Christmas Desserts That'll Feed a Crowd

Brown Sugar-and-Ginger Whipped Cream
Photo: Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Take some of the pressure off of hosting for the holidays with these big-batch dessert hacks. For most Southerners, entertaining 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 the holidays are another game entirely. They require 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 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 will help the holidays go off without a hitch.

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Fudgy Pecan Bourbon Balls

Fudgy Pecan Bourbon Balls Recipe
Hector Manuel Sanchez; Prop Styling: Karin Olsen; Food Styling: Kellie Gerber Kelley

Recipe: Fudgy Pecan Bourbon Balls

No holiday spread is complete without bourbon balls, and this version is rolled in crushed pecans for extra crunch.

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Snowball Cake

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

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.

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Christmas Buttermints

Christmas Buttermints
Greg DuPree; Prop Styling: Christine Keely; Food Styling: Chelsea Zimmer

Recipe: Christmas Buttermints

Keep a bowl of these creamy, silky-smooth treats on the table at all times.

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Sweet Potato Sheet Cake

Sweet Potato Sheet Cake
Southern Living

Recipe: Sweet Potato Sheet Cake

A delightfully unexpected pop of bacon takes this fall-inspired dessert to the next level.

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Gingerbread Cake Roll with Eggnog Cream

Gingerbread Roulade and Eggnog Cream
Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Recipe: Gingerbread Cake Roll with 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 is as festive as it gets.

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Auntie's Apple Cake

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

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.

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Mississippi Mud Cake

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

Recipe: Mississippi Mud Cake

When we're cooking for a crowd, sheet cakes are our go-to move. Topped with marshmallows and fudge, Mississippi Mud Cake has what it takes to become a fan favorite.

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White Texas Sheet Cake

White Texas Sheet Cake
Micah A. Leal

Recipe: White Texas Sheet Cake

Who else has been dreaming of a white Christmas…and a White Texas Sheet Cake?

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Coconut-Carrot Cake with Coconut Buttercream

Coconut-Carrot Cake with Coconut Buttercream
Photo: Victor Protasio; Food Styling: Torie Cox; Prop Styling: Heather Chadduck Hillegas

Recipe: Coconut-Carrot Cake with Coconut Buttercream

Coconut buttercream lightens up this spiced sheet cake to make a refreshing, yet satisfying dessert.

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Coconut-Butter Pecan Sheet Cake

Coconut-Butter Pecan Sheet Cake
Southern Living

Recipe: Coconut-Butter Pecan Sheet Cake

The warm, toasty flavors of roasted butter pecans star in this crowd-friendly sheet cake.

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Banana Pudding Poke Cake

Banana Pudding Poke Cake
Photo: Greg DuPree; Prop Styling: Mindi Shapiro Levine; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Recipe: Banana Pudding Poke Cake

Looking for a mess-free way to serve banana pudding to a crowd? Meet our Banana Pudding Poke Cake.

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Pumpkin Cake

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

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.

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Cream Cheese Pound Cake

Cream Cheese Pound Cake
Photographer: Jennifer Causey Food Stylist: Ana Kelly Prop Stylist: Kay Clarke

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.

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Buche De Noel

Buche De Noel
Photographer: Jennifer Causey Food Stylist: Ana Kelly Prop Stylist: Kay Clarke

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.

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Spritz Cookies

Spritz Cookies
Micah A. Leal

Recipe: Spritz Cookies

Who says sweets are just for dessert? Your guests can snack on these dainty cookie press creations all throughout the day.

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Christmas Pudding

Christmas Pudding
Micah A. Leal

Recipe: Christmas Pudding

If you're looking for a big-batch Christmas showstopper, this elegant (and dense) Christmas Pudding is guaranteed to impress.

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Peppermint Divinity

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

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.

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Eggnog Spice Cake with Bourbon Custard Filling and Eggnog Buttercream

Gingerbread Latte Cake with Vanilla Whipped Cream Frosting
Greg DuPree; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Recipe: 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.

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White Cake with Cranberry Filling and Orange Buttercream

White Cake with Cranberry Filling and Orange Buttercream
Hector Sanchez

Recipe: 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.

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Peppermint Cake with Seven-Minute Frosting

Peppermint Cake with Seven-Minute Frosting
Hector Manuel Sanchez

Recipe: Peppermint Cake with Seven-Minute Frosting

That's right—the impressive egg white frosting crowning the cake only takes seven minutes to come together.

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Butterscotch-Spice Trifle

Butterscotch-Spice Trifle
Photo: Victor Protasio; Prop Styling: Claire Spollen; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Recipe: Butterscotch-Spice Trifle

A trifle is a great way to offer guests generous portions of dessert without meticulously dividing up slices.

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Cream Cheese Christmas Cookies

Cream Cheese Christmas Cookie
Southern Living

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.

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No-Bake Fudgy Toffee Bars

No-Bake Fudgy Toffee Bars
Iain Bagwell

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.

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White Chocolate Poinsettia Cake

White Chocolate Poinsettia Cake
Hector Manuel Sanchez

Recipe: White Chocolate Poinsettia Cake

Pay homage to a familiar Southern flower with this elegant holiday layer cake.

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Krispy Kreme Bread Pudding with Bourbon Butter Sauce

Krispy Kreme Bread Pudding with Bourbon Butter Sauce
Southern Living

Recipe: 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.

