While it’s true that Christmas is a time for giving, it’s also a time to be kind to yourself and enjoy a few well-deserved treats!

If you enjoy baking, the festive season is a wonderful time to get creative in the kitchen. From classic treats like mince pies to more modern and unusual baked goods, there are all kinds of tasty delicacies you can make this year – and not only are they delicious, they’ll also have your home smelling divine.

So, to get you excited about the festive season, here are 10 of the best baking ideas for Christmas.

1. Gingerbread


Gingerbread – and the various shapes it comes in – has a long and interesting history. It first arrived in the UK in the 11th century, when crusaders brought ginger back from the Middle East – and by the Elizabethan era, it had become very popular. We know this from a line in Shakespeare’s Love’s Labour’s Lost: “And I had but one penny in the world, thou shouldst have it to buy gingerbread.”

Queen Elizabeth I is said to be responsible for the creation of the first gingerbread man after she asked her cooks to bake gingerbread biscuits to resemble some visiting dignitaries – and 450 years later, gingerbread men are still a hugely popular festive treat.

So, why not make your own gingerbread biscuits to hang from your Christmas tree, or to give away as gifts? You can shape your gingerbread into stars, stockings, or even dinosaurs! This simple recipe from the Guardian can make a good starting point.

Alternatively, why not make a gingerbread house? You don’t have to be a kid to appreciate the magic of a house made entirely out of treats – though if you have children or grandchildren, decorating a gingerbread house is a lovely way to spend time together.

You can make things easier for yourself by buying a gingerbread house kit, or you can make it from scratch, like in this recipe from Simply Recipes.

For more inspiration, have a look at these 55 gingerbread house ideas, or watch the video below…

2. Stollen


While the UK isn’t short of its own tasty Christmas creations, there’s nothing wrong with borrowing traditions from other countries – and one of the tastiest is stollen, a spiced bread that’s been made in Germany for more than 700 years.

Packed with nuts (usually almonds), dried fruit, and candied citrus peel, stollen is like a combination of a hot cross bun and a traditional Christmas cake – and aside from being perfect with a cup of tea, it makes a lovely gift.

You can add marzipan to the stollen, which results in a softer, moisture texture, and alcohol (usually rum) is also added to make it suitably festive. The perfect stollen is flaky, moist, and packed with flavour, and this recipe from The Daring Gourmet should result in all three.

Though stollen is traditionally made with eggs, butter, and milk, you can make a great plant-based version with this recipe from Vegan Heaven. Or, if you’d like to make a gluten-free alternative, try this recipe from Free From Fairy.

The video below from Cupcake Jemma offers some further tips on how to make the perfect stollen.

3. Sausage rolls

sausage rolls

Christmas baking doesn’t have to be sweet – so if you prefer savoury baked goods, why not think about making some sausage rolls? Sausage rolls are a classic British party food, and no Christmas buffet is complete without a plate of flaky, buttery, golden sausage rolls piled up high.

The beauty of sausage rolls is how versatile they are. They can be eaten hot or cold, and can be made tiny canapé-size, or the length of your forearm. You can also use whatever type of sausage mix you like – so this is another dish that’s easily adapted for people following a gluten-free, vegan, or vegetarian diet.

For a show-stopping sausage roll recipe, why not try making Sainsbury’s sausage roll wreath with mulled wine cranberry relish? Or, to keep things classic (but just as festive), why not try these Christmas stuffing sausage rolls from Mob Kitchen? For a meat-free alternative, you could make these vegetarian sausage rolls from BBC Good Food.

Or, to find out more about making festive sausage rolls, check out Jamie Oliver’s video below.

4. Christmas cake

christmas cake

Christmas cake sometimes gets a bad rap. But with the right ingredients and methods, there’s no reason why it shouldn’t taste like the ultimate Christmas indulgence. After all, think about the ingredients: fruit, nuts, sugar, spice, and a healthy dose of your favourite spirit. What’s not to like?!

The perfect Christmas cake should be moist, velvety, and gooey, and you don’t need to age it for a long time, either: a few days is more than enough time. Plus, after you’ve made your own Christmas cake, the mouth-watering aromas of orange, allspice, nutmeg, and cinnamon will flood through your home and make you feel incredibly Christmassy!

This Christmas cake recipe from Recipe Tin Eats is easy to make and doesn’t need to be aged at all – and whether you want to ice it is up to you! Alternatively, you might want to try Mary Berry’s recipe, which is left to soak for up to three months (or at least one night) and uses apricot jam and marzipan icing.

If you’re vegan, you might want to try this recipe from BBC Good Food – and if you’re gluten-free, why not try The Guardian’s Christmas cake recipe?

Or, for additional tips on how to make the perfect Christmas cake, check out the video below.

5. Chocolate yule log

Chocolate yule log

While Christmas cake is an absolute classic, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea – so if you want to make a festive dessert that’s perhaps more suited to your palate, why not make a chocolate yule log?

Yule logs originate from France, where they’re called bûche de Noël, and are made from sponge cake, whipped cream and icing. Typically, yule logs are decorated to look like an actual log, where the chocolate icing resembles the bark of a tree – but there are many ways you can put your own spin on the yule log.

If you’re looking to make a traditional bûche de Noël, this recipe from Delish works really well. Alternatively, to make a dairy-free yule log, you could try this vegan recipe from Crumbs and Caramel. Or, to keep it gluten-free, try this recipe from Freee.

