30 Classic Fall Dessert Recipes Starring Apples, Pears, Pumpkins, and More

pumpkin cheesecake
Kate Mathis

Whether you're hosting an autumnal dinner party or just want to enjoy the bounty of seasonal fruits found on farm stands this time of year, these fall dessert recipes are irresistible. From September through December, keep an eye out for grapes, quince, and fresh cranberries, as well as more obvious choices like apples, pears, and pumpkins galore. They're all at their peak right now and delicious in these classic fall desserts.

As soon as the leaves start to change, it's time to bake and eat pie. How about starting with the most unusual pie pictured here? It's a Pumpkin-Cheesecake Pie with Gingersnap Crust, and it's truly like a taste of fall. You could always make an easy Pear Crisp—it's always delicious!—or try something different, like sorbet with autumnal flavors like cranberry and grape. And don't forget about maple syrup—add a few tablespoons to frosting for a sweet, amber flavor, or create an entire cake inspired by maple's deep tones.

Yes, pies are great, but have you ever tried pandowdy? It's an old-fashioned, all-American fruit dessert that is similar to a cobbler or crisp but with an even simpler topping. Make a basic pie dough, then cut it up into irregular shapes and bake it on top. No need to shape the dough into a perfect circle and fuss over perfectly crimped edges either.

From blondies and bars to cupcakes and even a Pumpkin-Cheesecake Pie, we can't wait to bake our way through autumn with these delicious dessert recipes.

01 of 29

Spiced Sweet-Potato Cake with Meringue Frosting

spiced sweet-potato cake with meringue frosting
Dana Gallagher

In this one-layer cake, sweet potatoes are gussied up with pumpkin-pie spice, that beloved blend of ground cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves. A frosting of Italian meringue, which gets lightly toasted with wave of your kitchen torch or a quick blast in the broiler, makes a spectacular topping.

02 of 29

Apple Pandowdy

apple pandowdy
Bryan Gardner

Like a cross between a pie and a cobbler, squares of pastry dough are arranged over lightly sweetened apple filling to make this delightful rustic dessert. Serve warm or at room temperature with vanilla ice cream or cinnamon whipped cream.

03 of 29

Fruit-and-Herb Sorbets

concord grape–rosemary guava-basil and cranberry apple-mint sorbets
Dana Gallagher

A cold treat this time of year might seem like a curveball, but certain fall flavors are made for sorbet. Our fruit-plus-herb formula is ripe for riffing. Here, grape and rosemary announce autumn, guava and basil tease the tropics, and cranberry nods to the harvest. Pair all those flavors with mint, and this refreshing, seasonal dessert has the light kick of a cocktail.

04 of 29

Poached Pears with Saffron Whipped Cream

poached pears with saffron whipped cream
Gentl and Hyers

Easy yet elegant, this fall dessert is perfect for entertaining. Pears are poached in dry white wine and a delicious bouquet of vanilla, orange, cinnamon, along with a pinch of saffron.

05 of 29

Cranberry Clafouti

Yunhee Kim

In between a flan and a pancake is clafouti, a traditional French fruit dessert that is served warmed. The batter for this clafouti is super simple to make, and is sure to be a dinner party hit. You'll be thinking about making it again before the last plate is cleared.

06 of 29

Butter-Pecan Blondies

butter pecan blondies
Ren Fuller

Too cold out for your favorite ice cream flavor? Make these butter-pecan blondies instead. They're crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside.

07 of 29

Puff-Pastry Poached-Pear Pie

Will Anderson

This beautiful pie is made with store-bought puff pastry which speeds the prep. What's more, the intricate decoration is made by simply scoring the top crust.

08 of 29

Apple Crostata with Cheddar Crust


This free-form take on apple pie has sharp cheddar cheese in the crust which adds richness and a slight savory tang. After the crostata comes out of the oven, melted apricot jam is brushed over the filling to make it glisten and add sweetness.

09 of 29

Quince Slab Pie


Prepare the filling for this pie by poaching quince in sweet dessert wine with cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, and vanilla. Using store-bought puff pastry makes forming the crust quick and easy.

10 of 29

Apple-Honey Upside-Down Cake

Apple-Honey Upside-Down Cake
Johnny Miller

Put your apple-picking haul to good use by whipping up this delicious cake. Make it once and you'll see that it's the perfect treat to enjoy on a crisp fall evening.

11 of 29

Pumpkin-Chocolate Cheesecake

pumpkin-chocolate cheesecake
Dana Gallagher

There's a deliciously intense chocolate crust beneath the firm, delicately flavored pumpkin filling in this showstopping dessert. Serve it as is, or pour a stove-top chocolate-caramel glaze on top for a glossy, glamorous finish.

12 of 29

Kentucky Bourbon-Brown Butter Cake

Stephen Kent Johnson

Get in the fall spirit with a bourbon-based dessert. Buttermilk keeps this cake moist and rich, and a bourbon-based glaze adds a smoky flavor that tastes like a campfire—in the best way possible!

