10 Best Holiday Dessert Recipes for a Holiday Open House

We hosted a Holiday Party for our friends and family with a Holiday Dessert Table. Here, I am sharing the 10 Best Holiday Dessert Recipes for a Holiday Open House. Start your holiday baking list with these desserts that are perfect for holiday entertaining.

Holiday Party Dessert Table for 10 Best Holiday Dessert Recipes for a Holiday Open House

The Holiday Sweets Table!

We had our first annual Holiday Open House this past weekend for some friends and family! I have been wanting to do this for so many years, but we’ve never had a place that could really accommodate that many people.

I went a little overboard on the desserts, especially considering we had our first real snow that morning so several guests had to cancel! There were so many good holiday recipes I wanted to make, and I love holiday baking, so it was hard to narrow them down!

Developing a Menu

Because this party was an Open House, guests would be coming and going at their convenience. This type of party is nice in the month of December, when many of our schedules are packed, and having to be somewhere at a particular time can be difficult. Guests won’t feel bad if they have to leave to make a soccer game or even another party.

The biggest thing to consider with an Open House Holiday Party is that each dessert you serve needs to be something that easy to grab and that can be sitting out for the duration of the party. This is not the time for a baked dessert that is best served warm or a la mode. While I LOVE those types of desserts (like Warm Sticky Figgy Pudding and Pavel’s Bread Pudding with Bourbon Caramel Sauce), they are best reserved for a seated holiday dinner party. The best choices for an Open House are desserts that can be served at room temperature.

We served savory food at the party as well, but I’m just sharing the desserts. The two posts linked below feature my favorite holiday appetizers and snacks. Some of the desserts I served at the Open House are my favorite holiday recipes, while some are new and will be posted next week. We had such a great time and hope our guests did as well! 🙂  

Savory Food Recipes Perfect for a Holiday Open House

NYE Party Snacks Ideas
Holiday Sweets and Appetizers Recipe Round Up

The 10 Best Holiday Dessert Recipes for a Holiday Open House

Because this Open House was just weeks before Christmas, I did not serve any of our family’s favorite Christmas Cookies that we have on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Those recipes are linked in my post on Holiday Sweets and Appetizers – Recipe Round Up. Other than a tray of your family’s favorite Christmas Cookies, here I’m listing what I consider the 10 Best Holiday Dessert Recipes for a Holiday Open House. This post was written before I made the Bailey’s Irish Cream Mini Cheesecakes, so I would have to add those as #11! I took those to a Holiday Party, and people loved them!

1. Chocolate Cracker Candy

My family has been making this Chocolate Cracker Candy for years. We first had it at a family friend’s house, and it quickly became a staple in our holiday celebrations. We add it to our Christmas Cookie trays. It’s also great for holiday gifting. We would often give this Chocolate Cracker Candy to teachers or our bus drivers in festive holiday tins.

You can leave it plain or add chopped nuts, sprinkles, or toasted coconut on top. Due to my nut allergy, I served it at the party with toasted coconut on top or Christmas sprinkles.

chocolate cracker candy on plates of holiday dessert table for 10 Best Holiday Dessert Recipes for a Holiday Open House
Chocolate Cracker Candy
Chocolate Cracker Candy is a sweet and salty homemade candy sometimes referred to as "Christmas Crack." It can be left plain chocolate or topped with toasted coconut, M&M candies, or sprinkles. It keeps well in the fridge and is perfect for holiday gifting in a festive tin!
Check out this recipe
Chocolate Cracker Candy with toasted coconut on top

Quick Breads

Quick Breads always remind me of the holidays. Not only are they great to give out as gifts, quick breads are, as the name suggests, quick to make, so perfect for the busy holiday season. I wanted to feature my 3 favorite quick breads at our Holiday Open House. Although they aren’t in individual portions, the breads can be sliced and served on a platter at a party. I served this Trio of Quick Breads on my 3 tiered serving platter.

holiday label for Assorted Breads that reads Top - Pumpkin, Middle - Pineapple Carrot and Bottom - Poppyseed as part of 10 Best Holiday Dessert Recipes for a Holiday Open House

2. Pumpkin Bread

While I used to view pumpkin as restricted to the pre-Thanksgiving period, I have since changed my outlook. Even the popular Christmas Song “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” opens the door for pumpkin during the holidays: “later we’ll have some pumpkin pie and we’ll do some caroling.”

