served warm like bread pudding, you'll want a topping that keeps its shape, something like stabilized whipped cream. Add a dollop to every plate and watch your guests dissolve into puddles of bliss. For a soothing drink to serve with it, brew a pot of ginger tea to add a complementary flavor without added sweetness.

Recipe: Classic Bread Pudding

19. Soft and Chewy Pumpkin Cookies

Existing somewhere between a snickerdoodle and a sugar cookie, these chewy holiday cookies are a welcome blend of holiday flavors. A glittery sugar finish gives them just enough seasonal sparkle. If you prefer cookies with a bit more structure, you can whip up a batch of cream cheese frosting and spread a dab between two of these sweet treats to create your very own sandwich cookies. You can also use a star frosting tip to pipe a more generous helping and add a stylish design element to your dessert creations.

Recipe: Soft and Chewy Pumpkin Cookies

20. Classic New York Cheesecake

A showstopper at any dessert occasion, a cheesecake made with authentic New York-style panache will be a sure winner when it graces your Christmas treat selection. This creamy winner features a graham cracker crust and all that creamy cheesecake goodness your guests know and love. It's a touch of cosmopolitan kitchen creativity that lends sophistication and style to your dinner's final course. Serve it with chocolate gravy for an extra indulgence that will have your guests asking for seconds. 

Recipe: Classic New York Cheesecake

21. Best Nutella Cupcakes

The chocolatey hazelnut joy of Nutella is the ruler of these incredible cupcakes, custom made for celebrating the holidays. The creamy spread does double-duty in these heavenly cakes, serving as both a gooey center filling and a fluffy frosting crown on top. Add a sprinkle of chocolate and toasted hazelnuts like sweet and savory jewels and you will have a royal treat that brings your Christmas treat array into the realm of dessert royalty. Serve them with cinnamon coffee to ends your meal on a warm note.

Recipe: Best Nutella Cupcakes

22. Air Fryer S'mores

Make your Christmas dessert whimsical with these indoor s'mores that don't require a campfire. Guests of all ages will love digging into their own personal s'mores pastries, a melty finger food filled with chocolate and marshmallows. Made with crescent roll dough, chocolate bars, mini-marshmallows, and graham cracker crumbs, these treats will turn your holiday dessert into a walk down memory lane as everyone recalls beloved s'mores moments from days past. You can prep them ahead of time and pop them into the air fryer for a six-minute cook-up that lets you serve them campfire-style hot.

Recipe: Air Fryer S'mores

23. Cranberry Crumble Bars

The tangy zing of cranberries served in a crumble-style bar is a Christmas dessert candidate everyone can get behind. Buttery brown sugar topping, zesty orange juice, and soothing vanilla create a flavor partnership that signals the start of the holiday season. These tender bars just might make cranberry fans of guests who don't typically go for cranberries served relish  or sauce-style with the main meal. If coffee is required to balance out the sweetness, serve the bars with copycat Starbucks Holiday Spice Flat White to close out a memorable dessert with an equally unforgettable coffee.

Recipe: Cranberry Crumble Bars

24. Cinnamon Blondies

Who says brownie-style treats have to include chocolate to be indulgently delicious? These blondies serve up a pan-baked variation of a Toll House cookie, packed with white chocolate chips for added creaminess and a generous helping of cinnamon to add some serious warmth. Adjust cooking time to them chewy or make them more cake-like, as you would with traditional brownies. A zigzag drizzle of white chocolate on top makes these bars a standout among other sweets. Turn the coffee maker on and offer your guests gingerbread latte to go with these unbeatable beauties.

Recipe: Cinnamon Blondies

25. Blueberry Cobbler

Surprise your guests with a fresh fruit creation by making blueberry cobbler for your Christmas treat line-up. Something about the fusion of juicy blueberries and tangy glaze topped with buttery brown sugar crumble makes a holiday meal seem even more special. If you're feeling extra ambitious and want to double up the dessert offerings, cook up a simple vanilla custard to accompany your crumble on the side or drizzle on top. The added creaminess and flavor of vanilla will complete a taste trifecta your guests will be dreaming about for holidays to come. You can also serve it with a side of your favorite ice cream or whipped cream.

Recipe: Blueberry Cobbler