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12 Easy Showstopper Trifles That Belong on Your Dessert Table

updated Dec 15, 2023
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chocolate trifle in a trifle glass
Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Anna Stockwell

Looking for an exciting holiday showstopper desert or no-bake summer stunner that’s ridiculously easy to make? Let us talk you into making trifle. In case you’re new to the dessert, trifle is a classic English dessert that usually consists of layered sponge cake, fruit, and custard, but there’s a lot of room for creativity. Serve it in a traditional glass trifle bowl to display the layers and you will be thankful trifle is so deceivingly impressive.

Here are cool dozen trifle recipes that will make ’em go “oooh!” From a classic chocolate pudding trifle, to crowd-pleasing pumpkin spice, to a sunny tropical fruit version, you have a lot of options.

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How To Make Trifle

Trifles look fancy, but they are one of the scrappiest desserts we know. Here's your 101 on making trifle.

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Chocolate Trifle
This tiered dessert is equal parts elegant and easy, thanks to store-bought pudding, whipped cream, cake, and crushed cookies.
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Pumpkin Spice Trifle

A regular yellow boxed cake transforms into a spiced cream cheese pound cake with just a few extra ingredients, while store-bought pumpkin pie filling becomes super-creamy with the addition of instant pudding. Finish it off with crushed ginger cookie crumbles for a little crunch.

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Very-Berry Shortcake Trifle
An impressive bowl of buttery shortcakes, berries in berry syrup, and whipped mascarpone cream.
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Tropical Fruit Trifle
Layers of strawberries, mango, kiwi, coconut cake, and custard ensure this trifle is a nothing short of a show-shopper.
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Cranachan (Scottish Toasted Oat & Walnut Whisky Trifle)

This trifle is fruity, creamy, and crunchy, and you can’t go wrong when this much Scotch is involved.

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Banana Pudding Trifle

Vanilla custard, sliced bananas, vanilla wafers, and whipped cream combine for this simple and luscious riff on banana pudding.

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Mixed Berry Trifle
This impressive berry trifle is sure to be the star of your next summer cookout or celebration.
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Frozen Sea Salt Caramel Trifle

Donuts are surrounded by a delicious combination of tart apples and Talenti Sea Salt Caramel Gelato, with a light dusting of cinnamon sweetness for the yummiest thing you’ll eat all year.

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Red, White, and Blue Trifle
This festive trifle is really more fruit than cake, with cherries and raspberries and blackberries squeezed between homemade pudding and cream.
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Peach Iced Tea Pound Cake Trifles
These Southern-inspired trifles feature five layers of deliciousness: homemade pound cake, creamy peach iced tea custard, caramel sauce, macerated peaches, and whipped cream.
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3-Ingredient Strawberry Trifles

Take any leftover cake, brownies, or cookies, and combine with fresh or frozen fruit and whipped cream for the easiest trifle.

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