25 Pumpkin Desserts to Get You in the Fall Mood

Go Beyond Pie

Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

 Kristina Vanni

Grab a can of pumpkin, a jar of pie spice, or a nice, ripe gourd and you already have the makings of one of the best fall desserts out there. Think outside the pie crust for a delicious end to a holiday meal, a special occasion, or even a weekday fall dinner that calls for some sweets. Some of these recipes would make great bake sale fare, where others look—and taste!—impressive enough to fit the bill for a fancy dinner party. Pumpkin will quickly join the ranks as one of your new favorite baking ingredients when the leaves start to turn.

  • 01 of 25

    Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

    Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins
    Leah Maroney

    Instead of slathering cream cheese or butter on your muffins, try these that come with a ribbon of cream cheese baked right inside. They come out moist, slightly crumbly and perfect for a decadent breakfast or afternoon snack with a cup of tea or coffee. Instead of pumpkin puree and pie spice, pumpkin pie filling also works.

  • 02 of 25

    Thai Pumpkin Dessert

    Thai pumpkin custard

    The Spruce

    Filling a small pumpkin with Thai-style coconut custard makes a beautiful and unique alternative to the standard pie for Thanksgiving or any family get-together. It carries a lower calorie count than traditional custard and tastes great with a splash of maple syrup and a cup of Joe.

  • 03 of 25

    Pumpkin Bread Pudding

    pumpkin-bread-pudding-1.jpg
    © Barbara Rolek

    This caramel-laced custard dessert makes use of leftover pumpkin bread, so turn to this recipe when yours starts to go stale or double your pumpkin bread batch for this luscious second act. You can also use plain brioche, Italian, or French bread, but the flavor will lack some of that pumpkin-y goodness.

  • 04 of 25

    Spiced Pumpkin Loaf Cake

    Pumpkin Loaf Cake With Vanilla Butter Frosting

    angelaauclair/Moment/Getty Images 

    For a cake that looks pretty enough to serve guests, but comes together as easily as a sweet bread, try this spiced loaf cake. The butter frosting adds a lovely creaminess, but you can use any icing you like best. Toast some pumpkin seeds to sprinkle on top for extra crunch and a little flare.

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  • 05 of 25

    Pumpkin Cheese Cream Roll

    Pumpkin Cake Roll with Cream Cheese Filling
    Diana Rattray

    This gorgeous rolled pumpkin cake looks like a giant Swiss Roll and one taste will prove why it’s one of our most popular recipes. The cream cheese filling adds a delicious creaminess to the spiced pumpkin cake, and individual slices freeze well for later. Pull out a few when unexpected guests stop by or for an afternoon treat for one.

  • 06 of 25

    Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

    Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

     Kristina Vanni

    Cheesecake fans will go crazy for these layered pumpkin cheesecake bars. Use canned or freshly mashed pumpkin, but not pie filling, since you'll spice it up yourself. It calls for a graham cracker crust, but would also taste great with a gingersnap base. And at the end of a holiday meal, these bars taste light and fluffy instead of weighing you down.

  • 07 of 25

    Pumpkin Creme Brûlée

    pumpkin creme brulee
    Diana Rattray

    With its crunchy caramelized top, this individual pumpkin creme brûlée looks as great as they taste. You can make the custard a day or two in advance—just pull them out of the fridge and caramelize the topping just before serving. A kitchen torch works best, but if you don’t have one, you can brown them under your broiler. Just watch carefully so they don’t burn.

  • 08 of 25

    Spiced Pumpkin Pudding

    Spiced Pumpkin PUdding
    Diana Rattray

    Try a creamy rich baked pudding as a softer and more unique alternative to the ubiquitous pumpkin pie. It tastes very similar, just without the crust. Serve with a dollop of fresh whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar on top. You can also make them in individual bowls or ramekins, for even easier serving.

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  • 09 of 25

    Pumpkin Brownies with Cream Cheese Swirl

    Pumpkin Cream Cheese Swirl Brownies
    Diana Rattray

    It hardly gets easier than these delightfully rich pumpkin brownies with a swirl of cream cheese for added oomph. They have all the flavor of pumpkin pie, but in a convenient brownie package. Try these for a simple dessert or to bring as a potluck or bake sale contribution.

  • 10 of 25

    Pumpkin Pound Cake with Maple Pecan Glaze

    Pumpkin Pound Cake With Maple Pecan Glaze
    Photo: Diana Rattray

    Maple glaze adds an autumnal element to this moist and simple pumpkin pound cake. Baking it in a Bundt pan gives it a beautiful shape that’s perfect for drizzling with the glaze, but you can also just dust it with powdered sugar or even leave it plain. The glaze comes together either with or without cooking, and we’ve included directions for both.

  • 11 of 25

    Soft Pumpkin Cookies

    Pumpkin Cookies With Caramel Icing
    Diana Rattray

    Try these soft pumpkin cookies for a fall lunchbox treat. The icing adds a delicious sweetness to the lightly spiced cookies, but they can also get dusted with powdered sugar or left plain. It takes just a few extra minutes to make browned butter for the icing, which lends a nice, nutty flavor. Regular butter works too, if you’re short on time.

