Top 10 Dessert Garnishes

Elevate to Exotic

Close Your Eyes. Picture this! A really creamy vanilla ice cream. Yummmm…  Now, keep your eyes closed. Picture drizzles of berry compote & careless drops fresh strawberries on the already yummy Ice Cream! OMG!

Exactly.. Garnish is just that lipstick you need to transform from ‘Gorgeous’ to ‘Drop Dead Gorgeous’!

The highly underestimated dessert garnishes are not just about adding a dash to make it look beautiful. Yes, that also. But more importantly, it adds that zing of balance to elevate the taste.

A beautifully balanced dessert is when yin meets the Yang –  sweet with a touch of tang/bitter or creaminess with a crunch.

Listed below are Top 10 amazing dessert garnishes that will elevate your dessert – miles high!



  • Candied orange peels are very versatile. The combination of bitter, sweet & chewy works very well with ice creams.
  • Contrast delight of brown & orange apart, chocolates & orange are an excellent combination
  • A blend of fresh orange segments & candied orange peels works very well with Panna Cotta.
  • Leave a bowl of them on the table. And Whoosh.. it’s gone! It’s soo yummy on it’s own
  • Feel free to replace orange with other citrus fruits as well
  • Just be sure to use organic fruits, to avoid pesticide deposits

Check out the Candied Orange Peel Recipe here 




  • Magnificent flavor of sweet & tart; a burst of fresh flavors; a beautiful shining yellow hue
  • Can be added as a frosting on cakes; meringue & cookie fillings, drizzled on pies and tarts
  • Most favorite is licking off the last bit from the bottle!
  • Need I say more…

Check out the Lemon Curd recipe here




  • The caramelized orange wheel laced with translucent orange segments are a visual treat. Also, tastes amazing.
  • Pair it with creamy and silky textured desserts like Panna Cotta to lift the zing taste
  • You can plonk it for visual appeal only – It’s a beauty to watch
  • Recipe for Orange Crisp:
    • Slice 1 orange into 5mm thick slices. Sprinkle some sugar over it and Bake in a 100°C preheated oven for 2 hours, or till it gets crisp




  • A very versatile garnish. It imparts a blend of sweet-nutty-salty flavor & crunch to the dessert
  • Especially works well with creamy & silky textured desserts
  • It can crushed & sprinkled as a powder on top of ice creams
  • The small shards can be added on top of the mousse or Panna Cottas for crunch balance
  • Or better yet, break the slab and pop it in your mouth. Experience the explosion of flavors & textures.

Check out the Nut Pralines Recipe here




  • Caramel makes everything taste better. Period
  • An extremely versatile sauce that works amazing as an ingredient, but also as a garnish
  • A humble caramel sauce & toasted nuts over ice creams is just magical
  • When blended with cream & rum/brandy, it transforms into this decadent sauce over cakes
  • Try a combination of caramel sauce & bacon over a rum ice cream. The sweet & salty combination is just mind blowing

Check out the Caramel Sauce recipe here.



  • Herbs most often impart an earthy, nutty flavor with a hint of spice & a classic distinct aroma
  • There is an increasing trend in using these herbs for desserts such as compotes, sorbets, ganache, cakes, etc
  • You could use rosemary, basil, thyme, lavender, citrus leaves, etc
  • When used as a garnish, herbs are an attractive choice to add more pizazz to finished desserts
  • The dark green breaks the color & pops the dessert appeal
  • It can also be used as a gift wrap element for your desserts
  • You can garnish it on almost anything – ice creams, cookies, cakes, etc




  • These are the beautiful pops of sweet & tart that just makes everything taste awesome
  • Berries work very well as compotes or even just the fresh fruits as is
  • They pair very well with chocolates, mousse; Panna Cottas, ice creams, cakes, meringues. Well, just about anything
  • For best flavors, ensure that the fruits are seasonal & fresh




  • Is synonymous with holidays and is a no brainer add on fruit cakes, eggnogs, dark liquor cocktails, punches, hot winter beverages, etc
  • For best results, add the ground nutmeg, when the desserts are hot and fresh out of the oven. It will help absorb the flavor better
  • As a garnish, nutmeg has a higher visual appeal than flavor
  • Less is more. Nutmeg has a very strong flavor. Hence, be very stingy while adding ground nutmeg to any garnish
  • For best results, avoid stored powder. Grate it fresh off the nut
  • It’s amazing on dark liquor cocktails, punches of all sorts, and hot winter beverages




  • As a garnish, has a higher visual appeal than flavor
  • Less is more. Cinnamon has a very strong flavor. Hence, be very stingy while adding ground cinnamon to any garnish
  • You can use the clean cinnamon stick as a stirrer for hot chocolate
  • Add a dash of ground cinnamon on a rum flavored ice creams




  • Most attractive of all spices.
  • It exudes a warm aromatic flavor that pairs very well with fruits – poached pears, spiced plum cake, apple galette, etc
  • As a garnish, it works brilliantly to lift the visual beauty of the dessert


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Madhuri Aggarwal - Mad About Kitchen - Food Blogger - Photographer - Profile Pic


Mom. Accessory Designer. Artist. Loves to Cook.

For me, cooking is no different from painting or designing a lamp. It gives the same joy of playing with taste, texture like i get while playing with colours.

Plating requires an eye of an artist and skill of a designer, so what more can i ask for??


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