40 Mini Thanksgiving Desserts That Are Adorable and Delicious

Mini Apple Pies
Photo: Micah A. Leal

When it comes to Thanksgiving, side dishes like cornbread dressing and green bean casserole typically take the turkey's share of attention. Yet when the gravy-smeared plates are scraped clean, the meal still isn't finished—then comes the Thanksgiving desserts. Pies of all persuasions head up the dessert table, but why should you have to choose just one? We have two words: go mini. Mini desserts make the perfect compromise for guests who want a little nibble of everything, as well as providing an easy option to bake and take to another's home.

Instead of whole slices this year, serve up a menu of mini Thanksgiving desserts that ensure no one has to choose between pecan, pumpkin, cranberry, or apple. All guests have to do is simply grab and enjoy. From bite-sized riffs on your favorite classic recipes to tasty new takes on crowd-pleasing fall treats, these mini Thanksgiving dessert recipes are sure to showcase all the best of the season.

01 of 40

Mini Pumpkin Pies with Maple Whipped Cream

Mini Pumpkin Pies with Maple Whipped Cream and Mini Pear-Cranberry Pies
David Malosh; Prop Styling: Robyn Glaser; Food Styling: Maggie Ruggiero

Recipe: Mini Pumpkin Pies with Maple Whipped Cream

Classic pumpkin pie gets the cutest makeover with this easy recipe that uses phyllo pastry sheets in lieu of the usual pie shells for a rustic look. Phyllo pastry dries out quickly, but the Southern Living Test Kitchen provides tips on how to work with the dough to prevent this. Autumnal spices punch up the filling, and maple syrup adds a seasonal twist to the whipped cream topping.

02 of 40

Mini Chocolate-Pecan Pies

Mini Apple-Cinnamon Pies, Mini Cranberry-Cheesecake Pies, and Mini Chocolate-Pecan Pies
David Malosh; Prop Styling: Robyn Glaser; Food Styling: Maggie Ruggiero

Recipe: Mini Chocolate-Pecan Pies

The only thing that could possible make traditional pecan pie even more exciting for Thanksgiving is the addition of chocolate—oh, and shrinking them down into bite-sized treats. Refrigerated piecrusts cut prep time. This recipes makes 12 pies, so double the batch for sweet gifts for teachers and neighbors.

03 of 40

Mini Cranberry-Cheesecake Pies

Mini Cranberry-Cheesecake Pies
David Malosh; Prop Styling: Robyn Glaser; Food Styling: Maggie Ruggiero

Recipe: Mini Cranberry-Cheesecake Pies

Nothing captures the festiveness of the whole holiday season like these adorable petite cheesecake pies that will make you skip the canned stuff on your plate during the Thanksgiving meal. Going mini avoids working with a springform pan, water baths, cooling in the oven, and chilling overnight that many full-size cheesecake recipes require. Ginger snap cookies, made into a fine crumb, mimics an easier version of cheesecake crust. Cranberry compote, sugared cranberries, and orange zest deliver sweet-tart holiday flavors.

04 of 40

Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes

Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes
Photographer: Alison Miksch Food Stylist: Erin Merhar Prop Stylist: Prissy Lee

Recipe: Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes

Mini cakes are all the rage right now. Like a cross between a pumpkin pie and creamy cheesecake, this recipe is so much easier to make than a big cheesecake, which takes way more time and has a tendency to crack in the oven. Make ahead up to two days in advance, and when ready to serve, top with maple-spiced whipped cream.

05 of 40

Caramel-Apple Cookies

Caramel Apple Cookies
Photographer: Alison Miksch Food Stylist: Erin Merhar Prop Stylist: Prissy Lee

Recipe: Caramel-Apple Cookies

Have you ever seen a more perfect cookie to serve on your Thanksgiving table? If you've been assigned to bring a dessert to the holiday feast, an apple-caramel dessert is always appreciated. This recipe captures the best of autumn with spiced white chocolate chip cookies, fresh apple slices, and store-bought salted caramel sauce.

06 of 40

Spiced Pecan Pie Bars

Spiced Pecan Pie Bars
Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Christine Keely; Food Styling: Chelsea Zimmer

Recipe: Spiced Pecan Pie Bars

Two fall flavor staples—ground cinnamon and ginger—give extra spice to these pecan pie bars that will become your new favorite riff on the family recipe. To increase the decadence factor, serve with ice cream and a drizzle of caramel sauce. Makes 32 bars.

07 of 40

Mini Cinnamon-Apple Pies

Mini Cinnamon-Apple Pies, Mini Cranberry-Cheesecake Pies, and Mini Chocolate-Pecan Pies
David Malosh; Prop Styling: Robyn Glaser; Food Styling: Maggie Ruggiero

Recipe: Mini Cinnamon-Apple Pies

Just one nibble into these tiny spiced apple pies is enough to make you forget all about those big 'ole pecan pies from last year. (But why not also make some mini pecan pies, you know, just because?) Granny Smith apples, which have a sweet-tart flavor and a firm texture, don't require peeling and refrigerated piescrusts make prep easier to pull together these charming, lattice-topped pies.

