What is a Trifle and how to Cook it Properly. 30 Detailed Recipes and Tips

Trifle is a classic English dessert that has been gracing holiday (and beyond) tables for four centuries in a row. Its invention dates back to 1596. Truffle” means “trifle” in English, which is not surprising, because it’s not so hard to make.

The dessert is a treat consisting of layers of biscuit dough (often with the addition of sherry or other alcohol), cream, homemade jelly, natural juice and cream. After a short period of time, eggs, fruit and berries also began to be added.

Nowadays, the trifle has spread around the world so much that it is now being prepared with great pleasure in the United States, France, Russia, Germany, Italy and even Brazil. The main trick of this dessert is that it has no recipe as such, but is made from leftovers and elements of other desserts.

Trifle is essentially a pastry “hodgepodge”, where everyone can add the missing and interesting element. For example, diversify depending on the season and time of year, gastronomic preferences and type of event.

Let’s return to history, these days most of the recipes involve the use of different types of alcohol (a small amount), such as: madera, sherry, dessert wine, port to moisten the biscuit layer.

However, in spite of all the above, the basic rules of preparation still exist. Let’s take a closer look at how to properly prepare this wonderful dessert.

Source: Pixabay

The Main Ingredients of Trifle

What are they? As a rule, the dessert consists of: biscuit (more precisely from its crumbs or scraps), soaking, cookie pieces, alcohol, cream, cream, as well as fruit, berries, caramel or chocolate. But let’s go over each one in more detail.

  • Bisquick. Often they use what’s left over from other desserts, and this is very convenient. After all, do not finish that valuable ingredient dry, and even more so do not throw it away. Chocolate is perfect, especially if you’re up for a chocolate trifle specifically.
  • Impregnation. Sugar syrup (1:1), with the addition of cinnamon, vanilla, powdered sugar, which is better to make your own. Also, a cream cheese (like Philadelphia), or Mascarpone would be great as a soak. Believe me, it will be just something with something!
  • Cookies. Everything is very individual, from simple Maria’s, to Savoyardi, or oatmeal cookies with citrus candied fruit.
  • Alcohol. Naturally, no alcohol is out of the question if you’re making dessert for a child. However, if the party is aimed at an adult audience – we choose any slightly sweet alcohol (soaking the cake with it): dessert wines, sherry, Madeira, some recipes even use champagne, apple cider, Baileys, Kahlúa, and many other options.
  • Cream. Just whip the heavy cream with powdered sugar (you can also buy them in the store). If you want to get a more interesting and bright flavor – take “Philadelphia” or “Mascarpone”.
  • Creamer. There’s no alternative – we choose creamier, fattier ones, which doesn’t sink a spoonful, and preferably homemade.
Source: Pixabay

Depending on the variation of the recipe, you can use a variety of additional ingredients:

  • Fruits and berries. Different color and taste, as they say, are different. Personally, I like to add fruits and berries depending on the time of year. In the winter it is citrus fruits, kiwi, banana, or fruit jam, in the fall – apple, pear, honey pumpkin, alycha, quince, grapes, in the spring and summer – raspberry, strawberry, strawberry, black and red currant (in moderation), gooseberry, cherry, apricot, peach, mango and pineapple.
  • Chocolate and caramel. Melt the chocolate in a water bath, or grate it on a medium grater, turning it into crumbs. Any caramel is good, including store-bought.
  • Decorating the dessert – here, perhaps, is where you have the opportunity to fully unleash your imagination. This can be a hat of cottage cheese cream, roasted nuts (pistachios, cashews, macadamia, walnuts, caramelized peanuts), cinnamon, fresh pieces of fruit and berries, meringue, marshmallow, condensed milk, mint leaves, sesame seeds, powdered sugar, coconut, honey, chocolate or nut paste, in general, the list is long.
  • There are also exceptions. For example, in the northern states of the United States (Idaho, Montana) it is customary to make unsweetened trifle. It usually consists of lightly salted red fish, cream cheese, or sour cream, garlic, cucumber, and garlic crackers. But first things first.

