42 Crowd-Pleasing Thanksgiving Desserts

Traditional Pies and Beyond

pumpkin cobbler

 Leah Maroney

While your guests will certainly be stuffing themselves with turkey and sides, everyone always leaves room for desserts at Thanksgiving. Go traditional with a pumpkin or pecan pie, mix it up with a decadent fall cake or cupcakes, or impress with a completely unexpected sweet treat. From bars to cookies to cobblers, there's no shortage of Thanksgiving desserts to add to your table, so don't just stop at one.

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  • 01 of 42

    Classic Mississippi Sweet Potato Pie

    Sweet Potato Pie

    The Spruce 

    Sweet potato pie is a Southern classic and it's easy to make with a few simple ingredients. Like pumpkin pie, it's especially good topped with a dollop of fresh whipped cream.

  • 02 of 42

    Baked Apple Crisp

    Baked Apple Crisp

    The Spruce / Diana Rattray 

    Get the flavors of pie without the hassle of a crust with this buttery sweet apple crisp. Use a variety of apples for the filling and add nuts to the crunchy topping if desired. Serve warm with vanilla or cinnamon ice cream.

  • 03 of 42

    Cranberry Pie

    Cranberry Pie

    The Spruce / Anita Schecter

    Few ingredients conjure up cozy holiday feeling like cranberries and the little berries are the star of this bright red, sweet-tart pie. Make your own crust the day before, or use store-bought dough if you're in a pinch.

  • 04 of 42

    Pumpkin Sheet Cake

    Pumpkin Sheet Cake

    The Spruce / Diana Rattray 

    Lightly spiced and moist, pumpkin cake is an ideal fall treat and it doesn't get easier than a sheet cake. Make it party-worthy by slicing into individual squares and topping with a decadent cream cheese frosting.

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  • 05 of 42

    Salted Caramel Popcorn Cheesecake

    Salted Caramel Popcorn Cheesecake

    The Spruce / Elaine Lemm 

    Covered in popcorn and a luscious salted caramel sauce, this showstopping cheesecake is sure to wow at your Thanksgiving meal. Use graham cracker crumbs if you don't have digestive biscuits on hand.

  • 06 of 42

    Sweet Potato Cake Roll

    Sweet Potato Cake Roll

    The Spruce / Diana Rattray 

    For a stunning dessert centerpiece that's deceivingly easy to make, serve a cake roll. Spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg and filled with cream cheese frosting, this fall version tastes as good as it looks. It's also a great way to use up leftover mashed sweet potatoes after Thanksgiving!

  • 07 of 42

    Cardamom Pear Tart

    Cardamom Pear Tart With Tahini Salted Caramel Sauce

    The Spruce / Anita Schecter 

    Spices like cinnamon, cardamom, and ginger pair perfectly with pear, and all together they form this stunning pie. The spices go directly into the pie crust and the pears cook down in a nutty caramel sauce for an extra punch of flavor.

  • 08 of 42

    Pumpkin Cookies With Caramel Icing

    Pumpkin Cookies

    The Spruce / Diana Rattray 

    Warm spiced cookies get even better topped with a caramel icing and are a fun alternative to pumpkin pie. Serve with coffee, warm apple cider, or hot cocoa.

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  • 09 of 42

    Chocolate Layer Cake With Coconut Pecan Frosting

    German Chocolate Layer Cake

    Iain Bagwell / Photolibrary / Getty Images

    A German chocolate layer cake made from scratch is worthy of Thanksgiving. The moist, decadent cake is covered in a sweet, pillowy coconut and pecan frosting that no one will be able to resist.

  • 10 of 42

    Hand-Held Apple Pies

    Hand-Held Apple Pies

    The Spruce / Diana Rattray 

    Hand pies are cute, easy to eat (even for kids!), and even easier to make. Make your crust and filling ahead to save prep time on Thanksgiving Day.

  • 11 of 42

    Southern Sweet Potato Cobbler

    Southern Sweet Potato Cobbler

     The Spruce / Diana Rattray

    A cobbler is a unique take on a Thanksgiving sweet potato dish, with a tender sweet topping and a buttery filling of the quintessential autumn ingredient.

  • 12 of 42

    Molasses Crinkle Cookies

    Molasses Crinkles Cookies

    The Spruce / Diana Rattray 

    Molasses, brown sugar, cinnamon, and ginger flavor these chewy crinkle cookies. Top with turbinado or another kind of large-grained sugar for a pretty crystalized effect.