08 of 40

Easy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Pumpkin-Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe
Laurey W. Glenn

Recipe: Easy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Bring a welcome fall twist to everyone's favorite cookie recipe. The brown sugar-butter flavor of a typical chocolate chip cookie gets the pumpkin treatment, resulting in a tender, cakey-thick cookie. This recipe makes 32 cookies.

09 of 40

Pecan Pie Brownies

Pecan Pie Brownies
Micah A. Leal

Recipe: Pecan Pie Brownies

Perhaps the most indulgent dessert hybrid of all time, this recipe has one layer of fudgy brownie and another of gooey pecan pie. So basically, it's heaven. A spike of bourbon (optional) to harken the flavor of classic pecan pie, doesn't hurt either.

10 of 40

Apple Pie Cookies

Apple Pie Cookies
Micah A. Leal

Recipe: Apple Pie Cookies

These pillowy pie-inspired cookies are like miniature hand pies with a pocket of apple pie filling, which we recommend picking up at the grocery store to save precious prep time. Crimping the edges creates the seal but also makes these doll-sized pies look adorable. For a finishing touch, a simple cinnamon icing brings out the apple flavor.

11 of 40

Mini Pumpkin Pies

Mini Pumpkin Pies
Micah A. Leal

Recipe: Mini Pumpkin Pies

Everyone can have their own personal slice of pie with these mini pies that look just like your grandmother's classic version. Pre-bake the crusts in muffin tins for a crispy crust and finish baking with a simple filling. Then top these cute pies off with whipped cream and a dusting of nutmeg for serving.

12 of 40

Chocolate-Pecan Tassies

Chocolate-Pecan Tassies
Greg DuPree; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis

Recipe: Chocolate-Pecan Tassies

Sweet, nutty, and deliciously chocolatey, these tassies feature a warm, gooey filling of pecan pie with a shortbread cookie crust infused with cocoa. This recipes yields 20 bit-sized tassies from a mini muffin tray. If they're a hit on Thanksgiving, make a batch for your Christmas cookie swap!

13 of 40

Apple Butter Doughnuts with Salted-Caramel Glaze

Apple Butter Doughnuts with Salted-Caramel Glaze
Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Mary Clayton Carl Jones; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Recipe: Apple Butter Doughnuts with Salted-Caramel Glaze

When we say that these literally melt in your mouth, we aren't playing around. For the doughnut's signature flavor, you can make the suggested Slow-Cooker Apple Butter recipe or pick up your favorite store brand. For a truly special grabbable dessert, make these for the feast.

14 of 40

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Swirl Muffins

pumpkin cream cheese swirl muffins
Photographer: Antonis Achilleos, Prop Stylist: Claire Spollen Food Stylist: Chelsea Zimmer

Recipe: Pumpkin Cream Cheese Swirl Muffins

Looking for a break from the sugary treats? Whip up a batch of these cheesy muffins infused with cream cheese and fresh fall spices. These are sure to be a hit—especially with anyone who loves cheese danishes.

15 of 40

Mini Pear-Cranberry Pies

Mini Pear-Cranberry Pies and Mini Pumpkin Pies with Maple Whipped Cream
David Malosh; Prop Styling: Robyn Glaser; Food Styling: Maggie Ruggiero

Recipe: Mini Pear-Cranberry Pies

Tart cranberries and sweet, tender pears come together in these decorative mini pies that are just too tempting to pop into your mouth before the turkey is even cut. Refrigerated piecrust saves time, and after cutting out the piecrust rounds, use the scraps for decorative leaves for a festive, fall touch. Serve with vanilla ice cream for even more deliciousness.

16 of 40

Salted Caramel-Apple Hand Pies

Salted Caramel-Apple Hand Pies
Hector Manuel Sanchez; Styling: Katie Jacobs

Recipe: Salted Caramel-Apple Hand Pies

Granny Smith Apples, caramels, and a dash of sea salt fill these little pies that are easy to pack up for a picnic or party. This is one instance you can tell your guests to "hand me a pie!" No mess, no stress, and all the charm.

17 of 40

Georgia Pecan Double-Decker Brownies

Georgia Pecan Double-Decker Brownies
Jennifer Causey, Prop Stylist: Lindsey Lower, Food Stylist: Torie Cox

Recipe: Georgia Pecan Double-Decker Brownies

Layers of goodness make this brownie doubly delicious. Super fudgy brownies mixed with the crunch and nuttiness from pecans sit on top of a chocolate wafer crust. This recipe makes 24 brownies and will be a winner with any chocolate lovers who want to top off the meal in just a few bites.