13 of 29

Sweet Potato Meringue Pie

Marcus Nilsson

A rich sweet potato pie is made even more decadent with the addition of a fluffy crown of meringue. Lightly torch it just before serving for that gorgeous brown color and total wow factor.

14 of 29

Pumpkin Cupcakes

pumpkin cupcakes on cakestand and plate
Bryan Gardner

Win cheers from your littlest guests when you serve these cute cupcakes at the kids' table. The pumpkins on top are made from marzipan so they're edible in addition to being adorable.

15 of 29

Pumpkin Pie


Here it is, the recipe for pie that defines Thanksgiving—and that's so good you'll want to bake it throughout the fall. Canned pumpkin purée is seasoned with pumpkin pie spice and whipped with eggs, brown sugar, and evaporated milk to make a rich, smooth custard filling for the perfect pumpkin pie.

16 of 29

Pear Crisp

A fruit crisp is the ultimate, easy-going, and crowd-pleasing dessert. There's no need to make or roll out pastry—just mix together rolled oats, sliced almonds, brown sugar, flour, and butter for a sweet crumbly topping to the spiced pear filling in this fall favorite.

17 of 29

Diamond Apple Pie

decorative tile double-crust apple pie
Johnny Miller

Use a cooking cutter to cut pie pastry into diamonds for this show-stopping pie. (And if you don't have a diamond cookie cutter, another shape will work.) Then arrange them on top of the apple filling. Finish by brushing on an egg yolk for a golden brown finish and sanding sugar for a sparkling crunch.

18 of 29

Quinoa Apple-Pear Crumble

Quinoa flour adds just a hint of nuttiness and texture to a classic crumble topping in this simple dessert. The combination of juicy pears and slightly sweet apples together is the ultimate fall filling.

19 of 29

Apple Membrillo Tart

apple membrillo tart
Justin Walker

If you like a more savory ending to a meal, try this apple tart, which is delicious on its own or alongside a funky blue cheese, dried fruits, and salty marcona almonds for a fabulous take on the cheese plate.

20 of 29

Deep-Dish Pumpkin Custard Pie

What if pumpkin pie was even creamier and more luscious? This layered pie is and it's magic, too; as it bakes, the filling separates. The bottom layer becomes a silky custard and the top transforms into a lightweight pumpkin soufflé.

21 of 29

Pumpkin Bars

Pumpkin Bars
Mike Krautter

Need an easy dessert to feed a crowd? Try this easy sheet cake made with pure pumpkin purée. Top it off with a big swoosh of cream cheese frosting and a dusting of pumpkin pie spice—because why not?

22 of 29

Poached-Pear Frangipane Tart

poached-pear frangipane tart on decorative green table cloth
Johnny Miller

Here's something to sip on. The best way to infuse intense, spicy flavors is by poaching them in mulled wine. Using red wine tints the pears a stunning scarlet color for a dramatic presentation.

23 of 29

Big Almond-Orange-Ginger Cookie

big almond orange ginger cookie
Louise Hagger

A crowd-friendly dessert, this bar cookie has a press-in almond crust and plenty of streusel topping over the orange marmalade filling.

24 of 29

Maple Cake

Con Poulos

Let's give a round of applause to the fan-favorite sheet cake. This version is flavored with rich, pure maple syrup. It's the perfect dessert for Halloween parties or as a departure from traditional Thanksgiving pies.

25 of 29

Deep-Dish Dried-Apple and Cranberry Pie

Martyn Thompson

Love a Chicago style pizza pie? How about a sweet version of the beloved deep dish using dried apple rings, thawed frozen cranberries, and apple cider?

26 of 29

Pear-and-Lemon Pie with Pate Brisée Crust

Kate Mathis

Candied lemon peel and fresh lemon juice are a bright compliment to sweet pears in this delicious pie. Pick about four pounds of fresh, firm pears from a local farm stand or market; choose firm ones because the pears soften significantly when baked.

27 of 29

Lemony Brown-Butter Crinkle Cookies

Stephen Kent Johnson

While lemon may strike you as more quintessentially summer than fall, the nuttiness from the brown butter is all that's need for a delicious taste of autumn. The crinkled coating of powdered sugar carries us right into the holiday season.

28 of 29

Maple-Walnut Cake with Brown-Sugar Frosting


Looking for a change of pace from fall fruit pie? Try this delicious, seasonal layer cake with a molasses-flavored frosting. It's easy to make and even easier to decorate (we never knew walnut halves could look so elegant!).

29 of 29

Pumpkin Swirl Brownies

Ordinary brownies are dressed up for fall with swirls of sweetly spiced pumpkin. A hint of cayenne pepper makes a memorable finishing note. Top with chopped toasted walnuts or with white chocolate chips to make this dessert nut-free and extra sweet.

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