28 Thanksgiving Dessert Recipes That Aren't Pie|Recipes Spots

  • on November 12, 2023
28 Thanksgiving Dessert Recipes That Aren't Pie

No-bake pumpkin cheesecake on a platter, and in the background, a stack of plates, utensils on the counter, and an orange kitchen towel
Simply Recipes / Mark Beahm

“What can I bring?” you ask your Thanksgiving hosts.

“Can you bring dessert?” they reply. “But don’t bring pie. We’ve got pie covered.”

With pie covered, you’ll have to get creative because Thanksgiving is THE pie holiday. Don’t worry. Your hosts may have the pie covered, but we have you covered with these 28 ideas for Thanksgiving desserts that aren’t pie. These desserts have fall flavors—pumpkin, apple, pecans, baking spices, and more—just no pie crust.

2-Ingredient Pumpkin Mousse

2-ingredient pumpkin mousse topped with whipped cream and a sprinkle of pumpkin spice, all in a sherbert glass. On the counter, a spoonful of mousse.
Simply Recipes / Annika Panikker

This dessert looks fancy but is simple to make. Mix canned pumpkin pie filling (not purée) and whipped cream. Make it up to 24 hours ahead, and serve it from the bowl you mix it in or spoon it into individual bowls for single servings.

Chocolate Cranberry Rugelach

Chocolate Cranberry Rugelach Topped with Sugar Resting on a Cooling Rack
Simply Recipes / Sally Vargas

Roll chocolate, walnuts, and dried cranberries in a rich cream cheese pastry to create these one-bite traditional Jewish cookies. They freeze well, but if you want the cookies to be fresh, you can still make the dough ahead of time, freeze it, and then have half the work already done when it’s time to make the cookies.

Pumpkin Tiramisu

Slice of Pumpkin Tiramisu on a Plate Next to a Fork
Simply Recipes / Micah Siva

This is a mix-and-assemble dessert that’s a seasonal take on the classic Italian tiramisu. It still has an espresso syrup for soaking the ladyfingers, but also pumpkin spice and pumpkin purée thrown into the mix.

Apple Pie Bars with Crumble Topping

apple pie bars cut into squares
Irvin Lin

These apple pie bars have a filling similar to apple pie, but on the bottom of the bar is a layer of oats, sugar, flour, and butter. Spread the pie-like apple filling on top, then add a crumble. The recipe makes 16 bars that would be delicious topped with vanilla ice cream.

No-Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake

Close-up: No-bake pumpkin cheesecake on a platter, and in the background, a stack of plates, utensils on the counter, and an orange kitchen towel
Simply Recipes / Mark Beahm

There is seriously, truly no baking in this stunning cheesecake recipe, from the crust to the creamy filling. Draining the canned pumpkin on paper towels makes it less watery, giving you a sliceable cheesecake of substance. Use caramel sauce form the store to save time.

Pecan Pie Bars

Easy Pecan Pie Bars
Cindy Rahe

If you love pecan pie, you’ll love these bars. Thick pecan pie filling sits on top of shortbread. Bake, cool, and cut into squares. A great make-ahead dessert, you can freeze these bars for up to two months.

Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Pumpkin Snack Cake frosted with cream cheese is set on a table with two plates with pieces of cake to the right.
Marta Rivera

Cinnamon, clove, ginger, and nutmeg flavor this light pumpkin cake that’s topped with a rich cream cheese frosting. You make it in a 9×13-inch cake pan so frosting it is super simple. The recipe also works for cupcakes baked for 18 to 20 minutes.

Basque-Style Pumpkin Cheesecake

Basque-style cheesecake with slices cut out of it.
Simply Recipes / Karishma Pradhan

Remember when those rustic, burnished Basque cheesecakes were popular a few years ago? They’re so attractive and a great gift to bakers who are all thumbs, since the aim is for the cheesecake to collapse as it bakes. This pumpkin variation is subtly spiced and will steal the show away from pumpkin pie.

Cranberry Upside-Down Cake

cranberry upside down cake on a cake pedastal
Elise Bauer

Cranberries and caramel sauce go on the bottom of the pan, and a sweet cake flavored with orange zest goes on top of that. Bake, turn it out, and you’ll have a beautiful cranberry dessert to finish off Thanksgiving dinner.

No-Churn Pumpkin Ice Cream

No-Churn Pumpkin Spiced Ice Cream
Lisa Lin

Real pumpkin, sweetened condensed milk, sugar, whipped cream, plus plenty of baking spices go into this ice cream that you don’t need to churn. Mix the ingredients, freeze in a loaf pan for about six hours, and you have ice cream!

Ritz Torte

Slice of ritz torte on a plate, and in the background, a baking pan with more and a plate with another slice
Simply Recipes / Mark Beahm

Ritz torte is a buttery treat for lovers of nuts (pecans or walnuts). It’s also quite unique, hailing from eastern Appalachia. Toast crushed Ritz crackers and chopped nuts, then fold them into a meringue base and bake. Top with whipped cream. It’s buttery and salty from the crackers and has a garnish of shaved chocolate on top for a little contrast.

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Cupakes

A gluten-free pumpkin cupcake with the wrapper removed from edges and missing a bite on a cake stand with more (untouched) cupcakes
Simply Recipes / Ciara Kehoe

Bring these along to a Thanksgiving potluck so those with gluten sensitivity have a treat, and these cupcakes are a treat. Make them with with gluten-free flour, pumpkin purée, and pumpkin pie spice, frost the cupcakes with cream cheese frosting flavored with maple syrup.

