Finish your party menu with one of these crowd-pleasing desserts.
Entertaining should be about ease and simplicity. Here are our favorite party dessert recipes that let you take the matter in hand—literally. These mini desserts are single-serve portions that make entertaining a breeze. Fill a plate with bite-sized desserts like our Chocolate Truffle Bites, the Buttermilk Glazed Mini Fig Cakes with Vanilla Hard Sauce, or the Profiteroles with Coffee Whipped Cream. There are party dessert recipes for chocolate lovers, and twists on Southern classics like Fried Apple Pies or the deliciously decadent Whiskey Whoopie Pies. So load up on mini desserts and enjoy yourself, because these party dessert recipes will ensure that you are the life of the party, and that the party is sweet.
Easy Mocha Mousse
Recipe: Easy Mocha Mousse
Whether it's pies, puddings, or panna cotta, these dreamy desserts will have your guests singing your praises all night. Crisp cookies and fresh berries pair nicely with cool-and-creamy mocha mousse.
Mini Strawberry Tarts
Recipe: Mini Strawberry Tarts
These sweet treats start with a pistachio crust. A dreamy mixture of cream cheese, lemon juice and zest, and whipped cream are folded together before filling the individual tarts. Toss the fresh strawberries in sugar, just before topping the tarts, to give them just a hint of added sweetness.
Sweet Tea Tiramisù
Recipe: Sweet Tea Tiramisù
Tiramisù is delicious no matter what. Throw sweet tea into the mix and you'll have a to-die-for dessert.
Profiteroles with Coffee Whipped Cream
Pecan Cheesecake Pie
Recipe: Pecan Cheesecake Pie
The nutty topping on this pecan cheesecake pie adds a nice crunch to the characteristic creaminess of this popular dessert.
Caramelized Pear Cannoli with Praline Sauce
Recipe: Lemon-Almond Tarts
Vanilla wafers make a simple crumb crust for the lemon-almond custard filling of these refreshing tarts. Sweet, fresh raspberries top the custard and complete the flavor combination.
Sweet Tea Icebox Tart
Buttermilk Panna Cotta With Zinfandel-Poached Figs
Panna cotta, an eggless custard, is generally served unmolded on a serving plate. We serve it in individual glasses for casual flair, plus you can catch every last drop of the spicy syrup.
Sweet Dip With Cookies and Fruit
Recipe: Sweet Dip With Cookies and Fruit
This velvety, five-ingredient dip is reminiscent of butter cream frosting secretly swiped off cakes. Serve with assorted cookies, fresh berries, and dark chocolate squares.
Pavlova With Lemon Cream and Berries
Pavlova was the signature dessert of was former Test Kitchen Professional (and mother of current Test Kitchen Professional Marian Cooper Cairns) Jane Cairns. You don't have to be a professional to make it though. Assemble the elegant berry dessert just before serving; you can make the meringue up to two days ahead and store it in an airtight container.
White Chocolate Panna Cotta With Dark Chocolate Sauce
Served in stemmed glasses, these silky smooth Italian custards make an elegant ending to any meal.
Raspberry Tiramisù Bites
Recipe: Raspberry Tiramisù Bites
There are crisp Italian cookies also called ladyfingers, but be sure to use soft ones in this recipe. Look for them in the bakery or produce section of your supermarket.
Chocolate Fudge Brownies
Recipe: Chocolate Fudge Brownies
This basic, but outstanding fudge brownie recipe offers endless dessert options you can add nuts or mix things up by turning them into cheesecake brownies.
Easy Blackberry Cobbler
Coconut-Almond Cream Cake
Recipe: Coconut-Almond Cream Cake
This decadent cake is deliciously rich as well as moist. For a colorful presentation, garnish with kumquats, currants, and fresh mint sprigs.
Granola-Ginger Baked Apples
Recipe: Granola-Ginger Baked Apples
Finely crushed oat-and-honey granola bars, chopped crystallized ginger, and thick Greek yogurt are the secrets to this delectable and good-for-you dessert.
Buttermilk-Mexican Chocolate Pound Cake
Instead of using Mexican chocolate in this recipe, we developed the same flavor profile using more common ingredients—semisweet chocolate and cinnamon. If you prefer to use Mexican chocolate, look for it with the hot drink mixes or on the Hispanic food aisle.
Chocolate Truffle Bites
Recipe: Chocolate Truffle Bites
Making chocolate shavings for a garnish is easy. Pick up an extra chocolate bar, and use a vegetable peeler to shave bits of chocolate off the side.
Warm Blackberry Sauce Over Mango Sorbet
A light and refreshing dessert is the perfect ending to a delicious, laid back meal. Garnish your sorbet with crushed gingersnaps for added flavor.
Pound Cake Cupcakes with Browned Butter Frosting
This cupcake recipe is a time-saving desset dream. It starts with boxed pound cake mix and calls for only five ingredients, including what you need for the Browned Butter Frosting. It's party ready and ideal for school functions that call for dozens of cupcakes.
