15 No-Bake Desserts That Were Made For The Holidays

What would the holiday months be without some sugary delights to accompany your favorite comfort foods? Turn on a Christmas classics playlist, and you'll hear mentions of sugar plums, candy canes, and pumpkin pie (and let's not forget figgy pudding, marshmallows, and fruitcake). No matter which holidays you hold near and dear to your heart, we can all agree that desserts make them that much better. While there are many different confections to make at home, many of them need to be baked. And while baking is an enjoyable activity, sometimes you simply don't have the time or oven space, or perhaps you want to try something new for once.

Whatever you choose to prepare, avoid putting no-bake desserts on the back burner this holiday season. They are incredibly convenient to make and impressively delectable. You'll be surprised by what you can whip up without an oven. The recipes on this list are all phenomenal treats that contain flavors like pumpkin, peppermint, spices, and more. Make them for a special gathering or as a tasty dessert to have on hand. While you're at it, why pick just one? The more, the merrier!

1. Peppermint bark

Peppermint bark is a classic sweet treat people enjoy around the holidays, and this straightforward recipe is easy to follow. Since this dessert is chocolate-based, the recipe only needs to be cooked on the stovetop instead of baked in the oven. This rendition is lovely because you can make it with either white or dark chocolate, so you can easily adjust it to fit your preferences. Or, try making it double-layered with both kinds of chocolate if you're up for the challenge. 

Upon biting into this delicious confection, hints of white chocolate and peppermint will overcome your taste buds. This is a perfect edible gift for loved ones since it can be stored at room temperature. Consequently, it does well if you're traveling because no refrigeration is needed. After breaking the peppermint bark into pieces, wrap it in cellophane or a clear goody bag so that the presentation is on display. Crushed candy cane sprinkled over a silky chocolate surface makes for a gorgeous treat. 

2. Ginger ice cream

This ginger ice cream is a brilliant choice for the holidays, whether you enjoy it on its own or pair it with other desserts. Take our word for it though, the sugary spiced flavor tastes wonderful on top of a slice of rich pumpkin pie. This tasty formula for homemade ice cream only requires five ingredients to bring it into being. Although the naturally sweet and spicy essence of fresh ginger is more than enough, adding other spices, such as cinnamon or nutmeg, takes it to the next level and gives it more of a holiday-time feel. 

Since the recipe calls for freshly grated ginger root, the taste shines through and is more refreshing than if you were to use ground ginger. The ice cream only needs about an hour minimum to firm up, but making it days ahead is always doable, which is excellent news if you're busily prepping for holiday get-togethers. Try serving the ice cream with candied ginger or fresh mint sprigs as an embellishment and tantalizing presentation.

3. Orange creamsicle Jell-O mold

While Jell-O desserts are a summertime favorite, people enjoy them during the fall and winter months as well. This orange creamsicle Jell-O mold is especially tasty around Christmas when the heavenly combination of chocolate and orange shows up in various forms. Although this recipe doesn't specifically call for chocolate, topping the Jell-O dessert with a chocolate sauce drizzle or even chocolate shavings does the trick to elevate its appeal.

To make this citrusy delight and deliver a melt-in-your-mouth treat like no other, you'll need to stock up on Cool Whip, orange Jell-O, and orange sherbet. This recipe takes a bit of planning as the gelatin needs time to set, preferably at least four hours. The good news is that you serve the cloud-like confection cold, so you don't have to bother with the logistics of keeping a dessert hot if you're hosting a party. You won't want to miss out on this simple and decadent orange creamsicle Jell-O mold.

4. Old-fashioned rice pudding

Rice pudding is undoubtedly at the forefront of cozy and comforting food options. It offers plenty to indulge in with cinnamon, vanilla, and sugar flavors. Adding milk offers a rich and creamy texture, and even if you swap it with a non-dairy option, a velvety dessert still ensues. Streams of nostalgia will hit you upon trying this old-fashioned rice pudding recipe, especially for anyone who grew up savoring the warm dish during the colder parts of the year.

In fact, some places like Denmark hold festive practices surrounding this charming dessert (via Atlas Obscura). Many Danish folks partake in a warm serving of risengrød (rice pudding) on Christmas Eve, and it all stems from traditional fables passed down over the years. So, whether you eat rice pudding every Christmas or you've never actually tried it, this time of year is the optimal period to enjoy it. The recipe takes roughly half an hour to make and yields six servings, so there is plenty to chow down.

