30 New Year’s Desserts

30 New Year's Desserts

Appetizers have been devoured, main courses have been tasted, and now, with three hours to go until midnight, dessert has some very big shoes – well, bellies – to fill.

Do not worry! Whether the night calls for something rich, warm in a casserole 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 is perfect for New Years Eve.

Samantha Seneviratne

These cookies are extremely simple to prepare, but they have a special taste. You can prepare the dough well in advance and freeze it. Even baked cookies freeze well. Who doesn’t love a recipe that can be made ahead?

Italian cheesecake with biscotti crust

Quentin Bacon

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



The name of these hazelnut shortbread cookies comes from the word “polvo”, which means dust in Spanish. It refers to the powdered sugar and crumbly texture of the cookie itself. Many know them as Mexican wedding cookies or even Russian tea cakes. It seems like every country has its own version – and for good reason, as they’re as easy to make as they are delicious to eat.

Chocolate cake

Nathan Congleton / TODAY

Coffee is the secret ingredient to making a super moist and flavorful chocolate cake. This recipe is easy to make and the caffeine boost will help keep you up until midnight to ring in the new year.

Creamiest Cream Puffs

Nathan Congleton / TODAY

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 toppings, and let your friends go crazy with their own cream puff creations.

Siri Daly's Cookie Butter Truffles


If you’ve never tried these little instant chocolates filled with cookie butter, you have to. And then you have to make them so all of your friends and family can feel as full as you want them to.

Vanilla Chocolate Chip Milk Cookie Shooters

Nathan Congleton / TODAY

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

Orange polenta cake


Try serving this delicious orange cake with a sparkling citrus cocktail. The Alberti brothers suggest serving the cake with non-dairy ice cream, but it would also be delicious with regular ice cream.

Vanilla Cheesecake Panna Cotta

Frances Largeman Roth

These silky panna cotta with cheesecake and vanilla beans are the perfect end to a festive meal. They’re rich and creamy, and just the right size to satisfy. Plus, they look like little votive candles on the table!

Hummingbird Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting


Hummingbird Cake is a classic Southern dessert that’s perfect for the holidays with cream cheese frosting, pineapple, 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

Grace Parisi / TODAY

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

Cookies and Cream Ice Cream Cake

Elana Besser

Anyone looking for a festive, foolproof recipe that can be made anytime between now and New Year’s Eve, now look further. This ice cream cake is so rich and flavorful, yet still light. Plus, it only has five ingredients and lasts for months in the freezer, in the unlikely event there are any leftovers.

Valérie Bertinelli's Sicilian love cake

Samantha Okazaki / TODAY

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

Gluten Free Macaroon Brownies


Chocolate and coconut are a heavenly marriage. This recipe is easy, so decadent, and just happens to be gluten-free, so you’ll have a dessert that even more people can enjoy.

Rosemary Lemon Pecan Bars


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

Joy Bauer's Pumpkin Pie Shots

Nathan Congleton / TODAY

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

Banana Cream Pie Shots from Joy Bauer

Nathan Congleton / TODAY

New Year’s Eve wouldn’t be complete without some decadent snap options, would it? All kid-friendly, these pie kicks 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.

Deep Chocolate Truffle Lava Cup Cakes

Grace Parisi / TODAY

Use your microwave to prepare this melted chocolate cake for your loved one and see how romantic things get! Chocolate truffles slipped into the batter melt and create the lava center for a decadent treat. They’re also easy for a dinner party and a great way to celebrate the New Year.

Cherry and goat cheese pies

Courtesy of Will Coleman

These little pies are filled with a sweet cherry and goat cheese filling and covered in a savory salt-pepper-sugar coating. The filling is made from frozen and dried cherries, which adds complexity in texture and acidity.

Ginger-Lemon Crinkle Cookies


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

Double Chocolate Bread Pudding with Bourbon Whipped Cream

Renee Comet/Food Network

Inspired by the famous Mother’s Restaurant in New Orleans, this sweet and well-balanced bread pudding dish is a Sunny Anderson staple. It has a bit of fruit that balances the rich chocolate beautifully.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cake

TODAY Illustration / Erica Chayes Wida

The combination of smooth peanut butter and rich chocolate makes this five-ingredient dessert incredibly decadent and irresistible for any peanut butter fan. It’s a long-standing family recipe that uses boxed cake mix as the base: as simple as it is delicious.

Coconut Delight Cake

SETON ROSSINI / Sweet Envy: deceptively simple desserts designed to steal the show

This recipe is a deconstruction of the Almond Joy, reassembled in the best possible way. One bite of this cake, coated in chocolate fudge sauce and garnished with almonds, and you’ll be won over. It’s been your favorite chocolate bar since childhood, any adult.

Panettone Bread Pudding


Vanilla-flavored hot bread pudding made with Italian Christmas bread is a holiday staple. While it’s hearty enough to enjoy for breakfast, the sweet maple and dried fruit make it a wonderful dessert, especially when guests can munch on it until midnight.


Lanna Apisukh for TODAY

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 with a fascinating story – which you can read here.

Crunchy Chocolate Bark Jewel


Coarsely crushed salted pretzels and toasted hazelnuts are tossed in melted chocolate, then topped with crushed freeze-dried red strawberries and green pistachios for extra color and flavor to round out this delicious treat.

Sour Cherry Pistachio Jam Bars


These tart cherry and pistachio bars deliver strong cookie, pie, and cobbler vibes all in one. While the sour cherry provides a vibrant tartness perfect for winter gatherings, feel free to swap with any jam you like. Don’t forget the coconut: it’s what really makes these bars shine!

Baked Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

Caroline Choe

This pie, an ode to a combo of classic flavors, couldn’t be easier to make. Whether eaten warm straight out of the oven or cold the next morning for breakfast, your family or friends will love it.

Martha Stewart's Cranberry Skillet Cake

Johnny Miller

This berry cake is festive enough for the holiday table, but comes together so easily you can mix it up anytime. Put it in the oven while you sit down for dinner. If you have leftovers, no one will judge you for eating breakfast on New Year’s morning.

Shortbread with Ghanaian spices


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