18 of 40

Pecan Pralines

Pecan Pralines
Southern Living

Recipe: Pecan Pralines

When in doubt, stay true to old-school treats like these homemade pecan pralines that are too sweet to pass up. (Just check the plate and watch them vanish.) True to the Texas praline, it's mostly flat, hard to the touch, with both a creamy and crispy sugar texture.

19 of 40

Best Brown Butter Blondies

Brown Butter Blondies
Victor Protasio; Food Stying: Rishon Hanners; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis

Recipe: Best Brown Butter Blondies

Chocolate lovers, don't worry. These blondies still deliver with bittersweet chocolate chunks, only the chocolate stars alongside this recipe's secret ingredient: brown butter! This brownie-and-chocolate-chip-cookie hybrid should have lots of fans, and they can be made ahead and even frozen.

20 of 40

Pecan Tassies

Pecan Tassies
Micah A. Leal

Recipe: Pecan Tassies

If you're going to have bite-sized treats, make them decadent. Savory dough balances out the sweet filling in these treats. Maple syrup, which isn't common in pecan pie, is a unique take that celebrates fall flavors.

21 of 40

Fudgy Pecan Bourbon Balls

Fudgy Pecan Bourbon Balls Recipe
Hector Manuel Sanchez; Prop Styling: Karin Olsen; Food Styling: Kellie Gerber Kelley

Recipe: Fudgy Pecan Bourbon Balls

This no-bake dessert is a cross between bourbon balls and chocolate truffles. With only four ingredients, these budget friendly treats only require 30 minutes of hands on time, they freeze well, and can be refrigerated for up to a week. Even better, they make great gifts.

22 of 40

Praline Mini Cakes

Praline Mini Cakes
Southern Living

Recipe: Praline Mini Cakes

Brown sugar icing covers these adorable mini Bundt cakes. Their shape is formed from mini fluted tube pans, and there's just 20 minutes of hands-on time to make these. Chopped pecans and toffee bits add texture and classic praline flavor.

23 of 40

Lane Cupcakes

Lane Cupcakes
Southern Living

Recipe: Lane Cupcakes

The iconic Lane Cake, a layer cake that's been around for more than 100 years and featured in "To Kill a Mockingbird," is transformed into handheld treats. This quick, easy cupcake version retains the Southern flavors of the cake, including bourbon, coconut, and pecans. Fluffy white frosting and maraschino cherries top these 24 cupcakes with a dash of nostalgia.

24 of 40

Butterscotch-Toasted Oatmeal Cookies

Toasted Oatmeal Cookies
Linda Pugliese

Recipe: Butterscotch-Toasted Oatmeal Cookies

These cookies are as easy to make as your favorite oatmeal ones. Only these are cooked golden brown with butterscotch chips. The oats' flavor is enhanced by toasting them for about 10 minutes.

25 of 40

Cherry Turnovers

Cherry Turnovers
Micah A. Leal

Recipe: Cherry Turnovers

Each one of these triangles are filled with a warm, delicious mixture of cherries and lemon, all wrapped up with flaky, almond-flavored goodness. Time savers include canned cherries and store-bought puff pastry. These bake in 20 minutes and then get drizzled with a simple glaze.

26 of 40

Brown Butter-Maple-Pecan Blondies

Brown Butter-Maple-Pecan Blondies
Linda Pugliese

Recipe: Brown Butter-Maple-Pecan Blondies

Swap blondies for brownies for those who don't like chocolate (how is this even possible?). Use pure maple syrup for these blondies. The darker the syrup, the stronger the flavor.

27 of 40

Pecan Snowball Cookies

Pecan Snowball Cookies
Micah A. Leal

Recipe: Pecan Snowball Cookies

Buttery vanilla shortbread is scattered with pecan pieces to make this crumbly treat, also known as Russian tea cakes. To achieve a richer and nuttier flavor, the pecans get toasted, a step requiring no more than 10 minutes. This recipe makes 4 dozen cookies, which is plenty to also turn into gifts.

28 of 40

Spiced Pear Hand Pies

Spiced Pear Hand Pies
Micah A. Leal

Recipe: Spiced Pear Hand Pies

These pockets are full of crisp, tender flavor. The use of pear makes for a great change of pace from popular apple and pumpkin desserts. An autumnal spice blend of cardamom, cinnamon, and ginger, plus the unique addition of star anise, compliments the sweet pears.

29 of 40

Pumpkin Spice Cookies

Pumpkin Spice Cookies
Micah A. Leal

Recipe: Pumpkin Spice Cookies

Actual pumpkin and pumpkin spice are used to make these fall cookies. The interior of these cookies are soft and velvety from the pumpkin puree. These cookies stand on their own, but no one will complain if they are finished off with a layer of cream cheese frosting.