If you prefer white chocolate, why not make a white chocolate yule log? This white chocolate and pomegranate recipe from Tesco looks beautiful.

Or, for more inspiration, check out the video below.

6. Mince pies

mince pies

For many of us, the first thing that comes to mind when we think of festive baking is the mince pie.

Rich, sticky, and sweet, mince pies have been eaten at Christmas in the UK since the 16th century. And while they were originally made with a sweet meat mixture, they’re now packed with dried fruits, sugar, and spices – and perhaps a dash of brandy.

Mince pies are incredibly versatile. You can eat them hot or cold, as a snack or as a dessert, with shortcrust pastry or with puff pastry. There are also all kinds of flavour twists you can add, depending on your taste preferences.

If you want to make classic mince pies, check out our delicious mince pie recipe. Or, to make plant-based mince pies, try this recipe from A Virtual Vegan. And to make them gluten-free, try this recipe from Tesco.

Alternatively, to watch how to make the perfect mince pies, check out Mary Berry’s video below.

7. Savoury muffins

savoury muffins

Another recipe that’s perfect for Christmas nibbles are savoury muffins. Muffins are quick to prepare and easy to bake, so they’re great if you’re not a very confident baker. They also freeze really well, so you might want to put a batch in your freezer in case any unexpected guests drop by!

To ensure your savoury muffins taste suitably festive, you might like to include some cranberries; these cheese, cranberry and herb mini muffins by Food make the ideal party snack. Alternatively, why not make Delia Smith’s savoury mini muffins? Her two flavours – goats’ cheese, red onion, and rosemary, and Gruyère, sage, and onion – should get you feeling Christmassy.

Or, why not use up your Christmas dinner leftovers and make these savoury Christmas muffins from Co-op, which are packed with leftover sprouts, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and pigs in blankets?

To see how to make Co-op’s Christmas muffins, have a watch of the video below.

8. Snowball cake

snowball cake

If you’re not a big fan of the rich, heavy flavours of Christmas cake (and you aren’t especially into chocolate), it can be hard to think of a delicious festive dessert. If this is the case, why not move away from traditional festive flavours and make a Snowball cake instead?

Though it’s made with coconut and has a creamy iced frosting filling, there’s no denying that a snowball cake looks really festive – and tastes just as decadent as a Christmas dessert should be. Plus, as a fairly light dessert you won’t be left feeling uncomfortably full!

This white snowball cake recipe from Olive Magazine has a fluffy frosting and is topped with coconut shavings, while this recipe from Good Housekeeping has Swiss meringue buttercream and is topped with white chocolate Ferrero Rocher.

To see how to make a beautiful coconut and almond cake, have a watch of the video below.

9. Christmas cupcakes

Christmas cupcakes

If you’re looking for a quick festive baking idea, why not make some Christmas cupcakes?

Not only are these easy to knock up, but they’re also lots of fun to bake and decorate. So if you have children in the family, you might want to think about making a batch together. Plus, they’re the perfect treat to bring out if you have guests pop around – or to give away as cute little gifts.

There are all kinds of Christmas cupcakes options to choose from. If you like chocolate cake, why not make these Christmas tree cupcakes by The Spruce Eats? Alternatively, these snowman cupcakes from BBC Good Food are super cute – as are these reindeer cupcakes (with mini pretzel antlers!)

Or, if you don’t fancy chocolate cupcakes, you might like these vanilla coconut cupcakes from Woman’s Day, which are topped with snow people so will be fun for kids (and adults!) to decorate.

If you’re vegan, you could try making these vanilla almond Christmas tree cupcakes from The Baking Fairy. Or, these Baileys-infused cupcakes from The Gluten-Free Blogger are perfect if you’re gluten-free!

For more Christmas cupcake inspiration, have a watch of the video below!

10. Cheesy bread

If you enjoy baking savoury bread over sweet cakes, why not make some sharing cheese bread? While it might not sound especially festive, once you see how gorgeous this bread looks, you’re sure to change your mind – and the fact that it’s designed to share is definitely in keeping with the spirit of Christmas.

This beautiful cheese bread sharing wreath from Delicious is an absolute showstopper – and topped with green rosemary sprigs and red peppadew peppers, it looks super Christmassy too.

Or, why not make Delish’s cheesy, pull-apart Christmas tree bread? Soft, squidgy, and stuffed with cheese, it’s the perfect festive appetiser.

Have a watch of the video below for inspiration!

Final thoughts…

Christmas is a time to treat yourself – and these baked treats are the ultimate festive indulgence!

Whether you want to bake a cake to give to a loved one, are looking for a fun and easy recipe to make with your grandkids, or just fancy baking for yourself, these 10 recipes are all delicious. Plus, they’ll have your home smelling gorgeous!

For additional festive baking ideas, check out our article, 12 Christmas recipe ideas to bring festive cheer to your kitchen. You might also enjoy our article, 18 homemade Christmas gift ideas, which has plenty of ideas for what to make your loved ones – including gingerbread fudge and Christmas jams.

If you’re feeling Christmassy, why not check out our Christmas events over on Rest Less Events? From a Christmas quiz to a talk on Christmas in Africa, there’s something for everyone!

Do you have any Christmas baking recipes you’d like to share with us – or are you planning on making any of the recipes featured above? We’d love to hear about your Christmas creations in the comments below!