Martha Stewart's Absolute Favorite Dessert Recipes

martha bakes on set
Bryan Gardner

Over the course of her career, Martha has shared hundreds of recipes for meal-ending sweets-but which are her all-time favorites? When pressed, she narrowed it down to these 32 recipes. That might seem like an unwieldy number but taking a closer look at her picks for desserts greatest hits reveals certain themes. Martha's preferred treats often come in the form of cookies or bars, though she also loves a good layer cake. Of course, lemon makes a number of appearances.

A good portion of Martha's round-up reads like a who's who of American classics, from chocolate chip cookies and brownies, to strawberry shortcake and apple pie (and surely these desserts would be on anyones list?). And her picks span all seasons, whether you've got a bounty of summer fruits (rhubarb, peaches, plums, nectarines, blueberries, apricots, you name it) or are looking for a warm and cozy treat on a chilly night.

It's also a crash course in dessert fundamentals. Pick a recipe and you just might learn how to make pâte à choux (necessary for making Cream Puffs with Pastry Cream and Maple-Espresso Glaze-as well as profiteroles); or pâte brisée, the flaky pastry that makes Martha's apple pie so spectacular (well, three different kinds of apples-and lots of them-also contribute to its magnificence). There are also crepes, meringue-based seven-minute frosting, and other recipes that you'll use again and again, in myriad ways.

Whether it's a birthday, a holiday, or just a regular Wednesday night, there's definitely a dessert on Martha's best-of list that'll fit the bill, deliciously so.

01 of 32

Alexis's Brown-Sugar Chocolate-Chip Cookies


This beloved recipe comes from Martha's daughter, Alexis. The batter produces very flat and crisp chocolate-chip cookies. Use an ice-cream scoop to ensure even baking and uniform size and remember that they spread wide on the pan during baking.

02 of 32

Old-Fashioned Lemon Sugar Cookies


A classic lemony flavor; a chewy texture; and glistening, crackly tops created with a double sprinkling of sanding sugar-these large cookies have it all.

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Fireworks Cookies


Martha likes the beautiful drawn icing decoration on these red, white, and blue cookies.

04 of 32

Sable Cookies


These delicate, crumbly cookies hail from the Normandy region of France and are delicious plain, dipped in dark chocolate, or sandwiched with jam. Once you have a handle on the basic recipe, try adding almonds, orange zest, or other flavorings. This recipe is adapted from Martha's book Entertaining


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Fudgy Brownies


Doesn't everyone love a brownie? And Martha likes hers fudgy rather than cakey.

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Brown-Butter Toffee Blondies


This is a wonderful variaton on the blondie, the brown butter gives an extra-rich toffee flavor. We used card-suit cookie cutters to shape the blondies into hearts, clubs, diamonds, and spades.

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Zesty Lemon Bars


Light and brightly flavored, this classic bar cookie is one of Martha's all-time favorites.

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Basic Crepes

basic crepes

This recipe can be used as the basis for any crepe creation. (The buckwheat variation has a heartier texture and a more robust flavor and is best paired with savory fillings.)

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Red Velvet Cupcakes

red velvet cupcakes

With its distinctive look, this popular cupcake is a top contender for favorite flavor.

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Classic Cheesecake

classic cheesecake
Jonny Valiant

A crumbly graham-cracker crust and silky cream-cheese filling make this New York-style cheesecake a winner.

Watch Martha make more cheesecakes.

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White Layer Cake with Lemon Curd Filling


These light, tender layers, made from the ultimate white cake recipe, are interspersed with tart lemon curd and surrounded by fluffy clouds of meringue-based peaks of Seven-Minute Frosting.

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Coconut Layer Cake


A towering creation of tender sour-cream cake, coconut filling, and piles of fluffy frosting, this dessert is the last word in coconut.

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Carrot Ginger Layer Cake with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting

Yossy Arefi

More sophisticated than the average carrot cake, this tall layered confection is altogether irresistible.

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Edward Kostyra's Birthday Cake


This orange-curd-filled cake topped with Mrs. Milman's chocolate frosting was Martha's father's favorite. Make it as a birthday treat for someone special in your life.

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Classic Angel Food Cake


Martha's favorite angel food cake is served with an elderflower syrup. You'll need to plan ahead to make it: Allow at least two days for the elderflower syrup to sit at room temperature before starting the cake.

