Our 32 Best Thanksgiving Desserts
Whether you prefer pumpkin or apple pie, dessert may be the best part about Thanksgiving. From apple crisp to a salted-caramel cheesecake, any one of these stunning desserts will be a beautiful, well-loved addition to your holiday table.Related: Ultimate Thanksgiving Guide
Brown Butter Pecan Pie with Espresso Dates
At Sofra Bakery & Cafe in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Maura Kilpatrick is known for her ingenious blending of American and Middle Eastern flavors. Here she balances sweet Medjool dates with bitter espresso and toasty brown butter for a pie that might look familiar but is surprisingly complex.
Gluten-Free Pumpkin-Ginger Cupcakes
These supermoist, gluten-free cupcakes have terrific pumpkin flavor and an irresistible topping of fluffy, creamy frosting and golden caramel sauce.
Quince Tarte Tatin
Chef Michael Tusk uses fresh quinces from California to make this twist on the classic French upside-down apple tart. Quince is more dense than apple, so it retains a bit of firmness even after it's cooked.
Buttermilk Cake with Riesling-Poached Pears
“We get these crazy organic pears that are ugly as sin,” says Tory Miller of the Moon-glow variety he uses throughout the cold winter months. Peeling them, though, reveals a fruit so beautiful and juicy that he prefers a minimalist approach, either serving them raw or poaching them in wine, such as the Riesling he uses here.
Vanilla-and-Cider Panna Cottas with Spiced Ginger Cookies
Shawn McClain tops his cinnamon-and-vanilla-flavored panna cotta with an elegant apple-cider gelée. He equates the dessert to a Creamsicle because it successfully combines creamy and tangy flavors.
Apple Tart with Almond Cream
The thin, crisp pastry shell is filled with a layer of almond cream made from both finely ground and coarsely chopped nuts that give the tart layers of texture. The thinly sliced apples on top caramelize as the tart bakes.
Pear Tarte Tatin with Red-Wine Caramel
Instead of apple pie, Shawn McClain ends his Thanksgivings with this stunning tarte Tatin. Because the recipe calls for store-bought puff pastry, it’s quite easy to prepare.
Lemon-Cranberry Pie Bars
A beautiful alternative to the classic Thanksgiving pie, this sweet and tangy bar has a simple press-in crust and a lemon curd filling swirled with cranberry puree.
Vanilla Ice Cream Bread Pudding with Whiskey Caramel
This genius bread pudding is made with melted vanilla ice cream, eliminating the need to make a custard.
Marbled Pumpkin Cheesecake with a Brownie Crust
Thanksgiving Make-Ahead Tip: The baked cheesecake can be refrigerated in the springform pan for up to 4 days.
Apple Brown Betty
Michael Symon usually doesn’t make dessert for holidays. Still, his version of this classic is great after a big meal because it isn’t too sweet or too heavy. He layers brioche bread crumbs with sliced apples and a cinnamon-citrus sugar, baking everything together so it becomes wonderfully soft.
Lattice-Topped Apple Pie
Greg Patent likes to use an assortment of tart and sweet apples in this dense, apple-packed pie. Some varieties to look for are Greening, Cortland, Winesap, Braeburn, Jonamac and Granny Smith.
Apple Crostada with Brown Butter Streusel
Ginger and Pear Upside-Down Cake
Thanksgiving Make-Ahead Tip: The unmolded cake can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.
Apple Crisp with Sweet Ginger and Macadamia Nuts
To make chopping macadamia nuts easy, Greg Patent suggests, put them in a resealable plastic bag and breaking them up with a rolling pin.
Three Babes Bakeshop in San Francisco offers this fun, portable pie: They bake the pastry in a jar, then fill it with fig-and-pear syrup, mascarpone cream, fruit and toasted walnuts.
Pear-Cranberry Hand Pies
These flaky little pies may be the ultimate grab-and-go dessert.
Caramelized-Apple Custard Tart with a Rye Crust
This tart features silky-smooth, rich custard and caramelized apples in a tender, earthy rye-flour pastry crust.
Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars with Caramel Swirl
These decadent chocolate-crusted bars are topped with a homemade caramel that sinks into the pumpkin cheesecake batter during baking.
Apple Cake with Toffee Crust
This moist cake is served with butterscotch sauce, caramelized apples and ice cream.
Pumpkin-and-White Chocolate Mousse Pie
This reimagined pumpkin pie from Mr. Holmes Bakehouse in San Francisco has an ethereal pumpkin-and-white-chocolate-mousse filling and a stellar, crunchy crust.
Apple Pie à la Mode Ice Cream Sandwiches
Purple Sweet Potato Pie with Coconut and Five-Spice
Pumpkin Layer Cake with Mascarpone Frosting
Pecan Pie with Candied Ginger and Rum
For a wonderful contrast to the sweetness of her pecan pie, master baker Alice Medrich adds minced candied ginger and a splash of rum to the filling.
Bourbon-Pecan-Apple Pie with Cinnamon Whipped Cream
Dutch Apple Pie
Deep-Dish Caramel Apple Pie
This deep-dish caramel apple pie from Food & Wine’s Kay Chun is drizzled with a luscious homemade caramel sauce and topped with a crunchy oat streusel.
Gingered Pumpkin Pie with Candied Pepitas
This take on pumpkin pie has the smooth texture of the classic, but with extra layers of ginger-caramel flavor. Candied pepitas on top add extra crunch.
Classic Pumpkin Pie
To create a crisp crust on the bottom, Grace Parisi partially bakes the pie shell before adding the filling. If the edge starts to darken too much, cover it with a pie shield or strips of foil.
Brown Butter Pumpkin Pie
Since it’s technically a custard, a smooth and creamy consistency is the goal, and processing the pumpkin helps break up any fibers for a smoother filling. The addition of browned butter gives the pumpkin a subtle butterscotch flavor.
Pear and Cranberry Slab Pie
Instead of making a traditional two-crust pie in a pie plate, Food & Wine’s Justin Chapple makes this free-form, fruit-filled, ginger-laced pie on a baking sheet.