Chocolate Martini

Best Chocolate Martini Recipe
Lori Rice

This chocolate martini is a special dessert drink made with vodka, chocolate liqueur, and crème de cacao. The result is a rich, creamy cocktail that works on its own as a dessert or to accompany any treat on your Thanksgiving dessert bar.

Fresh Apple Bundt Cake

Best Fresh Apple Bundt Cake
Simply Recipes / Michelle Becker

Chunks of fresh apples and a buttery caramel glaze make this one serious Bundt cake. It’s a family favorite recipe from Mrs. Paxton, the mother of our founder Elise Bauer’s friend. Now, it makes its way to you.

Crème Brûlée Cheesecake

Vanilla Bean Cheesecake with brittle sugar topping on a slate board wtih a slice cut out and fruit nearby.
Alison Bickle

This dessert pleases anyone who likes cheesecake, anyone who likes crème brûlée, or anyone who likes a really good dessert. After making a luscious cheesecake, brûlée the top using sugar and a kitchen torch. It doesn’t take long to do but it totally transforms the cheesecake into something extra special.

Pumpkin Spice Snickerdoodles

Pumpkin spice snickerdoodle on a cooling rack
Simply Recipes / Mark Beahm

Soft snickerdoodle cookies are a treat, and this version gets the fall holiday treatment by adding pumpkin purée (canned is fine) and pumpkin pie spice. They keep for five days in an air-tight container so you can make them a couple of days before Thanksgiving.

Persimmon Pudding Cake

persimmon pudding cake with whipped cream
Elise Bauer

Surprise everyone around the table with something different—this persimmon pudding cake. There’s no actual pudding in the cake, but the persimmon pulp creates a pudding-like consistency in the cake that has seasoned with warming spices and studded with nuts.

Apple Bread Pudding

Slice of Apple Bread Pudding on a Plate with Sauce Drizzling
Simply Recipes / Hannah Zimmerman

What’s great about this bread pudding dessert, besides the fact that it’s delicious, is that it’s so similar to French toast casserole that you can eat its leftovers for breakfast over Thanksgiving weekend. The brown sugar bourbon sauce is optional for breakfast, though.

Butterscotch Pudding

butterscotch pudding
Elise Bauer

This butterscotch pudding is easy and very affordable to make. If you have heavy whipping cream, you most likely have the rest of the ingredients in your kitchen to whip it up—butter, brown sugar, salt, whole milk, egg yolks, and vanilla extract. Bake the pudding in individual ramekins, and serve fresh whipped cream on the side as an optional topping.

Instant Pot Pumpkin Cheesecake

slice of pumpkin cheesecake topped with whipped cream and nuts
Coco Morante

Why make a cheesecake in the Instant Pot? It will never dry out, crack, or come out underdone in the middle. If you like to plan way ahead for the holiday, you can make this pumpkin cheesecake weeks in advance and freeze it.

Pumpkin Spice Blondies

Pumpkin Blondies on a Counter
Simply Recipes / Mark Beahm

White chocolate chips and toasted pecans fill these blondies flavored with pumpkin pie spice. Browning the butter first adds a depth of flavor and is totally worth taking the few extra minutes it adds.

Apple Carrot Cupcakes

Apple Carrot Cake Cupcakes
Elise Bauer

Can’t decide on apple cake or carrot cake? You don’t have to with these cupcakes that have coconut and pecans in them. The recipe yields 24 cupcakes, perfect for a large family and friends gathering.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars
Megan Keno

With a cheesecake-like filling and a crunchy streusel topping, serve these cheesecake bars with optional caramel sauce or whipped cream. They’re a real crowd pleaser so it’s good the recipe servers up to 18.

Eggnog Ice Cream

eggnog ice cream
Elise Bauer

Usher in the holiday season with homemade eggnog ice cream. It tastes just like eggnog, but instead of drinking it, you churn it into ice cream. Serve by itself or with a drizzle or caramel, or substitute it for the vanilla ice cream topping for any dessert.

Gingersnap Pavlova With Cranberries

Slice of Gingersnap Pavlova with Cranberries Sauce on a Plate
Simply Recipes / Mark Beahm

A pavlova is a giant cloud of baked meringue served with a fruit sauce. In this case, a sauce of cooked fresh cranberries. Before baking, fold crushed gingersnaps into the meringue. It’s very simply but reaps big rewards as a centerpiece dessert.

Apple Upside Down Cake

Apple Upside Down Cake, uncut on a platter
Elise Bauer

Cornmeal in the batter gives this upside down cake an enlivening texture. It’s an elegant change of pace from heavily spiced apple desserts; the caramel topping does all the heavy lifting.

White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies

Brandied Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Cookies
Elise Bauer

If you’re having a cookie tray for Thanksgiving, these cookies should be on it. Flavored with white chocolate chunks, brandy, and cranberries, they’re sweet and tart and a perfect accompaniment for after-dinner coffee.

Indian Pudding

A bowl of Indian pudding with whipped cream on top
Elise Bauer

This dessert isn’t much to look at, but it’s pure comfort in a bowl. Indian pudding dates back to early American colonial times in New England, where colonists would make a baked cornmeal pudding sweetened with molasses and flavored with spices. It’s a mix-and-bake affair, quite simple and easy to make ahead of time. Warm it before serving and make sure to offer it à la mode!

Article Categories:
Desserts · Spices

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