35+ Best Thanksgiving Dessert Recipes

Recipe By Tessa Arias
November 4th, 2020

Here are 35+ of the Best Thanksgiving Dessert Recipes! We’ve got homemade pie, ‘no dough’ pie, cakes, cheesecakes, cookies – you name it! This list has so many ideas that are perfect for a crowd and are sure to impress on your holiday dessert table.

It’s officially November and I’ve got Thanksgiving on my mind!

I hope I’m not the only one, but I start daydreaming about holiday food and desserts months ahead of Thanksgiving. I love getting creative with Thanksgiving dessert recipes – you don’t just have to make boring pumpkin pie! There are so many options for a creative and festive dessert that your friends and family will love.

I’ve compiled my favorite Thanksgiving dessert recipes from the Handle the Heat archives and from my favorite trusted bloggers all below. I’ve organized these Thanksgiving dessert recipes into different categories.

We’ve got:

  • Traditional pie recipes
  • NO DOUGH pie recipes
  • Cakes & cupcakes
  • Cheesecake recipes
  • More creative dessert ideas (hand pies, cookies, baked apples & more!)

So whether you’re finding a recipe to serve for a crowd on Thanksgiving or you want to try a new recipe out for a special Friendsgiving, you’ll definitely find lots of delicious recipe ideas below.

Which Thanksgiving dessert(s) recipe will you try?

How to Make Desserts Ahead of Time

Anyone else feel like they get stressed and overwhelmed trying to get everything ready on the day of Thanksgiving? One thing that has been such a game changer for me when it comes to holidays is having my desserts prepped ahead of time.

Grab my *free* Make Ahead Baking Guide so the holidays this year are a breeze! I share how to make cake, cupcakes, cheesecake, pie dough, bread and more all ahead of time!

Let’s Talk Pie

I know pie can be one of the most challenging desserts to make. From shrinking crust or dough that gets too soggy, it feels sometimes like there are so many things that can go wrong when working with pie dough. My Best Ever Pie Crust Recipe includes lot of step-by-step photos so you can see exactly what each step should look like.

I’ve also got a whole post covering my Top 10 Pie Tips. I hope you find some helpful tips here so you look like a pie pro come the holiday season!

How Much Dessert to Make?

1 pie will serve 6 to 8 people.

2 cups of heavy cream which has been whipped will serve 8 people.

1 cheesecake will serve about 12 people.

Make sure to bake enough to enjoy leftovers — you can freeze more than you probably think!!

How to Freeze Leftover Desserts:

These desserts are so delicious I doubt there will be any leftovers ;). However, it’s my least favorite thing tossing away dessert recipes – especially if I spent a long time making them! Here are some quick tips for freezing leftover desserts.

  • Pie

    Any pie containing dairy & eggs won’t freeze quite as well as fruit pie. Wrap leftover pie slices in plastic wrap then in a layer of tin foil. Place on a flat stable surface in your freezer and store for up to 1 month. Remove the foil and drape the plastic loosely over the slice and allow to thaw completely overnight in the fridge. If desired, refresh in a 300°F oven for a few minutes for fruit pies.

  • Cake

    Frosted slices of cake can be frozen! This works best for butter-heavy icing (not as well for egg heavy frosting) and cakes that are sturdy and dense. Wrap tightly in plastic, then in foil, and place in a freezer bag. Thaw in the fridge overnight only loosely covered in the plastic.

  • Cookies

    While I usually like to freeze cookie dough, you can also freeze baked cookies. This works especially well with cut out cookies, like sugar cookies! Place on a rimmed baking sheet and freeze until solid. Remove to an airtight container and store in the freezer for up to 2 months. Defrost at room temperature and refresh in a 300°F oven for a few minutes if desired.

  • Cheesecake

    Slices of cheesecake freeze wonderfully. Follow the same steps as the pie above and let thaw in the fridge overnight. Serve chilled.

  • Pie bars

    Follow same steps as pie above!

  • Doughnuts

    Unglazed and unfilled doughnuts are best frozen as soon as they’ve cooled after baking or frying. Store in an airtight container. Refresh in a 300°F oven or in the microwave at 50% power until heated before glazing.

Golden brown apple pie on a wooden table

Best Traditional Pie Recipes

It isn’t Thanksgiving without pie! Here are my very favorite classic pie recipes. These pies are perfect for serving a crowd! P.S. If you’re intimidated by pie crust, be sure to grab my *free* Pie Crust Troubleshooting Guide.

