29 Creative Thanksgiving Dessert Ideas to Try Instead Of Pumpkin Pie This Year
Triple-Citrus Pound Cake
Fruit and Almond Country-Style Tart
Apple-Brown Butter Bars
Get a triple dose of orchard flavors from juice, fruit, and jelly in this five-star apple dessert. Since it’s made in slab form rather than round and lattice-topped, this riff on an apple pie requires just 20 minutes of hands-on time. The nutty brown butter nicely echoes the almonds and almond paste in the crust for a Thanksgiving dessert you’ll want to instantly add to your “bake again!” list.
Pie in an Apple
Flip the concept of a classic apple pie inside out with this small-batch apple dessert that’s designed to feed four. It’s definitely one of our top picks (sorry, we couldn’t resist!) for fresh Thanksgiving fruit dessert ideas for a small Thanksgiving or Friendsgiving meal. We call for store-bought refrigerated piecrust so you can focus on acing the apple mixture and stuffing process, but if you have time and are feeling ambitious, follow steps one through four of how to make piecrust from scratch.
You don't have to skip the pie to serve Thanksgiving cupcakes—just combine the two! With three different pie-cakes to choose from, everyone gets the chance to try their favorite flavor in cupcake form.
Melt-in-Your-Mouth Frosted Pumpkin Cookies
If you're too full for a slice of pie after dinner, reach for a more pint-sized Thanksgiving cookie instead. These mini pumpkin desserts pack a ton of flavor into one tender, tiny frosted cookie, so you can still enjoy the taste of your favorite Thanksgiving desserts without committing to a whole slice of pie.
Brown-Bottom Butterscotch Cashew Cream Pie
Butterscotch tops a salty-sweet nut crust and a rich layer of deep, dark chocolate to make this creamy Thanksgiving dessert idea. Add a layer of sweet brown sugar meringue to finish.
Easy Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes
Pumpkin desserts are a must for any holiday celebration, and these Thanksgiving cupcakes are loaded with luscious fall flavors. Almost like pumpkin pie, these cupcakes get their signature taste from pumpkin pie spice and a full cup of canned pumpkin.
Cherry Kuchen Bars
Powdered sugar icing adds sweetness to tender bars filled with tart cherries, and canned cherry pie filling makes the prep for this Thanksgiving fruit dessert a breeze. (Although if you have time, you could absolutely stir up some homemade cherry pie filling using thawed frozen cherries.) No wonder BH&G home cook Kasia said this Thanksgiving dessert is, “absolutely amazing! The whole family loved it, and this will become our Thanksgiving tradition from now on.” Too full after the big meal? These bars can also be a great addition to a holiday brunch, too. Black Friday fuel for the win!
Crustless Cheesecake with Cranberry Sauce
Homemade cranberry sauce tops rich and creamy cheesecake in this five-ingredient dessert. Garnish with sugared cranberries and fresh mint so this Thanksgiving cheesecake gives a nod to the winter holidays to come. Psst...you’ll want to save this recipe to make it again then!
Earl Grey-Maple Gingerbread with Pumpkin Ice Cream
Rich and creamy pumpkin ice cream makes our ginger-spiced cake even more irresistible. Made with Earl Grey tea and maple flavors baked right in, this Thanksgiving cake is surprisingly complex (and delicious).
Triple Coconut Cream Pie
Take your coconut cream pie from good to great—and set it apart from typical Thanksgiving pies—with our tricks and tips. Our number one secret? Use three types of coconut. It’s one of our best holiday pie recipes because it's designed to be made ahead. Assemble and bake it, then chill for at least six hours before serving.
Fudge Cream Pie
Cranberry Cream Tartlets
No one gets stuck with the small slice when you make individual tartlets! Each of these sweet-tart Thanksgiving desserts is topped with a delicious vanilla whipped cream and garnished with sugared cranberries.
Rustic Blood Orange Tart with Salted Pecan Crust
You need just five ingredients to whip up this creative and colorful tart, which boasts juicy blood oranges and a salted pecan crust. The results are a feast for the eyes and the stomach. Pure maple syrup sweetens this easy dessert for Thanksgiving.
