Easy Kentucky Derby desserts that earn the sweet prize

Kentucky Derby at Home menu, photo provided by Kentucky Derby
Kentucky Derby at Home menu, photo provided by Kentucky Derby /

With a mint julep in hand and burgoo on the table, these easy Kentucky Derby desserts might steal the food show. While the flavors are quite impressive, the semi-homemade recipes do not take hours of effort. Sometimes the best baker is the one that knows the easiest food hacks.

Some cookies, like Milano and Chessmen are iconic. From that moment of “me time” to just sneaking a cookie from the pantry, there are many reasons to always have a package of those classic cookies in the house. While the cookies are always delightful on their own, they can be easily transformed into tasty semi-homemade desserts.

With the annual Run for the Roses approaching, these easy Kentucky Derby desserts might steal the show. Although there are a variety of classic Southern recipes and other Southern food staples that seem to fill the table, the truth is that a sweet treat is always a win at any event.

Which easy Kentucky Derby desserts will be racing to your table?

Recently, Milano and Chessmen, two Pepperidge Farms cookie brands, shared some simple recipes that transform the sweet treats into stunning desserts. From building on classic Kentucky Derby flavors to horse-inspired visuals, the dessert table might be more popular than the bar this year.

Here are a few favorite easy Kentucky Derby desserts that FoodSided will be making.

Easy Kentucky Derby Desserts
Kentucky Derby at Home menu, photo provided by Kentucky Derby /

Mint Julep Milano Cookies

The mint Milano Cookies are often picked as many people’s favorite cookies. With this dessert recipe, the icing gets a boost from bourbon. Since the alcohol isn’t burnt off, it might be best to leave this dessert out of kids’ reach.

The hint of bourbon with the cookie is delightful. Actually, this dessert could inspire a twist on a classic mint julep. Could a little chocolate end up in that glass?


  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 3 tsp bourbon
  • 5 tsp milk or cream
  • Green food coloring
  • Sprinkles
  • 1 bag of Milano® Mint Chocolate Cookies


  • In a small bowl, combine powdered sugar with bourbon and milk. Mix with a fork or whisk until sugar has dissolved and you are left with a thick glaze. Tip: You want the glaze thick enough that it won’t slide off the cookies when you dip them.
  • If desired, dye the frosting a pale minty green using green food coloring.
  • Line a tray with parchment paper.
  • Begin to dip your Milano cookies, one at a time, into the glaze. Tip: After dipping, tap the cookie on the edge of the bowl to remove excess glaze.
  • Add sprinkles, then place on the lined tray.
  • Let cookies sit to allow frosting to set, or alternatively transfer to the fridge or freezer for a few minutes before serving.
Easy Kentucky Derby desserts Milano Cookies Racehorses
Milano Racehorses, photo provided by Milano Cookies /

Milano Racehorses

Sometimes the best desserts have an impressive visual. This dessert idea would be fun for the whole family to make. And, the more creative horses the better. Just like picking a favorite horse in the race may be determined by the jockey’s silks, this dessert is all about personal expression. Which horse will win the blue ribbon at your event?


  • Mini vanilla wafer cookies
  • Sour rope candy or pull-apart gummy candy
  • Chocolate chips
  • Edible food-coloring markers
  • Vanilla and/or chocolate frosting
  • Black gel icing
  • 1 bag of Milano® Dark Chocolate Cookies


  • Scissors
  • Piping tips (most purchased frosting bags will come with these)


  • Draw or pipe a smile and nose onto the mini wafer cookie. Adhere to the bottom of a Milano cookie using a dab of icing as your “glue.”
  • Cut a piece of rope candy just long enough to go all the way around a Milano cookie. Add a dab of icing on the back of the Milano to secure the bridle.
  • Pipe two white circles for eyes, then add pupils using the black gel icing. Tip: You could also find edible “eye” candies at most grocery stores!
  • Place two dabs of icing at the top of the cookie, and affix two chocolate chips for the racehorse’s ears.
  • Pipe a tuft of hair in between the chocolate chip ears.

Chessmen Cookie Dip

The Kentucky Derby is filled with various classic recipes. While some traditional desserts will always be grandma’s favorite, this twist on a Derby Pie Dip might become a new tradition.

The rich, luscious dip is perfect with the Chessmen Butter Cookies. Whether you dip a little or a lot, it might be best to have an extra package of cookies on hand. Even though you could eat this dip with a spoon, it is better to use a cookie.


  • 8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • ¼ cup butter, room temperature
  • ½ cup packed dark brown sugar
  • ¾ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tsp bourbon (optional, but recommended!)
  • ¾ cup mini chocolate chips
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts (or pecans)
  • 1 bag of Pepperidge Farm Chessmen® Butter Cookies


  • In a mixing bowl, combine the softened cream cheese and butter with a rubber scraper until smooth.
  • Add the dark brown sugar and powdered sugar to the cream cheese mixture and mix until fully combined.
  • Stir in the vanilla and bourbon.
  • In a microwave-safe bowl, melt roughly half of the chocolate chips and add to the dip mixture. Fold a few times, leaving large ribbons of chocolate throughout.
  • Add in the walnuts and remaining chocolate chips.
  • Transfer dip to a serving bowl and refrigerate for at least one hour to firm up. Serve with Chessmen® Butter Cookies.

These easy Kentucky Derby dessert ideas might be the big winner at any gathering. And, the desserts don’t have to be put away for another year. Just because the event might be the fastest two minutes in sports doesn’t mean that these desserts are gone in a flash. They could become a favorite treat all year long.

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What are your favorite Kentucky Derby desserts? Do you know some easy desserts recipes to share?