13 Mini Thanksgiving Desserts Almost Too Cute to Eat
They say it’s the little things in life that mean the most, and these tiny treats are certainly no exception. If you're stuffed from a large Thanksgiving dinner, just try one—or continue the feast and pile ‘em all on your plate for the ultimate dessert smorgasbord. We particularly love mini desserts because they’re already pre-portioned into single-serve treats—meaning no one gets mad about their smaller slice of pie, sliver of cake, or scoop of ice cream. Most of these desserts can also be made ahead of time and kept in the refrigerator, so you can spend Turkey Day working on the main course. This particular collection of desserts—which ranges from fruity cheesecakes and mini pies to tiny donuts and parfaits—is also great inspiration for anyone contributing dessert to a friend or family member’s Thanksgiving meal. Everyone will appreciate the creativity, and they’re the perfect size to bring to a big dinner or potluck. And don’t limit these delicious ideas to Thanksgiving. They’re a great sweet treat anytime of year, whether you’re hosting a monthly book club, bringing dessert to an office party, or throwing a friend a baby shower. Now, let’s get cooking!
No-Bake Cranberry Orange Cheesecakes
Instead of cramming another dish into an overcrowded oven, opt for a no-bake dessert you can serve straight from the fridge. Guests will swoon for these creamy, decadent cheesecakes, which meld sweet and tangy flavors. Topping them with cranberry sauce makes smart use of leftovers.
Recipe and photo from My Baking Addiction. Get the recipe here.
Mini Pumpkin Layer Cakes
Baking tiny cakes may seem like tedious work, but this clever recipe simplifies the process. The individual rounds are cut with a biscuit cutter, and extra scraps are crumbled for sprinkling on top. Freezing the layers will help you frost them with ease—a crucial step when frosting tastes this good.
Recipe and photo from The Baker Chick. Get the recipe here.
Chocolate Pumpkin Cupcakes with Brown Sugar Frosting
Not sure what to do with extra cans of pumpkin? Whip up these dark chocolate pumpkin cupcakes, which will please both pumpkin and chocolate lovers alike. Be sure to make a double batch of the buttered pecans, which you can eat by the handful—or gift to friends and family.
Mini Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pies
Instead of settling for mediocre pecan pie (the store-bought variety tends to be a bit too sweet), treat yourself to these boozy single-serve pies. To create the miniature shells, press the dough into a muffin tin, then pile in the filling and send 'em to the oven. Serving warm with ice cream is an absolute must.
Recipe and photo from Freutcake. Get the recipe here.
Caramelized Banana Cream Pie Parfaits
End the meal on a lighter note with wonderfully nostalgic cream pie parfaits. To keep day-of stress at bay, prep the pudding and whipped cream in advance, and then top with bananas right before serving. Serve in mini mason jars for a playful presentation.
Recipe and photo from The Chic Site. Get the recipe here.
Pumpkin Cheesecake Mousse
A simple slice of cheesecake is tasty, but uninspired. Opt for creamy cheesecake mousse instead, which is made with cream cheese, powdered sugar, pumpkin puree, and graham cracker crumbs. Use a piping bag to create picture-perfect swirls in hollowed-out mini pumpkins for a whimsical, kid-friendly treat.
Recipe and photo from The Gunny Sack. Get the recipe here.
Mini Iced Oatmeal Cookie Apple Pies
These tiny pies, which combine two dessert favorites, are guaranteed to please the whole table. The iced oatmeal cookie topping is deliciously crunchy, and pairs wonderfully with warm apples and a buttery crust. You likely have all the ingredients on hand, and they're the perfect way to use up any apples from apple picking.
Recipe and photo from Girl Versus Dough. Get the recipe here.
Mini Vegan Pumpkin Pie
Thanks to a combination of almond milk, cornstarch, and pumpkin puree, this pie filling is supremely creamy—without a drop of cream. Maple syrup acts as a natural sweetener, and the five-ingredient crust is held together with coconut oil, not butter. Serve with crushed pecans, coconut whipped cream, and a light dusting of cinnamon.
Recipe and photo from Love and Lemons. Get the recipe here.
Mini Chocolate Ganache Cake
Gold crystal sugar sprinkles add sparkle (and elegance!) to this 3-layer chocolate ganache cake, which is filled with fluffy buttercream and covered in rich, homemade ganache. The dark chocolate flakes (made by pouring chocolate onto parchment paper) cover the cake's exterior, so no need to worry about pouring the ganache perfectly. To create the miniature cake rounds, you'll bake a chocolate cake in a 9x13-inch pan, then use a 3-inch cookie cutter to create 12 rounds. Genius! Extra cake scraps can be toasted until crispy, then sprinkled over ice cream. Alternatively, layer them in a trifle with chocolate pudding and fresh berries.
Recipe and photo from Oh Sweet Day. Get the recipe here.
Pumpkin Spice Mini-Donuts
Satisfy donut cravings with these tender, fluffy, and surprisingly moist baked beauties. While they're still warm, dip each one in melted butter, roll them in a cinnamon-sugar mixture, and prepare to chow down. The spice blend (cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cloves) is versatile, too—try mixing it into scones, muffins, or even homemade waffles.
Apple Pie Baked Apples
After a big meal, it can be hard to imagine diving into a slice of pie. Instead, make these single-serve apple pie-stuffed apples that provide a serving of fruit and a sweet ending to the meal. If you can cleanly scoop out the inside of the apples with a melon baller, those pieces of apple can be used in the filling. If you find yourself with mostly seeds and core, simply dice up an additional apple or two. Feel free to experiment with the lattice crust—we love the idea of mini braided strands.
Get the recipe: Apple Pie Baked Apples
Ginger-Pumpkin Mini Pies With Speculoos Crust and Whipped Cream
These custardy, ginger-scented pies have a spiced cookie crust that will have you reaching for seconds. To make clean-up a breeze (which is always a good idea on Thanksgiving), line your muffin tin with muffin liners before pouring in the pie filling. Top each mini pie with homemade whipped cream, chopped crystallized ginger, or crumbled speculoos cookies, and serve alongside coffee after the big meal. Both the filling and the crust can be made up to one day ahead. If you can’t find speculoos cookies (we bought ours at Trader Joe’s), gingersnaps would be just as delicious in the crust.
Get the recipe: Ginger-Pumpkin Mini Pies With Speculoos Crust and Whipped Cream
Butterscotch-Apple Mini Pies
Sweet yet pleasantly salty, these mini apple pies are the perfect after-dinner treat. The combination of butterscotch and tender apples is the ultimate fall pairing, and the flaky crust is begging for vanilla ice cream (so don’t hold off). Instead of Golden Delicious, use your favorite mix of apples—though Golden Delicious are soft and therefore able to get tender in the proper time. Granny Smith would work well, too. Can't finish them all on Thanksgiving dinner? Send them home with guests, or better yet—enjoy them for breakfast on Friday (we won't tell).
Get the recipe: Butterscotch-Apple Mini Pies