These Thanksgiving desserts span traditional pies as well as a few unexpected surprises to ensure you end up with just the finish you crave for your holiday meal.
While I may be the family aficionado of marvelously carb-y Thanksgiving side dishes, The One takes the cake when it comes to the dessert table.
His favorite dessert is my pumpkin cake with maple-cream cheese frosting. I’ve been making it for 29 years, ever since I developed it for the Los Angeles Times. And whenever we host Turkey Day, he orders me to soft pedal offering guests Thanksgiving dessert doggie bags.
He wants it all for himself!
☞ GOT THANKSGIVING QUESTIONS?: WE’VE ANSWERED 99 OF YOUR BIGGEST
The one dessert he forbids me to bake? Classic pumpkin pie. None, he says, compares to those sold at (bangs head on keyboard)…Costco.
But The One cannot live by pumpkin alone, which is why we’ve included cranberry crostata, pecan pies, cheesecake, and, yes, a pumpkin ice cream below. But this is a cold play on our pumpkin meringue pie–pumpkin ice cream, marshmallow swirls, and shards of pie crust. (The One made me do it.)
This pecan pie is extraordinarily simple and quick to prepare, and it has a perfect balance of flavors. It isn’t overly sweet, and the subtle vanilla custard goes beautifully with the pecan topping. It’s ideal for the holiday season. I’ll be adding it as a new Thanksgiving favorite.–Naomi
I have made this cheesecake recipe for several years and it is excellent. Foolproof and so festive for the holidays. Orange in the filling is just perfect. Cheesecakes are the perfect dessert for a party as they can be made ahead and really are very easy.–Linda
Thanksgiving Dessert FAQs
How many desserts should I serve at Thanksgiving dinner?
It depends on the number of people at your table, but we suggest at least 2, even for a small gathering. To be safe, plan on 2 slices of dessert per person. A pie usually has 8 slices in it, so plan to have one dessert for every 4 people.
What can I make for my gluten-free, dairy-free, or vegan guests?
Ideally, you want to have a dessert that everyone can enjoy, without making anyone feel singled out. We love poached pears because they can be served to almost anyone, and can even be topped with a dollop of coconut whipped cream.
Our indulgent pumpkin pots de crème are gluten-free if served without the cookie crumbles. Making a pear-cranberry crumble with vegan butter is also a great choice if you’ve got dairy-free or vegan guests.
How should desserts be stored?
If they’ve got eggs, milk, or cream in them, keep them in the fridge before and after serving. Other desserts can usually be stored at room temperature.
Desserts are arguably the most important (or at least most anticipated) part of the Thanksgiving meal. They often can be made a couple of days in advance, making them also one of the least stressful parts of hosting Thanksgiving dinner. So, pick a couple of the above Thanksgiving dessert recipes, get baking, indulge, and let the accolades roll in. You deserve it.