12 No-Bake Holiday Treats That Won't Bust Your Budget


Love holiday treats, but not crazy about baking? Same here. If making treats involves heating up an oven, my enthusiasm wanes considerably. Fortunately, "no-bake" treats have become extremely popular, so we need not open a bag of flour or grease any cookie sheets.

Let's not bust our holiday budgets, though, while making holiday treats. Watch for sales on these items to have on hand: Crisp rice cereal, chocolate chips, baking chocolate, nuts, liquors, coconut, and candies. I find that Walmart usually has a good center aisle section of these items with prices that are hard to beat. I also frequent Costco for chocolate chips and nuts. For gift-giving, it's helpful to choose one item to make; that way you can take advantage of bulk buying. Not sure where to start? Here are 12 ideas.

1. Chocolate Bark

Chocolate-covered bark has become a popular gift around the holidays, and it's easy to see why. Turn your microwave into your new BFF. Here are several variations of super easy-to-make barks — from "movie theater" (including popcorn!) to almond, peanut butter-cup, and seasonal white chocolate craisin.

2. Peppermint Bark

Want more? Here is a peppermint bark that goes together quickly. Broken up and placed into cellophane bags, it looks festive and tastes terrific.

3. Kentucky Bourbon Balls

It just wouldn't be Christmas in our family without bourbon balls, which you can put together in no time.

4. Rum Balls

Prefer rum to bourbon? If so, try these rum balls. This funny lady shows how to make both variations.

5. Mint Chocolate Chip Pie

Mom used to make grasshopper pie for Christmas dessert, but her recipe took much longer than the 20 minutes for this mint-chocolate chip pie. So use the quick and easy method! I love the incorporation of the tiny Andes mints.

6. Eggnog Pie

There are two selling points for this eggnog pie recipe. First, it just says "holiday." It's not like we can drink eggnog all year long, so let's do while we can. Secondly, it makes two pies. You can mix this up, let it chill overnight, and in the morning, ta-daah, pies, ready for a party, potluck, or a really nice gift.

7. Chex Mix

Mom used to heat the oven to make this party favorite Chex Mix, but now you can make it in your microwave. I like to add extra zip by adding oregano, curry powder, or a few red chili flakes.

8. Spiced Nuts

These spiced nuts are perfect for cocktail-party nibbling, but also make really terrific gift when packaged in clear, airtight bags. Best of all, you can make them in about 20 minutes.

9. Date Balls

These little date balls aren't exclusively a holiday snack, but with their coconut coating, they look like tiny snowballs. And with only two ingredients, they can be whipped up in a snap.

10. Coconut Cranberry Energy Bites

Not to be outdone, though, are these delicious coconut cranberry energy bites, made with Christmas-y cranberries.

11. Rice Krispie Pops

The holidays are a fun time to make treats with kids, but that doesn't have to mean turning on the oven. I love these Rice Krispie pops. To melt chocolate easily, put chips into a microwave-safe bowl and heat for 60 seconds. Stir. If that doesn't do it, give it another 30 seconds, and stir again.

12. Reindeer Pops

If these reindeer Rice Krispie pops aren't the cutest darn things, well, I give up. Need candy eyeballs? Got you covered.

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