35 Better-For-You Christmas Desserts That Only Taste Like They’re On The Naughty List

Following a specific diet this Christmas season doesn't have to mean missing out on holiday treats.

New! You can now save recipes. It's free!
keto red velvet cake
Andrew Bui

It’s Christmas, so your days should be full of baking cookies, mixing up and sharing fun holiday cocktails, and eating tons of wintery desserts. If you’re following a certain diet or trying to eat healthier, though, these can instill some serious FOMO. Fear not, we’ve got tons of healthier options so you’re not left out and can indulge in all the best the holidays have to offer. Check out our list of 35 better-for-you Christmas treats for ideas, and try not to stress too hard about being perfect this season—after all, there’s always next year! 😉

We know health looks different to different people, so we’ve included options for every diet, like low-carb, vegan, gluten-free, and even low oil. Looking for keto recipes? If we don’t mind saying, we’ve really outdone ourselves when it comes to low-carb holiday treats. Take a peek at our keto snickerdoodles, our keto red velvet cake, our keto gingerbread cookies, and our keto hot chocolate for proof. Not anti-carb, just anti-gluten? Try our gluten-free ice cream sandwiches, our gluten-free Christmas pudding, our almond thumbprints, or our peppermint meringues. Avoiding animal products this holiday? We feel for you, it’s tough out there! Our vegan sugar cookies, our vegan brownies, our vegan chocolate chip cookies, and our vegan eggnog will help get you through—you won’t even miss the eggs or butter in these treats. In fact, we hope that goes for all the recipes included here. We'd like them to help inspire you to enjoy all the wonderful things you can eat rather than rue the loss of all the things you can't. 'Tis the season for joy, after all!

Want even more health-conscious sweet recipes? Check out our favorite vegan Christmas desserts, our top gluten-free Christmas cookies, and our best keto desserts too.

red and white swirled peppermint meringues dipped in chocolate and crushed peppermint
1 of 35
Peppermint Meringues

A cookie box filled with a wide assortment of shapes, sizes, and colors is such a treat to gift during the holidays. These peppermint meringues are the perfect addition to add a pop of color and fun. They practically scream “holiday!”, are low-calorie, and taste fantastic as well.

Get the Peppermint Meringues recipe.

air fryer gf peanut butter and chocolate chip cookies
2 of 35
Air Fryer GF Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

You won't believe these little cookies only have six ingredients, not including a pinch of salt (most of which you probably already have on hand!). We made 'em mini so you (and Santa!) can eat more than one. 😊

Get the Air Fryer GF Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies recipe.

keto red velvet cake
Andrew Bui
3 of 35
Keto Red Velvet Cake

Come Christmastime, here might be nothing more stunning than a deep red velvet cake covered in snowy white frosting. Thanks to this recipe, even those following a low-carb diet can enjoy! Try sprinkling with crushed sugar-free candy canes for the perfect holiday dessert.

Get the Keto Red Velvet Cake recipe.

vegan eggnog topped with soy whipped cream and grated nutmeg
4 of 35
Vegan Eggnog

This version of the classic holiday cocktail has similar flavor and texture to original eggnog, but is dairy-free and vegan-friendly! The richness, thickness, and luscious creamy texture that usually comes from eggs and heavy cream is achieved with both cashews and full-fat coconut milk in this recipe.

Get the Vegan Eggnog recipe.

chocolate cuties
Chelsea Lupkin
5 of 35
Chocolate Cuties

You already know about chocolate-covered strawberries, but have you tried chocolate-dipped oranges? They make your favorite winter citrus a little extra-special.

Get the Chocolate Cuties recipe.

brownie brittle
6 of 35
Brownie Brittle

If you love candy brittle and are as obsessed with brownies as we are, then this brownie brittle will be your new favorite snack. Crisp and crunchy with deep cocoa flavor, this sweet bark is insanely easy to make, and a little better for you than your average chocolate-y treat (i.e., you can have more than one!).

Get the Brownie Brittle recipe.

keto gingerbread cookies  delish
Lucy Schaeffer
7 of 35
Keto Gingerbread Cookies

Cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg are what make gingerbread cookies taste so nostalgic and Christmas-y. Not carbs. These easy low-carb gingerbread cookies are so adorable, you won't even miss the molasses.

