Thanksgiving Dessert Recipes

No matter how big the spread is at Thanksgiving dinner (and we’re willing to bet it’s pretty impressive!), everyone always manages to save room for dessert. That’s because Thanksgiving desserts are some of the best baked goods you’ll eat all year, from quintessential pumpkin pie to a variety of fall-inspired (and pumpkin spice-flavored!) cakes, cookies, crumbles, and more. Cooks of all skill levels and ages can contribute to the offerings, thanks to quick and easy dishes such as broiled apples a la mode, and more advanced creations like our Gingersnap-Pear Cheesecake. We also love that the dessert table can be made up of a mix of classic recipes and new ones, so grandma’s sweet potato pie can be plated up next to a sliver of Chocolate-Whiskey Pecan Pie. And if you’re still craving pumpkin long after the pies are gone, we’ve got 12 pumpkin-pie inspired recipes (think pancakes and puppy chow) to enjoy all season long.

5 Fabulous No-Bake Holiday Desserts

Main course monopolizing your appliance space? Treat your guests to one of these delicious desserts—no oven required.

Pumpkin Bread in a Pumpkin Can

Warmly spiced pumpkin bread is a fall-baking must: it’s easy to whip up, it’s crowd-pleasing, and it makes your kitchen smell incredible. This recipe uses the entire can of pumpkin, which acts as an adorable baking vessel for our pumpkin bread batter. The bread rises up over the top of the can, creating a puffy muffin top sprinkled with a nutty brown sugar streusel. To serve, slide the loaf out of the can, cut into round slices, and enjoy while still warm. Alternatively, wrap a ribbon around the can and give it as a hostess gift. You’ll have some extra batter but you won’t need extra cans: bake the overflow in a loaf pan, or divided in a muffin tin. All of Libby’s cans are BPA-free.

9 Easy Thanksgiving Desserts

Each of these delicious Thanksgiving desserts—from a cherry cheesecake to a chocolate tart—takes 20 minutes or less to prep.

No-Churn Pumpkin Ice Cream With Cranberry-Raspberry Compote

This semifreddo-style frozen custard provides all the satisfaction of your favorite slow-churned pint without the need for a bulky ice cream machine. The only special equipment you’ll need is a candy thermometer (about $10 and great for frying too, so go ahead and invest in one). Serve this creamy treat with caramel sauce or hot fudge but we think it’s especially pretty with the cranberry raspberry compote. Make them both ahead of time and a lovely seasonal dessert will be ready and waiting for you when guests come calling. And here you thought you couldn’t make ice cream at home.

Sweet Potato Pie Bars

Our friend Dorie Greenspan was kind enough to share her recipe for Sweet Potato Pie Bars with us. They’re just one of several Thanksgiving-inspired bar cookies featured in her new book Dorie’s Cookies. We were lucky to chat with Dorie as part of our Real Simple Thanksgiving podcast series. She offered some great tips and tricks for getting dessert on the table without starting a fire.

6 Pumpkin Desserts When You’re Tired of Pie

Why should the pie always be the star of the show? We whipped up 6 pumpkin-laced desserts that might just give Grandma’s pumpkin pie a run for its money.

Apple Cider Donuts

The quintessential fall treat may be a mainstay at farmer’s markets, but it’s twice as tasty when you eat it straight from the fryer—still warm. This recipe is a breeze to mix up, and makes tender, airy donuts. The dough is sticky, so be sure to liberally dust your hands and work surface with flour. If you don’t have a donut cutter, you can punch out donuts using an upside down water glass and a bottle cap (for the hole). The cinnamon sugar mixture can clump after a couple batches of hot donuts. To keep it from clumping, divide the mixture in half between two pie plates.

5 Mini Pies Made in a Muffin Tin

These individually-sized pies are the perfect addition to your holiday spread. They’re made with easy press-in crusts or prepared pie dough so assembly is a cinch. All you’ll need to consider is whether to serve whipped cream or ice cream alongside (but we think it’s OK to have both).

Pumpkin Pavlova With Roasted Apples

Pavlovas usually make their way to the dessert table in high summer, with fresh berries and whipped cream piled on top. For the rest of the year, we dreamed up an autumnal version you can make now and all the way through winter. Meringues are pretty easy to make, they just need enough time to dry out in your oven, so just give yourself a head start. Pumpkin whipped cream and broiled sweet-tart apples get layered with the meringues for a dramatic layer cake-like presentation. It’s a great idea for Thanksgiving but we think it makes a great birthday cake too.