This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.

Step into the world of festive delights with our Sugar Plums recipe, inspired by the enchanting holiday ballet, The Nutcracker. These charming little treats, packed with an assortment of dried fruits, nuts, chocolate chips, honey, and spices, are more than just a holiday candy. Easy to make and bursting with flavor, they are perfect for enjoying all year round. Let’s embark on this sweet adventure together!

This post is sponsored by Imperial Sugar. All thoughts and opinions are always my own.

Explore more small batch holiday treats with our recipes for perfectly spiced Gingerbread, creamy Fudge, zesty Peppermint Bark, and buttery Shortbread Bites – ideal for small celebrations or personal indulgence.

What Are Sugar Plums?

Sugar Plums are steeped in festive tradition, often recalled from the beloved lines in “Twas The Night Before Christmas”:

“The children were nestled all snug in their beds; While visions of sugar plums danced in their heads…”

But what exactly are sugar plums? This term dates back to the 1600s, and its definition has evolved over time. Originally, sugar plums referred to plums preserved with sugar. However, by the 16th century, the term expanded to encompass candies made from dried fruits and nuts.

This historical evolution of sugar plums has influenced modern interpretations, including our recipe. Initially, sugaring fruits was a preservation method, but it quickly became a confectionary technique, leading to the creation of various fruit and nut-based candies known as sugarplums.

Interestingly, the term “sugarplum” can be both one word and two, with no definitive ruling on its usage. For those intrigued by the rich history of sugar plums, there are numerous articles and studies, including a fascinating piece by Time, detailing their evolution.

In essence, sugar plums symbolize the magic of the holiday season, evolving from a simple sugared fruit to a broader category of sweet treats, embodying the joy and nostalgia of festive celebrations.

RELATED: 15 Easy Dessert Recipes For One

dates, dried plums, dried apricots, chocolate chips and walnuts in the base of a food processor on a brown table.

Ingredient Notes And Substitutions

  • Walnuts: Provide a crunchy texture; substitute with almonds or pecans if preferred. If you have leftover walnuts or pecans, consider using them in these single serving and small batch recipes: Banana Nut Bread, Maple Walnut Muffin, Gingerbread Granola, and Pecan Pie.
  • Dried Fruits (Figs, Apricots, Dates): Offer natural sweetness; interchangeable with other dried fruits like raisins or cranberries.
  • Chocolate Chips: Add a hint of chocolate; can be omitted or replaced with dark chocolate for a less sweet option. Use any leftover chocolate chips in a mini Chocolate Lava Pie, Chocolate Chip Muffin, and a small batch of Chocolate Chip Cookies.
  • Honey: Acts as a binder; maple syrup or agave nectar are great alternatives.
  • Spices (Cinnamon, Cardamom, Allspice): Give the classic holiday flavor; adjust according to taste. These spices can be found in many of our other single serving and small batch recipes like Chicken Shawarma, Apple Butter, Swedish Meatballs, and Jerk Chicken.
  • Powdered Sugar: For rolling; alternatively, use finely ground nuts or cocoa powder.
  • Granulated Sugar and Food Coloring: Used for decoration; these are optional and can be omitted.

You can find the Sugar Plums recipe on the Imperial Sugar website.

Yield: This small batch sugar plum recipe is designed to yield about 10-12 sugar plums, depending on the size you choose for each ball. For a uniform and convenient size, I recommend using a 1-tablespoon cookie scoop. Using this method, I was able to create 12 perfectly sized sugar plums.

Recipe Variations

Tailor these Sugar Plums to your liking:

  • Nut-Free: Use seeds like pumpkin or sunflower in place of nuts.
  • Spice It Up: Experiment with different spice combinations.
  • Chocolate Coating: Dip in melted chocolate for a decadent twist.
  • Citrus Zest: Add lemon or orange zest for a fresh flavor.
  • Energy Bites: Incorporate a sprinkling of oats for a more filling snack.

RELATED: The Best Cookie Recipes For One

an overhead picture of a plate of red, green and white sugar plums surrounded by fresh cranberries and silver christmas ornaments.

Serving Suggestions

Sugar Plums are versatile and can be enjoyed in various ways:

  • As a Sweet Snack: Perfect for a mid-afternoon pick-me-up.
  • With Tea or Coffee: Complements your favorite hot beverage.
  • Holiday Treats: Add to your holiday candy spread.
  • Gift Jars: Pack them in decorative jars for a thoughtful homemade gift.
  • Dessert Platter: Combine with other small treats for a dessert platter.

Ways To Use Leftover Ingredients

If you have any ingredients leftover from this recipe, check out our Leftover Ingredients Recipe Finder or you might like to consider using them in any of these single serving and small batch recipes:

This post was created in partnership with Imperial Sugar and while I have received compensation for my partnership, all the opinions and thoughts are completely my own. 

If you would like information on the cooking and baking dishes I use in our “recipes for one” and in our small batch recipes, please visit our FAQ page.

For examples of the dishes used at One Dish Kitchen, please visit our Store page.

Red 5-inch square baking dish with One Dish Kitchen branded paper sleeve around it.

Make 80+ Recipes With This Dish!

Ideal for home chefs, this individual square ceramic baking dish is safe for oven, microwave, freezer, and dishwasher. Simple to use & easy to clean!


I’m Joanie and I’m incredibly happy you’re here! Our aim is to inspire individuals with access to single serving recipes, education, and a supportive community that will enable them to enjoy the preparation of a meal that will nourish both body and soul.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. Candi Elm says:

    These are so cute. I never knew what sugar plums were. Now I can make them.

  2. Tricia says:

    Did you make the recipe with Imperial Sugar’s recipe, or did you scale it down? All I see is a link to their recipe.

    1. Joanie Zisk says:

      Hi Tricia,
      The recipe that I created is on Imperial Sugar’s website. It will yield a small batch of around 12 small Sugar Plums. You can get to the recipe by clicking on the Imperial Sugar link in the post.

  3. Rebecca | Let's Eat Cake says:

    These sound great! And they’re a lovely way to sneak in some fruits this holiday season 🙂 In between cookies, of course.

  4. Lisa | Garlic & Zest says:

    The Nutcracker is a holiday tradition for us — as spectators, not dancers and the dance of the sugar plum fairies was always my favorite. I never knew what sugar plums were before, so thanks for clearing that up — and for the lovely, festive recipe!

  5. Andrea @ Cooking with Mamma C says:

    I always wondered what sugar plums were! What a delicious and festive treat!

  6. Matt @ Plating Pixels says:

    These are super cute! Remind me of ornaments.

    1. Joanie Zisk says:

      Thank you, Matt. They’re so festive and fun!

  7. Caroline says:

    These are so colorful and fun. I just took my son to see the Nutcracker for the first time a couple weeks ago and the sugar plum fairy was his favorite so I can see him being all over these!

  8. Christina says:

    What a great recipe! I love that it’s scaled for small batches!

  9. Mary Brice says:

    That is just beyond awesome! Both of my kids will think this is the most awesome idea ever and I can’t wait to share it with them!