50+ Cozy and Comforting Desserts for Fall
Autumnal offerings like apples, pears, pecans, cranberries, maple, and, of course, pumpkin, make up some of the best desserts around—think apple butter and fritters, pear cobbler, pecan streusel and pumpkin pie. We’ve rounded up the best dessert recipes to enjoy this fall, including both what’s in season and favorites that just go with fall, like cinnamon rolls, chai cheesecake bars, and the ever-reliable sheet cake.
These incredibly tender, jelly-filled doughnuts are a perfect treat for breakfast/brunch, snack time, or dessert. Opting for using a store-bought hot roll mix (we particularly like Pillsbury brand’s) saves a little bit of labor, but keeps this traditional sweet treat feeling homemade. If you want an even faster route to doughnut satisfaction, you can also use prepared pizza dough, which you can usually find in the bakery section of the supermarket; however, know these doughnuts will have a slightly chewier mouthfeel (which you may like better!). We loved apple jelly for this sufganiyot recipe, as it’s a delicious compliment to the cinnamon-sugar coating, but feel free use whatever flavor of jam you prefer.
Mixing low-fat Greek yogurt with crème fraîche yields a decadent-tasting topping with less saturated fat.
Brown Butter-Maple-Pecan Blondies
Know someone who doesn’t love chocolate? Make them these Blondies instead of brownies. Choose use high-quality 100% pure maple syrup for these bar cookies; the fake stuff doesn’t have the same richness and aroma. The darker the syrup, the stronger the flavor.
Arkansas Black Apple Pie with Caramel Sauce
The heirloom apple that makes this apple pie so tasty hails from Benton County, Arkansas. What makes it so special? The fragrant, tart, and tasty apple ripens to a deep red while still on the tree, but it continues to ripen after it is picked and transforms to a nearly black hue. Keep an eye out for these beautiful apples for your Thanksgiving pie. The Arkansas Black Apple Pie just needs a drizzle of Caramel Sauce and a scoop of ice cream to make your night perfect.
Cranberry Cookies With Orange Glaze
Oh, so festive! These cakey cranberry cookies are a perfect Christmastime snack, dessert, or even breakfast.
Vegan Mini Pumpkin Spice Bites
For a guilt-free, vegan dessert that's sure to get you in the fall spirit, there's no better option than these adorable mini pumpkin spice bites. Encased in a simple walnut-pecan-date crust, the key to this autumnal treat lies in the silken tofu filling. Providing a creamy consistency without affecting flavor, silken tofu is the best kept vegan dessert secret.
These pint-size desserts feature the best of Maple syrup, which is found in both the cupcake and the frosting. The frosting gets an extra dose of maple goodness thanks to the addition of maple flavoring. Top these cuties with a walnut or, for a sweet-and-salty twist, crumbled bacon.
Chocolate-Swirled Pumpkin Bundt
Carrot-Apple Muffins With Orange Glaze
These tender, lightly sweetened whole-grain muffins have a special can’t-put-your-finger-on-it flavor thanks to garam masala. Look for garam masala in the spice aisle; large spice brands make it. If you don’t have it or can’t find it, you can substitute an equal amount of cinnamon.
Caramel Apple Cake
Spiced Pear Cobbler with Ricotta-Thyme Biscuits
There are all kinds of tricks for light, fluffy biscuits, but adding ricotta might not have been one you've heard of before. The cheese adds a richness to the top of this cobbler, as well as being an excellent way to soak up all that delicious juice released from the pears as they cook. The result is a cobbler with a crispy brown top, a flavorful biscuit middle, and a stew of perfectly spiced brandy-stewed pears at the bottom.
Instant Pot Peanut Brittle
This Instant Pot candy recipe delivers a classic candy shop treat with no intimidation factor. In fact, you don’t even need a candy thermometer to make this perfectly porous and crisp brittle. While it makes a scrumptious treat any time of year, our Instant Pot Peanut Brittle is especially awesome to make during the holiday season. Being that the recipe produces a generous yield of candy, it’s an excellent goody for gifting. A key factor in candy cooking is making sure you sugar granules are completely dissolved. If you want to give your brittle a little test as it cooks, take your wooden spoon or rubber spatula (whatever you’re using to stir the mixture) to scoop a small amount of the melted sugar mixture and spread a thin layer onto a paper plate. This allows you to see any sugar crystals that may still be in the mixture, as well as observe how the mixture hardens as it cools. If the mixture hardens like glass and cracks easily, you know it’s ready.
Caramel Apple Blondie Pie
Buttery rich layers of tender cake and caramelized apples add up to one sweet combo. The secret to the crisp, flaky crust? Baking in a cast-iron skillet on a lower oven rack.
The maple syrup in this pumpkin butter recipe really darkens up the spread and adds some good depth of flavor. This easy recipe makes a lot, but you can easily cut the recipe in half for a small yield.
Miso Walnut Sticky Buns
Incorporating instant mashed potato flakes into this foolproof sticky bun dough is the secret behind their incredibly moist, tender texture. Meanwhile, using a bit of bread flour, in addition to all-purpose, helps provide structure and height. White miso paste, also known as sweet miso, adds a dynamic element of salt-sweet depth to both the filling and caramel topping—making these a most impressive addition to any brunch spread. Pro-tip: Don’t let the buns rest in the pan for too long after baking as the sticky topping will begin to solidify as it cools, making it difficult to turn them out.
