Desserts That Will Keep You Warm All Winter

Winter is the ultimate season for desserts, as it brings with it the holiday season, snowy weather, and lots of excuses for snuggling up inside. It's the time to indulge, and the time to stay cozy — with the help of baked goods. 

If you ask us, cold winter nights are made for warm chocolate cake, while the best part about heading out on a white and windy snow day is to come back home to fresh-baked cookies. And on the dark and dreary days, there's nothing that quite fills the senses, or the soul, like fresh baked treats filled with seasonal flavors like apples, cranberries, pecans and orange.

Whatever your cold weather cravings are, Mashed has got you covered. From cakes to cookies, loaves to logs, and puddings to pies, we've rounded up our best cozy and decadent dessert recipes that will keep you warm all winter. So bundle up, keep scrolling, and throw your sweet-tooth on overdrive.

Cranberry Orange Oatmeal Cookies

If you're looking for a go-to, winter cookie recipe, look no further than these cranberry orange oatmeal cookies. A seasonal take on an old favorite, these cookies are loaded with oats, pecans, dried cranberries, and plenty of fresh lemon zest. They're hearty, chewy, and packed with flavors and textures that go perfectly with a nice cup of tea or hot chocolate. And as far as desserts go, this one is pretty simple and quick to whip up — your cookies will be done quicker than you can build a snowman.

Baked Apples

Apples may seem like a humble, and frankly, boring, everyday snack. But these little fruits can make for the ultimate cold weather dessert when you stick them in the oven. And no, we're not talking about apple pie. We're talking about this recipe for baked apples that calls for just six ingredients that come together in five simple steps. No crust necessary, no hand mixer needed, no huge flour messes to clean up — and the result is a simple, decadent dessert with deep, complex and caramelized flavor. 

According to recipe author Kristen Carli, RD, the dish is made even better with "vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, or caramel sauce." It's all the indulgence you want in a dessert with less guilt and even less effort.

Red Velvet Cake

When the frigid and snowy weather picks up, warm up from the inside out with a dessert that sticks to your ribs — something rich and decadent, like red velvet cake. And we've got the best red velvet cake recipe you'll ever find, right here on Mashed. This hearty chocolate cake is made extra moist and fluffy with a splash of buttermilk, and the cream cheese frosting on the outside brings the whole thing together, creating a finger-licking cake that is sure to disappear faster than the snowflakes you tracked inside.

Pumpkin Pie

Most of the winter season technically takes place after the holidays — but if you ask us, tis' still the season to indulge. What better way to do that than with the ultimate holiday comfort food dessert? We're obviously talking about pumpkin pie. It doesn't get more classic than that. And our version is practically foolproof: Made with a few simple ingredients and a store-bought pie crust, you can whip this pie together and have it in the oven in 10 minutes flat. And this recipe even includes a few oven tricks to achieve the perfect crispy-but-not-burned crust for that perfectly cozy, crunchy bite.

3-Ingredient Nutella Cookies

Sometimes life throws you a snowball, and you just need a sweet treat. Fast. When that happens, look no further than these ultra quick and easy Nutella Cookies, which are made with just three ingredients. We're not joking — all you need is some flour, an egg, and everyone's favorite chocolate hazelnut spread. Mix 'em together and you'll have a dozen hot, fresh cookies in about 20 minutes. If it's not a dire emergency and you've got some more time to spare, the recipe also suggests adding cocoa powder or flaky sea salt to top the cookies with even more flavor.

The Best Brownies on the Internet

Winter can be the perfect time to let your inner child out. You can get outside for a snowball fight, make a snowman, go sledding, and generally just play in the winter wonderland. And then, when you come back inside, you can thaw out with the ultimate childhood-approved treat: brownies. 

And this recipe for the Best Brownie Recipe On The Internet will not let you down. It uses chocolate chips instead of cocoa powder, making these brownies extra gooey and fudgy — which is exactly how they should be, if you ask us. All we need now is a tall glass of milk (and for mom to do our laundry).

Rice Pudding

If summertime calls for heaping bowls of super cold ice cream, then the cold nights of winter absolutely call for steaming bowls full of hot rice pudding. There are so many different variations on this old-school treat. Our humble version, which also happens to be the Best Rice Pudding Recipe You've Ever Tasted, was passed down straight from the recipe author's own mother. You only need six ingredients to whip up this simple, decadent rice pudding on the stove, but the best part is that once it's ready, there are endless possibilities for how you can dress it up. A dash of cinnamon and nutmeg adds some warming spice; dried fruits and nuts can bring in some crunchy texture; or try leaning into the decadence with some added chocolate or fruit preserves.

