16 Dairy-Free Desserts Every Guest Can Enjoy

Angel Food Cake
Photo: Photographer: Jennifer Causey Food Stylist: Ana Kelly Prop Stylist: Kay Clarke

For those of us without food allergies or intolerances, it can be hard to understand how difficult restricted diets can be, especially in the South. When you think of the beloved dishes of our region, decadent comfort foods like fried chicken, casseroles, towering layer cakes, and cobblers come to mind. Unfortunately for our waistlines and anyone with allergies or sensitivities, many Southern foods aren't exactly inclusive for most diets. Whether you're lactose-intolerant, vegan, or choose to stay dairy-free for other reasons, we've got plenty of dairy-free recipes that ensure you can still indulge in the Southern food you love.

These dairy-free desserts are just as delicious as their butter-laden counterparts, and even Mama won't notice the difference. Even if no one in your immediate family has a dairy sensitivity or allergy, it's important to keep in mind when hosting. If you're in charge of Thanksgiving or the neighborhood's monthly dinner party, a gracious host always asks about allergies or dietary restrictions before the big event. You don't want any guest feeling ousted or awkward because he or she can't enjoy the beautiful spread you've prepared. With these easy dairy-free dessert recipes, no one will have to go without something sweet at the end of a meal.

01 of 16

Chocolate-Coconut Pavlova Cake

Chocolate-Coconut Pavlova Cake
Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Christine Keely; Food Styling: Tina Bell Stamos

Recipe: Chocolate-Coconut Pavlova Cake

This dairy-free and gluten-free dessert will be the most beautiful star of your holiday dinner.

02 of 16

Spiced Coconut-Pumpkin Pie

Dairy-Free Coconut-Pumpkin Pie
Greg DuPree; Prop Styling: Kathleen Varner; Food Styling: Marian Cooper Cairns

Recipe: Spiced Coconut-Pumpkin Pie

No one at the holiday table will realize this silky-smooth pie is different from last year's, and your dairy-intolerant guests will thank you.

03 of 16

Peppermint Divinity

Peppermint Divinity
Greg DuPree; Prop Styling: Christine Keely; Food Styling: Chelsea Zimmer

Recipe: Peppermint Divinity

We gave the classic divinity recipe you remember from Grandma's a festive touch with peppermint.

04 of 16

Pear Pie

Pear Pie
Micah A. Leal

Recipe: Pear Pie

The filling of this pie is dairy-free, but be sure to buy your own refrigerated pie crusts or use our Coconut Pie Crust for a completely dairy-free dessert.

05 of 16

Red-and-White Meringue Kisses

Red-and-White Meringue Kisses
Southern Living

Recipe: Red-and-White Meringue Kisses

Add a kiss of holiday cheer to the dessert table with these pretty but simple meringues.

06 of 16

Easiest Peanut Butter Cookies

Easiest Peanut Butter Cookies
Southern Living

Recipe: Easiest Peanut Butter Cookies

It doesn't get simpler than this classic four-ingredient cookie recipe. It makes the perfect after-school project for the kids.

07 of 16

Salted Caramel-Apple Hand Pies

Salted Caramel-Apple Hand Pies
Hector Manuel Sanchez; Styling: Katie Jacobs

Recipe: Salted Caramel-Apple Hand Pies

These adorable apple pies make a great treat for kids (no mess!) or on-the-go adventures.

08 of 16

Spiced Coconut-Cherry Mold

Spiced Coconut-Cherry Mold
Hector Sanchez

Recipe: Spiced Coconut-Cherry Mold

There's nothing like an old-school gelatin salad to get everyone in the nostalgic holiday spirit, and unlike Grandma's lime creation, this one is actually beautiful and delicious.

09 of 16

Apple Cranberry Pie

Cranberry-Apple Pie with Pecan Shortbread Crust
Iain Bagwell

Recipe: Apple Cranberry Pie

The filling of this seasonal pie is totally dairy-free, but be sure to use store-bought refrigerated pie dough or make our Coconut Pie Crust homemade for a fully dairy-free dessert.

10 of 16

Apple Bread

Apple Bread
Micah A. Leal

Recipe: Apple Bread

Make one loaf for your family and give one as a sweet hostess gift.

11 of 16

Our Best Homemade Marshmallows

Chocolate-Peppermint Cheesecake
Hector Sanchez

Recipe: Our Best Homemade Marshmallows

Perfect atop a warm mug of hot chocolate on Christmas Eve, these fluffy marshmallows would also make precious homemade gifts in a mug with hot chocolate mix.

12 of 16

Shaker Lemon Pie

Shaker Lemon Pie
Victor Protasio; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke; Food Styling: Ana Kelly

Recipe: Shaker Lemon Pie

This old-school Junior League recipe is a fun, dairy-free way to showcase winter citrus at your holiday.

13 of 16

Christmas Snow Salad

Christmas Snow Salad
Jennifer Causey

Recipe: Christmas Snow Salad

This recipe from our November 1982 issue has all the old-school, jiggly charm you could ask for from a congealed salad.

14 of 16

Freezer Peach Pie

Freezer Peach Pie
Iain Bagwell; Prop Styling: Mindi Shapiro Levine; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Recipe: Freezer Peach Pie

This summer, save the best of the season and you'll have a freezer full of pie fillings waiting to be enjoyed just as you're missing fresh summer peaches.

15 of 16

Lemon Cupcakes with Lavender Frosting

Mini Pie Pan
Hector Sanchez

Recipe: Lemon Cupcakes with Lavender Frosting

Frosting is usually full of dairy, but this pretty topping isn't!

16 of 16

Angel Food Cake

Angel Food Cake
Photographer: Jennifer Causey Food Stylist: Ana Kelly Prop Stylist: Kay Clarke

Recipe: Angel Food Cake

This light-as-air cake is the perfect fluffy finale for your meal. Top with our festive Sparkling Cranberries or any red or green fruit for Christmas.

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