I took my favorite Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread recipe (adapted from the super popular Downeast Maine Pumpkin Bread recipe on Allrecipes) and left out the chocolate chips. I already had several chocolate dessert options, so I wanted to keep the pumpkin bread simple. At the time, Starbuck’s was selling a “Pumpkin Loaf” that was very similar to this recipe

3 level platter with pumpkin bread on top, pineapple carrot bread in the middle, and poppyseed bread on the bottom
Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread
Starting with a recipe for Downeast Maine Pumpkin Bread, this Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread is a moist, flavorful pumpkin quick bread with the spices of fall. Add chocolate chips or leave them out.
Check out this recipe
Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread

3. Pineapple Carrot Bread

My mom always made Pineapple Carrot Bread around Christmas. She would make it for our family but also small loaves to give out as gifts for friends and teachers. This “bread” is similar in flavor to a carrot cake, but not quite as light as a cake. It gets a crispy top on it when it bakes and is so delicious with the subtle flavor of cinnamon and the sweetness of the pineapple.

Pineapple Carrot Bread
An easy quick bread recipe with the sweetness of pineapple and flavor of cinnamon. Perfect for holiday gifting and entertaining!
Check out this recipe
Pineapple Carrot Bread slices on a plate

4. Poppy Seed Bread

My parents’ next door neighbor continues to bring over this Poppy Seed Bread each Christmas, and I’ve started making it myself and gifting it to people. Even if you don’t normally like poppy seeds, this bread is so good. It has a citrus glaze that is poured over the warm bread when it comes out of the oven that makes it extra moist.

Poppy Seed Bread
A super simple, delicious quick bread that is perfect for holiday gifting and entertaining. The bread is super moist and flavored with almond extract and a subtle orange glaze.
Check out this recipe
Poppy Seed Bread loaves on a cooling rack

5. Triple Chocolate Biscotti

I first made this Triple Chocolate Biscotti when I was in graduate school and making up lots of baked treats to send to family and give to friends. I shipped a care package holiday goodies to my sister in law, and she still talks about it. The original recipe for this biscotti had nuts, but due to my allergy, I omitted them. My aunt says this biscotti is one of her favorite Christmas treats!

I had never had biscotti before since many version contain nuts, so I don’t really have anything to compare it to, but I think these are so good! They can be made in advance, which is essential when throwing a party with multiple desserts. They also are easy to wrap up as a gift in a pretty package or holiday tin.

triple chocolate biscotti in a holiday basket on a holiday dessert table
Triple Chocolate Biscotti
A nut free biscotti with chunks of bittersweet chocolate and white chocolate.
Check out this recipe
biscotti tied with a red ribbon

6. Snowflake Gingerbread Cookies

These homemade Snowflake Gingerbread Cookies are just so festive and pretty. They are decorated with Royal Icing and sugar pearls and sprinkled with edible cake sparkles. I also painted some with edible shimmer dust with a food grade paint brush before adding the Royal Icing.

platter of snowflake gingerbread cookies for a Holiday Open House
Snowflake Gingerbread Cookies
The perfect cookie for winter or the holidays, these classic gingerbread cookies can be decorated however you like!
Check out this recipe
Snowflake Gingerbread Cookies

7. Oreo Truffles

I first tried Oreo Truffles in graduate school and was immediately sold. First of all, they are delicious, and just about everyone who likes chocolate loves them. Second of all, you can decorate them for any holiday or occasion. They can be coated in dark chocolate, white chocolate, or any color candy melts or coating chocolate. Decorate them with any sprinkles, sugar pearls, or even just drizzled colored chocolate as I’ve done for some of these Holiday Oreo Truffles.

holiday oreo truffles on a platter on a holiday dessert table decorated with striped of red and green and Christmas sprinkles for a Holiday Open House

To further demonstrate how versatile these truffles are, I’ve made Football Oreo Truffles for Superbowl and White Chocolate Covered Oreo Truffles for my sister’s Bridal Shower Dessert Table. I even used golden Oreos to make Gender Reveal Oreo Truffles to reveal the sex of our first baby!

