49 Valentine's Day dessert recipes to sweeten up your night

This Valentine’s Day, go beyond the standard box of chocolates and make something sweet for your special someone.

Perhaps that person is your significant other, your kid, a friend, a family member or yourself (hey, you deserve it!). Maybe they’re a cake lover, a pie person, a cookie monster or a truffle fanatic. Whomever you’re spending the holiday with, and no matter their pastry preferences, we’ve got recipes that will satisfy any kind of sweet tooth on Wednesday, Feb. 14.

We know it can be hard to choose the right dessert for such a special occasion, so we’re here to help. First things first: What are you doing for Valentine’s Day dinner? If you're cooking at home for the family or a group of friends, go for something crowd-pleasing like a chocolate cake, red velvet brownies or salted peanut butter-caramel bars. If you’re whipping up a romantic meal for two, go for individual chocolate lava cakes, chocolate mousse or chocolate fondue. Yes, that’s quite a lot of chocolate, so if you’d rather not go in the chocolate direction, we’ve got choices like cheesecake, Key lime pie and strawberry tiramisu.

There is no greater Valentine’s Day gift than something lovingly handcrafted in the kitchen, and there is no better feeling than watching the person you love savor every last morsel of your creation.

So take your time savoring the options, jot down the ingredients you’ll need, and enjoy planning something sweet for your sweetheart. Whatever you choose, we’ve got you covered — chocolate-covered, that is.


Valerie Bertinelli's Sicilian Love Cake by Valerie Bertinelli

If it's got "love" in the name, it's a must-make for Valentine's Day. Store-bought chocolate cake mix and chocolate pudding mix are the secrets behind this easy cake from Valerie Bertinelli. There's a double dose of mascarpone cheese in both the filling and frosting.

Dark Chocolate Lava Cake (Moelleux au Chocolat) by Sébastien Giannini and Anina Belle Giannini

Stick a spoon into the top of the moelleux au chocolat and the aroma will be almost as seductive as the rich chocolate interior that oozes out like slow, molten lava.

Guinness Chocolate Cake by Clodagh McKenna

This cake from Irish chef Clodagh McKenna is majestically dark but surprisingly light and velvety in texture. The stout lover in your life will love the fact that the color resembles a pint of Guinness.

Flourless Chocolate Cake by Caroline Choe

This is one of the easiest cakes to make and — dare we say it — one of the sexiest! A combination of basic ingredients — butter, eggs, sugar, coffee liqueur and bittersweet chocolate — create this decadent dessert oozing with rich chocolate.

Martha Stewart's Mile High Salted-Caramel Chocolate Cake by Martha Stewart

Truly, madly and deeply chocolate: Pools of rich salted caramel separate layers of chocolate cake, which are then swathed with dark chocolate frosting and sprinkled with flaky salt. Prep the wondrous cake layers and caramel up to three days before assembling (chilling actually improves the texture for stacking).

Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting by Gesine Bullock-Prado

It's hard to share a Valentine's Day dessert roundup without including at least one red velvet cake recipe. The delicate combination of moist, ruby-red cake and cream cheese frosting is always a crowd-pleaser.

Christina Tosi's Valentine's Day Layer Cake by Christina Tosi

There's nothing sweeter than making someone you care about a Valentine's Day cake perfectly suited to his or her taste — and in this recipe, you can substitute any of your favorite fillings as a cake layer.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cake by Erica Chayes Wida

The combination of smooth peanut butter and rich chocolate make this five-ingredient dessert incredibly decadent and irresistible to any peanut butter cup fan. Plus, the recipe uses boxed cake mix for an easier-than-ever dessert.

Mini Conversation Heart Cakes by Yolanda Gampp

This Valentine's Day, design your own Sweethearts for your sweetheart! These cakes are so much fun to bake, decorate and customize with fun and flirty phrases.

Salted Caramel Chocolate Lava Cakes by Ryan Scott

Serve these warm, molten cakes with chocolate ice cream for an over-the-top chocolate experience. Bonus: These can be made in advance.

Chocolate Cake by Craig Strong

Coffee is the secret ingredient to making this chocolate cake moist and rich. Decorate it with plump berries and edible flowers for a dessert that's truly worthy of that special someone.

Vegan Matcha-Dark Chocolate Cake by Candice Kumai

Mashed ripe banana and Japanese ceremonial matcha powder make this cake one of the most beloved recipes in Candice Kumai's cookbooks.

Red Velvet Layer Cake by Christina Tosi

The bold color contrast of red velvet cake layers and pure white frosting make this scrumptious cake as appealing to look at as it is to eat.