Cherry-Almond Creamy Cheese Pie
Cherries and toasted almonds top a rich cheesecake-like filling for a combination of mild sweetness and tart fruitiness in every bite of this Thanksgiving pie recipe.
Amaretto-laced cheesecake fills a buttery shortbread crust for a luscious dessert that will inspire your guests to go back for seconds. Top with ground toasted almonds for an easy garnish that adds crunch to every bite of this Thanksgiving cheesecake.
White Chocolate and Almond Pound Cake
Meringue-Topped Raspberry Cupcakes
Fluffy meringue and a fresh raspberry top Thanksgiving cupcakes laced with raspberry liqueur. Guests will love the unexpected, refreshing burst of fruity flavor at the Thanksgiving table.
Grapefruit Tart with Chocolate-Almond Crust
If fruity tarts aren't on your list of Thanksgiving dessert ideas, they should be. Fresh slices of orange and grapefruit garnish this artful tart. The homemade chocolate-almond crust is sure to wow any Thanksgiving guest.
Lime-Pecan Shortbread Bars
Sheet-Pan Shortcake with Mascarpone Cream and Pears
If you’ve been following our cooking adventures for some time, you’re probably aware that we’re huge fans of pretty much any recipe made on a sheet pan. This Thanksgiving dessert scores top marks for that easy-to-prep format—and for its luscious mascarpone cream and honeyed pear topping. With just 1/3 cup of sugar for the entire feeds-a-crowd recipe, this is one Thanksgiving cake that’s not too sweet (read: totally appropriate to eat for brunch, too).
Wine-Poached Pear Trifle
If you ask us, the best Thanksgiving wine pairing can always be found in the dessert course. And that Thanksgiving dessert recipe earns bonus points if it also includes wine, just like this pretty pear trifle. Cranberry-infused light red wine is the perfect poaching liquid for fresh pears. Homemade vanilla cake, hazelnut cream, and a streusel topping round out this beautiful Thanksgiving fruit dessert.
Holiday Pavlova Parfaits
While these fresh Thanksgiving desserts look like they came from straight out of a fancy restaurant’s kitchen, the stunning parfaits can be easily made in your kitchen. And in even better news, nearly all of the components can be prepped a couple days ahead to save you stress (and oven space) on Thanksgiving Day. We’ll explain how to whip egg whites for perfect pavlovas, then suggest pairing them with lime cream, sugared cranberries, and a three-ingredient berry sauce.
Pear, Apple, and Cranberry Cobbler
Just one bite of this fresh Thanksgiving dessert idea will convince you that cranberries are stellar in more than sauce alone. Here, they lend a pleasant tart quality that plays nicely with the sweet apples and pears and the buttery cobbler topping. For the best flavor experience, serve warm and with whipped cream or ice cream.
Hasselback Apples or Pears
Gluten-free diners should still be able to indulge in dessert! But the speedy prep time (33 minutes), showy presentation, and carmely flavor make us wild about this fresh Thanksgiving dessert recipe—even without a wheat allergy. To slice the fruit just-right for fanning but not all the way through, use our Test Kitchen’s trick of lining up a chopstick (like these Totally Bamboo Twist Chopsticks, $7 for five pairs, Bed Bath & Beyond) on each side of the fruit to catch the knife before it slices all the way down.
Mini Roasted Apple and Pear Tarts
For a goof-proof way to speed up and simplify fruit pie, serve the filling atop squares of store-bought puff pastry. With bourbon-laced, cinnamon-scented pears and apples joining the party, no one will miss the finicky piecrust. For those who love salt as much as we do, offer these alongside a small dish of flaky sea salt to sprinkle on top. That extra touch really amplifies the sweetness of the fresh fall fruit.
Baby Cheesecakes with Toffee Pears
No more battles over the biggest slice! With these easy muffin tin cheesecakes, everyone gets a perfectly-portioned piece of this Thanksgiving fruit dessert. This is the ultimate Thanksgiving cheesecake for fans of sweet and savory: a sprinkle of blue cheese brings just enough tang to balance out the sweet and buttery toffee pear topping.