Our Best Thanksgiving Desserts
These tiny pies, baked in a muffin tin, showcase the flavors of pumpkin and pecans in a one- or two-bite dessert.
Pumpkin pie variations
Mommy's Pumpkin Pie: "This recipe is adapted from my mother's classic pumpkin pie," says Linda Hundt, owner of Sweetielicious Bakery Cafe in DeWitt, Michigan. "I added cream to make it a bit richer and orange zest for flavor." The result is a dark, mahogany pumpkin pie with ginger-cinnamon-clove spiciness (bottom pie in photo).
Pumpkin Cream Cheese Pie: Cream cheese strudel inspired Peter Sterk, owner of Just Pies in Westerville, Ohio, to build a pumpkin pie with a surprise cream cheese layer (top pie in photo). For the creamiest pumpkin pie, don't overbake.
Triple Pear Pie with Walnut Crust
You can't mistake the fruit in this cardamom-spiced beauty. Pear nectar and dried pears complement thick slices of fresh, juicy Bosc pears.
Pumpkin Trifle makes a spectacular ending to a Thanksgiving meal, with layers of cranberries, cake and pumpkin. Packaged ingredients such as canned pumpkin, frozen pound cake, canned cranberry sauce, candy bars and instant pudding mix speed prep time.
Caramel-Pecan French Silk Pie
Caramel and pecans form a gooey base for this chocolate dream pie. Make this decadent pie at least a day ahead so it has plenty of time to chill before guests arrive. Leaf-shape pastry bits create a festive finishing touch.
Pumpkin-Praline Layer Cake
This nutty layer cake has a whipped cream topping over a moist filling of pumpkin, brown sugar, pecans, butter and more whipping cream. "What a beauty! Very impressive and pretty easy, too," writes a website reviewer. "The praline layer is awesome!"
Gooey Pecan Pie Bars
Pecan pie in a bite-size bar? Say no more. We got the recipe for these rich, buttery, thick cookies from Liberty Gathering Place restaurant in West Liberty, Ohio.
Red Velvet Cheesecake
We took the red velvet cake that we love and gave it a creamy twist. Don't let the red color fool you: The flavor is all chocolate.
Paradise Pumpkin Pie
A cheesecake layer and nut topping help this pumpkin pie stand out from its peers. This recipe was a winner at the Morton, Illinois, Pumpkin Festival baking competition.
Pumpkin-Chocolate Cheesecake Bars
This make-ahead bar cookie offers an irresistible stack of flavors: sweet graham cracker crust, rich chocolaty cheesecake, spicy pumpkin cheesecake and a topping of sour cream.
Cornmeal Pumpkin Cake with Dried Fruit Compote
Riesling-poached fruit and billowy whipped cream crown a dense spice cake inspired by ingredients from the first Thanksgiving.
Crumb-Topped Apple Trio Pie
Crisp on top, sweetly tender inside, this quintessential Thanksgiving dessert blends tart and sweet apples—Granny Smith, Jonagold and Braeburn—with sugar and cinnamon under a brown-sugar and walnut crumb topping.
Chocolate Chess Pie
Fort Wayne, Indiana, cookbook author Marcia Adams loves this standout treat. "It's so easy to prepare," she says. This is Marcia's rendition of the Southern classic chess pie: a basic dessert made with eggs, sugar, butter and a little flour.
Danish Pastry Apple Bars
This recipe for Danish Pastry Apple Bars comes from an Indiana teacher. "Excellent recipe!" says a website reviewer. "It's just like apple pie in a cake pan."
Fantasy Chocolate Pie
Dream about all the ingredients you'd like to see in a dessert, and you'll see why we named this Fantasy Chocolate Pie. It's made with three kinds of chocolate pieces (milk chocolate, semisweet, and semisweet-and-white- chocolate swirled) -- plus coconut, pecans and almonds. For extra indulgence, top with whipped cream and chocolate curls.
Pumpkin Cream Cheese Sandwich Cake
A cream cheese layer and rich chocolate frosting make this pumpkin cake a crowd-pleaser.
Melt-in-Your-Mouth Pumpkin Cookies
Top cake-like pumpkin cookies with a smooth brown sugar and butter frosting, then dust with cinnamon for a bite-size Thanksgiving treat.
Chocolate Cream Pie
The filling of this chocolate-crust pie is luscious, but not too rich. (Think old-fashioned chocolate pudding.) A bit of sour cream in the whipped topping balances the chocolate perfectly.
Graham crackers form the base for this bar cookie with layers of marshmallows, brown sugar, almonds and coconut. It's a holiday favorite from Georgine Simmonds of Genesee, Michigan. "I've made these cookies since 1984," Georgine says.
This creamy, cool cheesecake is lightly flavored with pumpkin and spices, perfect with a cup of coffee after your Thanksgiving meal. The recipe comes from a Seeley, Wisconsin, restaurant.
Fantasy Chocolate-Caramel Delights
"I love caramel, nuts and chocolate," says the Mandan, North Dakota, reader who sent this recipe to a Midwest Living cookie contest. Fantasy Chocolate-Caramel Delights were one of the highest-rated cookies in the contest.
Apple Butter Pumpkin Pie
Apple butter lends extra sweetness and a slightly softer texture to classic pumpkin pie. The streusel topping adds crunch.
Pumpkin Spice Creme Brulee
This creamy, rich dessert comes from Courtright's Restaurant in Willow Springs, Illinois. Although the restaurant puts a solid crust of caramelized sugar on its creme brulee, we made it easier for you and drizzled it on.
Cider-Spiked Apple and Pecan Tart
Ginger-Cinnamon Apple Crisp
"This is a twist on a popular dish and is one of my personal favorites," says April Osburn from the Clabber Girl Bake Shop in Terre Haute, Indiana. Thinly slice the apples so they get done in the allotted baking time.
Double Chocolate-Espresso Truffle Pie
Do you have a chocoholic in your family? Give them something to love with this über-rich pie. For pretty chocolate curls, warm a bar of milk chocolate in your pocket or hand, then shave with a sharp vegetable peeler.
Fresh Apple Cake
This nutty comfort cake from Sharon Buckner of Rhineland, Missouri, gets a sugary top and caramelized gooey bottom as it cooks. Don't be surprised by the thick batter; it will bake into a moist, dense cake.
Milk chocolate and toasted almonds coat a crunchy toffee base. Be sure to use real butter in the toffee; with margarine, the fat separates out onto the candy's surface.
Red raspberries and blueberries join ruby-red cherries in Cherry Berry Berry Pie (left), a favorite from Sweetielicious Bakery Cafe in DeWitt, Michigan (just north of Lansing). The trio yields a dark, rich filling crowned with a crunchy streusel topping.
For another twist, try Cherry Apple Crumb Pie. At Grand Traverse Pie Company in Traverse City, Michigan, cooks use tart Michigan Northern Spy Apples with the local tart Montmorency cherries for this pie to satisfy both apple and cherry lovers.
A hint of pumpkin adds flavor to festive Autumn Cutouts, a sugar cookie dough we tinted with orange and green paste food coloring. Our instructions show how to create marbled leaves, patchwork pumpkins and polka-dot pumpkins.