5. Coconut-covered brigadeiros

Brigadeiros are a popular festive food in Brazil, similar to truffles. Specifically, coconut-covered brigadeiros are wonderful for the wintry months as they resemble snowballs. The inner part of the truffle is a cream-white color, and you finish off the rich treat by rolling it in shredded coconut, taking the presentation to a new level. This recipe only requires a few ingredients, and you can quickly whip up the no-bake sweets with just a bit of stovetop time.

The holidays are already hectic, so why not make a simple yet decadent recipe that everyone will love? Take note that the recipe only makes two servings, so you'll want to modify the quantities if you're cooking for a crowd. Nevertheless, these truffles are phenomenal to serve at holiday gatherings. Stack them on a platter and they'll be gone by the end of the night. Just remember to keep them chilled until just before serving so that they hold their spherical shape.

6. Peppermint Christmas puppy chow

Puppy chow, also known as muddy buddies, is a no-bake confection that is incredibly easy to make. Beginner cooks can be confident that they will take it on successfully. Classic puppy chow consists of a mix of Chex cereal, powdered sugar, peanut butter, and chocolate. The recipe is easily customized, and peppermint Christmas puppy chow provides a unique twist. This version contains Chex, powdered sugar, crushed-up candy canes, and white chocolate (rather than milk or dark). Since it skips out on the peanut butter, the recipe is also safe for people with nut allergies.

For anyone on a tight schedule, puppy chow conveniently takes about 20 minutes to make from start to finish. Much like peppermint bark, this sweet treat is a terrific option to give as an edible gift. Pack it in a holiday-themed baggy or tin container to make it extra festive. Alternatively, setting out a large bowl of puppy chow with your party food spread is a surefire way to impress your guests.

7. Chocolate raspberry cookie truffles

Coconut brigadeiros are suitable for the festive winter months with their snowball-like look, but semi-sweet chocolate truffles are just as welcome. This chocolate raspberry cookie truffle recipe fits in with its delightful flavor. Marshmallow creme, crumbled cookies, and raspberry extract are impeccable cures for anybody with a sweet tooth. Chocolate and raspberry are a timeless combination, so there's no questioning whether these will go over well with your guests.

McCormick originally published this particular recipe, which is why the McCormick raspberry extract is preferred; however, any brand will do. Drizzle chocolate lines over the ready-to-go truffles and plate them along with fresh fruit for an attractive display. The truffles are perfect as a snack or to serve at a celebration since they are bite-sized and pre-portioned. These desserts last several days at room temperature, so making them in advance is a practical option. Just pull out the handful of ingredients needed — trying these no-bake treats is a no-brainer.

8. Eggnog cream cheese pie

This list certainly wouldn't be complete without some type of eggnog delight. Although eggnog cookies are scrumptious, they require baking. In contrast, this eggnog cream cheese pie takes the cake for being delicious and no-bake. It requires less than 20 minutes to craft and supplies eight generous servings. The flavor profile has elements of orange, nutmeg, almonds, and rum extract, and the creamy whipped topping guarantees the pie's consistency is oh-so-fluffy and rich.

This is a fantastic alternative to other cream pies that require you to bake a crust. Here, you utilize ladyfingers as the base, which makes it a whole lot easier to prepare. Not to mention, garnishing the top with nuts and fresh berries creates a glorious look that's sure to catch the eye. This chilled pie is undoubtedly refreshing after a hearty holiday meal. While it is light in texture, the warm flavors are extra comforting.

9. Montmorency tart cherry cheesecake

This no-bake Montmorency tart cherry cheesecake is a twist on the rich delicacy, and whipping it up around the holidays is a grand idea. It takes approximately half an hour to complete, including zero oven time. The crust needs to be chilled in the refrigerator while it sets, which is the perfect time to mix the filling, which is further cooled. Preferably, make the cheesecake a day in advance so it has plenty of time to firm up overnight.

While the cheesecake flavors are simple, you can do plenty with the presentation to make it festive. This sweet treat is ultimately a blank canvas to be adorned with the vivid red cherry pie filling. Anyone who loves Christmas colors will take advantage of the decorative possibilities. Mimic Christmas holly with an element of green by placing some fresh mint sprigs or rosemary on top. Using candy canes to accompany the cherry topping is another way to make it merry. 

10. Peppermint fantasy fudge

This decadent no-bake confection is one of many that take advantage of peppermint candies. Peppermint fantasy fudge is irresistible and only requires eight ingredients to make. It has a luscious and chewy chocolate base, garnished with candy cane pieces for a crunchy texture and refreshing bite. Chocolate and peppermint make the ultimate duo in this recipe, which both tastes satisfying and has an enchanting appearance.