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  • 13 of 42

    French Apple Tart

    French apple tart tarte aux pommes recipe

    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska

    Worthy of a pastry case, a French apple tart starts with a flaky crust that's then filled with pastry cream and carefully finished with thinly sliced apples in a fan design.

  • 14 of 42

    Brown Sugar Maple Cupcakes

    Brown Sugar Maple Cupcakes

    The Spruce / Samantha Merritt 

    Made with buttermilk and brown sugar, these cupcakes are wonderfully soft and flavorful. The frosting has just enough maple flavor without being overpowering.

  • 15 of 42

    Cranberry Upside-Down Cake

    Cranberry upside down cake recipe

    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska

    Tart, bright-red cranberries taste and look festive on an easy-to-make upside down cake. Serve topped with cream or a custard sauce.

  • 16 of 42

    Best Pecan Pie

    Pecan Pie

    Rusty Hill / Photodisc / Getty Images

    You simply cannot go wrong with a pecan pie at Thanksgiving and luckily it's one of the more forgiving pies to make. Whip up your own pie dough or buy pre-made to save some precious time.

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  • 17 of 42

    Instant Pot Pumpkin Pie

    slice of pumpkin pie from the instant pot with whipped cream
    Diana Rattray

    Pumpkin pie is a Thanksgiving favorite; those familiar warm spices of cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg just say fall. But the holiday is also a busy time for the oven, so a pumpkin pie recipe in the Instant Pot can be a lifesaver. The homemade vanilla whipped cream is the perfect finishing touch, and since it is made in a springform pan, the pie can show off its beautiful orange hue.

  • 18 of 42

    Vinegar Pie

    Vinegar Pie

    The Spruce Eats / Kristina Vanni

    An old-fashioned pie recipe, vinegar pie will surprise everyone. While apple cider vinegar is an unusual ingredient, it works very well in the seasonally spice walnut and raisin filling. Finish it off with whipped cream and a dusting of nutmeg or cinnamon, and they'll love it.

  • 19 of 42

    Creme Brulee

    Caramelizing creme brulee
    Caramelizing creme brulee. Adam Gault / Getty Images

    Creme brulee is always an impressive dessert and wins over the pickiest of eaters. These individually-sized desserts only call for a few ingredients and can be made before dinner. Torch tableside just before serving to truly impress.

  • 20 of 42

    Creamy Baked Chocolate Pie

    Creamy Baked Chocolate Pie

    The Spruce / Diana Rattray 

    With a custard-like chocolate filling and whipped cream topping, this chocolate pie will satisfy the cocoa lovers coming over for dinner.

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  • 21 of 42

    Spiced Apple Crunch Dessert

    Spiced Apple Crunch Dessert

    The Spruce / Diana Rattray 

    Somewhere between a crisp and a cobbler, this spiced apple crunch is especially tasty when served warm with ice cream.

  • 22 of 42

    Pumpkin Pecan Cobbler

    pumpkin cobbler

    The Spruce / Leah Maroney

    Not feeling like pumpkin pie this year? Mix it up with this luscious pumpkin cobbler topped with a crunchy pecan topping and a decadent caramel sauce underneath.

  • 23 of 42

    Butter Pecan Layer Cake

    Butter Pecan Layer Cake

     Lauri Patterson / E+/Getty Images

    All of the flavors of pecan pie are in this festive layer cake finished with toasted pecans and a simple buttercream.

  • 24 of 42

    Baked Sweet Potato Custard

    Baked Sweet Potato Custard

    The Spruce / Diana Rattray

    Satisfy the gluten-free crowd—and everyone else, for that matter—by offering a simply delicious sweet potato custard.

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  • 25 of 42

    Easy Key Lime Pie

    Easy Key Lime Pie

    Matt Bowman / Getty Images 

    The holiday season is also the citrus season, making it the ideal time to make a Key Lime pie. Whether you make your own graham cracker crust or not, the recipe is super easy to pull together.

  • 26 of 42

    Pumpkin Cookies

    Pumpkin Cookies

    Tina Crespo / Moment / Getty Images 

    A snap to make, you can customize these pumpkin cookies however you like. Add nuts, dried fruit, candied ginger, or chocolate chips.

  • 27 of 42

    Vegan Cranberry and Pear Pie

    Vegan Cranberry and Pear Holiday Pie Recipe

     The Spruce

    Tart cranberries and sweet pears pair wonderfully together for a crumble-topped pie. It'll please vegans and non-vegans alike.

