Looking for make-ahead Christmas dessert recipes so you can spend less time in the kitchen? Want the best Christmas desserts? Our tarts, trifles, cakes and terrines are perfect for prepping in advance and serving up stress-free on the day.


Try our mouth-watering ideas below and then take a look at our Christmas baking recipes for even more sweet inspiration. For fuss-free festive entertaining, check out our effortless Christmas entertaining ideas and no-cook Christmas entertaining ideas. Discover our best Christmas cake decoration ideas and for a beautiful backdrop to offset your new creations, discover our Christmas table ideas.

Best make-ahead Christmas dessert recipes

Make-ahead Christmas cake

Get ahead with your Christmas baking and rustle up our gently spiced, orange and ginger wine-spiked fruit cake. This beautiful bake is a classic for a reason, enjoy a slice as an after dinner treat.

A fruit cake covered in white icing with a slice taken out of it

Classic Christmas pudding

This is a classic recipe for luxurious homemade Christmas pudding. You can make this a couple of months ahead and keep it wrapped in the basin in a dark cupboard until the big day.

Traditional Christmas Pudding Recipe

Salted caramel and chocolate tart

Christmas time = treat time. You may want to serve this rich, salty caramel tart with Greek yogurt to offset the sweetness. It’ll last in the fridge for 4-5 days.

More like this
A salted caramel and chocolate tart with a marbled effect, presented on a white cake stand

Baileys tiramisu trifle

Make our stunning trifle with Baileys, chocolate swiss roll and lightly whipped espresso cream for a Christmas centrepiece. Once assembled, it will keep for a day in the fridge, or, make the custard a few days ahead and chill until you're ready to put it together.

Multi-layered chocolate and Baileys cream trifle in a glass bowl

Vegan Christmas cake

Everyone will enjoy a slice of this Christmas cake, which can be baked and matured up to eight weeks before Christmas. Feed the cake weekly with your choice of brandy, rum or whisky for extra moisture and a warming flavour.

A vegan christmas cake with icing and decorations placed on a white cake stand

Double chocolate and passion fruit tart

Easy to prepare ahead of time, this dessert has wow factor without any of the effort. This zingy tart is unbelievably quick to make thanks to a few ready-made ingredients.

Double chocolate and passion fruit tart topped with edible gold

No-bake chocolate tart with PX sherry

This festive dessert ticks all the boxes – plenty of chocolate, alcohol and cream. It’s also a no-bake recipe, so can be whipped up with little effort and will keep in the fridge for 2-3 days.

No-Bake Chocolate Tart with PX Sherry

Classic trifle

The amaretti biscuits add a lovely texture and flavour to this classic trifle – the perfect way to conclude your Christmas day feast. Make a day ahead of time and chill overnight.

Classic trifle in a glass serving dish

Biscoff cheesecake

Check out our indulgent cheesecake recipe with crunchy Biscoff biscuits, creamy biscuit spread, and lightly whipped cream. Chill overnight and serve up a slice of this rich dessert with pride.

Speculoos cheesecake cut into slices

Gingerbread trifle

Edd Kimber's super festive trifle has lashings of rum cardamom custard, gingerbread Christmas trees, juicy pears and caramel cream. Chill until ready to serve and top with gingerbread trees.

Gingerbread Trifle Recipe with Caramel

Nougat terrine with caramel

This is a beautiful dessert to end a special dinner, the red glacé cherries looks especially Christmassy. It can be made in advance and kept in the freezer until you are ready to finish with the caramel.

nougat terrine

Mint chocolate mousse pots

Want to serve individual desserts to your guests this Christmas? Try our creamy chocolate and peppermint pots for an impressive way to finish your dinner party.

Chocolate Mousse Recipe with Peppermint

Espresso panna cotta

This silky smooth panna cotta with espresso syrup is an ideal way to end the festivities, it's also gluten-free. Leave overnight in the fridge and bring out to impressed 'oohs' and 'ahs'.

Espresso PannaEspresso Panna Cotta Recipe

Black Forest cheesecakes

These BlackForest cheesecake bombes are a real showstopper. Make ahead and stash in the freezer – they’ll keep nicely for a month or so.

Black Forest Cheesecake Recipe

Chocolate and hazelnut torte

This chocolate and hazelnut torte is a seriously indulgent treat. It only takes 30 minutes to whip up, chills overnight and can feed up to 12 people. Minimal effort, maximum flavour.

Rich chocolate and Hazelnut Torte

Chocolate raspberry terrine

This cake is the ultimate in kitsch. Drizzle the ganache on top so that the pretty striped layers of peanut butter and raspberry jam show through. Make a day ahead and chill overnight for a stress-free day with your guests.

Chocolate Terrine Recipe with Peanut Butter and Jam

Ginger ice cream bombes

These smooth ice cream puds are topped with seasonal crystalized ginger. Festive and sweet, they're a quick and easy way to up your pudding game.

Ginger Ice Cream Dessert Recipe

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