Rebecca's Black Bottom Icebox Pie
With a rich, creamy filling and melt-in-your-mouth crust, this is quite possibly the best chocolate pie ever.
Recipe: Tangerine Pudding
You'll need about six to eight tangerines for the two cups of juice in this recipe. Feel free to substitute any variety of oranges or mandarins if you'd like.
Mocha Chocolate Mousse
Recipe: Mocha Chocolate Mousse
This seriously easy and decadent mousse hides a smart a secret: reduced-sodium soy sauce. Just 1/2 tsp. elevates the deep, rich flavor of the dark chocolate. Add crunch with cookies to contrast the mousse's silky texture. Heating store-bought shortbread in the oven opens up the flavors of the buttery cookies.
Recipe: Lemon Meltaways
You'll use just a tad less than two sticks of butter to make these delicate little gems.
Recipe: Lemon-Almond Bars
For quick cleanup and easy serving, line the bottom and sides of the pan with foil before adding the dough.
Recipe: Citrus Shortcakes
Use any combination of your favorite citrus segments in this fresh shortcake spin. Just be sure to start with a total of 6 cups of fruit.
Tropical Rice Pudding
Recipe: Tropical Rice Pudding
We reimagined a classic recipe from our February 1976 issue into a dreamy tropical delight.
Raspberry Panna Cotta
Recipe: Raspberry Panna Cotta
Cardamom spice gives this silky custard its delicious flavor. Use any berry you wish, adjusting the sugar in the mixture to taste.
Buttermilk-Glazed Mini Fig Cakes with Vanilla Hard Sauce
Muffin pans make the perfect baking vessels for these little fig cakes. Gussy them up by spooning a dollop or piping a silver dollar of hard sauce on top, and then garnish them with halved fresh figs, fresh herbs, or even pecan halves.
Caramel Apple Fantans
Recipe: Caramel Apple Fantans
Use any firm cooking apple, such as 'Jonagold' or 'Honeycrisp,' or a combo for extra flavor and texture.
Fried Apple Pies
Recipe: Fried Apple Pies
There's enough filling to make a second batch of these delicious pies, or you can freeze it for later. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Orange Dreamsicle Crispy Treats
Recipe: Orange Dreamsicle Crispy Treats
Baker Robin Wilson says, "You can also use yellow and pink food coloring gel to make peach. Practice on a piece of wax paper, adding a little at a time to achieve your perfect shade. I serve these to family and friends, and there's never a square left."
Whiskey Whoopie Pies
Recipe: Whiskey Whoopie Pies
Freeze the assembled whoopie pies in zip-top plastic bags up to 3 weeks before your party. Defrost in the fridge overnight.
Buttermilk Ice Cream
Master Recipe: Buttermilk Ice Cream
Variation 1: Avocado-Key Lime Pie Ice Cream
Variation 2: Lemon Meringue Ice Cream
Variation 3: Blueberry-Cheesecake Ice Cream
Vartiation 4: Strawberry-Pretzel Ice Cream
A new freezer favorite has arrived. One genius (and easy!) master recipe and four over-the-top variations provide an endless array of sweet and creamy ideas. The secret to these dreamy treats? Soft-baked cookies from your bakery. Go large or small—just don't go with the crunchy kind.
Nancy Reagan's Vienna Chocolate Bars
After visiting the Neshoba County Fair (billed as Mississippi's Giant Houseparty) during Ronald Reagan's 1980 bid for the presidency, Nancy Reagan shared this supreme creation. The buttery layers of shortbread and fruit topped with crisp meringue definitely get our vote. From Giant Houseparty Cookbook by The Philadelphia-Neshoba County Chamber of Commerce.
Blackberry-Peach Cobbler Bars
Recipe: Blackberry-Peach Cobbler Bars
Looking for a party-perfect treat that's a cut above the classic fruit-filled cobbler? Consider it found.
Recipe: Berry Pies
Keep tops whole, if desired; cut 3 slits in each for steam to escape.
Chocolate Zucchini Cakes
Recipe: Chocolate Zucchini Cakes
Spiked with a triple hit of chocolate (we're talking intensely rich sour cream-fudge frosting here), these are definitely not your garden-variety zucchini cakes.
Key Lime Curd Cones
Recipe: Key Lime Curd Cones
To prep ahead, make the curd up to two days in advance, and chill. Whip the meringue an hour before your party; assemble just before serving.
Petite Blueberry Cheesecakes
Recipe: Petite Blueberry Cheesecakes
As pretty as petits fours, these luscious little two-bite gems can be finished with any kind of berry or preserves. Get ahead, and bake the cheesecakes in advance. After baking, they'll freeze up to one month. Thaw and top with preserves and fruit before serving.
Mini Apple Cider Pound Cakes
Recipe: Mini Apple Cider Pound Cakes
Finish the cakes with one of three toppings, listed with the recipe. Toss together the Streusel Topping before you start baking. Both glazes can be prepped while the cakes cool.