  • 12 of 25

    Pumpkin Cupcakes

    pumpkin-spice-cupcakes.jpg

    Pumpkin cupcakes make a delicious contribution to a classroom Halloween party or bake sale, or for a kid-friendly fall event. Chopped walnuts or pecans add a little extra texture, and a caramel frosting would taste great alongside the ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg-spiced cake base. Let the kids help for a fun afternoon activity.

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  • 13 of 25

    Pumpkin Cake with Broiled Coconut Topping

    Pumpkin Cake With Broiled Coconut Topping
    Diana Rattray

    Starting with a boxed cake mix makes this cake recipe one of the easiest around. Whip it up after work for a weekday dessert or try your hand at baking this one, if you don’t spend much time in the kitchen. The broiled coconut topping stands in for icing, adding a tropical note and a nice chewy texture.

  • 14 of 25

    Chocolate Pumpkin Cake

    Chocolate Pumpkin Cake
    Photo: Diana Rattray

    Pumpkin gives this chewy chocolate cake a wonderful moist texture and frosting it with orange icing makes it the perfect choice for a Halloween party. At other times of year, it works great with any icing, or a dusting of powdered sugar on top. This recipe bakes in a Bundt pan, but you can adapt it to other shapes if you don’t have one.

  • 15 of 25

    Pumpkin Mousse

    Pumpkin Mousse

    For a lighter, fluffier alternative to cakes or pie, this easy pumpkin mousse works perfectly. It requires just a few ingredients you may already have on hand, especially if you keep pumpkin puree in the pantry. The base does need to chill for at least an hour before whipping, so plan accordingly.

  • 16 of 25

    Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

    Pumpkin Pie Whoopie
    Dianne Avery Photography/Creative RF/Getty Images

    A classic snack throughout New England, whoopie pies can come in a whole bunch of flavors and fillings. Pumpkin makes sense for fall and can help use up that can of pumpkin puree lingering in the cupboard. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap to keep them fresh, if storing.

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  • 17 of 25

    Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

    Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
    Joy Skipper/Stockbyte/Getty Images

    Spiced with a combination of ginger and cinnamon, a fluffy cream cheese frosting complements this tender pumpkin cake. Chopped pecans add nutty flavor and a bit of crunch, but you can omit them if you don’t care for nuts. A layer cake looks impressive on the dessert table, but this recipe also works as a Bundt or sheet cake.

  • 18 of 25

    Layered Pumpkin Cheesecake

    Easy Pumpkin Cheesecake
    Photo: Diana Rattray

    Starting with a spiced cinnamon graham cracker crust and topped with a double layer of pumpkin filling, this cheesecake tastes much more complicated than reality. Allow at least four hours of chilling before serving, since it needs to set up for some time in the fridge.

  • 19 of 25

    Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese and Pecans

    pumpkin bars with pecans and cream cheese topping
    Diana Rattray

    These delicious pumpkin bars rest on a pecan and oat shortbread crust, then get topped with a creamy pumpkin custard filling and a cream cheese frosting. Pecans add a little crunch, but you can also substitute walnuts if you prefer or omit the nuts altogether.

  • 20 of 25

    Pumpkin Crumble Bars

    Pumpkin Bars With Streusel Topping

    Diana Rattray

     

    A crumbly brown sugar streusel topping gives those easy pumpkin bars lots of flavor and crunch. Use pumpkin puree in these bars, not pumpkin pie filling. If you don’t have pumpkin pie spice on hand, this recipe includes instructions on making your own.

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  • 21 of 25

    Pumpkin Pecan Pie

    Pumpkin Pecan Pie
    Diana Rattray

    Can’t decide between pumpkin and pecan pie? Have you pie and eat it too, with this recipe that combines both into one delicious package. Either make your own crust or use a refrigerated version to make this sweet, nutty holiday dessert even easier.

  • 22 of 25

    Pumpkin Banitza

    filo
    Lubomir Lipov//Getty Images

    Bulgarian banitza traditionally appear as flaky phyllo dough wrapped around either a sweet or cheese-based filling. Pumpkin tastes deliciously seasonal in this recipe, but you can also use apple, walnut, or other fruits. Serve it with a cup of strong Turkish coffee for the most traditional preparation.

  • 23 of 25

    Pumpkin Butter Pie

    No-Bake Pumpkin Butter Pie
    Photo: Diana Rattray

    Instead of a classic custard pumpkin pie, combine cream cheese and pumpkin butter for a twist on the theme. It tastes great in a graham cracker crust, a ginger snap crust, or a prepared cookie crust for a simple and speedy no-bake pie that even beginning bakers can master.

  • 24 of 25

    Mexican Cajeta Cheesecake

    Pumpkin Cajeta Cheesecake

     photo (c) Robin Grose 

    Mexican cajeta, or goat milk caramel, gives this cheesecake dessert a lovely sticky sweetness when combined with cream cheese and pumpkin. The texture comes out a little less dense than traditional cheesecake and you can also use dulce de Leche if you have a hard time finding cajeta.

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  • 25 of 25

    Pumpkin Sheet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

    Pumpkin Sheet Cake
    Diana Rattray

    To serve a crowd, look no further than this easy cake that’s chock full of spiced pumpkin flavor. Browned butter cream cheese frosting gives it a nutty sweetness that really makes it, so take the extra few minutes to complete that step. The cake comes out both rich and moist, and also works with butternut squash or other winter squash puree.