The actual hands-on cooking time involved is nice and short (only about 10 minutes), however, waiting for the fudge to set before you can wolf it down takes the most time (and patience, of course). This satisfying formula makes enough fudge to fill an 8-inch pan, and you're welcome to cut it into as many pieces as you'd like. Whether you just want something to snack on or are planning to make holiday treats for loved ones, this peppermint fudge will not disappoint.

11. Lemon olive oil ice cream

During Hanukkah celebrations, many Jewish people indulge in foods that are rich in olive oil (Harry & David). According to Chabad, this tradition represents the miracle of oil, in which a small amount of oil, only sufficient to shine for less than 24 hours, illuminated a menorah for eight days. Over 2,000 years later, families still light candles on a menorah to represent the powerful event. 

Although many foods enjoyed during Hanukkah are fried or served warm, devouring lemon olive oil ice cream is a fun and refreshing change. The recipe takes roughly 25 minutes from beginning to end and yields five servings. Egg yolks and olive oil add depth and complexity to the flavor and texture, while lemon zest adds a bright element to each bite. Keep in mind that an ice cream maker is required to successfully make this frozen treat, so plan accordingly.

12. Chocolate Christmas dessert

This no-bake chocolate Christmas dessert recipe is a simple yet classy option that yields itself to experimentation. While the recipe suggests assembling the dessert in a square baking tin, layering it in individual portions is also an option. A creamy peanut butter filling, gingersnap cookie crumbles, and chocolate pudding make up each bite. You'll only need 20 minutes to rustle up this chocolate goody, and as an added bonus, it makes your whole kitchen smell like peanut butter heaven.

This dessert tastes best within a day or so of making it. Unfortunately, the gingersnap pieces become soft over time as they soak up the creamy filling. So, although it's not ideal for making days in advance, at least you can count on enjoying a freshly pepared treat. Despite the fact that this dessert was created with Christmas in mind, the undertones of ginger, chocolate, and spices make it versatile enough to enjoy during any of the cooler months leading up to the new year.

13. Pumpkin pecan pie bites

Rather than baking a whole pumpkin pie, making these no-bake pumpkin bites topped with pecans is an unbeatable game plan. Once you finish the 15-minute prep, these mini pumpkin tarts need to chill for around an hour to set. If you're in a rush, using the freezer will get the job done more quickly than a refrigerator. These individual sweet treats resemble pumpkin pie and showcase a burnt-orange color with speckles of spices mixed throughout.

A single pecan on top stands out, but roughly chopping the nuts and sprinkling them over the surface is a nice embellishment too. Aside from the pumpkin puree and spices, maple and dates sweeten the filling without any added sugar at all. No matter which holiday you're celebrating, this pumpkin dessert is a heavenly addition. On the flip side, you don't need a specific occasion to enjoy this; it's just as satisfying on any ordinary day. Why wait?

14. Gingerbread fudge

Although chocolate fudge is popular all over, plenty of other types deserve your attention. This gingerbread fudge recipe is perfectly merry for the festive season, with autumnal flavors like nutmeg, cinnamon, and ginger. The condensed milk makes the fudge ultra-chewy, while the toasted pecans add a pleasant and contrasting crunch. The highlight of this recipe is that it's a no-bake dish that doesn't require stovetop cooking either. Yes, that's right — you only need a microwave to create this flavorful treat.

As you mix the components, the aroma of melted white chocolate and baking spices will have you completely enticed. It's up to you whether you use a square or round pan; simply consider how you want to cut up the pieces. Once the fudge has finished setting in the refrigerator, you're ready to rock and roll. To finish, dust a light layer of powdered sugar on top if you wish to dress up this treat.

15. Tart cherry icebox cake

Icebox cakes are an ideal no-bake treat if you're making dessert for a group of people. This tart cherry icebox cake recipe is wonderful for the holidays because it features vanilla bean, chocolate, and cherries. All are delicious components individually, but they especially shine when incorporated into a cake. Combined with graham crackers and cheesecake pudding, you'll have a hard time stopping at one slice. 

This recipe opts for classic dessert flavors and stands out with a captivating layered look. Once you finish coating the cake with a whipped cream topping, creativity comes into play. Fruit, chocolate shavings, gingerbread cookie pieces, or even fresh sprigs of mint are just a few of the garnishes that will make this cake the star of any dessert table. You'll want to prepare this ahead of time because it requires a couple of hours of refrigeration to set up properly.