50 Brilliant Thanksgiving Dessert Ideas
Our 50 favorite Thanksgiving desserts are sure to be showstoppers. Whether you choose a classic (like Pecan Pie and Pumpkin Pie), or something new and different (you'll absolutely love our Chai Swirl Cheesecake Bars), no holiday table is complete without something sweet. Hungry for more? Check out our very best fall pies here.
Our rendition of pecan pie features everything you love about the Southern classic: the deep flavor of roasted pecans, a gooey filling, and just enough sticky-sweetness enveloped in a buttery, flaky crust.
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.
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.
Pumpkin-Spice Magic Cake
If you can't get enough pumpkin spice during fall, we have one more recipe you must try out. For our Pumpkin Spice Cake recipe, we combined silky flan with moist pumpkin spice cake and buttery caramel sauce in one incredible confection. We were inspired by a Mexican dessert called “impossible flan”. While it is not at all difficult to make, our Test Kitchen recommends using a light-colored Bundt pan for the best results. A dark-colored pan may get too hot and overbake the cake.
Pumpkin Spice Latte Cupcakes
Loaded with toasty fall flavors, a batch of these easy PSL cupcakes will have you in sweater weather mode faster than hitting the Starbucks drive-thru.
Spiced Pumpkin Chiffon Pie
Pumpkin Spice Fudge
We turned the classic pumpkin pie (and the trendiest of fall spice blends) into a tasty confection. Fudge doesn't require the tempering, rolling, and shaping of other made-from-scratch candies. If you don't have a candy thermometer, do the cold water test: Drop a small amount of the cooked sugar mixture in cold water. If it forms a soft ball, the mixture is ready for pouring into the prepared pan.
Chocolate Fudge Layer Cake with Caramel Buttercream
If you're looking for an easy, decadent, and oh-so-yummy chocolate fudge cake, this is the perfect recipe. The key to this layer cake’s lusciously messy look? A short spell in the freezer, which allows the ganache to set over the cake layers so that the buttercream can be spread on top of it. Make sure there is enough space in your freezer before you assemble the cake. This recipe comes in handy for birthdays, holidays, and the odd Wednesday pick-me-up.
These sweet little pumpkin fudge squares feature canned pumpkin, white chocolate, and marshmallow creme.
Can't decide between pumpkin or pecan? This pie has a taste of both.
Pumpkin Spice Latte Pie with Coffee Liqueur Whipped Cream
Whether or not you’re a fan of the infamous, seasonal Starbuck’s beverage, we’re willing to bet you won’t have any regrets about swapping your typical pumpkin pie for this caffeinated uptake this Thanksgiving. We were surprised by just how amazing a hint of coffee sets off creamy, spiced pumpkin pie filling, but the depth of rich flavor speaks for itself—this PSL-inspired pie is in a league of it’s own. Served with a coffee liqueur-spiked whipped cream, this fall dessert reaches a level of decadence a basic pumpkin pie could only dream of. Note: If you opt to create a decorative lattice effect as we did here, be very careful when placing your dough strips atop the pie—the pie’s surface will be very hot and not fully set.
Raspberry, Sumac, and Almond Pound Cake
The nuanced brightness of sumac matched with warming notes of almond and jammy raspberries takes a classic pound cake construct over the top and into pure wow-worthy territory. While it may seem like a lot between the batter and the pound cake’s raspberry-sumac glaze (especially if this is a new seasoning to you), sumac—which is the dried, powdered berries of the sumac bush—is a spice you need not be overly reserved with. Given sumac’s delicate tart flavor, a fair amount is needed here to shine within the context of the dense, buttery cake.
Everything you love about classic Italian tiramisu, layered into an impressive cake.
Mini Triple-Chocolate Buttermilk Pound Cakes
If you want a whole pound cake to yourself, try these individually-portioned chocolaty pound cakes. You'll hardly be able to bake these little gems before they're devoured.
Pumpkin Dump Cake
Pumpkin pie and coffee cake's best features unite in this easy dump cake that's perfect for a crowd.
Sweet Potato Dump Cake
All the fall flavors you could possibly want in one simple dessert.