  • 28 of 42

    The Ultimate Sticky Toffee Pudding

    Sticky Toffee Pudding

     Diana Miller / Getty Images

    A classic British dessert, sticky toffee pudding is filled with sweet, chewy dates and smothered in a gooey sauce.

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  • 29 of 42

    Instant Pot Cheesecake

    Instant Pot Cheesecake

    The Spruce / Diana Rattray

    Make this ultra-creamy and rich cheesecake in your electric pressure cooker, freeing up your stovetop and oven for other Thanksgiving dishes. The pecan topping makes it a nice fit for the holidays.

  • 30 of 42

    Apple Cranberry Cobbler

    Apple Cranberry Cobbler

    The Spruce / Diana Rattray

    The tart apples and cranberries are balanced by the sweet, pillowy topping in this classic cobbler. Serve warm, reheating in the oven if needed.

  • 31 of 42

    Butternut Squash Cupcakes

    Butternut Squash Cupcakes

    The Spruce / Diana Rattray 

    Naturally sweet, butternut squash is a versatile winter squash that can play up sweet or savory. Top these cupcakes with homemade orange buttercream to make it a truly seasonal treat.

  • 32 of 42

    Mock Apple Pie

    Mock Apple Pie With Ritz Cracker Filling

    The Spruce / Diana Rattray

    Mock apple pie dates back to the 1800s and became a common way to make a tasty pie without the need for apples. It has all of the flavors you're looking for without the fruit, a handy recipe to keep on hand for those last-minute dessert rushes.

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  • 33 of 42

    Easy Coconut Custard Pie

    Easy Coconut Custard Pie

    The Spruce / Diana Rattray

    A pie that makes its own crust? Talk about easy. Make this tropical-inspired custard pie ahead so that it has plenty of time to cool.

  • 34 of 42

    Butter Pecan Shortbread Cookies

    Butter Pecan Shortbread Cookies

    The Spruce / Diana Rattray

    Melt-in-your-mouth, buttery shortbread is not a bad way to end a meal, especially when the cookies are studded with toasted pecans.

  • 35 of 42

    Sweet Potato Pecan Pie

    Sweet Potato Pecan Pie

    The Spruce / Diana Rattray

    Combine two classic Thanksgiving pies into one delectable pie. Creamy, spiced sweet potato is topped with a crunchy, sweet pecan topping for a dreamy mashup everyone will be talking about.

  • 36 of 42

    Individual Bread Pudding With Butterscotch Sauce

    Individual Bread Pudding

    Foodcollection / Getty Images 

    Warm bread pudding is always a good cold-weather treat, especially when everyone gets their own topped with butterscotch sauce.

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  • 37 of 42

    Skillet Pear Pandowdy

    Skillet Pear Pandowdy

    The Spruce / Diana Rattray

    Somewhere between a pie and a cobbler, this pear dessert is made entirely on the stovetop so the oven can work on the turkey and sides.

  • 38 of 42

    Sweet Potato Bundt Cake

    Sweet Potato Bundt Cake

    Edward Pond / Radius Images / Getty Images 

    A pretty bundt cake is perfect for feeding a crowd and is especially easy when you use a cake mix. The built-in topping of pecans and brown sugar gives it a little crunch.

  • 39 of 42

    10-Minute No-Bake Pumpkin Pie

    10-Minute No-Bake Pumpkin Pie

    The Spruce / Diana Rattray

    Creamy and rich, this super fast and easy take on pumpkin pie is a no-brainer during the busy holiday season. Let chill for a few hours before serving.

  • 40 of 42

    Spiced Fresh Apple Bars

    Spiced Fresh Apple Bars

    The Spruce / Diana Rattray 

    Fresh apples, walnuts, and spices are what make these bars extra special. Drizzle a little caramel sauce on top for a little extra sweetness.

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  • 41 of 42

    Autumn Pumpkin Pie

    Autumn pumpkin pie recipe

    The Spruce

    Nothing is more classic Thanksgiving than pumpkin pie. Perfectly spiced with a custardy texture, it doesn't get much better than this—maybe just some whipped cream.

  • 42 of 42

    Pecan Pie Cookies

    Pecan pie cookies recipe

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

    These tiny pecan pies can be eaten like cookies and look lovely arranged on a platter. Plan ahead so that your crust and filling have time to cool. Better yet, make them the day before for even less stress.