Splurge-Worthy Thanksgiving Desserts
Forget all the fuss about Thanksgiving turkey, the real show stoppers of the day are the Thanksgiving desserts. Southern Living has so many options for great Thanksgiving dessert recipes from the traditional pumpkin pie recipes to the decadent trifle recipes to the easy-to-transport heath bar squares. You can’t go wrong making too many Thanksgiving desserts. You can only go wrong if you have too few Thanksgiving dessert recipes – or if you fill up on too much of that turkey! Even if you aren’t the one bringing the Thanksgiving dessert this year, they are fun to look through and then send along the Thanksgiving dessert recipe to a friend or family member.
Recipe: Pumpkin-Espresso Tiramisù
Make Ahead: Loosely wrap baked and cooked tiramisu in plastic wrap, and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Cherry-Spice Cake Trifle
Chocolate-Pecan Mousse Tart
Recipe: Chocolate-Pecan Mousse Tart
You can make and freeze crust ahead of time; thaw in your refrigerator overnight before preparing the filling.
Decadent Cream Puffs with Praline Sauce and Toasted Pecans
It may be tempting to use a stand mixer for the cream puff batter, but it pays to mix by hand. You need to see when the mixture is smooth and shiny, which will prevent overmixing. Top with Praline Sauce.
Recipe: Pecan-Espresso Toffee
Take a crack at this intensely rich and buttery holiday treat.
Pecan Pie Bars
Recipe: Pecan Pie Bars
These chewy, bite-size bars require just 20 minutes of prep time.
Recipe: Caramel-Pecan Pie
Create this rich gooey caramel pecan pie for your family and friends. It is a perfect special occasion pie.
Pumpkin Pie Spectacular
Recipe: Pumpkin Pie Spectacular
This gorgeous pie will win first prize on any dessert buffet. Make it for Thanksgiving with the family or a special night in. The pie crust garnishes add a decorative flair.
Double Apple Pie With Cornmeal Crust
Don't skip the apple jelly in this to-die-for pie recipe—it makes the baked pie juices extra rich. It also decreases the cloudiness that sometimes occurs with a flour-thickened apple pie filling.
Recipe: Blackberry-Apple Pie
This apple-and-berry-packed pie is extra-tasty because of the white-Cheddar cheese crust that provides a sigh-worthy companion for the sweet fruit filling.
Creole Bread Pudding with Bourbon Sauce
This bread pudding is from New Orleans chef Leah Chase, the queen of Creole cuisine. And yes, it does call for 5 tablespoons of vanilla extract!
Bananas Foster Upside-Down Cake
Recipe: Bananas Foster Upside-Down Cake
One quick flip and this cake tumbles from the skillet perfectly golden and party ready.
Lemon Curd Pound Cake
Recipe: Pear Dumplings
A fresh ginger-and-citrus syrup adds the finishing touch to these pastry-wrapped pear dumplings.
Sweet Potato Pie with Marshmallow Meringue
Recipe: Caramel-Pecan Tart
Surprisingly easy to make, this pecan and caramel dessert recipe pairs the cookie-like crispness of shortbread with a buttery-rich brown sugar-and-honey topping.
Brandy Alexander Cheesecake
Recipe: Brandy Alexander Cheesecake
Garnish this rich cheesecake with berries and currants for a party-perfect presentation. The cake can be baked and frozen up to a month ahead.
The Ultimate Carrot Cake
Sweet Potato-Pecan Cupcakes With Cream Cheese Frosting
Keep this family favorite around for the holiday season. Mashed sweet potatoes give the cupcakes extra moistness, while a myriad of spices including cinnamon and nutmeg, spice up the traditionally sweet dessert. A simple Cream Cheese Frosting and a sprinkle of chopped pecans is all that's needed on top.
Coconut-Almond Cream Cake
Recipe: Coconut-Almond Cream Cake
This decadent cake is deliciously rich as well as moist. For a colorful presentation, garnish with kumquats, currants, and fresh mint sprigs.
Caramel-Pecan-Pumpkin Bread Puddings
This recipe is a great way to use the delicious, seasonal flavor of pumpkin. If you're short on time (or dishes) you can make this in a 13- x 9-inch baking dish.
Pecan Cheesecake Pie
Recipe: Pecan Cheesecake Pie
The nutty topping on this pecan cheesecake pie adds a nice crunch to the characteristic creaminess of this popular dessert.
Banana Pudding Trifle
Recipe: Banana Pudding Trifle
This classic English layered pudding dessert goes Southern with banana pudding and bourbon-soaked vanilla wafers.
