Grandma’s Favorite Christmas Desserts

Classic Red Velvet Cake With Cream Cheese Frosting
PHOTO: MOLLY BOLTON/SOUTHERN LIVING

When it comes to Christmas, Grandma knows how important it is to serve up sugar and spice in the form of dessert. Even though dessert is the last course of the holiday menu, it’s most likely planned first and thought about most. Plus, in Grandma’s opinion (and ours), there’s no such thing as too many desserts.

From luscious layer cakes to decadent pies to flavor-filled cookies and more, we’ve rounded up Grandma’s favorite Christmas desserts that we’ll always make.

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Cherry Delight

Cherry Delight
PHOTOGRAPHER: JENNIFER CAUSEY FOOD STYLIST: MELISSA GRAY PROP STYLIST: HEATHER CHADDUCK HILLEGAS

Though the graham cracker crust for this classic church cookbook dessert requires a little bit of baking, the filling and topping don’t require any cooking. It sets while chilling in the fridge.

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Old-Fashioned Gingerbread

Old-Fashioned Gingerbread - Southern Living
CAITLIN BENSEL; FOOD STYLIST: TORIE COX

Unlike the cookies, this old-fashioned gingerbread is tender and fluffy. Not only will the gingerbread be filled with the warm flavors of the season when you take a bite, but your kitchen will smell just like Grandma’s while they’re baking.

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Rum Balls

Rum Balls - Southern Living
CAITLIN BENSEL; FOOD STYLIST: TORIE COX

This classic Christmas treat can be made in advance of Christmas dinner, but just make sure to store them in a safe place where you (or your family members) aren’t tempted to eat them all before the holiday gathering.

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Easy Sugar Cookies

Sugar Cookies
CARLINA TETERIS/GETTY IMAGES

Whether served plain or covered with icing and sprinkles, sugar cookies in festive shapes always belong on the menu. They cook quickly, so just make sure to keep an eye on them like Grandma does.

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Classic Red Velvet Cake With Cream Cheese Frosting

Classic Red Velvet Cake With Cream Cheese Frosting
MOLLY BOLTON/SOUTHERN LIVING

Homemade layers of red velvet cake are the ideal base for cream cheese frosting. Not to mention, the festive colors make it ideal for Christmas.

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Pecan Pie

Pecan Pie - Southern Living
CAITLIN BENSEL; FOOD STYLIST: TORIE COX

While pecan pie is a classic on Thanksgiving tables, Grandma knows it deserves a spot on the Christmas menu as well. We prefer serving with a generous dollop of whipped cream on top.

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Old-Fashioned Caramel Cake

Old-Fashioned Caramel Cake Southern Living
COURTNEY WEST

Grandma knows there’s no occasion that can’t be made better with a homemade caramel cake and Christmas is no exception.

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Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies

Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies
CAITLIN BENSEL

This classic Christmas cookie recipe calls for 36 milk chocolate kisses. So, if you’re tempted to enjoy one or two while unwrapping them, just make sure you still have enough for your cookies.

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Hummingbird Cake

Hummingbird Cake
SOUTHERN LIVING

Since it first appeared in the pages of Southern Living in 1978, the Hummingbird Cake has become a beloved dessert. In fact, it’s one of our most popular recipes ever.

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Fruitcake

Really Good Fruitcake
SOUTHERN LIVING

While you may be a skeptic of fruitcake, this recipe just may change your mind. It’s not only filled with plenty of fruits and warm spices, but you’ll also find brandy and bourbon on the ingredient list.

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Cherry Winks

Cherry Winks
JOY HOWARD

These old-fashioned cookies are coated in crushed cornflakes which create a crunchy coating which pairs nicely with the soft texture of the inside.

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Chocolate Peppermint Cake

Chocolate Peppermint Cake
VICTOR PROTASIO, FOOD STYLIST: EMILY NABORS HALL, PROP STYLIST: KATHLEEN VARNER

Chocolate and mint are a classic duo, especially during the Christmas season. Chocolate cake is given a holiday makeover with the addition of peppermint extract in the frosting as well as using peppermints for garnish.

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Punch Bowl Cake

Southern Living Punch Bowl Cake ready to serve with bowls and spoons beside
MORGAN HUNT GLAZE, FOOD STYLIST: JENNIFER WENDORF, PROP STYLIST: SHELL ROYSTER

Grandma knows it’s possible to transform boxed cake mix and instant pudding into a holiday-ready dessert and this recipe proves just that. Punch bowl cake looks impressive, but is much easier to pull together than a time-consuming layer cake.

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Buche de Noel

Buche De Noel
PHOTOGRAPHER: JENNIFER CAUSEY FOOD STYLIST: ANA KELLY PROP STYLIST: KAY CLARKE

The name of this holiday dessert can be translated to “yule log”. Though it looks impressive, it’s simpler than you may think to pull together.

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Spritz Cookies

Spritz Cookies
MICAH A. LEAL

This classic Christmas cookie gets its shape from a cookie press. If you want to decorate with sprinkles, we recommend brushing cookies with light corn syrup so they’ll stick to the surface.

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Christmas Fudge

Christmas Fudge
MICAH A LEAL

While there are many variations of fudge made during the holiday season, Grandma knows that classic is best. Colorful sprinkles add a fun seasonal touch.

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Gingerbread Bundt Cake

Southern Living Gingerbread Bundt Cake on a cake plate ready to serve
MOLLY BOLTON

Grandma knows gingerbread flavor isn’t just for cookies. It’s also delicious in Bundt cake form. Even though it’s not a layer cake, a cream cheese glaze and sugared cranberries make it just as pretty.

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Millionaire Pie

Southern Living Millionaire Pie in a pie plate to serve
CAITLIN BENSEL; FOOD STYLIST: TORIE COX

You can use homemade or store-bought crust as the base for this no-bake pie. No matter which you use, we bet there won’t be a slice left after the holiday meal.

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White Cake With Cranberry Filling And Orange Buttercream

White Cake With Cranberry Filling and Orange Buttercream
COURTNEY WEST

Cranberry filling and orange buttercream upgrade white cake into an impressive Christmas layer cake that delivers layers of flavor in every bite.

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Over-The-Moon Chocolate Pie

Over the Moon Chocolate Pie
CAITLIN BENSEL; FOOD STYLING: TORIE COX

Chocolate lovers will always rejoice when there’s a chocolate pie on the table. It does call for a homemade graham cracker crust, but it’s easy to make.