40 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.

  • 01 of 40

    Classic Mississippi 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 40

    Baked Apple Crisp

    Diana Rattray 

    Get the flavors of pie without the hassle of a crust with this buttery sweet 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 40

    Cranberry Pie

    Cranberry Pie

     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 40

    Pumpkin Sheet Cake

    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.

    Continue to 5 of 40 below.
  • 05 of 40

    Salted Caramel Popcorn Cheesecake

    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 40

    Sweet Potato Cake Roll

    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 40

    Cardamom Pear Tart

    Cardamom Pear Tart With Tahini Salted Caramel Sauce

    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 40

    Pumpkin Cookies With Caramel Icing

    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.

    Continue to 9 of 40 below.
  • 09 of 40

    Chocolate Layer Cake With Coconut Pecan Frosting

    Iain Bagwell/ Photolibrary/Getty 

    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 40

    Hand-Held Apple Pies

    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 40

    Southern Sweet Potato Cobbler

     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 40

    Molasses Crinkle Cookies

    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 affect.

    Continue to 13 of 40 below.
  • 13 of 40

    French Apple Tart

    William Shaw/Dorling Kindersley/Getty Images 

    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 40

    Brown Sugar Maple Cupcakes

    Samantha Merritt 

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

  • 15 of 40

    Cranberry Upside-Down Cake

    Diana Rattray 

    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 40

    Best 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.

    Continue to 17 of 40 below.
  • 17 of 40

    Creme Brulee

    Nicole S. Young / 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.

  • 18 of 40

    Creamy Baked Chocolate Pie

    Diana Rattray 

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

  • 19 of 40

    Spiced Apple Crunch Dessert

    Diana Rattray 

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

  • 20 of 40

    Pumpkin Pecan Cobbler

    pumpkin cobbler

     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.

    Continue to 21 of 40 below.
  • 21 of 40

    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.

  • 22 of 40

    Baked Sweet Potato Custard

     Diana Rattray

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

  • 23 of 40

    Easy Key Lime Pie

    Matt Bowman / Getty Images 

    The holiday season is also 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.

  • 24 of 40

    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.

    Continue to 25 of 40 below.
  • 25 of 40

    Vegan Cranberry and Pear Pie

    Aubrie LeGault/Stocksy United 

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

  • 26 of 40

    The Ultimate 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.

  • 27 of 40

    Instant Pot Cheesecake

    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.

  • 28 of 40

    Apple Cranberry Cobbler

    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.

    Continue to 29 of 40 below.
  • 29 of 40

    Butternut Squash Cupcakes

    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.

  • 30 of 40

    Mock Apple Pie

    Mock Apple Pie With Ritz Cracker Filling
    Diana Rattray

    Mock apple pie date 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.

  • 31 of 40

    Easy Coconut Custard Pie

    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.

  • 32 of 40

    Butter Pecan Shortbread Cookies

    Alexandra Grablewski/The Image Bank/Getty Images

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

    Continue to 33 of 40 below.
  • 33 of 40

    Sweet Potato Pecan Pie

    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.

  • 34 of 40

    Individual Bread Pudding With Butterscotch Sauce

    Foodcollection / Getty Images 

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

  • 35 of 40

    Skillet Pear Pandowdy

     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.

  • 36 of 40

    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.

    Continue to 37 of 40 below.
  • 37 of 40

    10-Minute No-Bake Pumpkin Pie

     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.

  • 38 of 40

    Spiced Fresh Apple Bars

    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.

  • 39 of 40

    Autumn Pumpkin Pie

    Diana Rattray 

    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.

  • 40 of 40

    Pecan Pie Cookies

    mphillips007/Getty Images

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