17 Must-Try Thanksgiving Dessert Recipes
There’s something for every table on this list of 17 Must-Try Thanksgiving Dessert Recipes. With classic spiced fall flavors of pumpkin and apple, plus other great choices as well, these options are a delicious sweet feast. Includes no-bake, make-ahead, and freezer-friendly options!
The Best Thanksgiving Dessert Recipes
Even when it feels like I can’t eat one more bite on Thanksgiving, I always find room for dessert. And I’m guessing you’re the same.
For delicious inspiration, here’s my 17 Must-Try Thanksgiving Dessert Recipes.
While pumpkin pie and apple pie seem to be the standard for Thanksgiving, there are so many other desserts that deserve a place on the Thanksgiving table. And I’m all about variety.
This list includes the classic fall flavors of pumpkin and apple and all things spiced, plus a good sprinkling of chocolate recipes. Some recipes are more involved, while others are super easy, to even include no-bake and make-ahead and freezer-friendly.
How about a creamy pumpkin cheesecake? A super moist Bundt cake stuffed with fresh apples? Irresistible fall-spiced cookies? An easy, crave worthy chocolate treat? It’s all right here!
What Makes a Dessert Perfect for Thanksgiving?
So how do you decide what dessert(s) to make for Thanksgiving?
If we’re hosting, I aim to have at least 2 different desserts – more if it’s an especially large gathering. And I always try to include some chocolate, even if it’s a super simple treat.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when considering Thanksgiving dessert recipes:
- What’s your priority? This is VERY important to ponder. Preparing a Thanksgiving feast take lots of time and energy…and kitchen space. So think about what you want to prioritize overall. If you get all silly happy thinking about the main course and sides, then put more energy into those and plan for an easy dessert. If dessert is your priority, and you’d rather spend a day making pies and cheesecakes and cookies, then think about planning an easier meal.
- Fall flavors and ingredients. While I’m all about breaking out of the traditional mold, I do usually end up with at least one pumpkin dessert on the table – and usually an apple dessert too. They’re just not necessarily pies!
- CHOCOLATE. It’s just a fact. Everybody loves chocolate. And it’s a great fit at Thanksgiving, whether it’s a pie or simple no-bake treat.
- Can be made ahead. The one exception to desserts that take more prep time? If I can easily make them a day in advance. If the recipe allows, I’m all for making a dessert ahead of time, just to save on time and oven/kitchen space.
- Serves quite a few. Depending on how many people we’ll be hosting, I usually opt for desserts that serve at least 6 to 8 people. If there’s an even larger crowd, cakes that serve 12+ people become my go-to. Or I just make several different desserts!
- Ask for help. This is key when hosting Thanksgiving, whether it’s a small or large group. Simply ask everyone to bring something, and/or ask family/guests to help with the preparation pre-meal. This is essential in my book!
Tips for Making Desserts Ahead of Time
I adore make-ahead Thanksgiving desserts.
While you’ll want to check each individual recipe for specific make-ahead instructions, here are a few guidelines to keep in mind:
- Cakes and cupcakes can (usually) be baked in advance. This is especially helpful for layer cakes or other frosted cakes and cupcakes, when the cake needs to cool completely before adding the frosting. You can bake the cake in advance and then store at room temperature or in the fridge until you’re ready to assemble.
- Frostings can (usually) be made in advance. Some frostings can be made in advance and even added to the cake/cupcake in advance, while others will need to be whipped again just before serving.
- Add toppings just before serving. If a dessert calls for any type of topping, like whipped cream or fresh fruit, it’s always best to add it right before serving. But oftentimes the toppings can also be prepped in advance, so all you have to do is add it to the dessert right before serving.
Looking for sides for your Thanksgiving dinner? Check out my favorite Thanksgiving salad recipes here!
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