Most Delicious European Desserts
European food is good, but let’s be honest. Most of the time, we’re all just waiting for the dessert.
Sweet is where this continent shines. Many of the world’s most famous desserts like crepes and flan have come out of Europe. There’s so much variety of flavor, so many ways to eat cakes, fried doughs and melted chocolate, that you simply can’t eat them all. We can try, though.
These are the most delicious European desserts.
Bite Into Loukoumades
We love a dessert that keeps it simple. Loukoumades are deep fried dough covered in thick honey. They’re quite simple and yet have managed to delight people’s taste buds for literally thousands of years. They were even given to Olympic athletes as one of the rewards for winning.
Nowadays you can also top them off with other flavors like chocolate, cheese, Nutella or walnuts. But we actually prefer the traditional ones the best.
Bite Into Krapfen
This delicious European donut is thought to be the first one created on the continent. This alone helps it earn a spot here. The dessert is called Berliner in Germany, where it is also popular.
But, of course, it’s not all about history. Flavor also has to be taken into account, and krapfen does not disappoint. Rather than a hole of nothing in the middle, these donuts are filled with jam, custard, chocolate and other delicious fillings.
They are often topped with powdered sugar, sprinkles and more chocolate.
Bite Into Mouse
Mousse may be the first French dessert to appear here, but it certainly won’t be the last. It is said that famous painter Henri Toulouse-Lautrec invented this dessert when he was not busy making some of the most iconic postimpressionist works of art.
Like his paintings, his culinary creation is soft, innovative and difficult to describe. Mousse is whipped to perfection to allow for an extremely light texture packed with flavor.
Of course, chocolate mousse is the best flavor.
Bite Into Medovik
Layers of honey-infused biscuits and cream combine to create this thick cake. We imagine that the original recipe, which was made in the early 19th century, was more naturally sweet, consisting mainly of honey.
But modern takes usually add condensed milk, which may not be as healthy as honey, but it makes the flavor even better.
Bite Into Babka
Traditionally, babka was an Easter Sunday treat in Central Europe. It is now easy to enjoy it any day of the year while in Poland.
The dessert is a round bread cake that is flavored with rum and raisins. Fruit icing covers the top to make it sweeter. Though it is not necessarily tied to Easter, it is still a popular dessert to serve during Polish holidays.
Bite Into Sachertorte
Sachertorte is Austria’s most famous dessert. It is a dish you have to try if you ever visit Vienna, where it was made for an Austrian prince.
The sponge cake is as chocolat-y as a dessert comes, though the chocolate is complemented with sweet jams, and, often, whipped cream on the side.
Dark chocolate is used, so the cake can be a bit bittersweet. Perhaps this is why it goes so well with coffee.
Bite Into Stroopwafel
This Dutch dessert has been exported all over the world as the perfect afternoon snack. It is basically a waffle sandwich filled with caramel syrup. The best way to eat it is by placing it on top of a cup of coffee or tea so as to soften it before taking a heavenly bite.
Interestingly, stroopwafels were originally a dessert for the working class, since they were made from leftover crumbs.
23. Runeberg Torttu
Bite Into Runeberg Torttu
This small pastry is quite popular in Finland because it packs sweetness without being overwhelming.
The pastry itself is infused with flavors like rum and almonds. It is then topped with sugar and raspberry jam. The complementary flavors are what make it so delicious.
We especially like it during the cold winters when you need something to cheer you up.
22. Bavarian Creme
Bite Into Bavarian Creme
This custard dessert originates from the German region of Bavaria. It is a cold dessert topped with fruits and sauce to add flavor and sweetness to the base.
What sets it apart from other custard desserts is that it is thickened with gelatin. This gives it a more solid texture that is complemented by the softness of whipped cream.
Needless to say, it is absolutely delicious.
21. Panna Cotta
Bite Into Panna Cota
Like Bavarian creme, panna cotta is thickened with gelatin and is also served cold with fruits and sauces. However, it is cream-based and therefore has a different texture.
