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30 Best European Desserts

These European desserts are the next best thing to hopping on a plane!

Most of the world knows Europeans as people who appreciate the finer things in life – art, theatre, music, philosophy, food, and wine. 

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So when it comes to sweets that are ‘the best of the best,’ it’s no surprise that European desserts are somewhere near the top of the list. 

Sweet Mille-Feuille with Vanilla Cream and Fresh Berries

Over the years, many popular desserts from Europe, such as churros, gelato, strudel, truffles, and cannoli, have migrated to the United States, which is great news for us Americans.

However, others, like rødgrød med fløde, Eton mess, and serradura are still relatively unknown outside Europe. 

For this list, I’ve picked 30 of the very best European desserts, including those we already know and love and those we’re sure to love after trying them. 

1. French Chocolate Truffles

If you’ve never had authentic French chocolate truffles, you’re missing out, but luckily, this recipe can help rectify that as soon as you’re willing to make them.

They’re soft, chocolatey, and require just four ingredients.

So if you have some heavy cream, semi-sweet chocolate, vanilla extract, and cocoa powder, you can make these tonight! 

It doesn’t get much better than these scrumptious, bite-sized mouthfuls.

2. Macarons

Macarons are the perfect soft and sweet, chewy and nutty cookies, but they can be a pain in the rear to make! However, this recipe really is “foolproof.”

If you follow the instructions laid out here, you should be able to make these lovely pink, raspberry-flavored cookies with no problem.

3. Tiramisu

Heavy cream, cocoa powder, mascarpone, rum, chocolate, and ladyfingers: What’s not to love about tiramisu? Well, if you’re a vegan, there’s actually a lot. 

With this recipe, though, you can enjoy the same incredible, creamy layered cake without all the dairy.

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It takes a bit of time to pull together, but once you try it, you’ll understand why it was worth it.

4. Chocolate Vanilla Berry Panna Cotta Tart

If you’re just as concerned with how your dessert looks as you are with how it tastes, you’ll have to check out this panna cotta tart.

It’s stunning! (And it tastes fantastic.)

The vanilla panna cotta pairs flawlessly with the chocolate pie crust, and the honey-sweetened berry sauce on top is unbelievably good.

Decorate with your favorite berries, and you’re all set. 

5. Churros

Churros are excellent with their crispy, sugar-coated outsides and their soft, fluffy insides.

They make such a satisfying crunch when you bite into them, but then they practically melt in your mouth.

These are even better, thanks to the rich, decadent chocolate dipping sauce, which is pretty much heaven in a bowl.

6. Palmiers

If you’ve never had them, palmiers are simple, three-ingredient cookies that take less than 30 minutes to make.

Despite the lack of ‘bells and whistles,’ though, they’re exquisite.

They’re crunchy and flaky as only puff pastry dough can be, and each one is perfectly buttery.

The light dusting of sugar on top just makes them even more delicious.

7. Madeleines

These buttery, sugar-coated seashell-shaped cookies are a French classic. They’re lightly sweet with just a hint of lemon zest to each bite. 

If you’re looking for brunch cookies or snacks to pair with tea or coffee, these are an ideal choice.

8. Almond Cranberry Biscotti

Speaking of snacks to pair with tea or coffee — I can’t leave biscotti off the list.

Its subtly sweet flavor and super crunchy texture are just too fantastic to forget.

These are especially tasty because you’ll add almonds and cranberries to them, giving them a tart, nutty taste that everyone will love. 

 9. Rødgrød Med Fløde

Please don’t ask me how to pronounce this dessert; I have no idea. I just call it Danish red berry pudding.

And I don’t call it that for long because I usually eat it within 24 hours of making it.

It’s thick, cool, creamy, and full of currant and berry goodness.

10. Affogato

If you like ice cream but don’t love ice cream, affogato is about to change all that.

You can make it in mere moments with only two ingredients, and it’s unbelievably amazing.

Simply pour hot espresso over a couple of scoops of vanilla ice cream.

Add chocolate shavings, sprinkles, or other toppings if you like, but honestly, you won’t need them. 

