On a chilly, dark winter’s evening, few things feel as comforting as an indulgent, warming dessert. While sometimes we might crave a more refreshing treat, warming desserts and puddings feel like a hug in a bowl. Often, they’re the desserts of our childhood – those sweet treats that bring back memories and warm us from within. Other times, they just taste delicious!

So, if you’re looking to treat yourself to a tasty dessert, here are nine of the most comforting desserts for a cosy night in.

1. Sticky toffee pudding

Sticky Toffee Pudding

Sticky toffee pudding is one of those decadent desserts few people can resist. Though it’s viewed as a British classic, it only became a staple on UK menus in the 1960s. Then, it wasn’t long before this deliciously sticky pudding went global.

The secret to this dessert’s sweetness is dates – and when baked into a rich sponge and smothered in thick caramel sauce, it’s the perfect indulgent treat.

To make a classic pudding, you might want to try Mary Berry’s recipe. Or for a plant-based alternative, why not try this recipe from The Easy Vegan?

If you feel like making a deeper, darker version of sticky toffee pudding, Nigella Lawson’s recipe is also delicious. It uses muscovado sugar and black treacle to add a mouthwatering intensity.

Or, for more sticky toffee pudding inspiration, have a watch of the video below.

2. Peach cobbler

Peach Cobbler

In the dark winter months, summer can seem a long way off. But enjoying some sweet, ripe fruit is a great way to bring some sunshine into your home.

Peach cobbler is a dessert that’s even tastier on a cold winter’s evening than on a hot summer’s day. Gooey and caramelised on top, and light and fluffy inside, each and every mouthful of peach cobbler is a joy. Plus, it counts towards your five-a-day!

While you can use fresh peaches for a cobbler, in winter using tinned peaches is better – and, it makes the prep quicker and easier.

Why not try this peach cobbler from BBC Good Food, which takes only 10 minutes to prepare? Or, to make a vegan cobbler, you could try this recipe by Rainbow Plant Life. This gluten-free cobbler from Meaningful Eats is tasty too.

For more tips on how to make the perfect peach cobbler, check out the video below.

3. Rice pudding

Rice Pudding

Rice pudding is one of the easiest and most adaptable desserts around – and it’s also one of the most comforting. Rich, creamy, and subtly sweet, rice pudding is eaten in just about every culture, and it’s super simple to make.

Just cook rice in sweetened milk, and as the rice cooks, it produces starch, causing the milk to thicken. It only requires a few ingredients, most of which are kitchen staples.

There are all kinds of different rice puddings you can make. To make a classic rice pudding, why not try Mary Berry’s recipe, which you can customise with cinnamon, jam, syrup, or plump raisins?

Or, for something a little more exotic, why not try this Egyptian-inspired cardamom rice pudding by Saveur? To make a vegan version, just swap cow’s milk for your choice of non-dairy milk – they all work!

The video below also has more guidance on how to make a classic rice pudding.

4. Chocolate brownie

Chocolate brownie

If you’re a bit of a chocoholic and prefer chocolatey desserts over creamy or fruity treats, then a warm, gooey chocolate brownie is the ultimate indulgence.

While chocolate cake can sometimes be a tad dry or crumbly, chocolate brownies are a whole other ballgame. Crackly on top and fudgy, thick, and rich inside – a good brownie should satisfy the most powerful of chocolate cravings.

If you’re a fan of super fudgy brownies, this recipe by Food 52 is worth a try – and this gluten-free recipe from Sweetest Menu looks delicious too. Or, for the best fudgy vegan brownies, why not check out this recipe from Karissa’s Kitchen?

For further inspiration, have a watch of the video below to see how Jamie Oliver makes his perfect chocolate brownies. Simply serve with a dollop of vanilla ice cream for maximum enjoyment!

5. Treacle sponge

Treacle sponge

Treacle sponge is another Great British classic, and this wonderfully nostalgic pudding is especially comforting on a dreary, dark day.

For many of us, treacle sponge pudding takes us back to our school days – and this delicious dessert is undeniably packed with retro charm! A moist sponge, syrupy base, and sticky sauce combine to make treacle sponge an exceptionally tasty winter warmer.

To make a traditional, steamed treacle sponge, you could try this classic recipe from BBC Good Food. Or, if you’re craving treacle sponge but steaming seems like too much effort, why not make this baked recipe by Delish – or go one better and make a microwavable treacle sponge, like this one by Baking Mad? This steamed maple syrup sponge pudding by Domestic Gothess is also a great vegan alternative.