Jean-Georges' Molten Chocolate Cake by Jean-Georges Vongerichten

These cakes are truly a treat for the senses: the rich chocolaty aroma, the decadent taste and, of course, the satisfying surprise of seeing the river of warm chocolate pour out when you cut into them.

Warm Chocolate Pudding Cakes by Martha Stewart

There's something extra-special about a personal, individually-sized cake — especially when it's a molten chocolate cake served warm out of the oven.

Rainbow Heart Cake by Amanda Rettke

Surprise and delight your Valentine with this beautifully buttercream-frosted cake. The best part of the night will be when they cut into the cake to find a surprise rainbow heart hidden inside.

Bourbon Cheesecake with Boozy Chocolate for Two by

Get love drunk with a double infusion of booze that's added to both the filling and the chocolate sauce. The fragrant bourbon and chocolate give this cheesecake an extra shot of decadence.

No-Bake Cannoli Cheesecake by Jessie Sheehan

A cannoli is a classic Italian pastry. With its crispy shell and creamy, cool, slightly sweet ricotta filling, it checks all the boxes of a delicious dessert (particularly when a little chocolate is added). Here, we've taken everything that everyone loves in a cannoli (including the not-always-traditional, but always welcome pistachio) and created a no-bake cannoli-inspired cheesecake.

Cookies and bars

Triple Chocolate Brownie Fingers by Matt Adlard

This is one of those desserts that looks so elegant from the piping, but it’s sneaky-easy to pull together. We dress up basic brownies using a simple chocolate glaze around the outside and then pipe a whipped chocolate ganache on top.

Hidden Surprise Valentine's Cookies by Gesine Bullock-Prado

Getting the gorgeous dual-hued stripes in these heart-shaped cookies takes a bit of effort, but the surprise inside, along with the buttery, sweet flavor, makes this treat completely worth it.

Chocolate-Covered Peanut Butter Heart Cookies by Kristen Tomlan, founder of DŌ, Cookie Dough Confections

Not only is the cookie dough beautifully bakeable, its also safe to eat uncooked. A win-win! Use a mix of dark and white chocolate, food coloring and sprinkles for fun and festive decorating.

XO Valentine's Day Sugar Cookies by Abby Larson

Decorate these on-theme sugar cookies two ways — either with royal icing and your choice of toppings or with a thick smear of fluffy frosting and rock candy on top for some bling.

Salted Peanut Butter-Caramel Bars by Samah Dada

In this recipe, peanut butter is used along with medjool dates and coconut sugar to create a silky and delicious date caramel that rests on a shortbread crust. Top it all off with dark chocolate because, well, why not?

Flourless Soy Sauce Brownies by Hetty McKinnon

The use of this yeasty, salty condiment in a brownie is surprising, but it brings a complex depth of flavor to this classic sweet treat. Soy sauce amplifies the chocolate note, bringing a rich caramel glow. The end result very much resembles salted caramel.

Gluten-Free Skillet Brownie by Giada De Laurentiis

This recipe is just as delicious and decadent as a normal brownie, but a tad better for you because it doesn't use refined sugars or all-purpose flour. Instead, they rely on almond flour, which creates a fine crumb and all-around better texture.

Vegan Gluten-Free Double Chocolate Cookies by Ryan Scott

If you don't tell people these cookies are gluten-free and vegan, they'll never know. They've got that perfect balance of crunchy and chewy; plus, they pop with even more chocolate.

Skillet Chocolate Chip Cookie by Daphne Oz

Whether you freeze the dough into individual cookie balls to bake at a later date, or bake in a skillet for one giant, sensational, golden-brown cookie, it's sure to win over whoever is eating it. Top it with good-quality vanilla ice cream for an extra-scrumptious treat.

Martha Stewart's No-Bake Chocolate-Peanut Butter Cups by Martha Stewart

These homemade bars taste just like the beloved classic cups. Velvety chocolate enrobes creamy peanut butter in a perfectly sized two-bite treat.

Red Velvet Brownies with Cream Cheese Frosting by Elizabeth Heiskell

When it comes to these red velvet brownies, it's all about the frosting. A kiss of rich cream cheese frosting immediately puts us on cloud nine.

Pies, tarts and other confections

Two-Ingredient Chocolate Mousse by Melissa Clark

This is an intense, creamy two-ingredient chocolate mousse that comes together quickly. The nearly instant recipe contains no cream or eggs, so a complex chocolate can shine. The mousse serves four, and it can be doubled. But even if you're serving two, don't be tempted to halve it.

