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Easy No-Bake Holiday Desserts

By Clare Miers

No-bake holiday dessert recipes save you time during the holiday season. These no-fuss recipes will allow you make them while the prime rib is roasting or you’re preparing appetizers.

Whip up a festive Peppermint Pie with White Chocolate from Sandra Lee’s Christmas magazine or if you love a light cake dessert, but don’t want the fuss of

 spending all morning in the kitchen, serve up some Lemon Drop Trifles during your holiday.

Who knew that all of these desserts could be accomplished without an oven further heating up the busy and usually crowded holiday kitchen? (For easy slow-cooker recipes, go here.)

No-bake holiday desserts

“I keep a go-to selection of no-bake desserts in my recipe file, like this one for Lemon Drop Trifles from Cooking with Paula Deen. It calls for only a few quality, premade ingredients that get me halfway through making the recipe before I even begin. And I never even have to preheat the oven! That’s the kind of recipe that’s ideal for my lifestyle and celebrations,” says Elizabeth Taliaferro, managing editor of Cooking with Paula Deen.

Lemon Drop Trifles


1 lemon wedge

1 cup finely crushed lemon drop candies

1 (1-pound) prepared angel food cake cut into cubes

½ cup limoncello or other lemon liqueur

1½ cups heavy whipping cream

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 (10 ounce) jar lemon curd


  1. Moisten rims of 10 glass dessert bowls with lemon wedge. Place crushed candy on a small shallow plate. Holding glasses at an angle, roll rims of glasses in crushed candy.
  2. Arrange cake cubes in serving glasses. Sprinkle with desired amount of liqueur.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine cream, lemon juice, and curd; whisk until smooth. Drizzle cream mixture over cake. Chill up to 30 minutes. Garnish with remaining crushed candy, if desired.

Sandra Lee of Semi-Homemade magazine shows how to take some shortcuts with this peppermint-y cream pie with white chocolate. “This recipe makes good use of all of the extra peppermints and candy canes that are always plentiful around the holidays,” says Wendy Blaszyk of Hoffman Media.

Peppermint Pie with White Chocolate

(From the Sandra Lee Christmas 2010 Special Issue)

Makes one 9-inch pie

1¾ cups graham cracker crumbs

1/3 cup butter, melted

¼ cup sugar

1 (1-ounce) box instant sugar-free white chocolate pudding mix

1 (1-ounce) box instant cheesecake pudding mix

3 cups whole milk, divided

¼ teaspoon peppermint extract

1 (16-ounce) container frozen nondairy whipped topping, thawed

Garnish: crushed hard peppermint candies

  1. Spray a 9-inch pie plate with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, butter, and sugar. Press into bottom of prepared pie plate. Cover and chill for 30 minutes.
  3. In separate small bowls, prepare pudding mixes according to package directions for traditional pudding pie, using 1½cups milk each.
  4. Spread white chocolate pudding in chilled crust. Top with cheesecake pudding. Cover and chill for at least 8 hours or up to 24 hours.
  5. Just before serving, fold extract into whipped topping. Spread over chilled pie, and sprinkle with crushed candies, if desired. Serve immediately.

*Note: 1 (9-ounce) ready-made graham cracker crust may be substituted, omitting cracker crumbs, butter, and sugar. Chill crust for 30 minutes.