15 crowd-pleasing no-bake holiday dessert ideas

These could kick cookies to the curb.

Rainbow layer cake
Rainbow layer cake
Chowhound staff
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Chowhound staff
4 min read

The holidays just aren't the holidays without something sweet to share with your family and friends. But if you don't have time to bake (or have room in your oven), there's a plethora of no-bake desserts that are perfect for serving to a crowd this holiday season. They might even draw attention away from the Christmas cookies.

Read more: These Mexican wedding cookies could pass for snowballs

We've rounded up 15 of the best no-bake holiday desserts for all your partiespotlucks and holiday dinners.

No-bake Oreo snowman balls


Want to add a bit of festiveness to your office potluck or your kids' bake sale? These snowmen Oreo truffles are sure to be a hit. They're almost too cute to eat... almost. (Check out this adorable polar bear cookie recipe for another craft-cum-Oreo dessert.) Get Chowhound's no-bake Oreo snowman balls recipe.



Tiramisu is just a matter of assembly, and for anyone who is a fan of coffee and cocoa, this is everything you could ever want. A little amaretto or rum will add some additional flavor to this layered confection. Get Chowhound's tiramisu recipe.

Tiramisu dip


Chips and dip get a sweet makeover in this recipe (even easier than actual tiramisu!). Graham crackers are the ideal vehicle for scooping up a creamy dessert dip, but plain sugar cookies are also a great choice -- and seasonally appropriate. Get Chowhound's tiramisu dip reicpe.

Easy hazelnut truffle fudge


Fudge can be tricky, but this quick and easy version doesn't even require a candy thermometer. It's more of a ganache -- enriched with Nutella -- that firms up into a sliceable confection. Top with salted, toasted hazelnuts for a great contrast to the sweet, creamy chocolate. Get Chowhound's easy hazelnut truffle fudge recipe.

Chocolate-dipped strawberries


Why wait for someone else to buy them for you on Valentine's Day? Swap out milk chocolate for white chocolate and Christmas sprinkles for a twist on the traditional dipped strawberry, or break out your piping bag and dress them up in tiny tuxedos. Get Chowhound's chocolate-dipped strawberries recipe.

No-bake marshmallow wreaths

Who could resist an edible wreath? This is like a rice cereal treat but it's cornflakes that you're gluing together with melted marshmallows (plus some green food coloring, of course). Decorate as you please with candies and sprinkles. Get the no-bake marshmallow wreaths recipe.

Bittersweet chocolate truffles


Chocolate truffles can cost your entire holiday bonus at a fancy boutique sweet shop, but they're incredibly easy to make at home (yet always impressive). Roll these in finely chopped pistachios or crushed candy canes for a winter coat instead of the usual cocoa. Get Chowhound's bittersweet chocolate truffles recipe.

Drunken prune-mascarpone trifle


Don't let the word prune scare you off -- they're just dried plums, and here they're soaked in a rich red wine and port syrup with cinnamon and vanilla. Alone, they're a great topping for ice cream, but layered with cubed pound cake (that you can buy at the store) and whipped cream stabilized with some mascarpone, they make a stunning trifle. Get Chowhound's drunken prune-mascarpone trifle recipe.

Easy ice cream cake


True ice cream lovers aren't deterred by frightful weather outside, and this ice cream cake captures the colors of the season. While this version calls for a combination of strawberry, pistachio and vanilla bean ice cream, you could easily swap in more seasonal flavors, like peppermint and chocolate. Get Chowhound's easy ice cream cake recipe. (And try Chowhound's espresso mud pie recipe for something similar with mocha flavors.)

No-bake peppermint cheesecake

Because what signals the holidays more than peppermint? You and your nearest and dearest will love digging into this rich no-bake cheesecake that features the winning combination of chocolate and mint. Get the no-bake peppermint cheesecake recipe.

Chocolate mousse pie


Rich, creamy chocolate mousse and fluffy homemade whipped cream are easy to make in a stand mixer, and if you put them in a store-bought cookie shell, no one will mind. Top with crushed candy canes for a festive finish. Get Chowhound's chocolate mousse pie recipe.

Crock-Pot Christmas candy

You can make Crock-Pot Christmas dinner and Crock-Pot Christmas drinks, so why not Crock-Pot dessert too? These easy chocolate peanut clusters are great for a dessert plate or giving as a homemade food gift, and all you need are cheerful sprinkles to dress them up. Get the easy Crock-Pot Christmas candy recipe.

Cinnamon dessert nachos with salted caramel dip

You might associate nachos more with Cinco de Mayo and football Sundays, but the highly customizable food can easily transition to after dinner. Much like your traditional cheesy nachos, dessert nachos can be tweaked depending on your favorite toppings, whether that's nuts, chocolate sauce or fruit. Here, a salted caramel dip is a sweet stand-in for salsa. Get the cinnamon dessert nachos with salted caramel dip recipe.

Pineapple rum sorbet


Holiday meals are usually heavy, so if you want a lighter bite after dinner, consider a sorbet (those who are still hungry can complement it with sugar cookies). You don't even need an ice cream maker for this one; just blend pineapple, rum and a few other ingredients and freeze them in an airtight container. Get Chowhound's pineapple rum sorbet recipe.

Zesty lime and ginger winter fruit salad


Fruit salad is another healthy dessert that you can put together on short notice; just use seasonal winter fruit to really make it shine. The ginger-spiked syrup helps too. Get Chowhound's zesty lime and ginger winter fruit salad recipe.