Get the Keto Gingerbread Cookies recipe.

easy sorbet
Andrew bui
8 of 35

The perfect homemade fruit sorbet is creamy, smooth, and just as easy as making homemade ice cream. We show you how to use strawberries and raspberries here, but any fruit will work. As long as you keep the same proportions, you can totally get creative.

Get the Sorbet recipe.

vegan sugar cookies iced and topped with sprinkles
9 of 35
Vegan Sugar Cookies

Soft, buttery, with crispy edges, these are the classic, quintessential sugar cookie, veganized and ready to bring to any of your holiday gatherings. Whether frosted, sprinkled, or eaten plain right out of the oven, we can't get enough of them.

Get the Vegan Sugar Cookies recipe.

gluten free christmas pudding
Parker Feierbach
10 of 35
Gluten-Free Christmas Pudding

Christmas pudding might not be the dessert you make every year, but we are here to suggest you start! This one is gluten-free which will help give you a break from all of the heavy (but delicious) desserts on the table. Full of dried fruit and nuts and topped with a brandy sauce, what's not to love?

Get the Gluten-Free Christmas Pudding recipe.

magic keto cookies   delishcom
Parker Feierbach
11 of 35
Keto Magic Cookies

These cookies are seriously magical. Super-easy to make and without any flour, you can feel good about eating way more than just one. Make sure neither your coconut oil or butter is melted. You want them both solid at room temperature, or the cookies will spread too much while baking.

Get the Magic Keto Cookies recipe.

peppermint patties
12 of 35
Peppermint Patties

Peppermint Patties were developed in 1940 at a store in York, Pennsylvania. The guy behind the York Cone Company, Henry Kessler, made sure the patties had that perfect “snap.” The company became one with Hershey in the late 1980s, and the candy is now synonymous with the brand. The more you know!

Get the Peppermint Patties recipe.

poached pears
Poached Pears
13 of 35
Poached Pears

Poaching slightly under-ripe pears makes them tender and sweetens them, while allowing them to maintain their structure. Once poached, they can be served warm or cold, garnished with a caramel reduction of the cooking liquid, and accompanied with everything from dairy-free ice cream to whipped cream to yogurt.

Get the Poached Pears recipe.

gluten free chocolate chip cookies  delish
Parker Feierbach
14 of 35
Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

This recipe is as straightforward as cookies go: Everything goes into just one bowl and you don't even need a hand mixer. 😍 The one key here is to give your dough sufficient resting time so that the almond flour can fully hydrate and give you a more delish cookie.

Get the Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies recipe.

keto hot chocolate
Emily Hlavac Green
15 of 35
Keto Hot Chocolate

Making your hot chocolate with heavy cream instead of milk doesn't just make it keto-friendly, it also makes it SO much better. Sweeten it with your favorite low-carb sweetener (we like Swerve) to make it the best warm winter drink there is.

Get the Keto Hot Chocolate recipe.

homemade cannolis
16 of 35
Air Fryer Cannoli

If you're not one for greasy frying, the air fryer is a solid option for these classic Italian desserts. The shells crisp up beautifully without any excess oil. We could hardly believe it either!

Get the Air Fryer Cannoli recipe.

gluten free keto ice cream sandwiches delish
Emily Hlavac Green
17 of 35
Gluten-Free Ice Cream Sandwiches

No offense to the Chipwich, but nothing compares to a classic ice cream sandwich—the kind with soft rectangular chocolate cookies on both ends. This recipe is gluten-free, keto-friendly, and just as delicious as the iconic store-bought treats you grew up with.

Get the Gluten-Free Ice Cream Sandwiches recipe.

mini eggnog cheesecakes
Parker Feierbach
18 of 35
Mini Eggnog Cheesecakes

Eggnog is one of the best ways we know how to celebrate the holidays so, naturally, we had to turn some into mini cheesecakes. Using a gingersnap for the crust makes these extra-easy and taste even more seasonal. Feel free to use store-bought or homemade cookies and nog; these will turn out great either way.

