Life Style

Red, White, Festive, and Fun—These Are the Peppermint Recipes Your Holidays Need

Nothing says Christmas cheer quite like the red and white stripes of the ubiquitous candy cane. Admittedly, I’m not a big fan of mint throughout the year leading up to the holiday season. On my list of favorite ice cream flavors (because this is something I think about often), mint chocolate chip ranks last. And even when I’m thinking about which Girl Scout cookies I’d most like to discover in my freezer, Thin Mints fall far below Samoas, Tagalongs, and Do-si-dos (though I’d happily eat them all). Basically, I’m not a peppermint lover. But thanks to the internet, I’m a new woman—and I’m sharing all the peppermint recipes that have helped change my tune.

During a season that’s all about welcoming indulgence, you can catch me whipping up any chocolate dessert, gingerbread bundt, or even this Chai Carrot Cake on any given weekend or weeknight. But after baking my way through the recipes below, I’ve come around to peppermint’s refreshing flavor. So whether you’re a skeptic like I was or already a passionate peppermint fan, this is the roundup for you. Keep scrolling for all the recipe inspiration your holiday desserts need from now until January (or perhaps, beyond).

Feature image by Hannah Haston.

Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes from Minimalist Baker

Why We Love It: Before making this recipe, it had sadly been years since my last cupcake (I’m still mourning the fall of the early aughts trend). But friends, the year is 2021, Sex and the City is back, and though Samantha isn’t munching on Magnolia Bakery delights with the rest of the gang, cupcakes deserve a place in all of our hearts. 

This recipe is the perfect solution if you’re still scarred by the pumpkin frenzy of fall. All it takes is one bowl and an hour of blissful baking in the kitchen. Long live the cupcake craze.

Hero Ingredient: I’ll never say no to anything topped with coconut whipped cream.

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Chocolate Peppermint Bundt Cake from Two Peas & Their Pod

Why We Love It: Big fan of bundts here. While it’s slightly stress-inducing to pop your cake from the pan (I’m never not holding my breath throughout the process), this one was a breeze. The texture play can’t be beat either. This cake is beautifully spongey, and layered on top is the silkiest, smoothest chocolate ganache. Sprinkle on a garnish of crushed peppermint candies, because hey, it’s the holidays. Prepare your stomach for seconds.

Hero Ingredient: Thanks to half a cup of sour cream, this cake is wildly and wonderfully moist.

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Peppermint Bark from Life Made Simple

Why We Love It: If you haven’t tried it yet, making homemade peppermint bark is a breeze. Plus, after taking a bite of your own edible masterpiece, you’ll wonder why you bought all those tins of the stuff in the past. It’s really a simple matter of melting chocolate and waiting for your layers to set. My favorite part of the process is right at the end when you’re free to smash your rectangle of bark into pieces. I have a good feeling you’ll enjoy it too.

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Hero Ingredient: Because this is such an easy and streamlined recipe, there aren’t too many ingredients to choose from. But I’m going to go out on a limb and say that the layer of white chocolate really did it for me. If you think you don’t like it, have faith. The peppermint and vanilla extracts bring out the complexity of their flavor for a final result that’s nuanced, varied, and addicting.

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Pink Peppermint Cake from How Sweet Eats

Why We Love It: There’s not enough that’s been said or written about how truly gorgeous peppermint can be. This pastel-hued wonder took note—and delivered. Subtle swirls of white and red cream cheese frosting wrap around the light-as-air layers of cake. Peppermint meringue mounds add a whimsical touch, and a slight sprinkling of sparkling sugar gives just the right amount of shine.

Hero Ingredient: Some people love buttercream frosting, but I often find it cloying. Solution? A tangy and slightly tart cream cheese frosting—and of course, it’s the cream cheese that makes that happen.

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Peppermint Truffles from Foodie Crush

Why We Love It: Otherwise known as bitty, bite-sized balls of chocolaty, peppermint-y goodness. Honestly, they’re more than a craving—they’re my full-blown obsession. And while their petite size might suggest that you can easily pop two or three, know that these guys are rich in the best way possible. The good news is that they can be stored in the freezer for up to a month. I’ll be looking forward to enjoying them for weeks to come.

Hero Ingredient: It’s all about the chocolate here, and the melted semi-sweet chips add a touch of bitter flavor to balance out the truffles’ sweetness.

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Mint Chocolate Brownies from Full of Plants

Why We Love It: I take back what I wrote about mint chocolate chip ice cream above—the two flavors are a match made in holiday heaven. That truth is no more evident than in these *incredible* brownies. Minty on the outside, moist on the inside, and indulgent all around. Serve these to the hungry crowd at your holiday party—they’ll definitely be pleased.

Hero Ingredient: If I’ve learned anything from Ina Garten (which, of course, I have), it’s this: adding a tiny bit of espresso powder to a treat brings out the intensity of the chocolate without tasting like coffee. Take a tip from the Barefoot Contessa herself, and don’t leave out this key ingredient.