For more tips and advice on how to make a traditional treacle sponge, check out the video below.

6. Apple crumble

Apple Crumble

When thinking of comforting puddings, apple crumble has got to be one of the first that springs to mind. Easy to make, budget-friendly, and delicious in every season, apple crumble has all the flavour and satisfaction of apple pie, but is ready in half the amount of time.

Tender, warmly-spiced apples are complemented by crispy, buttery crumble – and a spoonful of cream, ice cream or custard is the ideal accompaniment.

To make a traditional apple crumble, why not try this classic recipe from BBC Good Food? Or, to jazz things up (and get a welcome dose of antioxidants), this blackberry and apple crumble by Delish looks irresistible too.

To keep things plant-based, you could try this apple berry crumble recipe by Rachel Ama. Or for a great gluten-free version, this recipe by Tastefully Vikkie is worth a go.

For more tips on how to make the perfect homemade apple crumble, have a watch of the video below.

7. Bread and butter pudding

Bread and butter pudding

There can surely be no better use for old bread than knocking together a classic bread and butter pudding.

This traditional British dessert is golden and buttery on top, soft and wonderfully wobbly inside, and it goes perfectly with ice cream, custard, or cream. Plus, despite how luxurious and comforting it tastes, it’s one of the most economical desserts around.

To make a seriously indulgent bread and butter pudding, try this recipe by Gordon Ramsay. Or, if that recipe sounds too much like a labour of love, why not make this banana bread and butter pudding by BBC Good Food, which takes just 10 minutes to prepare, and cooks in the microwave in another 10 minutes? Alternatively, for a plant-based version, you could try Jamie Oliver’s vegan bread and butter pudding recipe.

To get more tips on making classic bread and butter pudding, check out the video below.

8. Lemon surprise

Lemon Surprise

Lemon desserts are often associated with summer. But, while lemon is zingy and refreshing, that doesn’t mean it can’t also be comforting.

Lemon surprise is light, luscious, and luxurious, and tastes like you’re eating a bowl of sunshine. Plus, it’s deceptively simple. As you cook, the batter naturally separates, forming a fluffy sponge on top and a velvety lemon curd beneath (that’s the surprise!).

To make your own homemade lemon surprise, you could try making this classic lemon surprise by Olive Magazine, or these individual lemon surprise puddings with blueberries by Once Upon A Chef.

Alternatively, to make a fully plant-based version, try this recipe by The Vegan Pantry – or to keep it gluten-free, this recipe by Gluten & Wheat Free looks tempting.

The video below also has more guidance on how to make a simple lemon surprise.

9. Jam roly-poly

Jam roly-poly

Another comforting pudding that’s wonderfully reminiscent of classic British school dinners is jam roly-poly – which also goes by the names shirt-sleeve pudding and dead man’s arm, due to the fact it was often steamed in an old shirt sleeve!

Traditionally, jam roly-poly is made with suet, wrapped in cloth (or foil), and then steamed, smothered with jam, rolled up, and served with piping hot custard.

To make a traditional steamed jam roly-poly with suet, why not give this recipe by BBC Good Food a go? Or add a fragrant twist by adding rhubarb, like in this recipe by Bon Appetit.

To make a veggie version without suet, you might want to try this recipe by Sainsbury’s, which also bakes the jam roly-poly for convenience. Or, to keep things entirely plant-based, check out this vegan jam roly-poly by Sanjana Feasts.

For more step-by-step guidance on making the perfect jam roly-poly, check out the video below.

Final thoughts…

Whether you’re into gooey chocolate desserts, fruit-based puddings or Great British classics that remind you of your childhood, there’s a delicious and comforting dessert out there for everyone.

While some of the more traditional recipes sometimes require a bit of time and effort, there are all kinds of quick and easy versions that make preparation much easier – whether it’s using a microwave rather than steaming, or ‘cheating’ by buying chocolate muffins instead of making your own sponge!

Whichever one of these desserts tickles your fancy, tucking into a warming bowl of pudding is a guaranteed comfort. And whether you choose to smother your chosen dessert in lashings of hot custard or spoonfuls of ice cream, that’s up to you!

For more dessert inspiration, you might want to have a read of our article; 7 of the best no-bake dessert recipes. These are great if you’re short on time and want to skip the oven!

Are you tempted to make any of these comforting desserts – or do you have your own suggestions for which sweet treats are the ultimate culinary comfort? We’d love to hear about your foodie adventures in the comments below.