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Devil's Food Cake with Milk Chocolate Frosting


This devilishly delicious all-occasion cake recipe was adapted from Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook

, and the frosting recipe is courtesy of Matt Lewis of Baked.

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Cream Cheese Pound Cake

cream cheese pound cake with jam on sea foam green table
Bryan Gardner

It is delicious unembellished, but you could also try this pound cake dusted with confectioners' sugar and topped with a berry compote or poached peaches and whipped cream. Chef David Waltuck shared the recipe for this rich cake with Martha.

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Sour Lemon Cake

Rob Tannenbaum

A tart treat from Martha Stewart's Christmas

that makes a thoughtful food gift-that is if you can resist eating it yourself.

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Mile-High Apple Pie

mile high apple pie
Kate Mathis

Flaky pâte brisée pastry encases three different kinds of apples in this favorite pie. Martha says this dessert tastes even better the day after it has been baked.

Watch Martha make Mile-High Apple Pie.

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Mile-High Lemon Pie


A whimsical pie that sets the bar high for taste and appearance: It has a zesty lemon filling-Martha's favorite-a flaky pâte brisée base, and a glossy Swiss meringue crown.

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New York Crumb Cake


Martha got this recipe for New York Crumb Cake from her friend Sara Foster, owner of Foster's Market in Durham, North Carolina.

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Cream Puffs with Pastry Cream and Maple-Espresso Glaze


Fill these puffs with pastry cream and top with a maple-espresso glaze-or use the shells to make larger versions of our delicious profiteroles dessert.

Watch Martha make pâte à choux.

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Peach-Blueberry Cobbler


Fresh peaches and blueberries are baked beneath a fluffy layer of vanilla-cream biscuits. The tops are brushed with heavy cream and sprinkled with sanding sugar for a crispy-sweet crunch.

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Rhubarb Upside-Down Cake


The crumb "topping" on this beautiful cake actually ends up on the bottom. Each bite has a surprisingly crunchy texture.

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Pear Brown Bettys

pear brown betty

A Betty is a spiced fruit dessert with buttered breadcrumbs or a cake-crumb topping that turns golden brown as it cooks. Martha's individual Bettys have two layers of Bartlett pears. In between and on top is a blend of torn sourdough bread, butter, sugar, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and a splash of apple cider.

26 of 32

Apricot-Almond Cobbler


A classic cobbler is a fruit dessert with a thick top layer of crust. In Martha's favorite version, spiced apricot wedges are arranged atop a toasted-almond batter. Baking puffs up the cake, so only bits of fruit peek through.

27 of 32

Rhubarb-Berry Crumbles


This dessert has British origins: a crumble is a blend of berries or other fruit with a textured sugary topping, often with oats, the result is all but synonymous with a crisp. Martha's individual crumbles include rhubarb, strawberries, and raspberries nestled under an oatless blend of butter, brown sugar, flour, salt, and grated orange zest.

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Plum-Nectarine Buckle


A buckle is a decadent dessert hybrid: cakelike cobbler with a crumble topping.

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Apple-Raisin Pandowdy

Dana Gallagher

Usually sweetened with brown sugar or molasses, a pandowdy is a fruit dessert that's closely related to a pie though without the bottom crust. Its pastry top is broken with a spoon halfway through cooking so the collapsed bits soak up the juices and soften. For ours, we used brown sugar and apples and raisins laced with cardamom and allspice.

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Berry Grunt


A classic grunt is a dumpling-topped fruit dessert that's cooked on the stove; it is often called a slump. Martha's grunt has blackberries and raspberries that are simmered together. Then dollops of ginger-spiked dumpling batter are added to the pan, to steam in berry juice. Give everyone a dumpling and a splash of heavy cream.

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Strawberry Shortcake

strawberry shortcake
Stefan Anderson

Like most of us, Martha adores strawberry shortcake. The combination of sugared fresh fruit, sweet biscuit, and whipped cream makes for a delightful jumble of contrasting tastes, textures, and flavors in every spoonful.

32 of 32

Sour-Cherry Pistachio Crisp

sour cherry pistachio crisp
Dana Gallagher

A crisp is a baked concoction of sweetened fruit with a crumbly topping. This favorite version from Martha has more than a pound and a half of pitted sour cherries. The topping includes oats, pistachios, and the traditional brown sugar, butter, and flour. The result is a fruit dessert that's tangy, sugary, and has lots of crunch.

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