50 Christmas Desserts That’ll Feed a Crowd
Take some of the pressure out of hosting for the holidays with these big-batch dessert hacks.
For most Southerners, hosting for the holidays can be a beloved, yet daunting task. We love showing our hospitality and doting on our guests. From baking fresh breakfast breads in the morning to turning down their sheets, Southern hosts live by a philosophy of open hearts and homes. Many years of experience have helped us master the art of entertaining—we’ve got go-to appetizers, parting gifts at the ready, and probably a signature house cocktail. But hosting for the holidays is another game entirely. It requires 24/7 activities and amusement, with lots of out-of-town house guests looking for all-day entertainment. And when you’ve got a big holiday meal to prepare, there’s little time to spare.
If you’ll have a full house this holiday season, let these big-batch dessert recipes take a little worry out of your plans. From trays of bite-sized Pecan Bourbon Balls to elegant gingerbread layer cakes, these Christmas desserts for a crowd will help the holidays go on without a hitch.
These Holiday Desserts Will Wow Party Guests
Fudgy Pecan Bourbon Balls
Recipe: Fudgy Pecan Bourbon Balls
No holiday spread is complete without bourbon balls, and this version is rolled in crushed pecans for extra crunch.
Recipe: Snowball Cake
These cute, coconut-dusted mini cakes are cut out of a sheet cake, making this festive seasonal dessert easy to prepare for a crowd.
Recipe: Christmas Buttermints
Keep a bowl of these creamy, silky-smooth treats on the table at all times.
Sweet Potato Sheet Cake
Recipe: Sweet Potato Sheet Cake
A delightfully unexpected pop of bacon takes this fall-inspired dessert to the next level.
Gingerbread Roulade and Eggnog Cream
If you’re going to pull off a stunning roulade this holiday season, pack it with lots of festive flavors. This Gingerbread Roulade with Eggnog Cream is as festive as it gets.
Auntie's Apple Cake
Recipe: Auntie's Apple Cake
This age-old recipe combines the comfort of a Bundt cake with the indulgence of dripping caramel and apples. The result? Absolute decadence.
Mississippi Mud Cake
Recipe: Mississippi Mud Cake
When we’re cooking for a crowd, sheet cakes are our go-to solution. Topped with marshmallows and fudge, Mississippi Mud Cake has what it takes to become a fan favorite.
White Texas Sheet Cake
Recipe: White Texas Sheet Cake
I’ve been dreaming of a white Christmas… and a White Texas Sheet Cake.
Coconut-Carrot Cake with Coconut Buttercream
Coconut buttercream lightens up this spiced sheet cake to make a refreshing, yet satisfying dessert.
Coconut-Butter Pecan Sheet Cake
Recipe: Coconut-Butter Pecan Sheet Cake
The warm, toasty flavors of roasted butter pecans star in this crowd-friendly sheet cake.
Banana Pudding Poke Cake
Recipe: Banana Pudding Poke Cake
Looking for a mess-free way to serve banana pudding to a crowd? Meet our Banana Pudding Poke Cake.
Heavenly Angel Food Cake
Recipe: Heavenly Angel Food Cake
Serve your guests a slice of heaven this Christmas. This classic angel food cake is made in a 13-by-9 pan, which makes it easily sliceable and great for a crowd.
Recipe: Pumpkin Cake
Channel all the spices of the season in this moist, fluffy Pumpkin Cake. Stack the sponges with spiced whipped cream for extra seasonal flair.
Cream Cheese Pound Cake
Recipe: Cream Cheese Pound Cake
This simple recipe is a household favorite for a reason. Serve it with spiced whipped cream or cranberry jelly to bring a pop of Christmas cheer.
Buche De Noel
Recipe: Buche De Noel
This rendition of a yule log in cake form is sure to impress the neighbors. Garnish with meringue “mushrooms” and glossy maraschino cherries.
Recipe: Spritz Cookies
Who says sweets are just for dessert—your guests can snack on these dainty cookie press creations all throughout the day.
Recipe: Butterscotch Cookies
These homemade cookies make for a great hostess gift. They’re sure to add a bit of sweetness to the holiday spread.
Recipe: Christmas Pudding
If you’re looking for a big-batch Christmas showstopper, this elegant (and dense) Christmas Pudding is guaranteed to impress.