11. Chocolate Gelato

Gelato is the superior form of ice cream, but it can be expensive in most places, so why not save your money and make your own?

All you’ll need is whole milk, bittersweet chocolate, cocoa powder, sugar, and cornstarch.

With those five ingredients, you can whip up the smoothest, creamiest, most chocolatey gelato possible.

12. Swiss Pears and Chocolate

This sweet, creamy treat requires only four ingredients and absolutely no cooking whatsoever.

If you’ve never had pears and chocolate before, you might think they’re an odd combination.

Actually, they taste superb together. The tart sweetness of pears complements the chocolate perfectly, especially when you melt the chocolate in with the pears’ heavy syrup. 

It’s an unbeatable combination. 

13. Arnhemse Meisjes

These flat, crunchy, sugar-crusted cookies are sweet, spicy, and zesty all at once.

You’ll only use five ingredients, but they’re five robust, flavorful ingredients that all taste spectacular.

With each bite, you’ll get a little bit of the vanilla, a hint of the zesty lime, and the spice and piney flavors of the cinnamon and cardamom. 

They’re so thin and crispy that it may be hard for you to believe the cookies use puff pastry dough, but you’ll love them, nonetheless. 

14. Melopita (Greek Honey Pie with Ricotta Cheese)

Melopita may look like a pone of cornbread, but it’s lighter, moister, and so much sweeter.

It’s buttery, and the honey flavor comes through subtly but scrumptiously. 

The pomegranate seeds on top are optional, but they add a splash of vibrancy and a tartness that makes the pie look and taste so much better, so I’d add them if at all possible.

15. Apple Strudel

The flaky, sugar-covered crust alone earns this apple strudel its place on the list, but of course, there’s more to it than simply its delicious crust and cool, messy powdered sugar topping.

There are also apples, raisins, cinnamon, sugar, and butter. Everything about this strudel is delicious, and each bite will nearly melt on your tongue. 

16. Cannoli

Cannolis may look like a lot of hard, intricate, and time-consuming work, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

They’re actually remarkably simple to make, taking only 15 minutes!

The drain time is about 12 hours, though, so plan accordingly if you’re making these for a specific time or event.

Also, using homemade cannoli shells will increase your overall time.

However, if you have store-bought shells, you simply have to strain the ricotta cheese overnight.

Then, combine it, the sugar, chocolate chips, vanilla extract, and orange zest, and mix well.

Finally, pipe the mixture into the shells and add more sugar and chocolate chips if you want.

Voila! Sweet and tangy, creamy and crispy cannoli in just 15 minutes.

17. Serradura 

This simple, layered dessert takes only 20 minutes to whip up, but you’ll need to let it chill for a few hours before you serve it. 

It requires no cooking and only the most minimal ingredients: heavy whipping cream, sweetened condensed milk, Marie biscuits, and vanilla extract. 

Whip it up and make it look nice. Then, let it rest in the fridge for a few hours.

About 15 minutes before you’re ready to serve it, take it out and top it with whatever you like best. 

It’s simple, sweet, creamy, and tasty. You can’t really beat that. 

18. Bulgarian Honey Cookies

These may look like chocolate-dipped Vanilla Wafers, but they couldn’t be more different.

They’re soft and chewy, for one thing, and they’re also sweeter with a rich honey taste.

The cinnamon adds a nice touch of spice, and the chocolate gives them extra sweetness and a cute appearance that almost looks like a man with a bowl cut.

I love these tasty treats, especially dipped in tea.

19. Romanian Fried Doughnuts (Papanasi)

Fried, cheese-filled doughnuts covered in a runny, sticky jam may not sound like an appetizing treat, but these things are fantastic! 

They’re rich and decadent and have the perfect balance of sweetness and tanginess without falling too far to either side of the line.

They also look incredible, and I love that I can make them in an hour, but everyone who sees them thinks they took so much more time and effort. 

20. Linzer Cookies

If you’re used to Linzer cookies tasting nutty, this recipe may come as a shock to you at first.

These are pure shortbread yumminess with powdered sugar on top and jam in the middle.

There are no nuts in them, but the flaky crust and the rich buttery flavor completely make up for that lack.

