21 Thanksgiving Dessert Ideas to Finish Your Dinner Party in Style!

by Note with Love Team - Nov 9, 2023
An  illustration showing different types of sweets on one side and fall leaves on other top corner.

Sure, Thanksgiving is famous for being Turkey Day, but is it really a Thanksgiving meal if there’s no dessert on the table? When we talk about Thanksgiving desserts, we don’t just mean pumpkin pie. This year, go pies and beyond. After all, happiness is knowing there are lots of desserts in the fridge. 

Dessert is essential!

There is a life motto - "There’s always room for dessert."

That’s what anyone with a sweet tooth would say. We know how tough it can be to save room for more food after a large Thanksgiving dinner with turkey, potatoes, and all the side dishes. But you cannot argue that desserts are just as important as the main course on Thanksgiving day. No matter how delicious your turkey is, a Thanksgiving meal isn’t complete unless there are plenty of desserts. Fortunately, bakeries keep hundreds of varieties on hand during the holiday season. Thus, if you don’t want to deal with the hassle of baking desserts from scratch and slaving away in the kitchen, you can always buy them.

Even if you are not hosting or going to a big party, you can enjoy the holiday at fullest. Cozy up to your family and friends and watch some Thanksgiving movies and indulge in them with

Aside from pies, you can have tarts, cakes, cinnamon rolls, cookies, and other desserts, as well as the kids’ favorite, anything with a lot of chocolate. Check out our collection of mouthwatering desserts to try after Thanksgiving dinner.

1. Salted Caramel Apple Pie

Image by Angèle Kamp from Unsplash

It is one of the favorite Thanksgiving pies. There are three parts to it: the salted caramel inside and on top, the buttery flaky pie crust, and the apples with cinnamon and spice.

To make a fluffy, tender, melt-in-your-mouth pie crust, simply use shortening or butter. Make the pie filling with a variety of apples. It’s best served with vanilla ice cream. Check out this recipe from Sally.

2. Apple Pie Bars

Image from Food Network Magazine

If you don’t want a whole pie on your Thanksgiving dessert table, try these Apple Pie Bars, which have all the flavor of an apple pie but only need a buttery crust, nuts, and juicy spiced apples for topping and sandwiching. Here’s a step-by-step recipe. If you want, you can arrange the topping in a lattice, stripes, or other stylish patterns.

3. Caramel Apple Pecan Layer Cake

Image from Anniesnoms

This fruit dessert is a great way to kick off the holiday season. It has spiced apple cake layers sprinkled with pecans, caramel frosting, and cinnamon apples on top. Using the classic creaming technique- the cake layers are made with a mixture of apple butter, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. To add a little crunch, use chopped pecans like this recipe.

Instead of regular caramel sauce, try a drizzle of Apple cider caramel sauce for a unique flavor. Here’s the recipe for apple cider caramel sauce.

4. No Crust Cranberry Pie

Image by Victoria Jempty from allrecipes

Crustless cranberry pie is a light and delicious fall dessert. This crowd-pleasing pie can be made with frozen or fresh cranberries. To make the pie, you really just need all-purpose flour, almond extract, cranberries, nuts, and eggs. For a lovely, snowy effect, sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar. Then top with whipped cream or ice cream. Get the full recipe.

5. Brown Sugar Pecan Pie

Image by Regina Ferraz from Pexels

For traditional Thanksgiving treats, make pecan pie with brown sugar, butter, vanilla, corn syrup, and of course pecans following this recipe. This richly flavored pie is sweet, but not overly so. Remember to not over bake the pie and when finished, the filling should still jiggle a little in the middle. Without refrigeration, the pie can last at least four days.

6. Pumpkin Cake Roll

Image by Element5 Digital from Unsplash

Love the idea of flipping to the sticky side? Then try these cake rolls. For a family get-together on this holiday season, a walnut pumpkin cake roll is a must-have fall dessert.

Just a quick tip: add a cup of Cool Whip to your cream cheese filling to make it taste much richer. Get the recipe.

7. Autumn Apple Torte

Image by Diliara Garifullina from Unsplash

This is one of the best mouthwatering traditional Thanksgiving fall desserts. It’s loaded with layered cream cheese and apples galore. After blending the milk and confectioners’ sugar until smooth, pour over the torte and garnish with almonds. Serve with toasted nuts. Making this dessert can be tricky as it’s not a typical apple cake. However, it looks stunning in your dessert bar and is incredibly delicious. Don’t forget to refrigerate any leftovers.

Get the recipe

8. Sweet Potato Pie

Image from Betty Crocker

A lightly spiced, perfectly sweet, and brown butter-feeling sweet potato can be combined with a flaky, tender, buttery pie crust to make this dessert. Use baked sweet potatoes with salted browned butter for the pie and keep the spices to a minimum to let the sweet potato flavor shine through. For toppings, use toasted marshmallows.

Get the recipe

9. Pumpkin Spice Muffins

Image from Go Dairy Free

A hungry crowd will love these pumpkin-spiced muffins. These pumpkin muffins are made from scratch and require no mixer. These muffins are filled with pumpkin flavor, pumpkin pie spices, and cinnamon-sugar toppings. Besides that, baking with pumpkin, cinnamon, and brown sugar always results in delicious sweet treats. This can be a great dairy free option for your dessert table.

Get the recipe

10. Harvest Marble Chocolate Chip Cookies

Image fromTwo Sisters Crafting

Want to avoid the pies this Thanksgiving? This gorgeous version of Chocolate Chip Cookie should do the trick. This is a great fall dessert to please your guests.