Brownie Baked Alaska
Recipe: Brownie Baked Alaska
Who can resist a torched meringue topping? Christmas is the perfect time to show off your culinary skills and recreate this classic dessert. Plus, there will certainly be enough of this bombe to go around.
Recipe: Peppermint Divinity
Spend an afternoon in the kitchen making these vintage candies with your children or grandchildren. It’ll become their new favorite holiday tradition.
Eggnog Spice Cake with Bourbon Custard Filling and Eggnog Buttercream
Incorporating both eggnog and bourbon, this boozy holiday cake tastes as good as it sounds.
White Cake with Cranberry Filling and Orange Buttercream
It may look simple from the outside, but just wait until you slice into this cake to reveal the bright layers of spiced cranberry filling.
Peppermint Cake with Seven-Minute Frosting
That’s right—the impressive egg white frosting crowning the cake only takes seven minutes to come together.
Milk Chocolate-Peppermint Bark
Recipe: Chocolate Peppermint Bark
Why buy peppermint bark at the store when you can make it at home in no time? Package this bark up in mason jars and gift it to friends and family this holiday season.
Gingerbread Cake with Buttermilk Frosting
Top this luxurious cake with a crown of spiced glazed pecans.
Christmas Confetti Roulade
Recipe: Christmas Confetti Roulade
This festive Christmas cake features a confetti of red and green sprinkles and, as an extra treat, an orange liqueur-spiked filling.
Recipe: Fruitcake Bark
There’s no reason to subject anyone to mushy, store-bought fruitcake—this bark, on the other hand, is snappy, flavorful, and light. It takes all the beloved flavors of fruitcake and revamps them to make a modern snack.
Recipe: Butterscotch-Spice Trifle
A trifle is a great way to offer guests generous portions of dessert without meticulously dividing up slices.
Cream Cheese Christmas Cookies
Recipe: Cream Cheese Christmas Cookies
Dress up easy cream cheese cookies for the holidays by coating the rolls in festive red or green sugar crystals.
Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies
Recipe: Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies
Topped with a golden-brown torched marshmallows, these cookies will be a favorite at the kids’ table.
No-Bake Chocolate-Peppermint Cookies
These chilled wafers are decorated with a rim of crushed peppermint for a seasonal treat that can’t be beat.
No-Bake Fudgy Toffee Bars
Recipe: No-Bake Fudgy Toffee Bars
The flaky layers of chocolate and toffee simply melt in your mouth. Plus, you never even have to turn on the oven.
White Chocolate Poinsettia Cake
Recipe: White Chocolate Poinsettia Cake
Pay homage to a familiar Southern flower with this elegant holiday layer cake.
Krispy Kreme Bread Pudding with Bourbon Butter Sauce
Find yourself with an extra box of Krispy Kreme donuts leftover from Christmas morning breakfast? We have the perfect way to put it to use.
Sea Salt-Caramel Cake
Recipe: Sea Salt-Caramel Cake
There’s no better way to feed a crowd than with a showstopping layer cake, and this sea salt-caramel version holds the sweet-and-salty combination of your dreams.
Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies
Recipe: Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies
Enlist the kids to help in the kitchen with this easy recipe that’s straight from Grandma’s files.
5-Ingredient Sugar Cookies
Recipe: 5-Ingredient Sugar Cookies
All it takes is five ingredients to whip up these fuss-free sugar cookies. Let the kids take over on the decorations for a fun family activity.
Chocolate-Peppermint Swirl Sandwich Cookies
With a stunning swirl of red-and-white peppermint icing, these sandwich cookies are sure to charm.
Best White Cake
Recipe: Best White Cake
Garnished elegantly with gingerbread and sugar-dusted rosemary sprigs, this simple rendition of our White Cake will be the star of any holiday party.
Recipe: Buttermilk-Pecan Pralines
A tin of these classic Southern candies is sure to keep your guests happy (and snacking) all day long.
Chocolate Sugar Cookies
Recipe: Chocolate Sugar Cookies
Ramp up the flavors of those classic sugar cookies with rich cocoa. Cut these cookies into any shape you desire—but you can’t go wrong with festive pups!
Ginger Bourbon Balls
Recipe: Ginger Bourbon Balls
Ditch the store-bought box of chocolates for a homemade arrangement of truffles. They may look fancy, but we promise, they’re incredibly easy to make.