Black Forest Cake

When conjuring up a wintertime scene, images of dark forests covered in blankets of snow are among the things that come to mind. If you want to embody that vision without having to trek through the woods, try whipping up this recipe for Black Forest Cake instead. It's truly like winter in a cake. The inside is rich, dark chocolate sponge layered with dark soaked cherries, while the outside is all coated in a soft layer of snow (aka whipped cream). Plus, this cake can be in the oven in less than half an hour, and it's pretty easy to master — no fancy piping skills necessary.

Orange Chocolate Loaf

Another tried and true winter flavor combo is chocolate and orange. Whether you love it or hate it, these two seem to go hand in hand when it comes to winter and holiday-themed treats. If you're looking for the perfect way to showcase this seasonal duo, try out this recipe for Orange Chocolate Loaf Cake. It's made with Dutch-processed cocoa powder and freshly grated orange zest to really make flavors burst. Plus, the whole cake is smothered in a sweet, tangy orange glaze. Even if you're not a huge fan of chocolate and orange, this melt-in-your-mouth loaf cake may just convert you.

Easy Pecan Pie

If you want to lean in to the holiday vibes, but are over all things pumpkin by this point, then try whipping up this easy recipe for Pecan Pie. The straightforward recipe uses less than 10 ingredients, comes together quickly, and will come out of the oven looking like you got it straight from your local bakery. Just don't eat it straight out of the oven and be sure to give the pie several hours to fully set. Once it's ready, pile on some fluffy whipped cream or a scoop of ice cream before digging in.

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

If you ask us, Christmas cookies should be a year-round thing — and they should definitely be in rotation during all of the cold winter months. Make this dream a reality with this recipe for simple yet delicious Chocolate Crinkle Cookies. These treats are made with rich cocoa and rolled in powdered sugar before being baked in the oven into a chocolate perfection that's crunchy on the outside and chewy in the center. Now that we think about it, it's probably best to make these cookies after Christmas anyway — you definitely won't want to share them with Santa.

Yule Log

Is there any dessert more exclusive to the holidays than a yule log? The traditional European Christmas dessert is pretty similar to a Swiss roll, with chocolate cake and whipped cream rolled up together into a log, and then slathered with chocolate frosting. Our Yule Log recipe is definitely a mouthwatering concoction, and one that looks pretty whimsical, too. But fair warning — this recipe is one of the more challenging on this list. There are quite a few steps, and you'll have to leave the cake to rest overnight before finishing the log. But we promise, the instructions are detailed, and the hard-earned end result will be a gorgeous, tasty dessert that will leave you feeling accomplished and your sweet tooth satisfied.

Gingerbread Cookies

When it comes to winter desserts, gingerbread cookies are one of the first treats to come to mind. Gingerbread is practically synonymous with holiday baking, but the spicy, sweet flavor hits the spot all winter long. This recipe for the Best Gingerbread Cookies You've Ever Tasted will not disappoint. The secret to these cookies, which are softer than a lot of other recipes, is a combo of butter and shortening. They come together in half an hour, and, if stored properly, will nearly last you through the whole winter season.

Mini Apple Crumbles

Winter desserts should be dazzling to the tastebuds and warming to the belly. But that doesn't mean they can't be kinda good for you as well. Enter this recipe for Mini Apple Crumbles. It's totally vegan and allergy-friendly while also being sweet, spicy, and scrumptious. The crumbles are made with fresh, tart apples, rolled oats and crunchy pecans. Maple syrup is the sweetener of choice, and coconut oil (full of health benefits) is used as the fat source. Plus, the crumbles are baked and served in their own individual ramekins, so they are not just indulgent, but Instagram-worthy as well.

Cookie Butter Banana Bread

If you've been on the internet since 2020, you know that banana bread has been having a moment. It surged in popularity during the pandemic, as people returned to nostalgic classics to find comfort in. There are endless iterations of banana bread, but our favorite is by far this recipe for Cookie Butter Banana Bread. This twist on the traditional recipe includes spicy and ultra-sweet Speculoos cookie butter, which adds a decadent and bold, deep flavor to the dessert. Plus, the scents that will waft from your oven as this bread bakes are just phenomenal. Besides the cookie butter, you've probably got all the other ingredients you need to make this recipe already in your kitchen. So really you've got no excuse for not whipping up a batch of this bread ASAP.

Cherry Pecan Bread Pudding

Rounding out our list of the ultimate desserts for winter is a quintessential cold weather recipe. Full of sweet and dark fruit, salty, toasted nuts, plus buttery caramel, this recipe for Cherry Pecan Bread Pudding is everything you didn't know you need right now. Bread pudding is a carb lovers dream, as it's made from a French or Italian loaf that's soaked in milk, eggs and spices before baking to sticky, sweet perfection. And this unique take on the old-school classic is loaded with extra flavor and textures, and finished off with a healthy dousing of rich caramel sauce. We've only got one warning: You may not be able to put your fork down after just one serving.