This is one of Italy’s best desserts. We especially like its lightness, which makes it easy to enjoy after a big, filling dinner.
You won’t have to unbutton your pants after this dessert.
Bite Into Trifle
Layered sponge cake, jam, custard and fruit purees make up the heavenly flavor of trifle. To make things even better, the sponge cake is usually infused with sweet wine or brandy, giving it a strong flavor. The finishing touch is a generous amount of whipped cream.
Trifles prove that England should get more credit for its cuisine.
Bite Into Kremes
When a dessert is named "creamy," you can have no doubts that it will be a feast for your taste buds.
This Hungarian favorite is made of two pastry layers with a very generous amount of cream in between them. The cream is smooth and light, and the pastry is topped with powdered sugar for some extra fluffiness.
Bite Into Sernik
Polish cheesecake has been around since the 1600s. As is to be expected, this long history means that there are countless variations of it. However, at its base, it is made of a curd cheese filling on top of a crumbled cake.
Fruits, chocolate and other ingredients can be added for extra flavor and for visual appeal. Sernik is often lathered in delicious sauces and garnished with additional fruit.
Bite Into Eclair
If you go into a general pastry shop in France and don’t see eclairs, leave immediately. This quintessential French pastry is a classic. One that will never disappoint.
It is made by filling an elongated dough with cream. A generous layer of icing at the top completes it. The mixing of these different textures and flavors has made this one of the most popular desserts in the world.
Chocolate is the most common — and in our opinion, the best — icing flavor.
Bite Into Apfelstrudel
Apfelstrudel, or apple strudel, has made its way around the world. This classic Austrian dessert is made with an apple filling inside layers of dough and is said to have originated from baklava.
Nothing can beat a hot apple strudel, straight out of the oven on a rainy night. To make it even better, add some vanilla ice cream on the side.
Bite Into Gaufre
The Belgian waffle is a street food that can be found basically at every corner of Belgian cities, particularly in the capital. You can put syrup, fruits, chocolate or simply powdered sugar on top and enjoy it as you walk. If you want to savor the moment, go ahead and order it at a sit-down restaurant.
Americans have taken the concept of the waffle and made it into a breakfast food. But truth be told, we prefer it as a sweet street food treat in the middle of the day.
Bite Into Macarons
Leave it to the French to perfect the art of desserts by inventing a cookie sandwich from meringue. Though small, macarons are light and bursting with flavor. Their unique composition means that you’ll get crunchy and creamy textures as you bite into the filling. They’re also quite visually appealing.
Macarons can be found in many stores for cheap. However, listen to us and splurge on the expensive ones. This is one time where it really makes a world of difference.
13. Bossche Bol
Bite Into Bossche Bol
What do you get when you have a tennis-ball-sized pastry filled with whipped cream and completely covered in chocolate icing? Heaven on a plate.
We really can’t fathom why Bossche bol is not more popular outside of the Netherlands, but it certainly gives you the perfect excuse to visit the country. It would be worth it just to try this delicious ball of creamy goodness.
12. Dobos Torta
Bite Into Dobos Torta
There are many sponge cakes in this world, but dodos torta puts most of them to shame with its excessive six layers. Not that we’re complaining. The more layers, the better.
The layers are separated by chocolate buttercream, and the top of the cake has hardened caramel, which works to keep it moist for longer. Like many Central European desserts, dobos torta goes perfectly with a cup of coffee in the afternoon.
11. Black Forest Cherry Cake
Bite Into Black Forest Cherry Cake
Germany’s famed black forest cherry cake, or Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte, is a chocolate sponge cake complemented by whipped cream and cherries. The cake can be a single layer, but it is most often made of two or three layers held together by whipped cream or a cherry filling.
Our favorite styles are the ones that infuse the sponge cakes in brandy, making the flavor a bit stronger.
Bite Into Crepes
These thin French pancakes enjoy worldwide fame and have literally thousands of variations, especially as other countries come up with their own recipes.