Through trial and error, I’ve discovered some tips on how to make Oreo Truffles even easier, so I’m adding those in my original Oreo Truffles post.

Oreo Truffles
Homemade Oreo Truffles are so easy and can be decorated for any holiday or celebration!
Check out this recipe
Holiday Oreo Truffles on a white plate

Hot Chocolate Bar

I wanted to have a mini make-your-own hot chocolate station. This was nothing fancy, and certainly nothing compared to some fancy hot chocolate bars I’ve seen on Pinterest, but this was a BIG hit! I put out packets of instant hot cocoa, a carafe filled with hot water, candy canes to swirl around in the hot cocoa, and these Homemade Marshmallows.

8. Homemade Vanilla Marshmallows

If you’ve never made your own marshmallows before, I urge you to try it! It’s not difficult, and Homemade Marshmallows are so soft and vastly different from the store bought kind. I never thought I liked marshmallows and never put them in hot chocolate. It turns out, I just don’t like store bought marshmallows. The homemade version slowly melts into hot chocolate unlike any purchased marshmallow. For simplicity, I cut them into cubes, but they can be cut into shapes using Christmas cookie cutters.

hot chocolate station featuring packets of hot cocoa, homemade marshmallows and candy canes for a Holiday Open House
Homemade Marshmallows
Homemade Marshmallows are so much softer than store bought and make the perfect holiday gift! They can be coated in chocolate and toasted coconut for homemade candies.
Check out this recipe
Homemade Marshmallows on a plate

9. Chocolate Covered Marshmallows and Toasted Coconut & Chocolate Covered Marshmallows

I didn’t get a great photo of these, but you can see them behind these mitten cookies. I simply dip Homemade Vanilla Marshmallows in melted chocolate the way I would an Oreo Truffle. For some, I sprinkled the top with toasted coconut right after dipping, and for some I rolled them in toasted coconut to cover all sides right after dipping. The rest were coated in chocolate and left plain. I served these on platters like individual candies for guests to grab.

platter of brown sugar and spice cookies with royal icing and trays of chocolate covered marshmallows in the background

10. Brown Sugar and Spice Cookies with Royal Icing

These cookies are so festive and cute. The cookie base is a recipe with brown sugar rather than granulate sugar and some seasonal spices. They are decorated with Royal Icing. I had so much fun making each one unique with a different design. I used the star tip to make a fluffy cuff on some of the muffins and a small circular tip for the other designs. The star tip gives the illusion of texture on the mittens.

Brown Sugar and Spice Cookies shaped as mittens decorated with snowflake designs
Brown Sugar and Spice Winter Mitten Cookies
A classic sugar cookie amped up with brown sugar and warm spices. These can be rolled in any shape and decorated how you like.
Check out this recipe
brown sugar and spice cookies

Beware – if you make these “Let It Snow” cookies for your Holiday Open House . . .

Brown Sugar and Spice cookies with royal icing decorated with the words "let It Snow" on a white plate

it just might happen:

view of a snowy backyard
10 Best Holiday Recipes for a Holiday Open House Pin

Looking for Christmas Cookie Recipes?

These recipes are some of our family’s favorites. Some are recipes that have been handed down through generations, and some are new ones that we’ve accumulated through the years.

My Grandma’s Butter Cookies
My Grandma’s Oatmeal Cookies
[Not My] Granny’s Sugar Cookies
Santa’s Whiskers Cookies
Coconut Macaroons
Dark Chocolate Covered Cherry Cookies
Espresso Chocolate Chip Shortbread Cookies
Chocolate Butter Spritz Cookies
Pastel Christmas Sugar Cookies
Thick and Chewy Double Chocolate Cookies

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