Eating Vegan

8 Low-Sugar and Low-Glycemic Desserts to Serve up This Holiday Season

Willa Tellekson-Flash

Photo: A Tasty Love Story
December’s here, which means the desserts and treats of your dreams are available in abundance. From  parties packed with eggnog and wine to endless platters of Christmas cookies, it’s easy to feel the energy crashes that can come with enjoying all the holidays have to offer. That’s where low-sugar holiday desserts come in.

Right now is the perfect time to break out your natural sweeteners and the nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables seldom found in conventional desserts. From date-sweetened pecan pie bars to fudge made with tahini and matcha, these seven recipes are also low-glycemic index so that you can truly enjoy digging in—and you can skip the eventual crash.

Keep reading for the most irresistible low-sugar holiday desserts to make all season long

Pure Ella's Raw Pecan Pie Bars
Photo: Pure Ella

1. Raw Pecan Bars

Thanksgiving may be in the rearview, but that doesn’t mean you have to wait another year to enjoy the sweet, nutty flavors of pecan pie. Pure Ella blogger Ella Leché sweetens her gluten-free, vegan, and Paleo version with dates and nut butter.

VeguKate's Apple Spice Donut Holes
Photo: VeguKate

2. Apple Spice Donut Holes

Kate Gavlick of VeguKate turned her Hostess-lookalike version into a treat that’s as full of flavor as it is nutrients. Antioxidant-rich cinnamon and apples support your immune system, which comes in super handy during cold-and-flu-filled winter months. Bring these to an office holiday party to keep your coworkers happy and healthy this season.

Low sugar holiday dessert ideas
Photo: Blissful Basil

3. Mint Matcha Superfood Fudge

Five ingredients and 10 minutes of hands-on time? This one just jumped to the top of the list. Blissful Basil creator Ashley Melillo packs her recipe with nutritious ingredients—beyond matcha, think tahini and cacao butter—so you might as well have a second (or third!) piece.

Oh, Ladycakes' Almost raw vanilla nut tiramisu
Photo: Oh, Ladycakes

4. Almost Raw Vanilla Nut Tiramisu

Everything is more adorable (read: Instagrammable) when it comes in a jar, and this tiramisu is no exception. Oh, Ladycakes blogger Ashlae Warner uses herbal coffee grounds so you can have your post-dinner dessert and still catch some zzz’s. What else is on the superfood-studded ingredient list? Almonds, oats, dates, cashews, and maple syrup—you may not get a coffee buzz but these are certainly buzz-worthy.

low sugar holiday desserts
Photo: A Tasty Love Story

5. Spicy Christmas Cookies Dipped in Dark Chocolate

Josephine Malene, the blogger behind A Tasty Love Story finds inspiration from a classic Danish holiday cookie, loading up her dark-chocolate-dipped treats with antioxidant-packed spices—but swapping in coconut sugar and alt-flours for a low-sugar, gluten-free version.

Heavenlynn Healthy's Vanilla crescent cookies
Photo: Heavenlynn Healthy

6. Vanilla Crescent Cookies

When it comes to holiday cookies, it doesn’t get more traditional than this German classic. But every classic can use an update now and then. Heavenlynn Healthy blogger Lynn Hoefer uses a blend of almond, oat, and buckwheat flour as a base, then adding almond butter, coconut sugar, and chia seeds. Hoefer replaces powdered sugar on top with a mix of shredded coconut, coconut sugar, and ground vanilla.

Minimalist Baker's Creamy lemon bars
Photo: Minimalist Baker

7. Creamy Vegan Lemon Bars

Getting a little burned out on chocolate desserts? These gluten-free, vegan treats are a rich and creamy alternative. Totally sans dairy, these fresh citrus treats are from Dana Schultz, aka the Minimalist Baker, who blends cashews, coconut cream, lemon juice and zest, and maple syrup for a cheesecake-like filling that isn’t overly sweet.

8. Holiday chocolate bark

Our very own director of creative development, Ella Dove, shares this delicious holiday bark on Well+Good’s YouTube channel. You’ll add dried mulberries for fiber, iron, and an extra crunch in every chocolatey bite.

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This post was originally published on December 13, 2016; updated on November 13, 2020. 

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