Techniques for Preparing a Trifle

The good news is that you won’t spend much time cooking it, even if a large number of guests are expected. Classic and new, modified recipes do not involve any baking or other manipulation, except maybe roasting or soaking the individual components of the dish (oatmeal and nuts). So let’s look at the step-by-step preparation of a classic trifle, which consists of only seven steps:

  1. First, we chop the biscuit. You can also in a blender, but if you like a denser consistency, do it with your hands. As a result, we get not too fine crumbs.
  2. Next we should prepare the cream. Simply whisk the heavy cream with powdered sugar until soft and fluffy.
  3. We add the cold cream cheese. Note that it must be cold, or it will easily get “too much” when you use a blender.
  4. Choose a beautiful dish for the future trifle. It looks very effective and elegant in crème glasses, tall glasses or special mini-cups, which are sold in specialized stores.
  5. We fill with prepared biscuit crumbs and pour the filling. Lightly tamp it down, making it into one layer the same height. Let me remind you that you can choose any type of filling. Often it can be fruit jam, alcohol, syrup or cream.
  6. We put the cream. You can put it with a pastry syringe, so it will be much nicer and neater.
  7. Then we again lay a layer of biscuit crumbs. And so on until the glass is full. Do not forget about the decorations! Personally, I like to drizzle some salted caramel, sprinkle a little almond flakes, and top with some fresh wild berries – blueberries and blueberries. Let infuse for a couple of hours in the fridge, or consume immediately – bon appetit!


Before we move on to the descriptions of the various recipes for trail mix, I would like to answer the most frequently asked questions on the subject:

Can I make a trifle in advance, such as the day before my guests arrive?

It’s easy! Some versions of the dessert recipes need exactly a long soaking time. On average, it ranges from a couple of hours to +-day.

How long does it take to make a trifle?

Trifle preparation, depending on your culinary skills and speed, takes on average about half an hour (not including dessert soaking time).

Can a trifle be made completely vegan?

Absolutely. As long as no animal products are used.

Is a trifle a diet dessert or not?

It all depends on what ingredients you make it with. Eliminate chocolate, caramel, and all kinds of toppings – and voila, a trifle becomes a fairly dietary, low-calorie dish.

Can jellies be added to a trifle?

Yes, you can. It all depends on your preferences.

How long can a trifle be kept in the fridge?

Ideally, it should be eaten as soon as possible, that is, immediately after preparation, or after it has infused in the refrigerator.

Is trifle a holiday dish or not?

It’s quite a holiday dessert. Certainly no worse than a classic brownie or Christmas cake. You can take the situation into your own hands, and approach decorating the trifle with imagination and fantasy.

Will my kids like unsweetened trifle?

If your kids like and eat more than just sweets, then they should like it.

What kind of alcohol should I add to a trifle?

Lately, madera, single malt whiskey and sherry have been the most popular.

What does a draft look like?

An incredibly beautiful and colorful layered dessert in a glass.

In what country was the creation of the trifle?

The homeland of the trifle is Great Britain.

What are the best berries to use in a trifle?

Raspberries, strawberries, blackberries and blueberries are most commonly used.

Can I make a vegetable trifle?

Anything is possible. The main thing is to choose the right vegetables.

What fruits are used in a trifle?

The most commonly used are a variety of berries, as well as banana, kiwi, peach and apple.

What to decorate a Christmas trifle with?

Crushed ginger cookies, marshmallow, cinnamon, waffle crumbs, orange ice cream, tangerines, candied fruit.

Will my child be able to make trifle?

Yes, as long as she doesn’t interact with the blender.

How much trifle do I need to eat in order to be full?

It’s all individual. One serving of trifle is a good excuse to please yourself and your stomach without overeating.

The Best Trifle Recipes. Top 30 Fresh Trifle Ideas with Sweet Toppings

1. Lemon and blueberry trifle

Those who appreciate lemon in baked goods will understand. The flavor combination is very interesting, due to the slight sourness of the blueberries and lemon. Add 1 tablespoon of maple syrup – the dessert will play with all the most unusual gastronomic colors.