The Best Thanksgiving Pie Recipes: 

Double Crust Apple Pie from Handle the Heat

Chocolate Pecan Pie from Handle the Heat

Brown Butter Sweet Potato Pie from Handle the Heat

Classic Pecan Pie from Handle the Heat

Caramel Apple Streusel Pie from Handle the Heat

Brown Butter Pumpkin Pie from Baker By Nature

Cranberry Pear Pie from Baker By Nature

Pumpkin Slab Pie from Sally’s Baking Addiction


Homemade French Silk Pie is perfect for Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentine's Day, or any special occasion!

No Dough Pie Recipes

If you don’t feel like bothering with making homemade pie dough, this is the section for you! These are my favorite Thanksgiving pie recipes that are made with cookie or graham cracker crusts instead of dough. Simple and delicious!

Easy Homemade Thanksgiving Pies: 

French Silk Pie (MOST POPULAR pie recipe last year!) from Handle the Heat

No Bake Pumpkin Mousse Pie from Handle the Heat

Butterscotch Pie from Handle the Heat

Double Chocolate Pudding Pie from Handle the Heat

Chocolate Caramel French Silk Pie from Handle the Heat

Peanut Butter Pie from Handle the Heat

Chocolate Peanut Butter Caramel Mousse Pie from Handle the Heat


Salted Caramel Apple Sheet Cake features an ultra tender, slightly spongey cinnamon apple cake with a thick and shiny salted caramel glaze. Perfect for serving a crowd during the holidays!

Thanksgiving Cake Recipes

If you or your family are not big pie fans, this is the section for you! These are the best festive cake recipes to enjoy on Thanksgiving. Lots of different fall flavors here from apple, pumpkin, browned butter, and sweet potato!

Delicious Festive Cakes:

Salted Caramel Apple Sheet Cake from Handle the Heat

Easy Pumpkin Cake with Whipped Ganache from Handle the Heat

Mini Pumpkin Sheet Cake with Brown Butter Frosting from A Cozy Kitchen

Sweet Potato Cake from Cake By Courtney

Pumpkin Cake Cheesecake from Sally’s Baking Addiction

Pumpkin Tres Leches Cake from A Cozy Kitchen


Cranberry Swirl Cheesecake Bars are tangy, sweet, fresh, and rich. They look almost as good as they taste!

Thanksgiving Cheesecake Recipes

There should be more cheesecakes on Thanksgiving. There’s nothing like biting into a slice of rich, creamy cheesecake after Thanksgiving dinner! Here are my favorite tried and true cheesecake and cheesecake bar recipes to serve on your dessert table.

The BEST Thanksgiving Cheesecakes:

Cranberry Swirl Cheesecake Bars from Handle the Heat

Salted Caramel Pumpkin Cheesecake from Handle the Heat

Pumpkin Chocolate Cheesecake Bars from Handle the Heat

Pumpkin Cheesecake Streusel Bars from Handle the Heat

Creme Brule Pumpkin Chocolate Cheesecake Bars from Handle the Heat

Mini Turtle Cheesecakes from Handle the Heat

Easy Pecan Pie Cheesecake Bars from Baker By Nature

Marbled Chocolate Cheesecake Pumpkin Pie from A Cozy Kitchen


Creative Thanksgiving Dessert Recipes

Last but certainly not least, here are the best creative and unique Thanksgiving desserts! We’ve got pie bars, doughnuts, cookie bars, hand pies, and more goodies that are sure to be a hit on your holiday dessert table.

More Creative Thanksgiving Dessert Ideas:

Sweet Potato Pie Bars from Handle the Heat

Pumpkin Bars with Brown Sugar Frosting from Handle the Heat

Pumpkin Old-Fashioned Doughnuts from Handle the Heat

Apple Crisp Cookie Bars from Handle the Heat

Baked Apple Pie Doughnuts from Handle the Heat

Salted Caramel Apple Pie Pizookies from Handle the Heat

Gooey Chocolate Chip Cookie Pumpkin Pie from Half Baked Harvest

Pumpkin Snickerdoodle Cookies from Handle the Heat

Cute Little Apple Hand Pies from Baker By Nature

Apple Pie Baked Apples from Baker By Nature

Pecan Pie Bars from Baker By Nature


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Tessa Arias

About Tessa...

I share trusted baking recipes your friends will LOVE alongside insights into the science of sweets. I'm a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. I love to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. I live in Phoenix, Arizona (hence the blog name!)

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