From Pie to Pandowdy, These Are Our 20 Most Fabulous Thanksgiving Dessert Recipes

two perfect pumpkin pie

Despite the fact that turkey, stuffing, and mashed potatoes receive most of the attention on Thanksgiving, we all know that the holiday feast isn't complete without dessert. From golden pumpkin pies and glistening apple tarts to some more unexpected options, like a Fruit-and-Herb Sorbet or an Apple-Raspberry Pandowdy, we have an unbeatable collection of Thanksgiving desserts for you to choose from this year.

If you prefer the classics, our Perfect Pumpkin Pie, pictured here, is as traditional as it gets. It has all the timeless flavors Thanksgiving wouldn't be complete without, including pumpkin, maple syrup, cinnamon, and clove. Another pumpkin-centric dessert option is our Pumpkin-Spice-Latte-Cake. Instant espresso powder is mixed with pumpkin-pie spice and added to the cake's base for an easy sweet treat with a moist texture that's reminiscent of gingerbread.

Of course, no Thanksgiving dessert spread would be complete without an apple-based confection. For a visually impressive option, try our Apple Rose Tart. Granny Smith and Pink Lady apples are thinly sliced and layered in a crust to create the illusion of a rose.

If you like to get a head start on holiday meal prep, you'll be pleased to know that you can make components, such as the pastry, for many of these desserts ahead. Some, like our Apple-Pie Bread Pudding, can even be fully assembled a few days early and stored in the refrigerator until it's time to reheat it for serving.

Whether you're looking for a new, unexpected dessert to add to the Thanksgiving feast or a tried-and-true recipe for a classic holiday treat, you'll find exactly what you're looking for here. These fabulous Thanksgiving dessert recipes simple can't be beat.

01 of 19

Apple-Raspberry Pandowdy

apple-raspberry pandowdy served in pan
Dana Gallagher

If you're looking for a beginner-friendly dessert to make this Thanksgiving, this pandowdy recipe is one you need. The entire treat is assembled in one dish so it's as easy to clean up as it is to make.

02 of 19

Coconut-Pecan Tart

coconut-pecan tart topped with flaky sea salt
Dana Gallagher

This gluten-free confection is almost like a giant candy bar. A no-bake crust made with almond flour and shredded coconut is filled with a blend of butter, sugar, cream, condensed milk, and semi-sweet chocolate, and pecan pieces.

03 of 19

Fruit-and-Herb Sorbets

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

It may seem surprising to recommend a chilled dessert this late in the year, but these sorbets (we have three options) are packed with fall flavors, including cranberry and rosemary. Our streamlined recipe means you'll save time; using fruit juice instead of cooking fruit to get juice helps speed up the process.

04 of 19

Spice-Cookie Parfaits

spice-cookie parfaits topped with berries
Dana Gallagher

Parfaits can be made a variety of different ways. This version features a simmered sauce made from cranberries and pear juice, which is layered into glasses with a sweet-cream mixture, blackberries, raspberries, and crumbled spice cookies.

05 of 19

Pumpkin-Chocolate Cheesecake

chocolate drizzled on pumpkin-chocolate cheesecake
Dana Gallagher

A rich delight of pumpkin and chocolate, this dense cheesecake may seem daunting, but the pumpkin filling and chocolate crust can be assembled in a few simple steps.

06 of 19

Spiced Sweet-Potato Cake with Meringue Frosting

spiced sweet-potato cake with meringue frosting
Dana Gallagher

The fan-favorite way of serving sweet potatoes—especially in the South—is as a marshmallow topped confection. This elevated version of the dish whips sweet potatoes into a sheet cake with pumpkin-pie spice and tops the dessert with an Italian meringue, giving the illusion of a stream of marshmallows.

07 of 19

Five-Spice Pumpkin Pie with Phyllo Crust

five spice pumpkin pie with phyllo crust
Christopher Testani

This pumpkin pie recipe combines both classic and modern flavors into one treat. The filling is made with timeless fall ingredients, but we tuck it all into a phyllo crust to make this treat different from all the other pies on the dessert table. And we'll let you in on a little secret: Although visually impressive, the crust is actually easy to make. Simply layer a pan with sheets of store-bought phyllo in varying angles.