2. Traditional English trifle

#2 Traditional English trifle
Source: Thespruceeats

Go back to the beginning and try this incredible traditional English trifle! Its main ingredients are sherry (optional), a glass of fresh raspberries, strawberries, homemade custard and toasted almond flakes.

3. Trifle with gooseberries and elderberries

#3 Trifle with gooseberries and elderberries
Source: Bbcgoodfood

A very tasty and original version of the beloved English dessert. Turn gooseberries and elderberries into a puree, add to each layer of the dish.

4. Banana and butterscotch trifle

#4 Banana and butterscotch trifle
Source: Countryliving

You just won’t be able to hold your own after seeing this incredible and appetizing dessert. It is the banana and butterscotch trifle that promises to be your kids’ favorite treat.

5. Raspberry and hazelnut trifle

#5 Raspberry and hazelnut trifle
Source: Taste

Serve this delicious dessert consisting of delicious layers of chocolate biscuit, raspberry mousse, fresh raspberries and hazelnuts exclusively on special occasions. That way, it will become the most coveted holiday dish.

6. Jamie Oliver’s vanilla strawberry trifle

#6 Jamie Oliver's vanilla strawberry trifle
Source: Jamieoliver

Jamie Oliver is the first chef to introduce limoncello to an English dessert. Let me tell you frankly, it turned out beautifully! It’s the limoncello that gives the trifle its unique, slightly tart and invigorating flavor. Decorate the top of the dish with fresh strawberries, dividing it in two parts.

7. Trifle with peaches and whipped cream

#7 Trifle with peaches and whipped cream
Source: Toriavey

There are 2 variants of preparation: fresh peaches are beaten with a blender into a puree, or canned peaches are taken and placed absolutely on all the layers of the trifle. Both are magical in their own way, hurry up and try them!

8. Chocolate trifle

#8 Chocolate trifle
Source: Yummly

Have you ever encountered such a beautiful and spectacular dessert? Just imagine how festive and unusual a chocolate trifle would look on your holiday table! For added appeal, don’t skimp on decorating the top (chocolate shavings), there should be oooo much of it.

9. Raspberry amaretto trifle

Not a bad option for those who like coffee-flavored baked goods. Complement the dessert with caramelized salted almond chips and raspberry jam. A good idea for a birthday treat.

10. Trifle with caramelized apples

The best dessert for fall. Incredibly easy, full of caramel, caramelized apples, cinnamon and granola – it’s something! Try making it and you’ll see for yourself.

11. Coconut pineapple trifle

Coconut-pineapple trifle with flavorful layers of shredded pineapple, delicate coconut cream, rich pudding, cream cheese and nut topping will give you a truly heavenly treat!

12. Coconut creamy trifle

There’s nothing easier than making this nice, summery dessert. Especially if you have a party coming up and guests are practically on your doorstep. Use exclusively coconut cream and fresh coconut shavings.

13. Dark forest chocolate and cherry trifle

For those who prefer dark chocolate to milk chocolate, they will love this simple and juicy dessert. For a unique and memorable twist on the dish, replace the cherry jam and ripe, fresh cherries with cocktail cherries.

14. Mango trifle

#14 Mango trifle
Source: Nibbleanddine

A refreshing and light dessert that will be a highlight at any important event or party. It consists of the following components: royal mango, lime juice, brown sugar, chocolate chips and whipped cream. Use a couple of mint leaves for decoration.

15. PP trifle with caramel

#15 PP trifle with caramel
Source: Cookpad

It sounds paradoxical, however, it is the plain truth. We make our own caramel, which is how we get a low calorie content in the dessert. Adjust the number of layers at your discretion. A delicious and low-calorie sweet is ready.

16. Red currant and raspberry trifle

#16 Трайфл с красной смородиной и малиной
Source: Menunedeli

It tastes refreshing and invigorating due to the slight sourness of red currants. By the way, this recipe is great for those who watch their weight or just like to eat right.