Recipe: Pecan Tassies
These mini pecan pies are perfect for holiday get-togethers. They're a guaranteed crowd-pleaser and surprisingly easy to prepare!
Mini Pumpkin Cakes
Recipe: Mini Pumpkin Cakes
Delicious pumpkin flavor and pumpkin pie spices make this treat a yummy way to celebrate the season. With only 30 minutes of hands-on time, it's doable for a special dinner party or just a fun treat.
Recipe: Applesauce Pie
Everyone loves apple pie, especially fresh from the oven on a chilly fall day. You can make this easy applesauce filling up to a week ahead and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Recipe: Pecan Squares
If you like the taste of pecan pie, you'll love this easy alternative. Serve the squares with vanilla ice cream for an over-the-top dessert.
Mocha-Pecan Mud Pie
Recipe: Mocha-Pecan Mud Pie
Round out your meal with a slice of decadent mocha-pecan mud pie. This dessert is so rich, your guests will never know it was lightened.
Sweet Potato-Buttermilk Pie
Recipe: Sweet Potato-Buttermilk Pie
Top with whipped cream and this sweet potato pie is sure to be a hit.
Recipe: Pumpkin Roll
Impress your guests with a spiced pumpkin cake roll that's filled with sweet cream cheese. Rolling up the cake is easy with these step-by-step instructions, plus, you can make it ahead and refrigerate it until you're ready to serve.
Lightened Hummingbird Cake
Recipe: Lightened Hummingbird Cake
We lowered the fat and calories by substituting applesauce for some of the oil, using less butter and sugar, fewer eggs, and substituting light for regular cream cheese.
Apple Upside-Down Pie
Recipe: Apple Upside-Down Pie
It tastes as good as its fun presentation. Pecans, apples and brown sugar shine in this upside-down pie.
Orange-Sweet Potato Pie With Rosemary-Cornmeal Crust
The simple addition of fresh chopped rosemary makes this an impressive pie crust that compliments the flavors of the spiced citrusy sweet potatoes in the filling. If you don’t want to make a homemade crust, you can follow the directions for adding fresh rosemary to a refrigerated crust.
Peanut Butter-Banana Sandwich Bread Puddings With Dark Caramel Sauce
These puff much like soufflés, so present to guests right out of the oven. Encourage them to hold off enjoying the desserts for five minutes while they cool slightly. Finish it all off with delicious Peanut Butter Streusel Topping and Dark Caramel Sauce.
Upside-Down Apple Tart
Recipe: Upside-Down Apple Tart
Make a simple, rustic apple tart with Granny Smith apples plus a few other ingredients you probably already have on hand: flour, butter, and salt.
Robert E. Lee Bundt
Recipe: Robert E. Lee Bundt
For a different twist on the General's favorite cake, try this moist and lemony Bundt recipe. It has its origins in an 1879 cookbook titled Housekeeping in Old Virginia.
Rum-Glazed Sweet Potato Cakes
Recipe: Rum-Glazed Sweet Potato Cakes
This mini Bundt cake recipe features pureed sweet potatoes, raisins, rum, and toasted pecans along with cinnamon and nutmeg and is a perfect pick-up treat for a holiday dessert party.
White Chocolate-Cranberry Cheesecake
This cake is the perfect ending to a meal—from the deep red cranberry topping to the velvety smooth comforting bites.
Recipe: Cranberry-Apple-Pumpkin Bundt
The topping on this bundt—a maple glaze with sugared pecans and pumpkin seeds—will make your guests ooh and ahh.
Black Bottom Pumpkin Pie
Recipe: Black Bottom Pumpkin Pie
With a moist, crumbly crust and a decadent, creamy filling, it's hard to say no to seconds of this pie.
Brown Sugar-Bourbon Bundt
Ambrosia Chess Tarts
Recipe: Ambrosia Chess Tarts
Transform the Southern holiday staple into one of these beautiful bite-sized indulgences.
Chocolate-Caramel Pecan Pie
Recipe: Chocolate-Caramel Pecan Pie
This decadent pie pairs perfectly with a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Tennessee Jam Bundt
Recipe: Tennessee Jam Bundt
The best way to enjoy this blackberry and caramel confection is with friends—it makes 12 satisfying servings.
Cranberry-Apple Pie with Pecan Shortbread Crust
Savor the flavors of cranberries and apples as they come together with a holiday favorite—pecan shortbread—in this stunning presentation.