French Silk Pie by Kayla Hoang

While it’s not as French as the name implies, this luscious pie combines flaky pie crust, rich chocolate mousse and pillows of whipped cream to create a dessert that holds up to its silky moniker. French silk pie is cool, creamy and a great make-ahead dessert for any special occasion. Make all the components yourself (it makes the pie extra special!) or lean on store-bought shortcuts like pre-made pie crust. Either way, you can’t miss with this recipe.

Red Velvet Cake Truffles by Christina Tosi

We love these truffles in place of the traditional box of Valentine's Day chocolates. They are jam-packed with flavor and way more fun to eat!

Valentine's Day Ombre Cherries by Abby Larson

A fun twist on chocolate-dipped cherries, these three-ingredient ombre-colored treats look absolutely beautiful on any table spread.

Siri's Chocolate Fondue by Siri Daly

This is a truly simple dessert to pull off, and yet it appears super impressive. And at the end of the day, there's nothing more deliciously romantic than dipping assorted fruits and cake into melted chocolate.

Stuffed Dates with Almond Butter and Sea Salt by Samah Dada

Make your date salivate with dates! When the medjool variety are heated, they develop a delicious caramel flavor that’s balanced perfectly with nut butter. Add a little chocolate and flaky sea salt and you've got yourself an incredible and easy dessert.

Vanilla Bean Churros with Chocolate Dipping Sauce by Gesine Bullock-Prado

All you need is a few pantry staples and 20 minutes to make your own churros, plus an easy chocolate dipping sauce. The result is a batch of warm, sugar-flecked pastries that melt in your mouth.

Chocolate Pots de Crème by Elizabeth Heiskell

Your guest will never know that their restaurant-worthy dessert only required three ingredients and minutes to make. This is a showstopper every single time!

Al's 'Sexy' Strawberry Shortcakes by Al Roker

Individual desserts are the perfect way to add a little romance. One of Al Roker's favorites are these made-from-scratch strawberry shortcakes because they offer a fabulous mix of flavors and textures. And yes, it's worth the extra effort to make homemade whipped cream and biscuits.

Classic Key Lime Pie by Jocelyn Delk Adams

For those who love a touch of tartness in their sweets, Key lime pie is a timeless favorite. Jocelyn Delk Adams shares how to make it with a homemade graham cracker crust, which brings the confection from fine to fabulous.

Irresistible Salted Caramel Chocolate Tart by PopSugar Food

Love is definitely in your future if you make this tart filled with salted caramel, lavender-infused ganache and topped with toasted marshmallow.

Cheesecake-Stuffed Strawberries by Joy Bauer

These bite-sized beauties taste decadent but are surprisingly light, thanks to a smart balance of rich filling and sweet strawberries.

Quick Coffee-Chocolate Mousse by Clodagh McKenna

This quick dessert recipe is perfect for any home baker who is pressed for time but still wants to deliver something special.

Martha Stewart's Chocolate-Caramel Truffles by Martha Stewart

These truffles are inspired by brigadeiros, a confection popular throughout Brazil. Here, the traditional chocolate sprinkles get swapped for a festive Valentine's Day color combo.

Julia Child's Chocolate Mousse by Julia Child

There are so many recipes for chocolate mousse, but Julia Child's, which uses egg yolks and butter, yields silky, smooth results every time.

Chocolate Truffles by Gesine Bullock-Prado

These truffles are great to give as a Valentine's Day gift, but they're so tasty, you just might want to keep them all for yourself.

Strawberry Tiramisu by Anna Francese Gass

This strawberry tiramisu takes all the classic moves of the traditional espresso-flavored dessert and gives it a vibrant, fruity twist. It also gives the liquor-soaked treat a more family-friendly makeover (think: elegant strawberry milk) and is a great option when serving those who choose not to drink.

Rose Panna Cotta by Erin French

Panna cotta, a smooth, gelatin-based dessert that's traditionally served cold, gets infused with the natural flavors of a summer garden in this easy Italian dessert. The heavy cream, vanilla bean and rose water make this sweet ending a simple confection worthy of an elegant soiree or warm weather picnic.

My Dad's Lemon Tart by Matt Adlard

This is the greatest lemon tart you’ll ever eat. Believe us, we’ve tried to­ find better, but nothing compares. It has the perfect balance of citrus and sweet, with an incredibly smooth finish. Serve it with crème fraîche, or for some crunch, brulée the top with sugar.

No-Cook Chocolate and Raspberry Tart by Mary McCartney

Look no further for the perfect Valentine's Day dessert. This is a picture-perfect, party-worthy, no-cook, no-fuss, decadent, divine, showstopping, make-ahead dessert. It has a crispy, chocolaty cookie base, delicious mousse filling, and it's topped with raspberries. It's indulgent but surprisingly light.

This article was originally published on TODAY.com