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30+ Delicious Thanksgiving Desserts Your Guests Will Love

Thanksgiving Day menus are hugely important. The stuffing recipe, turkey technique, the debates over making or buying the cranberry sauce. But arguably the most critical question? What are we having for dessert? Get fresh ideas, make ahead recipes and showstopping desserts in this roundup of 30+ Delicious Thanksgiving Desserts Your Guests Will Love.

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A collage of fall desserts with the words, "30+ Delicious Thanksgiving Day Dessert Recipes".

If you’ve been tasked with bringing dessert to this year’s Thanksgiving Day gathering, first of all, lucky you! To me there is nothing more fun than hunting through dessert recipes to find an option that is classic (yet inventive) and of course, totally indulgent.

While classic dessert options are generally pie (Pumpkin, Apple, Pecan, and even French Silk or Strawberry Rhubarb) the sky is truly the limit when it comes to dessert.

A pumpkin cheesecake? Yes! Swap that apple pie for a more do-able galette? Absolutely! And what about cakes, pumpkin brownies, and even cream puffs? Sounds perfect!

Looking for the Classics?

I’m a purist at heart and my Thanksgiving always has to include at least one pumpkin pie with homemade whipped cream to feel complete. So I hear you! What if you want a classic recipe? If you are looking for a basic Pumpkin Pie, Apple Pie, or Pecan Pie recipe, I always use the America’s Test Kitchen Recipes (I have the Family Baking Book and The Perfect Pie). They are incredibly well-written, great for beginners or the advanced, and they WORK.

I have also prepared the Apple Slab Pie and Marbled Pumpkin Cheesecake Slab Pie from Smitten Kitchen which are excellent options for larger groups. Fun to make too!

The rest of this list contains desserts that are a slight (or major) change from the popular standbys. Change things up with some fresh dessert options this year!

Things to Know About Thanksgiving Desserts

What is the most popular Thanksgiving Dessert?

Pumpkin Pie of course! Apple Pie and Pecan Pie are high on the list too. If you want to keep things traditional, but switch it up, choose one of these classic flavors, but change up the presentation. Maybe a pumpkin tart or cheesecake. Perhaps pecan pie cupcakes or an apple and pear pie. Even layer cakes can make an appearance!

What Desserts Are Good for Thanksgiving?

I personally think make-ahead desserts are essential for Thanksgiving. Most pies can be prepared ahead at least a day (check your recipe), but there are also options like Pumpkin Ice Cream Dessert or No Bake Cheesecakes which can be prepared well in advance. This leaves you plenty of time to prep other recipes (and keep that all-important oven cleared too!).

What Are Thanksgiving Desserts You Can Make Ahead?

Both pies and cheesecakes are often able to be prepared ahead. Other ideas include layered desserts, cakes, cupcakes, ice cream desserts and more. Check your recipe for details and be sure you have plenty of fridge space if the recipe requires refrigeration.

What Are Thanksgiving Desserts That Are Not Pie?

Not everyone likes pie (and certainly not everyone enjoys baking the finicky things!), but that doesn’t mean you can’t bring a showstopping dessert. My top recommendation is to go the cheesecake route. Most recipes can be prepared in advance, they can be decorated as fancifully as you wish, and they are rich enough and special enough to make a lasting memory for all of your guests! Try the Chocolate Pumpkin Cheesecake or the No-Bake Caramel Pumpkin Cheesecake on the list below.

Which Thanksgiving Desserts Will Impress My Guests?

I think a perfectly baked pie is always impressive, but if that’s outside your wheelhouse try a dessert that is more straightforward. I suggest Pumpkin Tiramisu, Pecan Praline Cheesecake, Pumpkin Lush Dessert, or this Pumpkin Bundt Cake. Also, don’t neglect adding a batch of freshly made whipped cream to whatever you decide!

30+ Delicious Thanksgiving Desserts Your Guests Will Love

Why stop with pumpkin pie? This list of 30+ Delicious Thanksgiving Desserts Your Guests Will Love is packed with unique and mouth-watering dessert options like Pumpkin Tiramisu, Caramel Apple Crumb Bars, Pecan Pie Cupcakes, Pumpkin Cheesecake and so much more. Make a memorable holiday and add some of these showstopping sweet treats to your Thanksgiving menu!

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