30 of 40

Mini Pecan Monkey Bread Loaves

Mini Pecan Monkey Bread Loaves Recipe
Victor Protasio; Prop Styling: Mary Clayton Carl; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Recipe: Mini Pecan Monkey Bread Loaves

This is a good recipe to save whether you're looking to serve something different after dinner, or if you want to have something fresh for houseguests to munch on come morning. Using frozen yeast dough saves time, and they can also be started and refrigerated the night before. The loaves get their sweet shape from mini fluted tube cake pans.

31 of 40

Molasses Crinkles

Molasses Crinkles Recipe
Hector Manuel Sanchez

Recipe: Molasses Crinkles

Embrace the spices that come along with autumn and use them to make these stand-out cookies. Get ready to cookie swap because this recipes makes 4½ dozen cookies and comes with a unique legacy that you can share. Molasses Crinkles are a Southern Living reader recipe submitted by Ms. Alice Rhodes from Harrisonburg, Virginia, published in the November 1992 issue of the magazine.

32 of 40

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies
Southern Living

Recipe: Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

Two soft pumpkin cookies are held together by a rich and velvety cream cheese frosting. Pumpkin puree, pumpkin spice, and sugar create the flavor of the fall season. Warning: You may just scream "Whoopie!" after devouring one of these.

33 of 40

No-Bake Fudgy Toffee Bars

No-Bake Fudgy Toffee Bars
Iain Bagwell

Recipe: No-Bake Fudgy Toffee Bars

No-bake desserts make for easy prep. And if you're new to baking, no-nake recipes are a good way to get started. Serve these bars chilled for an even less messy treat.

34 of 40

Millionaire Shortbread

Millionaire Shortbread
Caitlin Bensel; Food Styling: Ali Ramee; Prop Styling: Sarah Elizabeth Cleveland

Recipe: Millionaire Shortbread

Shortbread, caramel, and dark chocolate are layered to create a candy bar-like dessert. The caramel, with the help of a candy thermometer, needs to register between 236°F and 239°F. Slice into strips or small squares—each bite delivers a rich blend of flavor and texture: sweet, salty, crunchy, and creamy.

35 of 40

Mini Chocolate Chess Tarts

Mini Chocolate Chess Tarts
Alison Miksch; Styling: Caroline M. Cunningham

Recipe: Mini Chocolate Chess Tarts

These little chocolate bites are the definition of crowd-pleasing, which happens to be perfect for a family holiday like Thanksgiving. To save a step, stack refrigerated pie crusts when cutting into mini rounds. Chocolaty filling is topped with whipped cream and cocoa dust when ready to serve.

36 of 40

Mini Apple Cider Pound Cakes

Mini Apple Cider Pound Cakes

Recipe: Mini Apple Cider Pound Cakes

These fall-flavored mini loaves make great gifts. This recipe makes six loaves using disposal mini pans. Choose between streusel topping, bourbon glaze, and lemon-sugar glaze for these pound cakes.

37 of 40

Easy Fudge

Easy Fudge
Caitlin Bensel; Food Styling: Ali Ramee; Prop Styling: Sarah Elizabeth Cleveland

Recipe: Easy Fudge

Fudge always tastes better when it's homemade—and with a recipe this easy, there's no excuse. This one-bowl microwave recipe takes just 15 minutes of hands-on time! Make as is or add some creativity with these suggested alterations: peanut-pretzel, cherry-almond, and marshmallow-pecan.

38 of 40

Pumpkin-Chocolate Brownies

Pumpkin-Chocolate Brownies
Greg DuPree

Recipe: Pumpkin-Chocolate Brownies

Sweet, spiced, and everything nice, this recipe is just the thing to balance out all the savory sides from the meal. Chocolate, pumpkin, and a bit of expresso create a tasty trifecta. These brownies look great too with their two-toned swirl, achieved by adding the chocolate and pumpkin separately and then using the top of a knife to make the stunning effect.

39 of 40

Mini Triple-Chocolate Buttermilk Pound Cakes

Lemon Ginger Pound Cake
Photo: Alison Miksch; Styling: Buffy Hargett Miller

Recipe: Mini Triple-Chocolate Buttermilk Pound Cakes

Win over your Thanksgiving crowd with a chocolate take on the ever-favorite buttermilk poundcake. These little cakes get drizzled with a chocolate and a buttermilk glaze when cooled. Everyone will be thankful these are mini in size because the flavor combo is too good to resist.

40 of 40

Mini Apple Pies

Mini Apple Pies
Micah A. Leal

Recipe: Mini Apple Pies

Use honeycrisp apples for these pies to bring in sweet and tart flavor. Buttery pie crust surrounds a spiced apple filling and can be topped with either a pie crust round or delicately woven lattice. To avoid fussing with pie weights, freeze the dough in the muffin tin for 2 hours to prevent puffing up before baking.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles