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30 New Year's dessert recipes

No matter how your year went, you can end it on a sweet note.
/ Source: TODAY

The hors d'oeuvres have been devoured, the entrees have been enjoyed, and now, with three hours left 'til midnight, dessert has some pretty big shoes — well, bellies — to fill.

Not to worry! Whether the night calls for something rich, scooped warm from a casserole dish or easy to eat between dances and delicate like Puerto Rican shortbread cookies (aka polvorones), this list includes some of TODAY's favorite desserts. Each one is the perfect fit for New Year's Eve.

Lemon, Lime and Earl Grey Sablés

These cookies are dead simple to make but they taste special. You can make the dough well in advance and freeze it. Even the baked cookies freeze well. Who doesn't love a recipe that can be prepped ahead?

This cheesecake uses ricotta instead of cream cheese for a slightly more textured cake. Lemon zest and candied lemon slices provide some contrast in flavor and the crust is biscotti, not graham crackers, so it’s Italian-coffee-friendly.


Alejandra Ramos

The name of these nutty shortbread cookies comes from the word "polvo," which means dust in Spanish. It references the powdery sugar and crumbly texture of the cookie itself. Many know these as Mexican Wedding Cookies or even Russian Tea Cakes. It seems every country has their own version — and with good reason, for they are as easy to make as they are delicious to enjoy.

Chocolate Cake

Chocolate Cake

Craig Strong

Coffee is the secret ingredient for making chocolate cake super moist and flavorful. This recipe is easy to make — and the jolt of caffeine will help keep you up until midnight to ring in the New Year.

Creamiest Cream Puffs

If you want an interactive element to your party, create a cream puff bar! Provide filled cream puffs (or let guests fill their own!), a variety of melted chocolates and topping and let your friends go crazy with their own cream puff creations.

If you've never tried these little, pop-in-your-mouth chocolates filled with cookie butter, you must. And then you must make them so all your friends and family can feel as satiated as you will.

The classic combo of milk and cookies is transformed into an easy party dessert that will make everyone feel just like a kid again. You can bake mini versions of your favorite homemade chocolate chip cookie recipe or keep things simple by picking up a box from your local grocery store or bakery.

Try serving this lovely orange cake with a citrusy sparkling cocktail. The Alberti brothers suggest accompanying the cake with nondairy ice cream, but it would also be delicious with regular ice cream.

Vanilla Cheesecake Panna Cotta

Vanilla Cheesecake Panna Cotta

Frances Largeman-Roth, RDN

These silky vanilla bean cheesecake panna cottas are just the thing to end a festive meal. They are rich and creamy, and just the right size to satisfy. Plus, they look like little votive candles on the table!

Hummingbird cake is a classic Southern dessert that's perfect for the holidays with its cream cheese frosting, pineapples, bananas and pecans. The recipe calls for dividing the batter into 12 individual Bundt cake pans, so each person gets their own cake.

Tiramisu Parfaits

Tiramisu Parfaits

Grace Parisi

Come dessert time, serving individual glasses of tiramisu is a piece of cake (well not literally). Not only will these impress your guests, but everyone is guaranteed to get one! This recipe easily doubles and can be prepared in any 8-ounce glass, ramekin or custard cup.

Anyone looking for a foolproof, festive recipe that can be made anytime between now and New Year's Eve morning, look now further. This icebox cake is so rich and flavorful, but still light. Also, it only has five ingredients and lasts for months in the freezer, should the unlikely event happen that there are some leftovers.

Valerie Bertinelli's Sicilian Love Cake

Store-bought chocolate cake mix and chocolate pudding mix are the secrets behind this easy cake from Valerie Bertinelli. But with its rich mascarpone-ricotta filling and luscious cocoa-mascarpone frosting, it tastes like a labor of love.

Chocolate and coconut are a match made in heaven. This recipe is easy, so decadent and just happen to be gluten free so you'll have a dessert that even more people can enjoy.

Sometimes a savory twist in my desserts takes the edge off the sweetness. These lemony pecan bars have an earthy element that even non-dessert lovers won’t be able to resist.

Joy Bauer's Pumpkin Pie Shots

By mixing in a few simple ingredients with pumpkin — think vanilla yogurt, brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice and a sprinkling of graham cracker — you create a velvety pumpkin pie experience in a matter of seconds.

Joy Bauer's Banana Cream Pie Shots

New Year's Eve wouldn't be complete without a few options of decadent shots, right. All kid-friendly, these pie shots are sweet and creamy, and a guaranteed hit at any get-together. Plus, they’re served in shot glasses, which provides the perfect portion for everyone.

Use your microwave to prepare this molten chocolate cake for your special someone and see just how romantic things get! Chocolate truffles tucked into the batter melt and create the lava center for a decadent treat. They're easy for a dinner party, too, and a great way to celebrate the New Year.

Cherry and Goat Cheese Hand Pies

These little pies are packed with a sweet cherry and goat cheese filling and topped off with a savory salt-pepper-sugar coating. The filling is made using both frozen and dried cherries, which adds a complexity of texture and tartness.

These cookies are an ode to that gingerbread Christmas classic. The recipe uses zesty lemon for a unique twist on the flavor profile that results in a cookie that's gently crunchy on the outside with a soft, chewy center.

Inspired by the famed Mother's Restaurant in New Orleans, this dish for a sweet, well balanced bread pudding is one of Sunny Anderson's go-tos. It has a little fruit in it, which balances the rich chocolate beautifully.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cake

The combination of smooth peanut butter and rich chocolate make this five-ingredient dessert incredibly decadent and irresistible to any peanut butter cup fan. It's longstanding family recipe that uses boxed cake mix as a base: As simple as it is delicious.

Coconut Bliss Cake

Coconut Bliss Cake

Seton Rossini

This recipe is a deconstruction of the Almond Joy, reassembled in the best possible way. One bite of this cake, coated in a chocolate fudge sauce and adorned in almonds, and you’ll be hooked. It's your favorite chocolate bar from childhood, all grown up.

Warm, vanilla-scented bread pudding made with Italian Christmas bread is a must-make for the holidays. While it's hearty enough to enjoy with breakfast, the sweet maple and dried fruits make this a wonderful dessert, especially when guests may be snacking on it up until midnight.



Dr. Jessica B. Harris

These irresistible, five-ingredient patties from New Orleans have sweet notes of creamy caramel and earthy pecans. They're not only packed with flavor but also a fascinating history — which you can read about here.

Roughly bashed salted pretzels and toasted hazelnuts are stirred into melted chocolate, then decorated with crushed freeze-dried red strawberries and green pistachios for extra color and flavor to complete this delicious treat.

These sour cherry and pistachio bars boast strong cookie, pie and cobbler vibes all in one. While the sour cherry gives a vibrant tartness perfect for wintry gatherings, feel free to swap out with any jam you enjoy. Do not forget the coconut: That's what makes these bars truly shine!

This pie, an ode to a classic flavor combo, couldn't be simpler to make. Whether it's eaten warm out of the oven or cold the next morning for breakfast, your family or friends will crazy for it.

This berry-studded cake is festive enough for the holiday table but comes together so easily, you can mix it up anytime. Pop it in the oven as you're sitting down for dinner. If you have leftovers, no one will judge you for digging in at breakfast New Year's morning.

This is a super-simple, earthy tasting shortbread recipe that combines sweet and savory notes and smells unfathomably like a cozy fire on a cold winter night.