Even within France, there are many types of sweet crepes. You can keep it simple and have a crepe topped with sugar and lemon. Or you can go the delicious tourist route and get a street crepe filled with Nutella, bananas and strawberries.
Bite Into Flan
Though the world enjoys many fluffy desserts, we think flan is the best out of all of them.
Popular in many countries, flan dates back to the age of the Roman Empire, some 2000 years ago. The Spanish had the genius idea of caramelizing the top, which is what makes the dessert stand out from the competition.
You can find flan in different flavors — coconut flan is actually delicious — but there’s a reason why the old traditional one is still the one most people prefer. If it ain't broke, don’t fix it.
8. Apple Crumble
Bite Into Apple Crumble
It’s interesting that a dessert born out of the scarcity of World War II would become such a crowd favorite. Then again, many of the best inventions come out of necessity.
Apple crumble is made with, you guessed it, crumbles of flour, butter and sugar to make a crust. This differentiates it from the typical pie and, in our opinion, makes it better. The hot, sweet apple filling with the crumbly crust and a side of vanilla ice cream just can’t be beat.
Bite Into Trilece
Meaning "three milks," trilece is the Albanian variation of a dessert that exists in many cultures.
Sponge cake is soaked in different types of milk, which were traditionally goat, cow and buffalo milk. Most trileces today use different types of cow milk, like evaporated milk, condensed milk and cream. But if you can find the traditional recipe, definitely give it a try.
The Albanian version differs from others in its topping, which is made of a caramel layer, rather than the soft cream one you find in Spain and Latin America.
Bite Into Gelato
Ahh gelato, the daily treat of every single person who visits Italy. Better than ice cream and coming in a wide variety of flavors, you can never go wrong with gelato.
We love that it continues to be creamy but manages to be lighter than traditional ice cream, so you can concentrate more on the flavors. When in Rome (or Italy at large), try traditional flavors like pistachio and stracciatella (chocolate chip).
The best thing about this dessert is that, thanks to its widespread popularity, you’re bound to find it in most major cities around the world.
5. Pasteis de Nata
Bite Into Pasteis de Nata
Created in what is now Lisbon by monks and nuns looking to use leftover egg yolks, this is Portugal’s most iconic dessert. The original recipe was given to Pasteis de Belem, a bakery that is still operating today and where you can find the delicious treats. (Pro tip: Go early to avoid long lines).
The custard tarts are simple, but manage to have a perfect complement of a crusty outside layer and a soft and creamy inside. Cinnamon is sprinkled on top, and coffee often accompanies the dessert.
Bite Into Churros
There is a great debate about who invented the churros, but there’s no doubt that Spain is the country most often associated with them.
Long fried dough rolls are covered in sugar and cinnamon and served hot and soft. To take it up a level, thick melted chocolate is used as a dipping sauce, so you can coat every bite in it.
We’re not exaggerating when we say our mouth is watering just thinking about churros.
Bite Into Cannoli
You can thank Sicily for this other fried dough gift to humanity. Cannolis are filled with ricotta cheese and sometimes sprinkled with bits of chocolate or pistachios. Marsala wine is often added to the ricotta cheese to sweeten it.
Now popular in mainland Italy and in many other countries, cannoli is definitely one of Italy’s greatest inventions.
2. Creme Brulee
Bite Into Creme Brulee
Any dessert that came out of the opulent French court at Versailles has to be delightfully decadent. Served in a round dish, creme brulee is made with custard and a burnt sugar top layer. To get to the custard, you have to crack the sugar crust open with your spoon, which somehow makes it funner to eat.
But creme brulee is definitely not just pretty and original, the taste is enough to make you want to cry tears of joy.
Bite Into Tiramisu
This layered cake soaked in coffee, and sometimes wine, is as good as it gets. In between the sponge cakes or ladyfinger layers, you’ll find a mascarpone cheese filling, often flavored with cocoa.
Tiramisu can be found around the world, though any Italian will tell you their nonna’s version is the best. If you go to Italy, we highly encourage you to try as many versions as you can.