21 Thanksgiving Desserts Worth Saving Room For

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While Thanksgiving dinner is definitely about the turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sauce, no feast is complete without an impressive dessert spread. So even if you’ve overindulged a bit during dinner, make sure to save room for one of these decadent Thanksgiving desserts. From classic pumpkin pie to cheesecake, there is something for everyone on this list!

21 Thanksgiving Desserts Worth Saving Room For

1. Perfect Pumpkin Pie

The most classic of the Thanksgiving desserts, pumpkin pie may seem like a simple dessert, but oftentimes the easiest recipes are the hardest to get right. This foolproof recipe begins with my tender, flaky, and buttery homemade pie crust. The rich pumpkin filling is gently spiced with cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and black pepper (trust me) — and, unlike many pumpkin pies, the filling won’t crack as it cools. GET THE RECIPE

2. Apple Crisp

Photo by Alexandra Grablewski (Chronicle Books, 2018)

This apple crisp with a crisp oat and pecan streusel is a lovely Thanksgiving dessert, and the best part is that it’s super easy to make. Don’t forget the vanilla ice cream! GET THE RECIPE

3. Pumpkin Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust and Caramel Sauce

Want to upgrade the traditional pumpkin pie? This decadent pumpkin cheesecake with a gingersnap crust and homemade caramel sauce is the ticket! It is my all-time favorite Thanksgiving dessert, and I promise no one will miss the pie. GET THE RECIPE

4. Pecan Squares

If you love pecan pie but want to make something a little easier, or if you’re looking for a dessert for a holiday potluck, try these rich pecan squares. A press-in buttery shortbread crust and salted caramel pecan topping make them over-the-top delicious.  GET THE RECIPE

5. Apple Cranberry Oat Crumble

This rustic apple and cranberry crumble with a crunchy streusel comes from Rustic Fruit Desserts by Cory Schreiber and Julie Richardson. The cranberries add a nice tartness and red festive color. Serve the dessert warm, topped with good-quality vanilla ice cream or lightly sweetened whipped cream. The recipe makes a lot, but you’ll be glad to have leftovers to enjoy with your morning coffee. GET THE RECIPE

6. Sticky Toffee Banana Cake

Photo by Alexandra Grablewski (Chronicle Books, 2018)

This Thanksgiving dessert is a twist on sticky toffee pudding — which is not really pudding, but rather a warm date cake covered in toffee sauce. It looks fancy topped with bananas and pecans, but it’s actually really easy to make. The cake itself is basically banana bread baked in a cake pan, and the sauce is made from cream, butter, brown sugar, and corn syrup. GET THE RECIPE

7. Southern-Style Sweet Potato Pie

This fluffy, autumn-spiced sweet potato pie recipe comes from Mable Smith, a family friend for over 30 years. Born and raised in South Carolina, Mable is famous for her Southern-style pies, which she bakes by the dozen to give away over the holiday season. Since the flavor of this sweet potato pie gets better over time, feel free to make it a day or two ahead. GET THE RECIPE

8. Pumpkin Pecan Streusel Torte

Another fabulous (and easy!) alternative to traditional pumpkin pie, this torte with a cake-like pecan crust, pumpkin pie filling, and streusel topping comes from Linda Grimes, one of my readers and a Lake Tahoe restaurateur. It’s your cake, pie, and crisp all in one amazing dessert. GET THE RECIPE

9. Classic Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and cloves, carrot cake fits right in with all the classic Thanksgiving desserts. While most carrot cakes are quite dense, this one has a light and fine texture. The secret is chopping the carrots in a food processor to the consistency of couscous instead of grating them – it makes all the difference. GET THE RECIPE

10. Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

If you have children coming to your Thanksgiving feast, or if you prefer cake to pie, may I suggest this easy pumpkin cake topped with rich cream cheese icing? It is the dessert version of my grandmother’s beloved pumpkin bread, and it’s loved by kids and adults alike. GET THE RECIPE

11. Perfect Apple Pie

If you’ve ever baked an apple pie, you know the common apple pit pitfalls: a soggy pie crust and soupy filling. In this foolproof recipe, I blind-bake the crust to ensure it stays perfectly crisp, and I boil down and thicken the juices, which not only intensifies the apple flavor but also ensures the juices don’t pour out of the pie once cut.  GET THE RECIPE

12. Chocolate Peanut Butter Tart

With a crisp chocolate wafer crust, creamy peanut butter filling, and rich chocolate ganache topping, this tart is basically a grown-up version of a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. Unsurprisingly, it is always a huge crowd pleaser.  GET THE RECIPE

13. Rustic French Apple Tart

Whether you call it a tart, galette or crostada, this rustic apple dessert is basically a free-form apple pie without the pan. It is made with a layer of spiced apples enveloped in a buttery pie crust sprinkled with coarse sugar. Bonus: the tart dough is blissfully easy to both make and work with. GET THE RECIPE

14. Bourbon Brown Butter Pecan Pie

This recipe comes from my longtime reader Jeff Winett, an avid baker. Made with brown butter, or butter cooked until it is golden brown with a nutty aroma, and a shot of bourbon, Jeff’s pie has a rich and complex praline flavor. Browning the butter takes just five minutes, and the payoff in flavor is more than worth it! GET THE RECIPE

15. New York Cheesecake

Photo by Vladislav Noseek

This is the ultimate New York-style cheesecake, and the recipe is easy enough even for beginners. The key is to bake the cheesecake at a low temperature in a water bath, or bain marie. The water bath regulates the oven temperature, ensuring the cheesecake bakes at an even, gentle heat, and also creates steam in the oven, which protects the cheesecake from drying out or cracking.  GET THE RECIPE

16. Chocolate Chip Ricotta Cake

Adapted from Melissa Weller’s cookbook A Good Bake, this is one of the easiest and most delicious cakes I know. Ricotta cheese gives the cake a super moist texture and rich flavor, and all those chocolate chips make it a favorite among kids and adults alike.  GET THE RECIPE

17. Apple Cobbler

A cozy Thanksgiving dessert, apple cobbler is super simple to make: slice the apples, mix them with sugar and spice, and top them with big spoonfuls of buttermilk biscuit batter. After baking, you’ve got a comforting dessert of warm apples beneath a golden, sweet biscuit crust that looks like a “cobbled” pathway. GET THE RECIPE

18. Marble Cake

With swirls of vanilla and rich chocolate cake, this marble looks impressive but tastes like old-fashioned comfort food. Happily, you don’t need to make two separate cake batters to make a marble cake. Instead, you take part of the vanilla batter and combine it with it with cocoa powder and melted chocolate, and that’s your chocolate batter. GET THE RECIPE

19. Lemon Chess Pie

This beloved Southern pie is known for its rich custard filling—a blend of eggs, sugar, butter, cornmeal, and a lemon—baked into a flaky and buttery crust. The flavor is reminiscent of lemon bars. GET THE RECIPE

20. Nantucket Cranberry Pie

This dessert is not actually a pie but rather a cross between a pie, a cobbler, and a cake. It’s the simplest dessert you can imagine—and, yet, remarkably delicious. It practically screams “holidays.” GET THE RECIPE

21. French Apple Cake

This simple cake with chunks of tart apples nestled in a buttery rum cake is a longtime favorite of mine—and one of the most popular recipes on the blog, too. Bonus: it’s a breeze to make! GET THE RECIPE

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