10 Genius Ways to Upgrade a Pumpkin Pie, From Crumbled Streusel to a Cookie-Lined Crust

Here are a few festive ideas you can use to dress up your favorite Thanksgiving dessert.

Like turkey, gravy, and stuffing, pumpkin pie has a permanent spot on the Thanksgiving table. But that doesn't mean you have to make the same old pumpkin pie recipe every year. A lightly spiced pumpkin pie filling pairs well with so many other flavors and ingredients, like salted caramel sauce, candied nuts, streusel, coconut, and more. Read on for our best ideas and recipes.

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01 of 10

Crumble on Some Streusel

Cocoa Pumpkin Crumble
Johnny Miller

A buttery, crumbled streusel topping makes a nice contrast with the pie's smooth, creamy filling. Our simple pecan streusel topping comes together in one bowl and works with almost any pumpkin pie, crisp, bread, or muffin recipe.

02 of 10

Decorate the Crust

Pumpkin pie with leaf detail
Maren Caruso/Getty Images

Love your go-to pie recipe but want to make it look a little prettier? Break out the cookie cutters and decorate your pie with pie crust cut-outs. Arrange small circles around the edge of the crust, or top the center of the pie with overlapping fall leaves. It's a smart way to make good use of any extra pie crust—and no one will complain about having extra crust to eat.

03 of 10

Sprinkle on Coconut

Pumpkin Caramel Pie Bars With Toasted Coconut
Brie Passano

Coconut pairs wonderfully with warm spices in pumpkin pie such as cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Swap out the vanilla for coconut extract in your favorite pumpkin pie recipe, add shredded sweetened coconut to a graham cracker pie crust, top the pie with dollops of whipped cream topped with coconut, or try this delicious recipe for pumpkin caramel pie bars with toasted coconut. Or all of the above!

04 of 10

Drizzle on Caramel Sauce

Vanilla Sea-Salt Caramel Step 6
Antonis Achilleos

One of the easiest ways to upgrade a pumpkin pie is to give each slice a generous drizzle of sweet, buttery caramel sauce. There are many good-quality jarred caramel or salted caramel sauces but making caramel sauce from scratch is a fun project that you can make with pantry staples you probably have on hand.

05 of 10

Add a Cream Cheese Swirl

Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake Bars
Greg DuPree

A swirl of cream cheese in pumpkin pie filling creates a striking marbled look—and tastes great, too. For a truly showstopping dessert, try pumpkin cheesecake pie.

06 of 10

Line the Crust

No Bake Pumpkin Pie Recipe
Greg DuPree

Everyone will ooh and ahh when they see that there's a layer of hidden goodness at the bottom of their slice of pie. Before you bake the pie crust, top it with a mixture of crushed gingersnaps and pecans.

07 of 10

Top With Candied Nuts

Halloween desserts and Halloween treats - Pumpkin, Chocolate, and Toffee Skillet Cookie
Max Kelly

Candied nuts are great pre-dinner snacks, but they also make a pretty pie topper too. Try sugared pecans, walnuts, or even peanuts.

08 of 10

Pair With Chocolate

Dark Chocolate Pumpkin Dump Cake
Every bite of this decadent dump cake is an addictive combination of custardy pumpkin and melted chocolate. It’s like barely-baked chocolate chip pumpkin bread. Need we say more? Get the recipe:Dark Chocolate-Pumpkin Dump Cake. Caitlin Bensel

Pumpkin and chocolate are a match made in dessert heaven. Top the pie with piles of dark chocolate shavings, drizzle with fudge sauce, or make dark chocolate-pumpkin dump cake.

09 of 10

Top With Meringue

Ginger-Pumpkin Mini Pies With Speculoos Crust and Whipped Cream
So long graham-cracker crust; we’ve met another cookie. These spicy sweet pies use Speculoos cookies a base instead of the usual pate brisee or other cookie crust. It didn’t take much convincing but we’re converted.Get the recipe:Ginger-Pumpkin Mini Pies With Speculoos Crust and Whipped Cream. Jennifer Causey

A billowy, burnished meringue topping is an elegant way to top a classic pumpkin pie. Take it even one step further with meringue made with clover honey, then serve them pint-sized like our mini pumpkin pies with speculoos crust and whipped cream.

10 of 10

Use Sweet Potatoes

Sweet Potato Pie With Candied Nut Cream
Mikkel Vang

Instead of the usual pumpkin pie, why not try an old-fashioned Southern favorite—the sweet potato pie—instead?

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