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Boozy Peppermint Hot Chocolate

Why We Love It: What’s better than hot chocolate? Peppermint hot chocolate. What’s better than peppermint hot chocolate? This recipe for Boozy Peppermint Hot Chocolate. If you’ve always made your hot chocolate with milk alone, take this as an invitation to add a little heavy cream to the mix for some extra indulgence. Pour a mug of this for me on Christmas morning and all my holiday wishes will have come true.

Hero Ingredient: Adding a little vanilla liqueur to your cocoa will warm you up right away.

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Candy Cane Meringue Kisses from Flourishing Foodie

Why We Love It: Let me paint a picture for you of holiday perfection. You’re curled up on the couch, wearing your favorite cozy pajamas, marathoning all the best Christmas movies, and you have a bowl of these meringue kisses within reach. These are cute. These are crispy. These are full of peppermint flavor. Oh—and if you’re willing to share, they also make the perfect homemade gift.

Hero Ingredient: While it’s not the sexiest ingredient, you can’t get the impressively high peaks of meringue without a cream of tartar.

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Grain-Free Vegan Peppermint Brownies from The Roasted Root

Why We Love It: PSA: You can always feel good about enjoying a festive treat. But if you’re wanting to snack on a holiday-flavored favorite without the sugar rush, here’s your recipe. A healthy mix of flaxseed, almond flour, almond butter, and coconut oil make these brownies not only nutrient-dense but beautifully fudgy.

Hero Ingredient: Of course, they’re not brownies without the chocolate. This recipe swaps the traditional cocoa powder with cacao for a more intense flavor and a healthy dose of essential minerals.

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Peppermint Mocha from Pinch of Yum

Why We Love It: When coffee, chocolate, and mint combine, you can’t ask for much else. Resist the Starbucks temptation (at least temporarily), and swap in this homemade version for your go-to December order. Savor that first cozy, comforting, and minty sip—and get ready to make this warming drink for many weeks to come.

Hero Ingredient: While I’m tempted to call coffee the standout ingredient (after all, who doesn’t need a bit of caffeine during the busiest time of the year?), I’m going to highlight the whipped cream instead. Because your mocha can never be too creamy.

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Peppermint Hot Chocolate Shortbread Cookies

Why We Love It: My favorite drink in the form of my favorite treat. These cookies are the ideal mix of chewy and soft with a subtly crisp bite. I keep a pre-made, ready-to-slice-and-bake roll of this dough in the freezer at all times. Because when the inevitable craving hits, I want to make sure I’m prepared.

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Hero Ingredient: A half cup of heavy whipping cream is responsible for the thickest, creamiest ganache you ever dipped a cookie (or your finger) in.

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Homemade Peppermint Patties from 2 Teaspoons

Why We Love It: These are better than anything you could ever get from a wrapper. The filling packs an impressive punch of peppermint flavor and is made all the more deliciously wrapped in a chocolate coating. These are no-bake too, so no worries if you can’t be bothered to turn on the oven.

Hero Ingredient: Just three tablespoons of coconut oil is all you need to achieve the traditional chewy peppermint patty texture.

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Flourless Peppermint Hot Chocolate Cake

Why We Love It: When I hear that a flourless chocolate cake is being served after dinner, I make sure to save room. The classic formula requires only a few pantry staples and creates a cake that’s so dense and chocolaty, it almost tastes like you’re eating a slice of fudge. Bonus points: Your gluten-free friends can join in on the decadence, too.

Hero Ingredient: Julia Child was right: everything’s better with butter—and this cake is proof of exactly that.

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Peppermint Bark Rice Krispie Treats from Three Olives Branch

Why We Love It: Before finding this recipe, I used to think there was no way to improve upon peppermint bark. Well, this wonderful hybrid of a holiday treat proved me wrong. I love the interplay of crispy and chocolaty textures. And while I’ll go to any length to justify having dessert for a snack (at 11 a.m.), the crunchy cereal layer makes me feel okay about my choices.

Hero Ingredient: You can’t have the addicting stickiness of a Rice Krispie treat without the mini marshmallows, right?

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Peppermint Crunch Puppy Chow from Sally’s Baking Addiction

Why We Love It: Puppy chow, monkey munch, or muddy buddies. Whatever you call it, we can all agree, this irresistibly sweet snack is where it’s at. It’s extremely quick to make and the perfect last-minute addition to your Christmas dessert buffet. 

There’s really so much to love about this Peppermint Crunch Puppy Chow. Depending on the number of guests, you can easily double or triple the recipe. It’s crunchy and sweet and basically looks like the holidays in a bowl. And did I mention it’s only four ingredients?!

Hero Ingredient: Put some puppy chow on my plate and I’ll be more than happy to revert to my eight-year-old tendency of licking all the confectioner’s sugar off my fingers. TMI, but true.

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