Pumpkin-Orange Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies
If you're a fan of pumpkin desserts, look no further than these festive cookies. Fresh-squeezed orange juice and orange zest give these naturally colored pumpkin cookies a bright and crisp edge to compliment the deep fall flavors found in pumpkin, cinnamon, and nutmeg. The milled flaxseed in this recipe provides a binder in place of using eggs and also provides some healthy omega-3's. These cookies are gluten-free, egg-free, dairy-free, and can easily be made vegan by using vegan chocolate chips, and just as well can also be made nut-free by subbing the almond milk for water or regular milk.
Autumn Maple Cutout Cookies
These adorable cutout cookies are flavored with maple syrup and classic fall spices like cinnamon and nutmeg. Walnuts provide a delicious crunch.
Instant Pot Salted Caramel-Pecan Cheesecake
Rich, creamy, and smooth, this cheesecake "bakes" surprisingly well right in the Instant Pot. Drizzle your remaining caramel sauce on top after the dessert cools to make this showstopping cake look as amazing as it tastes.
Apple Streusel Muffins with Maple Drizzle
Surprise your guests with these cute and delicious tartlets. Fresh or frozen cranberries can be used to make the tangy filling. If using frozen berries, don’t defrost them. Frozen cranberries act more like fresh cranberries than thawed ones do; the skins burst at a similar rate and they are less juicy.
Classic Pumpkin Pie
Refrigerated pie dough makes this classic pumpkin pie recipe simple to prepare. Bake the pie on a baking sheet in the lower third of the oven to encourage a crisp crust.
Sheet Pan Oatmeal Toffee-Orange Cream Bars
These toasty-sweet, sheet pan sandwich cookies are fantastic for potlucks or tailgates—heck, whip a batch up on the weekend and enjoy for after-school snacks or dessert throughout the week. Toffee bits and cinnamon kick up the flavor of a traditional oatmeal cookie, while adding fresh orange zest to the filling adds a special touch or bright flavor to these tasty bars. Be sure the cookie is completely cool (out of the pan) before cutting it, or it will crumble. And to ensure a smooth cut, you’ll want to chill the filled cookie really well before slicing into bars.
Almond Joy Cookies
Perfect Pumpkin Roll
A classic pumpkin roll is a work of art. Rich buttercream perfectly complements the earthy-sweet pumpkin in this ideal autumnal treat—add a PSL and you're set.
Fried Apple Pies
There's enough filling to make a second batch of these delicious pies, or you can freeze it for later. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Thai Tea Pie
Warmly spiced Thai tea mix—which you can purchase at an Asian market or online—stars in this show-stopping, no-bake pie. The tea is steeped in sweetened condensed milk which is then used to make a stovetop custard; after straining out the tea leaves (definitely use cheesecloth), you’ll simply pour the vibrantly colored custard into a peanutty, no-oven-necessary crust and refrigerate until set. If you’re looking for a pie that’s sure to impress, trust us, the sweet Thai tea against the salty, toasty flavor of the peanuts is a combo you won’t be able to get enough of.
Shortcut Carrot Sheet Cake
This moist, delicious carrot cake has traditional ingredients like carrot, pineapple, and walnuts, with the addition of toasted coconut flakes to dress up cream cheese icing. The ease of assembly is the kicker here: a box mix enhanced with fresh ingredients comes together in minutes and is sure to impress guests.
Spiced Pecan Pie Bars
Two pantry staples—ground cinnamon and ginger—give the traditional pecan pie filling an unexpected and flavorful twist. For an impressive dessert, serve each bar on a plate with a scoop of ice cream and a drizzle of caramel sauce. Or just enjoy them right out of the pan!
These sweet little pumpkin fudge squares feature canned pumpkin, white chocolate, and marshmallow creme.
Copycat Little Debbie Oatmeal Crème Pies
Is this recipe an exact replica of Little Debbie Oatmeal Crème Pies? No. These are better. Rather than thin cakes, we went for oatmeal cookies that pack an almost peanut-butter-like flavor without any nuts. The crème filling completely nails what we love about the prepackaged pies, but takes things further with an almost airy, marshmallow-based consistency. If that doesn’t convince you, preparing these at home is just as quick (if not faster) than a grocery run.
Apple-Pear Pie with Cookie Butter Caramel
If you’re looking to go next-level for you next holiday pie, this speculoos infused apple and pear pie is exactly what you’re looking for. Featuring finely ground speculoos cookies (we used Biscoff brand) in the crust, larger crumbles in the pecan streusel topping, and a decadent salted cookie butter caramel sauce both in the filling and drizzled over top, this fruit pie is anything but boring. While it may seem like a hassle, don’t skip giving your fruit the little pre-cook described in step 5. This method of par-cooking the slice apples and pears will help your fruit achieve a delightfully tender, but not-too-mushy texture through the baking process.
Persimmon Pie with Pecan Streusel
If you find fine domesticated persimmons at your local grocery store or farmers' market, they should be easy enough to puree. Hachya and Fuyu are great varieties to make this flavorful pie filling. But don't feel bad if you want to skip the messy work of processing your own persimmon puree and order it frozen online.
Chai Swirl Cheesecake Bars
These eye-catching dessert bars taste like your favorite chai latte, reimagined in cheesecake form. Featuring flavorful swirls of chai-infused cream cheese filling, each bite offers richly aromatic, spiced flavor set against a cool and creamy vanilla cheesecake backdrop. They’re a simple dessert to make, but undeniably impressive.