Passover Desserts: Your Guide to a Sweet Seder
From chocolate mousse and flourless chocolate cakes, to nut-based tarts and caramel matzah candy, these fabulous kosher-for-Passover desserts are just what the seder ordered!
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Along with budding trees and chirping birds, spring also brings us the Jewish holiday of Passover (or “Pesach” in Hebrew). It’s a time for joy and reflection, recalling the exodus of the persecuted Israelites from slavery in Egypt. This weeklong holiday not only tells the symbolism-filled story during the seder meal, it also asks observers to follow a restricted diet all week as a way to empathize with the Israelites’ limited food options during their escape. They didn’t have time to let their bread dough rise, and so unleavened cracker-like matzah, in all its many forms (sheets of matzah, matzah meal, matzah cake meal, matzah farfel, etc…) has become the ingredient most synonymous with Passover today.
The Passover baking challenge
Whether you follow Ashkenazi rules or Sephardic traditions, the list of ingredients forbidden on Passover is quite long. Wheat, rice, corn, oats, peanuts, sesame and poppy seeds, rye, soybeans, spelt, millet, and barley are just some of the foods often considered off-limits.
You might be wondering, what's left to bake with? Am I stuck with matzah all week whenever my sweet tooth calls? We're here to reassure you that even with a lengthy list of prohibited ingredients, Passover desserts can be delicious — and jaw-droppingly gorgeous.
Here's a tip: If you use the Yummly filtering tool, you can exclude these forbidden ingredients to narrow down our catalog of dessert recipes to the ones that are Passover-friendly. (You can also use it for everyday dietary restrictions.)
Start your Passover dessert search here
As you plan your desserts for the week, and especially to cap off a seder meal, peruse our list of recipes below, organized by common Passover dessert categories. With a list this sweet, we’re confident you won’t miss flour one bit.
We did include some desserts that contain dairy ingredients, so if you’re serving meat for dinner (and you always keep milk and meat separate), you'll want to choose non-dairy dessert recipes, or sub in non-dairy alternative ingredients in those recipes.
Jump ahead to:
Mousse is luscious and rich, and often Passover-friendly without the need to use special ingredients
This recipe magically transforms matzah into cake! The secret to turning crackers into dessert is wine — the crackers are soaked in it for about two minutes so they soften without losing their structure. The crackers are then layered with the traditional egg, cream, and chocolate mixture that forms chocolate mousse. It's a no-bake delight to end your seder.
Recipe creator Shannon Sarna describes this Passover treat as "a bread-less PB&J sandwich." How fun! Though peanuts and peanut butter are often avoided on Passover (they are considered "kitniyot," which most Ashkenazi Jews won't allow on Passover), almond butter subs in for a kid-friendly dessert that feels special in individual glass dessert cups.
This 4-ingredient lemon mousse couldn't be simpler. Lemon zest, lemon juice, eggs, and sugar are all you need. Essentially, you make a lemon curd using the trusty microwave, and whip egg whites and sugar together to fold into the curd.
To prepare this gorgeous dessert, first bake a dense brownie in a springform pan. That brownie, which features coconut milk, serves as the crust, or bottom layer, of the cake. Then top with a heavenly chocolate mousse made using Italian meringue, and finish with giant dollops or a full-blown layer of whipped cream. Commence "oohs" and "ahhs."
Coconut macaroons are an iconic Passover treat. But this year, skip the store-bought variety in favor of easy homemade ones.
The coconut macaroon is the quintessential kosher cookie for Passover. All you do is make little piles of shredded coconut mixed with egg whites, sugar, and flavoring on a cookie sheet and then slide it into the oven for a half-hour and they reappear as classic Passover cookies. They're so easy to put together, you might just want to enter them into regular rotation on your cookie calendar.
This fun spin on a macaroon still uses egg whites and dried coconut, but flattening the dough mound results in a treat more reminiscent of a chocolate chip cookie. And good news: You don't have to beat the egg whites!
With flour a forbidden ingredient on Passover, almond meal and other ground or chopped nuts become a common substitute in Passover desserts
This recipe uses almond meal for the crust and margarine in place of butter to keep it comfortably kosher. The filling is a puree of almonds, egg, and margarine, which is topped by sliced pears — Bosc pears are great for baking because they hold their shape and as luck would have it, they're still in season until the end of April.
Flourless cakes aren't limited to chocolate and this lemon almond cake is an exquisite example. Made with almond meal, lemons, eggs, and erythritol, this dessert stays within the confines of kosher rules (and keto diet rules) and makes an excellent sugar-free, gluten-free, and guilt-free option.
Charoset, a delicious fruit and nut paste, is a favorite part of the Passover tradition and has a permanent place on the Seder plate. But did you know it also makes a fabulous ingredient in cake? In this unique Passover dessert, the apples and walnuts of the charoset are held together with broken matzo and eggs and sweetened with brown sugar and dessert wine. But what really puts this recipe over the edge is the zabaglione sauce — egg yolks, sugar, and wine whisked together for a fancy dessert that's kosher for Passover.