Get the Mini Eggnog Cheesecakes recipe.

flourless chocolate cookies
Parker Feierbach
19 of 35
Flourless Fudge Cookies

These gluten-free Christmas cookies are perfect—fudgy in the middle and crispy on the outside. And you only need 6 ingredients to make them!

Get the Flourless Fudge Cookies recipe.

shortbread bites
Parker Feierbach
20 of 35
Holiday Shortbread Bites

These shortbread bites are one of our absolute favorite cookies to bake around the holidays. They're even easier to pull together than sugar cookies, and you can eat as many of them as you like.

Get the Holiday Shortbread Bites recipe.

vegan chocolate cake
Park Feierbach
21 of 35
Vegan Chocolate Cake

Thanks to a couple of smart swaps and a special ingredient or two, we bet you might not even be able to guess this chocolate cake is completely egg- and dairy-free (meaning it’s perfect for when you’re low on ingredients this holiday season too).

Get the Vegan Chocolate Cake recipe.

keto walnut snowball cookies
Emily Hlavac Green
22 of 35
Keto Walnut Snowballs

These snowball cookies are big on walnut flavor, just how we like them. A perfect recipe to make with kids, we’re adding this one to our permanent holiday rotation.

Get the Keto Walnut Snowballs recipe.

food, finger food, biscuit, ingredient, baked goods, cuisine, cookies and crackers, dessert, cookie, dish,
Parker Feierbach
23 of 35
Healthy Oatmeal Cookies

What makes this cookie “healthy”? We decreased the usual amounts of butter and sugar with some help from applesauce, which provides sweetness and moisture to the dough without additional fat. Plus, this cookie is made from mostly oats, which are a great source of vitamins and fiber.

Get the Healthy Oatmeal Cookies recipe.

coconut ice cream
Parker Feierbach
24 of 35
Coconut Ice Cream

This coconut ice cream is no joke. Not only is it dairy-free, but it's completely vegan too. It's ultra-creamy with a sweet coconut flavor that only gets better topped with toasted coconut. We love it with the real vanilla bean, but you can easily use an additional teaspoon of vanilla extract if you don't have any.

Get the Coconut Ice Cream recipe.

stack of vegan brownies
25 of 35
Vegan Brownies

Just because you're vegan doesn't mean you have to miss out on rich, decadent brownies. Personally, we're going to turn this recipe into a plant-based version of our Christmas tree brownies, but you do you!

Get the Vegan Brownies recipe.

santa hat cheesecake bites
Chelsea Lupkin
26 of 35
Santa Hat Cheesecake Bites

These mini cheesecake bites are the easiest way to show Santa you deserve to be on the nice list this Christmas. Bonus: You can top any holiday treat with these adorable little hats—cupcakes, cookies, Jell-O shots...

Get the Santa Hat Cheesecake Bites recipe.

peppermint bark
Parker Feierbach
27 of 35
Peppermint Bark

Peppermint bark is THE Christmas candy we cannot wait to get our hands on every holiday season. Luckily for you, you can make a batch in just 10 minutes flat, without any added mystery ingredients.

Get the Peppermint Bark recipe.

vegan chocolate chip cookies
Erik Bernstein
28 of 35
Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

The idea that vegan desserts can't be delicious is a total myth. These cookies are dangerously good—a bit crisp on the edges and pleasantly chewy in the centers—perfect for leaving out for Santa or sharing with family and friends.

Get the Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies recipe.

fudgy paleo brownies
29 of 35
Fudgy Paleo Brownies

If you're looking for the ultimate paleo-friendly dessert, these sweet and salty brownies are for you. These are more than just a brownie alternative, but a delicious dessert that also just happens to be paleo-approved!

Get the Fudgy Paleo Brownies recipe.

keto oreos
Emily hlavac green
30 of 35
Keto Oreos

Keto desserts can be tricky, but luckily, these Oreos are super-simple! The black cocoa gives it that iconic dark color, and the deep chocolate flavor makes them taste just like your favorite cookie!

Get the Keto Oreos recipe.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below