These are traditional chocolate chip cookies with a fall twist. Divide the cookie dough into equal portions and color them with food coloring to make them fall-themed. 

These can be perfect for you, even if you are not hosting rather taking an item to a party as a gift. You can also opt for other Thanksgiving gifts instead.

Get the recipe.

11. Classic Carrot Cake

Image by Leeloo Thefirst from Pexels

Carrot cake is not just an Easter dessert; it can also be served at the table after the Thanksgiving meal. It is creamy and delicious thanks to the cream cheese frosting. 

Get the recipe.

12. Spiced Pumpkin Pie

Image by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

This is a traditional fall dessert to enjoy on holidays. Make sure to collect pure pumpkin for pastry.

For a better flavor and taste, use butter instead of shortening in the pie crust. For a creamy texture, use cold butter only and add black pepper to the flaky pie crust dough to give this pie a little more oomph. Sprinkle nutmeg on top and serve with whipped cream.

Get the recipe

13. Pumpkin Flan

Image by SpotwizardLee from Pexels

Go for pumpkin flan if you are sick of the traditional Thanksgiving pies!

The combination of pumpkin, pumpkin spice, and flan creates the best dessert for a holiday gathering. Flan comes in a variety of flavors, such as cheese, coconut, rum, coffee, chocolate, etc. I prefer cheese or coconut. Sugar, pumpkin puree, eggs, milk, vanilla extract, and pumpkin spice are all you need for this flan.

Just a heads up: a flan can go bad for several reasons, including a strong eggy flavor, a lumpy cheese layer, burnt caramel, a grainy texture, skin, and so on.

Get the recipe

14. Cranberry Pâte de Fruit

Image from bonnemaman

If you enjoy cranberry sauce, then this elegant and decadent dessert is the best way to end the Thanksgiving meal. This exquisite fruit dessert only needs cranberries, a cranberry juice cocktail, a cinnamon stick, lemon peel and juice, granulated sugar, and liquid pectin. With these jelled squares, your guests will surely be astounded.

Get the recipe

15. Cranberry Curd Tart

Image from allrecipes

If you’re tired of seeing apples and pumpkins, this cranberry curd tart may be your savior on Thanksgiving. This is an underappreciated fruit dessert to enjoy in the cold weather. It only takes a few minutes to put together and will undoubtedly liven up the Thanksgiving dessert table with its deep red garnet curd. The texture is silky smooth, and the tart cranberry flavor is balanced with vanilla and orange. With the remaining egg whites, you can top the curd with some Italian meringue. Or you can use extra berries rolled in sugar as topping.

Get the recipe

16. Mini Oreo Cheesecake Bites

Image from The Savory Cipolla

Oreo cheesecake might be the ideal replacement if you want to switch up your traditional Thanksgiving desserts from its autumnal flavor. The Oreo cookie and cream cheesecake dessert is a favorite for both children and adults. Refrigerate any leftovers in a sealed jar for up to a week.

Get the recipe

17. Hot Chocolate

Image by Marta Wave from Pexels

This warm drink topped with whipped cream is ideal for a cozy winter evening. All you need is dark chocolate chips, vanilla extract, cinnamon, cocoa powder, milk, and sugar. It comes together in just 5 minutes and gives a strong chocolate flavor.

Get the Recipe

18. Vegan Chocolate Truffles

Image by Amirali Mirhashemian from Unsplash

Prepare these decadent, rich chocolate truffles for a delectable dairy-free dessert. This is simply a hard chocolate ball with a softer chocolate center inside. Sprinkle chocolate shavings on top of the dipped chocolate balls. These vegan chocolate-covered balls taste heavenly.

Get the recipe

19. Pumpkin Spice Latte

Image by Foodie Flavours from Unsplash

Are you a fan of pumpkin spice lattes to kick off the fall? Then, on Thanksgiving, this will be perfect as a post-dinner coffee. This works great if you have planned a long list of activities for the Thanksgiving day. It will help maintain everyone's energy level up!

Get the recipe

20. Salted Caramel Apples

Image by Henry Becerra from Pexels

These fresh, tart apples with salted caramel coating make a tasty contrast to the cakes and pies on the table. If you are cooking a few courses Thanksgiving dinner then you may want to include this one to give a  different texture to your palate.

Get the recipe

21. Salted Butterscotch Chocolate Chip Cookies

Image by Ben Li from Unsplash

Looking for something that requires no refrigeration? If so, these chewy inside, crispy outside cookies would be a delightful addition to your dessert menu. Dark chocolate chips, toffee chunks, macadamia nuts, or pretzels on top of the baked cookies are all excellent add-ons to butterscotch cookies. Pecans work fantastically with these cookies. As a beginner, you can easily make a traditional butterscotch chocolate chip cookie with just chocolate and butterscotch chips.

Get the recipe


Now desserts are the true Thanksgiving day-ending treats. Time to forget all the turkey hullabaloo. Jokes aside, planning ahead and coordinating will prevent lots of problems down the road. So here's a comprehensive checklist for you.

Keep in mind any dietary restrictions you may have when creating your dessert list and prepare accordingly.

However, there is no such thing as too many desserts, and having too few is just SAD, something that not even a full turkey can make up for!  Our list features a variety of dishes ranging from light to hearty, from cookies and bars to decadent cakes. So, as the big day approaches, gear up and start putting your Thanksgiving dessert ideas into action.

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