Attempting to make a birthday cake kosher for Passover? Try a sponge cake along with your favorite frosting.
The key to getting loft in a sponge cake is separating lots of eggs and folding in beaten egg whites. This recipe's preparation method is no different, but the citrus angle makes it unique. The cake is flavored with orange juice, lemon juice, orange zest, and lemon zest. And the top is decorated with delicious sugary candied orange and lemon slices.
This is your classic Passover sponge cake, and everyone needs one in their repertoire. Once you've got this down, you can make birthday cakes, Passover strawberry shortcake, and more.
Souffles and custards
Egg-based desserts are an easy way to get around the dietary restrictions on Passover
This perfectly pink dessert is also perfectly Passover-friendly. With just eggs, sugar, vanilla extract, and strawberries, these individual souffles are ready in 30 minutes. It's a can-do, cute, kosher confection that's so good you might want to try it again next year (or even next week!).
This chocolate pudding, made with coconut cream or coconut milk, is completely vegan. And the fact that you can make it with exclusively shelf-stable ingredients takes it from delicious to extremely convenient and delicious. Major bonus points.
Flourless chocolate cakes
You won’t miss flour for a second when you taste a rich, dense flourless chocolate cake on Passover
A flourless chocolate cake is always a welcome treat at special meals. If you've never made one before, it doesn't require a lot of work or expertise; whip the eggs to lift the chocolate to a cake-like consistency and you have a winner to end your dinner. This recipe does call for butter, but you can use kosher margarine if your main dish is a meat dish.
A simple pecan crust comes together easily in the food processor. Just before pouring the chocolate filling into the baked crust, fold raspberry jam in, but don't completely incorporate. That's the trick to a beautiful swirled dessert. Powdered sugar, mint leaves, and fresh raspberries make the perfect garnish.
Whipped egg whites provide the basis for all sorts of Passover-friendly treats, from individual-serving meringue cookies to a dramatic pavlova to share
If you're called upon to make a last-minute seder dessert and can't run to the store, it's time for Passover cookies. You just might have the four ingredients on hand for these meringue cookies: egg whites, cream of tartar (if you allow it on Passover), sugar, vanilla, plus a touch of food coloring. Easy and delightfully light and sweet, they're perfect for a festive spring dessert. And they take only 10 minutes to prepare before you pop them in the oven for an hour.
Pavlova is an airy dessert traced back to Australia and New Zealand (depending on whom you ask!), and named for Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova. It's meringue in cake form with a whipped-cream topping, so it's gluten-free (but not dairy-free). This one calls for citrus fruit, but if you want to make it with seasonal produce, rhubarb could elevate this to an ephemeral treat to match the meal.
We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention matzah candy, also affectionately known as matzah crack
You'll want to make a double batch of this. One for you to last the entire week of Passover, and the second to offer to guests or drop off on friends' porches. This heavenly treat is fun to make, fun to decorate, and fun to eat. A quick homemade caramel sauce poured over sheets of matzah, baked in the oven, then topped with melted chocolate — you in?
Another riff on the beloved chocolate caramel matzah crunch, this one is topped with fruit and nuts. Use any variety, or create a couple different combinations. Dried cranberries and apricots provide beautiful color atop the chocolate coating.
This chocolate caramel matzah crunch recipe looks stunning and elegant with an easy marbleizing technique of dark and white chocolate chips melted and swirled across the top of the caramel-coated matzahs.
Passover cookies and brownies
Delight your kids by handing them a cookie or brownie they didn’t think they were allowed to have
Usually when you hear Passover brownies, the image you conjure up is an unappetizingly dry dessert not worth the calories. So this take on Passover brownies is a most welcome change! This recipe is a wonderfully fudgy version that will fool even the most skeptical eaters.
The secret weapon in these Passover-friendly chocolate chip cookies is vanilla pudding mix. Use margarine and you've got a dairy-free cookie! The batter looks and tastes just like the real deal.
Made in a jelly roll pan, these toffee squares are prepared by pressing the cookie dough evenly across the pan, baking for 20 minutes in the oven, spreading melted chocolate on top, and sprinkling with a dense layer of chopped pecans. They make great hostess gifts, but be sure to save enough for yourself.
Inspired by a non-Passover chocolate espresso cookie, this recipe swaps the flour for matzah cake meal. It works! Serve them after the seder, or enjoy with a cup of coffee for breakfast. No one has to know.
From sorbet and ice cream to whipped cream fools, chilled treats often don’t require any fancy Passover-certified ingredients
Despite the name, this is a fool-proof dessert for any occasion. It's a super simple recipe that only involves pureeing strawberries and rhubarb to be folded into whipped cream for a spring treat. To serve this after a meat meal, a non-dairy whipped topping can substitute for the whipped cream in this dessert.
This four-ingredient dessert is as kosher as it is delicious. All you need are lemons, sugar, and water to make this sorbet happen. And if you're thinking, "But I don't have an ice cream maker!," it's ok, you don't need one. You can make this in a baking pan in two to three hours with a little stirring along the way.
More Passover inspiration
Explore more tantalizing Passover recipes on Yummly!