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Sea Salt-Caramel Cake

Gingerbread Latte Cake with Vanilla Whipped Cream Frosting
Greg DuPree; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

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.

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Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies

Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies
Caitlin Bensel

Recipe: Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies

Enlist the kids to help in the kitchen with this easy recipe that's straight from Grandma's files.

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Chocolate-Peppermint Swirl Sandwich Cookies

Dog Chocolate Sugar Cookies
Victori Protasio; Prop Styling: Heather Chadduck Hillegas; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Recipe: Chocolate-Peppermint Swirl Sandwich Cookies

With a stunning swirl of red-and-white peppermint icing, these sandwich cookies are sure to charm.

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Homemade White Cake

Best White Cake
Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Christina Lane; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Recipe: Homemade 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.

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Buttermilk-Pecan Pralines

Buttermilk-Pecan Pralines
Greg DuPree; Prop Styling: Christine Keely; Food Styling: Chelsea Zimmer

Recipe: Buttermilk-Pecan Pralines

A tin of these classic Southern candies is sure to keep your guests happy (and snacking) all day long.

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Brown Sugar Cookie Stars

Brown Sugar Cookie Stars
Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Recipe: Brown Sugar Cookie Stars

Ramp up the flavors of those classic sugar cookies with brown sugar. Cut these cookies into any shape you desire—but you can't go wrong with festive stars!

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Ginger Bourbon Balls

Salty-Sweet Nut Brittle
Greg DuPree; Prop Styling: Christine Keely; Food Styling: Chelsea Zimmer

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.

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Salted Butter-Pecan Shortbread Cookies

Butter-Pecan Shortbread Cookies
Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Recipe: Salted Butter-Pecan Shortbread Cookies

Top each shortbread round with a whole pecan for a tasty embellishment.

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Persimmon Pudding with Cinnamon Whipped Cream

Persimmon Pudding
Greg DuPree; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Recipe: Persimmon Pudding with Cinnamon Whipped Cream

Our Christmas feast isn't complete without at least one version of a pudding, and this sliceable Persimmon Pudding just tastes like the holidays.

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Classic Gingerbread

Brown Sugar-and-Ginger Whipped Cream
Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Recipe: Classic Gingerbread

You've had dry, crispy gingerbread before, but have you had a slice of moist gingerbread cake? Pass on brittle cookies and treat your guests to this old-fashioned dessert.

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Potato Candy

Citrus Mints
Photo: Alison Miksch

Recipe: Potato Candy

This nostalgic treat is still a great way to make a tasty dessert with few ingredients.

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Cornflake Wreath Christmas Cookies

Cornflake Wreaths
Southern Living

Recipe: Cornflake Wreath Christmas Cookies

These fun treats are cute and a cinch to make. Get the little ones involved for an easy bake.

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Melted Snowman Cookies

Melted Snowman Cookies
Micah A. Leal

Recipe: Melted Snowman Cookies

These whimsical cookies steal the show on any dessert table.

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Sprinkle Stocking Cookies

sprinkle stocking cookies
Greg DuPree; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis

Recipe: Sprinkle Stocking Cookies

The perfect cookies for a decorating party, you can adorn these sweet snacks with sprinkles of your choice.

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No-Bake Dark Chocolate-Peppermint Sandwich Cookies

No-Bake Dark Chocolate-Peppermint Sandwich Cookies
GREG DUPREE; FOOD STYLING: EMILY NABORS HALL; PROP STYLING: AUDREY DAVIS

Recipe: No-Bake Dark Chocolate-Peppermint Sandwich Cookies

No oven is necessary to make these festive and fancy cookies. Add them to your cookie board to please your guests.

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Cheesecake Cookies

Cheesecake Cookies
Caitlin Bensel

Recipe: Cheesecake Cookies

It couldn't be easier to turn cheesecake into a bite-sized treat this holiday season.

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Icebox Fruitcake

Icebox Fruit Cake
Micah Leal

Recipe: Icebox Fruitcake

This fruitcake imparts the delicious flavor of classic fruitcake minus all the hard work.

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Texas Pecan Cake

Texas Pecan Cake
Photographer: Jennifer Causey; Food Stylist: Rishon Hanners; Prop Stylist: Audrey Davis

Recipe: Texas Pecan Cake

This cake is an essential crossover between pecan pie and icebox fruitcake.

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Christmas Tree Brownies

Christmas Tree Brownies
Micah A. Leal

Recipe: Christmas Tree Brownies

Cut these brownies into triangles and decorate with green homemade frosting for a perfect holiday treat.

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Christmas Pinwheel Cookies

Christmas Pinwheel Cookies
Joy Howard

Recipe: Christmas Pinwheel Cookies

After combining the colorful dough and chilling, simply slice and bake these butter cookies.

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Chocolate-Gingerbread Christmas Tree Cookies

Chocolate-Gingerbread Christmas Tree Cookies
Joy Howard

Recipe: Chocolate-Gingerbread Christmas Tree Cookies

Rich chocolate pairs nicely with classic gingerbread in these tasty cookies.

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5-Ingredient Sugar Cookies

5-Ingredient Sugar Cookies
Photo: Hector Sanchez

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.

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Heavenly Angel Food Cake

Heavenly Angel Food Cake
Photo: Beth Dreiling Hontzas

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 easy-to-slice and great for a crowd.

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