Top Party Desserts Recipes
Finish your party menu with one of these crowd-pleasing desserts.
Whether it's pies, puddings, or panna cotta, these dreamy desserts will have your guests singing your praises all night.
Crisp cookies and fresh berries pair nicely with cool-and-creamy mocha mousse.
- Recipe: Easy Mocha Mousse
Tiramisù is delicious no matter what. Throw sweet tea into the mix and you'll have a to-die-for dessert.
- Recipe: Sweet Tea Tiramisù
The nutty topping on this pecan cheesecake pie adds a nice crunch to the characteristic creaminess of this popular dessert.
- Recipe: Pecan Cheesecake Pie
Vanilla wafers make a simple crumb crust for the lemon-almond custard filling of these refreshing tarts. Sweet, fresh raspberries top the custard and complete the flavor combination.
- Recipe: Lemon-Almond Tarts
Panna cotta, an eggless custard, is generally served unmolded on a serving plate. We serve it in individual glasses for casual flair, plus you can catch every last drop of the spicy syrup.
This velvety, five-ingredient dip is reminiscent of butter cream frosting secretly swiped off cakes. Serve with assorted cookies, fresh berries, and dark chocolate squares.
- Recipe: Sweet Dip With Cookies and Fruit
Pavlova was the signature dessert of was former Test Kitchen Professional (and mother of current Test Kitchen Professional Marian Cooper Cairns) Jane Cairns. You don't have to be a professional to make it though. Assemble the elegant berry dessert just before serving; you can make the meringue up to two days ahead and store it in an airtight container.
Served in stemmed glasses, these silky smooth Italian custards make an elegant ending to any meal.
There are crisp Italian cookies also called ladyfingers, but be sure to use soft ones in this recipe. Look for them in the bakery or produce section of your supermarket.
- Recipe: Raspberry Tiramisù Bites
This basic, but outstanding fudge brownie recipe offers endless dessert options you can add nuts or mix things up by turning them into cheesecake brownies.
- Recipe: Chocolate Fudge Brownies
This decadent cake is deliciously rich as well as moist. For a colorful presentation, garnish with kumquats, currants, and fresh mint sprigs.
- Recipe: Coconut-Almond Cream Cake
Finely crushed oat-and-honey granola bars, chopped crystallized ginger, and thick Greek yogurt are the secrets to this delectable and good-for-you dessert.
- Recipe: Granola-Ginger Baked Apples
Instead of using Mexican chocolate in this recipe, we developed the same flavor profile using more common ingredients—semisweet chocolate and cinnamon. If you prefer to use Mexican chocolate, look for it with the hot drink mixes or on the Hispanic food aisle.
Making chocolate shavings for a garnish is easy. Pick up an extra chocolate bar, and use a vegetable peeler to shave bits of chocolate off the side.
- Recipe: Chocolate Truffle Bites
A light and refreshing dessert is the perfect ending to a delicious, laid back meal. Garnish your sorbet with crushed gingersnaps for added flavor.
This cupcake recipe is a time-saving desset dream. It starts with boxed pound cake mix and calls for only five ingredients, including what you need for the Browned Butter Frosting. It's party ready and ideal for school functions that call for dozens of cupcakes.
With a rich, creamy filling and melt-in-your-mouth crust, this is quite possibly the best chocolate pie ever.
You'll need about six to eight tangerines for the two cups of juice in this recipe. Feel free to substitute any variety of oranges or mandarins if you'd like.
- Recipe: Tangerine Pudding
This seriously easy and decadent mousse hides a smart a secret: reduced-sodium soy sauce. Just 1/2 tsp. elevates the deep, rich flavor of the dark chocolate. Add crunch with cookies to contrast the mousse's silky texture. Heating store-bought shortbread in the oven opens up the flavors of the buttery cookies.
- Recipe: Mocha Chocolate Mousse
You'll use just a tad less than two sticks of butter to make these delicate little gems.
- Recipe: Lemon Meltaways
For quick cleanup and easy serving, line the bottom and sides of the pan with foil before adding the dough.
Recipe: Lemon-Almond Bars
Use any combination of your favorite citrus segments in this fresh shortcake spin. Just be sure to start with a total of 6 cups of fruit.
- Recipe: Citrus Shortcakes
We reimagined a classic recipe from our February 1976 issue into a dreamy tropical delight.
- Recipe: Tropical Rice Pudding
Cardamom spice gives this silky custard its delicious flavor. Use any berry you wish, adjusting the sugar in the mixture to taste.
- Recipe: Raspberry Panna Cotta
Muffin pans make the perfect baking vessels for these little fig cakes. Gussy them up by spooning a dollop or piping a silver dollar of hard sauce on top, and then garnish them with halved fresh figs, fresh herbs, or even pecan halves.
Use any firm cooking apple, such as 'Jonagold' or 'Honeycrisp,' or a combo for extra flavor and texture.
Recipe: Caramel Apple Fantans
There's enough filling to make a second batch of these delicious pies, or you can freeze it for later. Serve warm or at room temperature.
- Recipe: Fried Apple Pies
Baker Robin Wilson says, "You can also use yellow and pink food coloring gel to make peach. Practice on a piece of wax paper, adding a little at a time to achieve your perfect shade. I serve these to family and friends, and there's never a square left."
- Recipe: Orange Dreamsicle Crispy Treats
Freeze the assembled whoopie pies in zip-top plastic bags up to 3 weeks before your party. Defrost in the fridge overnight.
Recipe: Whiskey Whoopie Pies
A new freezer favorite has arrived. One genius (and easy!) master recipe and four over-the-top variations provide an endless array of sweet and creamy ideas. The secret to these dreamy treats? Soft-baked cookies from your bakery. Go large or small—just don't go with the crunchy kind.
Master Recipe: Buttermilk Ice Cream
Variation 1: Avocado-Key Lime Pie Ice Cream
Variation 2: Lemon Meringue Ice Cream
Variation 3: Blueberry-Cheesecake Ice Cream
Vartiation 4: Strawberry-Pretzel Ice Cream
After visiting the Neshoba County Fair (billed as Mississippi's Giant Houseparty) during Ronald Reagan's 1980 bid for the presidency, Nancy Reagan shared this supreme creation. The buttery layers of shortbread and fruit topped with crisp meringue definitely get our vote. From Giant Houseparty Cookbook by The Philadelphia-Neshoba County Chamber of Commerce.
Looking for a party-perfect treat that's a cut above the classic fruit-filled cobbler? Consider it found.
- Recipe: Blackberry-Peach Cobbler Bars
Keep tops whole, if desired; cut 3 slits in each for steam to escape.
Recipe: Berry Pies
Spiked with a triple hit of chocolate (we're talking intensely rich sour cream-fudge frosting here), these are definitely not your garden-variety zucchini cakes.
- Recipe: Chocolate Zucchini Cakes
To prep ahead, make the curd up to two days in advance, and chill. Whip the meringue an hour before your party; assemble just before serving.
Recipe: Key Lime Curd Cones
As pretty as petits fours, these luscious little two-bite gems can be finished with any kind of berry or preserves. Get ahead, and bake the cheesecakes in advance. After baking, they'll freeze up to one month. Thaw and top with preserves and fruit before serving.
Recipe: Petite Blueberry Cheesecakes
Finish the cakes with one of three toppings, listed with the recipe. Toss together the Streusel Topping before you start baking. Both glazes can be prepped while the cakes cool.
Recipe: Mini Apple Cider Pound Cakes