Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

Baking spooky dinners and treats for Halloween is one of the best ways to have fun in the kitchen. Not only does it spark creativity, but it’s also an excuse to satisfy our sweet (and sometimes savory!) tooth. Whether you want a nourishing dinner to fortify your little ghosties before trick-or-treating, or need a smashing good dessert for a ghoulish party—or even a creative way to use up leftover candy—these 17 Halloween recipes are gruesomely good.

The Ultimate 4-Layer, Candy-Packed Halloween Ice Cream Cake

Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

Perhaps you buy your candy in bulk and have far too much left over after the holiday. Maybe you’re throwing a Halloween bash and need a showstopper to feed a crowd. Or you’re just feeling gluttonous. Enter the four-layer Halloween candy ice cream cake!

Witch Finger Shortbread Cookies With Raspberry Jam

Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

If you’re more into the blood-and-gore side of Halloween, these shortbread cookies are the ticket. They’re shaped like severed gnarled fingers, which makes them pretty gross to start. But the real kicker comes when you bite into them and they start “bleeding” a filling of raspberry jam.

Ghost and Spider Pan Pizza

Vicky Wasik

Sometimes making a Halloween dish is as simple as adding some spooky decorations to a normal recipe. Here, that means starting with our foolproof pan pizza and topping it with mozzarella ghost cutouts (complete with slivers of black olives for eyes) and black-olive spiders speared with rosemary needles for legs.

Vampire Mouth Marshmallow Sandwich Cookies

Vicky Wasik

A cross between s’mores and those cheap plastic vampire teeth that pop up at Halloween parties, these impressive sandwich cookies are made with home-baked chocolate graham crackers, red frosting “gums,” marshmallow “teeth,” and slivered-almond “fangs.” We use a tangy cream cheese frosting for the gums, which cuts through the sweetness of the marshmallows and graham crackers.

Homemade Caramel Apples

Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

This recipe makes a caramel that’s thick enough to generously coat the apple, but soft enough to bite through.

Homemade Milk Duds

Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

As far as we’re concerned, there’s only one worthy candy at the movie theater concession stand: Milk Duds. This is just like your favorite candy, perfected.

Warm Witch’s Brew

Serious Eats / Christianne Winthrop

Whether you’re taking to the streets or staying home to pass out candy, try stirring up a witch’s brew in your cauldron this Halloween. Made with equal parts pomegranate and cranberry juices, this deliciously dark (and alcohol-free) concoction is perfect for sipping between trips to the front door.

Black Sesame Ice Cream

Vicky Wasik

The secret to both the charcoal color and the surprisingly nutty flavor of this moody-looking ice cream is a Japanese-style black sesame paste—substituting it with the stuff available on supermarket shelves just won’t do the trick. The paste is made from roasted, un-hulled sesame seeds, which results in a toasty and ever-so-slightly bitter flavor; we temper it here with a little brown sugar.

Pumpkin Cheddar Cracker

Sugar cookies are fun to make and decorate for any holiday, but as we’ve grown up and our tastes have changed, we’re happy to apply our cookie cutters to a more savory recipe, like these thick, flaky, and buttery biscuit-like crackers. It’s a great recipe to tackle alongside your kids, who can go to town stamping out the pumpkin shapes; the knife-cut ridges are probably best left to a grown-up.

Chili-Chocolate Spider Cupcakes

Yvonne Ruperti

Here, we top green-frosted chocolate cupcakes with spicy chocolate spiders made with ganache, licorice-string legs, slivered-almond fangs, and sour-candy eyes. A small amount of chili flakes added to the ganache for the spider bodies gives the cupcakes just enough kick.

Roasted Pumpkin Soup With Brown Butter and Thyme

Serious Eats / J. Kenji López-Alt

This intensely pumpkin-flavored soup is accented with brown butter and thyme.

Seafood Ramen With Squid Ink, Mussels, and Salmon Roe

Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

A ramen bowl of jet-black squid-ink spaghetti, squishy mussels, and lurid orange salmon roe makes a Halloween dish that’s good enough to eat.

Pumpkin Spice Ice Cream

Serious Eats / Max Falkowitz

An extra custardy vanilla bean base is combined with pumpkin purée and flavored with cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, dark brown sugar, and a wee nip of bourbon.

Devils on Horseback

Serious Eats

Here, an English pub snack is re-imagined with Mexican ingredients: Devils on Horseback become Diablos a Caballo. A great snack for Halloween, or Dia de Los Muertos, or anytime a boozy beverage is in hand.

Chocolate Mini Cheesecakes

Serious Eats

These spider web-decorated cupcakes with a chocolate cheesecake base are the perfect sweet for a Halloween party.

Pumpkin Bourbon Cider Milkshake

Serious Eats / Maggie Hoffman

All the flavors of fall come together in this boozy milkshake. Don’t skip the maple whipped cream—it’s totally worth the extra effort.

Chocolate-Covered Candy Corn Layer Cake

Serious Eats / Yvonne Ruperti

Here, butter-blasted cake is layered with buttery buttercream and enrobed in chocolate ganache, making it the perfect un-scary Halloween cake.

How to Make a Super-Spooky Halloween Gingerbread House

Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

If you’ve never made a gingerbread house before, there’s no time quite like Halloween. Not only is October a less chaotic time than the weeks before Christmas, a haunted house is the most forgiving sort. Is the roof slightly askew? Are the windows uneven? Did it crumble a bit around the edges? Blame it on the ghosts! Defects only add to its ramshackle charm.

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