17. Tiramisu trifle with strawberries

#17 Tiramisu trifle with strawberries
Source: Alimero

Combine business with pleasure, that is, make this simple and magical dessert. You don’t need an abundance of ingredients to make it, just: strawberries, mascarpone cheese, milk chocolate, vanilla pudding, milk, cookies, whipped cream and coffee.

18. Tropical fruit trifle

#18 Tropical fruit trifle
Source: Eda

Try making this tropical trifle in the wintertime, and you’ll feel your spirits rise. Do not spare the exotic fruits: lime, mango, passion fruit, pineapple, bananas, and kiwi.

19. Italian trifle with pear

#19 Italian trifle with pear
Source: My-happyfood

If you’re suddenly in a bad mood, or simply can’t decide what to make for dessert, an Italian trifle with pears is the perfect solution to the problem. The dessert consists of: custard, pears, 50 ml of rum, 1 glass of white wine, lemon and orange zest, and a couple of badjan stars.

20. Carrot trifle

#20 Carrot trifle
Source: Allrecipes

Probably not all sweet tooth will appreciate it, but it is definitely worth a try! First of all, it is a unique and original recipe for carrot cake, the only difference is in the serving of the dish.

21. Trifle with caramelized orange

#21 Trifle with caramelized orange
Source: Deliaonline

If you’re tired of baking or making the same dish year after year for Christmas, I suggest an attractive and truly appetizing dessert alternative – trifle with caramelized orange. The taste of this treat will make you believe in miracles again!

22. Lime trifle

#22 Lime trifle
Source: Bettycrocker

Great in the company of your favorite show and loved ones, especially in nasty, dank weather. Decorate the dessert with lime slices and crumbled vanilla cookies.

23. Trifle by Elvis

I hasten to make you happy, this dessert, in addition to ripe bananas, banana syrup, cream and milk, also includes lightly fried, finely chopped bacon. What’s most unexpected is that it’s really delicious. Don’t be conservative, try a real gastronomic gimmick!

24. Orange trifle with Grand Marnier cream

#24 Orange trifle with Grand Marnier cream
Source: Myrecipes

A festive version of the famous dessert that is unlikely to leave everyone present at the celebration indifferent. If for some reason you can’t buy Grand Marnier, use a different, similar orange liqueur. Either way, all the glasses will be swept away in seconds!

25. Chocolate and fruit trifle with nuts

#25 Chocolate and fruit trifle with nuts
Source: Namscorner

For those who want everything and more. This recipe is great for improvisation, add in all your favorite nuts and fruits. Pour liberally over hot or warm chocolate before serving.

26. Strawberry and kiwi trifle

This looks simply amazing! You can’t help but work up an appetite just looking at it. It’s easy to make, but they’ll think you’ve been cooking it all day.

27. Trifle Raffaello

#27 Trifle Raffaello
Source: Nehudeem

I’ll be honest. The likelihood of you starting to lose weight by eating such a dessert is negligible. Well, don’t! Its divine and exotic taste is worth it. Serve the Raffaello Trifle on holidays.

Unsweet trifles

28. Vegetable trifle with spicy granola

#28 Vegetable trifle with spicy granola
Source: Mir-krup

A good idea for a banquet. Vegetable trifle with tangy granola would make the best appetizer or even a light appetizer. Replace the mascarpone with ricotta and the fruit and berries with tomato, bell peppers and herbs to taste. You’ll love it.

29. Trifle with salmon

Also fit perfectly into the composition of the dish is pink salmon or salmon. For an elegant, festive presentation, be sure to use martini glasses. Your guests will go crazy at the sight of such a trifle!

30. Trifle with avocado mousse and shrimp

#30 Trifle with avocado mousse and shrimp
Source: Nimfeechka

It tastes a lot like the Italian Caprese salad, but it’s more delicate and yet rich at the same time. Tiger shrimp combined with young Parmesan play the leading role in this dish. Hurry up and treat your invited guests!