Utterly Deadly Southern Pecan Pie
Once you’ve made a pecan pie in a cast-iron skillet, you may never go back to a pie plate. Simply press a refrigerated pie crust into the skillet, sprinkle with sugar, top with the pecan mixture, and bake. Serving it in the skillet is also easy and makes the dish even more Southern.
Pumpkin Cheesecake Tart with Honey Swiss Meringue
Begin with a toasted pecan crust, layer with cream cheese and a classic pumpkin filling, and then gild the lily with a creamy meringue.
Buttermilk-Glazed Mini Fig Cakes with Vanilla Hard Sauce
Muffin pans make the perfect baking vessels for these little fig cakes. Gussy them up by spooning a dollop or piping a silver dollar of hard sauce on top, and then garnish them with halved fresh figs, fresh herbs, or even pecan halves.
Carrot Cake with Chèvre Frosting
Recipe: Carrot Cake with Chèvre Frosting
Substituting goat cheese for the standard cream cheese gives this frosting an extra-tangy kick.
Salted Caramel-Chocolate Pecan Pie
Sliced Sweet Potato Pie
Apple Butter Pie
Recipe: Apple Butter Pie
This pie comes together in a flash with deliciously sweet fall flavor that you (and your guests) won't be able to get enough of.
Coconut-Pumpkin Chiffon Pie
Recipe: Coconut-Pumpkin Chiffon Pie
Make and refrigerate without the topping a day ahead. Whip and add the topping before serving.
Apple Slab Pie
Recipe: Apple Slab Pie
Baked in a jelly-roll pan, this rectangular pie feeds a crowd.
Mocha-Espresso Cream Pie
Pear-Rosemary Pie with Cheddar Crust
Cheddar cheese gives this crust a unique, out-of-this-world flakiness.
Pumpkin Tart with Whipped Cream and Almond Toffee
Molasses and pumpkin pie spice give this elegant take on pumpkin pie its deep autumnal flavor. Buy one 29-oz. can of pumpkin for the recipe.
Apple, Pear, and Cranberry Pie
Recipe: Apple, Pear, and Cranberry Pie
Use slightly firm pears and crisp, tart apples here to achieve the best texture in the filling, and let this mountainous pie cool and settle for at least two hours before serving.
Butterscotch Meringue Pie with Pecan Crust
We won't revoke your pie credentials if you use a purchased piecrust in this recipe, but we love the way the homemade crust's earthy flavor elevates the caramel filling so much that we recommend you give it a try. A few rules of the road: Be sure to finely grind your pecans to ensure the crust will hold together. And if the crust tears just a bit, don't be alarmed. As with all piecrusts, you can easily press it back together with your fingertips or use extra scraps for patchwork.
Cranberry Cheesecake with Cranberry-Orange Sauce
Cut into this fall cheesecake to find a surprising fruit layer on the bottom. Dress it up by pooling sauce on top and garnishing with fresh mint leaves, citrus curls, and sugared cranberries.
Decadent Chocolate-Espresso Cheesecake
Dessert and coffee all in one slice, this over-the-top cheesecake is a surefire crowd-pleaser. To garnish with chocolate shards, melt dark bittersweet chocolate, and spread it in a thin layer on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Let it stand until set, and break into pieces.
Pecan Spice Cake with Caramel-Rum Glaze
Substitute extra cream for rum in the sauce, if you like. For a thicker glaze, add the whole 1 1/3 cups powdered sugar, whisking constantly, as the glaze begins to cool in the pan. For a sheer, saucy glaze, use less powdered sugar.
Pomegranate-Poached Pears with Cream
Firm pears will take longer than ripe pears to cook. To test for doneness, slide a skewer or small knife into the centers. The pears are done when the skewer slides effortlessly through the thickest part of the pears. Use extra cooking liquid in cocktails and fizzy drinks, or drizzle over yogurt.
Recipe: Pumpkin Cheesecake
We use a mix of chocolate and cinnamon graham cracker crumbs here to give the crust a dark color with notes of chocolate and a little spice. You can choose one or the other, so long as you use 1½ cups total. We also like to give the canned pumpkin a whirl in the food processor so it's nice and smooth in the creamy filling.
Tennessee Whiskey-Pecan Pie
Recipe: Tennessee Whiskey-Pecan Pie
We love the combination of pecans and smoky-sweet bourbon in the thick, rich pie filling. For a booze-free pie, substitute apple juice for the whiskey in the filling, and serve with plain sweetened whipped cream or enjoy it without.