This 5-star cinnamon apple cake is one of our best-ever recipes and can be served as dessert or a breakfast coffee cake. The cream cheese in the batter gives the cake lots of moisture, while the cinnamon sugar topping is dense and crumbly. The cake is best warm out of the oven, and will keep for a week after you've baked it. Toss in walnuts or pecans to the batter for an added nutty crunch.
Sea Salt-Caramel Cake
While these tender cake layers taste divine, it’s the caramel frosting that really wows. It’s outrageously rich—and doesn’t require the use of a candy thermometer. Top the frosted cake with a sprinkle of flaky sea salt for a fancy finish.
Salted Caramel Apple Pie
Grated apple is the secret to a syrupy pie filling--it releases more pectin (a natural thickener) than the sliced apples alone. A quick salted caramel intensifies the apple flavor without making the dessert too sweet.
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.
Maple Pumpkin Pie with a Message
To use up the leftover pumpkin, try adding some to a breakfast smoothie, or stir into pancake batter. Or combine with a splash of half-and-half, season with sage, and toss with pasta.
Chocolate Cookie Cups with Caramel Filling
Holiday cookie baking can be impressive without being stressful. Make this easy cookie dough and store it in the fridge up to two days before you need to bake these fantastic filled cookies. What's great about this recipe is that you'll stand apart at the annual cookie exchange. Not only are your cookies a different shape, but they are filled with ooey-gooey caramel and topped with a crunchy pecan and a little sea salt for the perfect mix of sweet and salty.
Look for five-spice powder on the spice aisle or with the Asian foods in your grocery store. We love the sparkle of sanding sugar used to coat the outside of the cookies; you’ll find it in craft stores. Supermarket turbinado works well, too.
Apple Spice Bundt Cake with Cider Glaze
Don't be afraid to go 100% whole-grain with desserts; we use all spelt flour here with amazing results. The nutty flour boosts the taste of the butter, spices, and vanilla, unlike all-purpose flour, whose bland nature would dilute those flavors. Be sure to weigh the flour for accuracy; using too much will make the cake dry.
Almond-Currant Linzer Cookies
We like the more updated look of off-center cutouts, but you can go more traditional by keeping the cutouts centered.
Double-Crust Apple Pie
A double crust seals in the apples' natural juices as the pie bakes for full-on apple flavor. Tossing the apples with apple juice keeps them from browning as you peel and slice them, and it adds a boost of apple flavor.
Brown Velvet Cake
This decadently moist chocolate cake is similar to red velvet, but skips using an entire bottle of red food dye. Crumbling the cake trimmings for garnish is an easy and elegant way to decorate. Spread the crumbs out on a baking sheet and let them dry out for a while to make them easier to apply to your frosted cake.
Girl Scout cookies are great, but these cookies are better! Tip: for consistent measurements when rounding and shaping your dough, use a mini ice cream scoop for the perfect size every time.
Classic Chess Pie
If you've got baking staples in your kitchen, then you probably have everything you need for a classic chess pie. This old-fashioned pie typically has two distinctive ingredients, cornmeal and vinegar, plus other on-hand ingredients such as sugar, flour, eggs, milk and vanilla. This version is made easy with the use of refrigerated pie crusts.
Brown Butter Cake with Cocoa
A good bit of salt enhances all the flavors here.
Parsnip Spice Cake with Caramel Icing
Instead of boiling the parsnips, we roast them to concentrate their sweetness; this allows us to use less added sugar. We also switched from refined all-purpose flour to whole-wheat pastry flour, and simplified the format to a sheet cake.
Maple Peanut Pie
Some say peanut pie is a poor man's version of pecan pie. Others say its salty-sweet punch was inspired by a now-vanishing gas station treat created by pouring a five-cent packet of salted pea- nuts into a bottle of ice-cold Coca-Cola. Either way, it’s a crackerjack pie.
For this festive version of a pumpkin cake, we opted for a "spiced pumpkin" box cake mix, but any box mix will do. Adding powdered sugar to the prepared frosting helps make it thicker and less likely to melt off the cake or get too soft and drippy. It's helpful to use piping bags to get a nicel layer of frosting and then blend together on the pumpkin to get green vines and leaves.