08 of 19

Apple-Honey Upside-Down Cake

Apple-Honey Upside-Down Cake
Johnny Miller

A crowd pleaser indeed, this upside-down cake is defined by two key ingredients: apples and honey. The fruit is spread over a caramel filling and topped with a batter that features honey, sugar, eggs, melted butter, and milk.

09 of 19

Naked-Fruit Chiffon Cake

Naked-Fruit Chiffon Cake
Lennart Weibull

It's always nice to surprise your guests with a dessert they likely haven't tried before, like this chiffon cake. Layers of cake, whipped cream, and seasonal fruits like pears, figs, and plums are assembled into an aesthetically pleasing treat.

10 of 19

Cranberry-Meringue Tart

Cranberry-Meringue Tart
Pieter Estersohn

Apple pie has some competition this year thanks to this cranberry-meringue tart. The crust is made with a buttery mixture of crushed saltines, which serves as a nice contrast to the tart cranberry filling. The perfect finishing touch? A whipped-to-perfection meringue topping.

11 of 19

Pumpkin-Spice-Latte Cake

Pumpkin-Spice-Latte Cake
Lennart Weibull

Here's an easy-to-make, easy-to-love one-layer pumpkin cake; its flavor is enhanced thanks to the addition of instant espresso powder and pumpkin-pie spice. Once baked, the cake is dressed in a whipped cream topping and dusted with more espresso powder.

12 of 19

Double-Crusted Ricotta Pie

Con Poulos

In addition to the usual favorites, like pumpkin and apple pie, this double-crusted ricotta pie will look stunning on your Thanksgiving table. Ricotta—a creamy cheese with a mild flavor profile—gives the filling its slightly sweet, milky texture while the cranberries and pistachios punch up the texture.

13 of 19

Ruffled Pumpkin Milk Pie

Ruffled Pumpkin Milk Pie
Johnny Miller

This homage to milk pie—a custard tart pastry—is perfect for pumpkin loving guests. If you're new to baking with phyllo, this recipe makes it a breeze.

14 of 19

Apple Rose Tart

apple rose tart dessert
Christopher Testani

Food imitates art in this gorgeous apple rose tart. Thinly sliced Granny Smith apples are layered in a deep-dish pâte brisée pie shell while unpeeled pink ladies give the outer edges a rosy color. Apricot jam and grated ginger are spread over the dough's base for a kick of spicy-sweet flavor.

15 of 19

Brown-Butter Bourbon Pecan Pie

Brown-Butter Bourbon Pecan Pie
Pieter Estersohn

An instant classic, this dreamy brown-butter bourbon pecan pie is both delicious and impressive. The addition of brown butter sets this dessert apart from traditional pecan pie, but there's a flavor here for everyone.

16 of 19

Persimmon Tart

tomatoes beside persimmon tart
Paola + Murray

Persimmon, a beautiful bright orange fruit, stars in this dessert. The fruit is puréed and made into an aromatic filling featuring cream, cinnamon, star anise, clove, and cardamom. Once baked, the tart is sprinkled with sugar and torched until its top turns beautifully golden.

17 of 19

Apple Pie Bread Pudding

A hybrid dessert for the ages, day-old brioche bread serves as a vessel for sliced Granny Smith apples and classic Thanksgiving spices, including cinnamon, all-spice, and nutmeg.

18 of 19

Cranberry Swirl Cheesecake

round cranberry cheesecake with slice cut
Justin Walker

Plan to make extra cranberry sauce this year so you can use it in this decadent cheesecake. The vanilla-based dessert features a traditional graham cracker crust, but feel free substitute wafer cookies for the graham cracker.

19 of 19

Brown Sugar-Cornmeal Shortbread Cookies

brown sugar–cornmeal shortbread cookies served on a white platter
Con Poulos

Cookies at Thanksgiving? Why not! These brown sugar and cornmeal shortbread cookies have all the flavors of fall and harvest.

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