The sticky jam filling (I like blackberry) doesn’t hurt either.

21. Eton Mess

So, why is this dessert called a mess? Easy! Because it’s a messy bowl of deliciousness! 

It’s gluten-free and requires no baking.

You’ll simply mix everything – the strawberries, raspberries, caster sugar, heavy cream, mascarpone cheese, and meringues – in a bowl. 

It looks like a big bowl of cream and strawberries, and that’s basically what it is. There’s just a little more to it. 

Still, if you like fruit covered in whipped cream, you’ll love this easy-to-make treat.

22. Buche De Noel

Before you panic, don’t worry. You won’t have to do all the holly berries, mushrooms, and other decorations that you see in this picture. 

Buche de Noel is simply a log-shaped chocolate dessert that’s extremely simple to make.

If you want to do the extras, that’s fine, but people will love it with just the log alone. 

It’s chocolatey, Chocolatey, CHOCOLATEY.

And whether it looks like a log so authentic you might accidentally throw it in the fire or like a chocolate pumpkin roll, its rich, decadent flavor will be a hit, regardless.

23. French Apple Cake

This is the softest, fluffiest, most apple-flavored cake you’ll ever make, and if you or your guests like apples even a little bit, you’ll go crazy for it. 

It looks – and is – plain and simple, but when something tastes this good, it doesn’t need any fancy frills. 

24. Swedish Sticky Chocolate Cake

Known in Sweden as a kladdkaka, the Swedish sticky chocolate cake is gorgeous.

It’s thin and a deep, dark chocolate color, against which the powdered sugar and berries (optional) look stunning.

It’s also effortless to make, requiring only seven everyday kitchen staples – butter, cocoa, flour, eggs, sugar, salt, and vanilla extract. 

You can serve it either warm or cold, and each way has its benefits.

Warm, it’s thick and fudgy; cold, it has crispy edges and a sticky, gooey, chocolate lava cake-like filling. 

Both ways are equally delectable. 

25. Speculaas

These thin, crispy cookies aren’t super sweet, but the delicious mixture of spices makes up for that in spades.

With cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and ginger, these practically explode with flavor.

Add the almonds in the middle for a pretty final touch, and enjoy these with tea, coffee, or a tall glass of milk. 

26. Strawberry Fool

This convenient, 20-minute dessert is a simple strawberry and cream dish, but as Emeril would say, you’re going to “kick it up a notch.”

And you’re going to do that with heavy cream, strawberries, sugar, vanilla extract, and yet even more strawberries.  

The result is a gorgeous red and white dessert that’s creamy, syrupy, and oh, so sweet.

If you don’t love the strawberry fool, you might just be a little foolish.

27. Stroopwafel

Wafer-thin, crispy waffle cakes with a filling made from molasses, syrup, cinnamon, and brown sugar — yeah, that’s pretty much all you need to know about these insanely good stroopwafels. 

It seems like each bite is crunchier and sweet than the one before it. By the time you finish eating one, you’ll be in near-catatonic bliss. 

28. Arroz Con Leche

Arroz con Leche, or rice with milk, is simply rice pudding — delicious, creamy, cinnamon- and sugar-topped rice pudding. 

It takes only 2 or 3 minutes of prep work and 25 more to cook. Once it’s ready, you can serve it warm (this is the way I like it) or chilled. 

Either way, it tastes great, and it’s easy to make, and that’s hard to beat. 

29. Italian Hot Chocolate

This is the thickest, richest, chocolatiest hot chocolate you’ll ever make, and it’s not for drinking. Once you see how thick it is, you’ll understand why. 

However, if you want to dip cookies, pretzels, or fruit into some hot chocolate, this is the recipe you want. 

30. Pastéis de Nata (Portuguese Custard Tarts)

These tiny tarts look like something straight out of Alice in Wonderland, but they taste like something straight out of heaven.

They’re as simple as can be, but each bite is divine. 

The only downside is that the recipe, as written, only makes 12 treats, and you’ll need a lot more than that because eating just one (or two, or three) of these is impossible.  

30 Best European Desserts

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European Desserts

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INSANELYGOOD

Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

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