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50 Traditional Thanksgiving Dessert Ideas

The turkey and side dishes are always great, but these Thanksgiving dessert ideas are not to be missed!

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German Apple Cake

With the long, cold winters we have here, this recipe has warmed many a kitchen. The cake is perfect for breakfast, mealtime dessert or evening snack. I’ve made it for many parties, and I’ve always received compliments on it.
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The Best Sweet Potato Pie

I love this recipe’s rich, sweet potato flavor and irresistibly buttery crust. Sour cream makes the filling super smooth, and the brown sugar and spices make it extra cozy. There’s no doubt that this is the best sweet potato pie! —Shannon Norris, Cudahy, Wisconsin
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Easy Pennsylvania Dutch Apple Cobbler

This is a common dish from where I was born and raised in Pennsylvania. It’s a classic Dutch-style apple cobbler recipe. Easy, quick and delicious, who couldn’t love this golden brown delight? —Andrea Robson, York, Pennsylvania
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Sour Cream Apple Pie

A cool, creamy version of the original, this delicious dessert is the perfect finish to a satisfying summer meal. Its crumbly topping and smooth apple filling are crowd-pleasers! Be prepared to serve seconds. —Sharon Bickett, Chester, South Carolina
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Salted Pecan Shortbread Squares

My shortbread squares are the ultimate go-to for cookie trays and gift-giving. The buttery caramel and toasted nuts make it tough to eat just one. —Diana Ashcraft, Monmouth, Oregon
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Mile-High Cranberry Meringue Pie

Your holiday crowd will be blown away when they see this pie with towering meringue on top. Let it sit in your refrigerator for at least four hours for best results. —Marcia Whitney, Gainesville, Florida
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Walnut Pumpkin Cake Roll

This is one of my family's favorite dessert recipes, especially for holiday gatherings. —Mary Gecha, Center Rutland, Vermont
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Caramel Pecan Pie

This is hands down the best pecan pie—it’s so good, it’s scary! I’m making it for Thanksgiving because there will be others around to share it with me. Here’s the trick: Toss the bag of caramels to your kid or spouse and promise they can eat whatever is left after they unwrap your 36 caramels. —Larry Crowder, Grand Blanc, Michigan
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Fluffy Cranberry Mousse

This is a delicious and pretty salad for the holidays, but it's so good that I serve it at other times, too. I got the recipe from a neighbor who had served it with a traditional turkey dinner. —Helen Clement, Hemet, California
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Molasses Pumpkin Pie

When our sons come home at Thanksgiving to hunt with their dad, I make this pie recipe from Grandma Fetting. We celebrate Thanksgiving in our cabin in the northwoods, a 40-year-old tradition.—Lois Fetting, Nelson, Wisconsin
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Glazed Maple Shortbread Cookies

Whenever I visit friends in Lutsen, Minnesota, I make sure to buy maple syrup there because I think it's even better than in Quebec. These delicious cookies can be decorated with sprinkles but they're just fine as is.—Lorraine Caland, Shuniah, Ontario
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Bread Pudding Pie

This unique dessert is a bread pudding-pie combo. It was created by my paternal grandmother’s family. They had a farm and made their own bread, which made this a low-cost dessert. — Kelly Barnes, Lexington, Indiana
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Paul’s Pumpkin Patch Pudding

This recipe originated with Donna Esh, whose husband, John, is the manager at the restaurant my brother Jim and I operate. I reworked it slightly and named it after our dad.—John Smucker, Bird-in-Hand, Pennsylvania
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Cranberry Walnut Pie

Here’s a wonderful dessert for Christmas or Thanksgiving. With ruby-red color and a golden lattice crust, this pie looks as good as it tastes. —Diane Everett, Dunkirk, New York
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Mom-Mom Bessie’s Coconut Molasses Pie

I’m the keeper of my husband’s grandmother’s handwritten recipe book. Mom-Mom Bessie was one of the best cooks I knew, and we think of her every time we make this pie. The flavor combination of coconut and molasses is a family favorite. —Susan Bickta, Kutztown, Pennsylvania
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Autumn Apple Torte

During apple season, I always look forward to making this yummy torte. It has a cream cheese layer and apples galore. —Margaret Wilson, San Bernardino, California
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Pumpkin Mousse Trifle

You can speed up this recipe by using a store-bought pound cake or baking and freezing one ahead of time. The sugared pecans can also be prepared in advance and stored in an airtight container.—Becky McClaflin, Blanchard, Oklahoma
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Classic Carrot Cake

I entered this yummy, moist cake in a Colorado Outfitters Association dessert contest. My carrot cake with pineapple earned first place! —Cheri Eby, Gunnison, Colorado
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Apple-Almond Bake

When my children were young, they loved this apple dessert—and they still do 45 years later! I like it served plain at room temperature, but it's hard to resist when served warm with a small scoop of vanilla ice cream. —Barbara Estabrook, Rhinelander, Wisconsin
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Mixed Nut 'n' Fig Pie

A hint of orange flavor compliments the figs in this festive dessert. It's a lovely pie for Thanksgiving, Christmas or any occasion.—Barbara Estabrook, Rhinelander, Wisconsin
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Potluck German Apple Cake

My mother made this German apple cake for my brothers and me when we were kids. It's an excellent choice for a Christmas potluck or actually any time of year. —Edie DeSpain, Logan, Utah
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Squash Custard Pie

Acorn squash has been a favorite of mine since I was little and my mother baked it with sugar and cinnamon. This particular pie was something I improvised. We love pumpkin pie, but had fresh squash in excess. So I came up with this new variation! It's good to take to potlucks, to pie or cake walks at school, or to serve as a different dessert for Thanksgiving or Christmas. —Mary Kelly, Hopland, California
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Cranberry-Apple Lattice Pie

Two favorite fall fruits bring out the best in each other — and rum works its own mellow magic. Few people pass up a piece of this pie. — Adri Barr Crocetti, Sherman Oaks, California
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Apple Stack Cake

My mom loved to bake this sky-high apple stack cake. Layer the apple goodness two days before serving. Later, a dusting of confectioners' sugar is the only topping you'll need. —LeVa Clement, Jackson, Missouri
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Pecan Cake with Cookie Butter Frosting

My mom and I bought a jar of cookie butter to try it out, and we fell in love with it. I knew the flavor would go well with maple syrup and pecans, so I came up with this cake. I like to make a pretty design on the top of the cake with pecan halves. —Natalie Larsen, Columbia, Maryland
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Orange Sweet Potato Pie with Ginger Streusel

Flecks of orange zest add a pleasant texture and zip to this classic sweet potato pie. Cook and mash the potatoes a day ahead to save time on pie-making day. —Lindsey Cook, Dallas, Texas
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Pumpkin Pecan Custard

My family loves pumpkin pie flavor, but this is a delicious, creamy, healthier alternative—and we don’t miss the crust at all. It firms up as it cools. —Abby Booth, Coweta, Oklahoma
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Pecan Pumpkin Cheesecake

I love to play with cheesecakes by mixing and matching flavors. This one with pumpkin and maple is the star of our Thanksgiving spread. —Sue Gronholz, Beaver Dam, Wisconsin
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Southern Bourbon Pecan Pie

When I first made the original recipe for this bourbon-splashed pie, I added some vanilla extract and eliminated the flour. We loved the result. —Paul Falduto, Efland, North Carolina
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Cranberry Pear Tart

Cranberry Pear Tart

This homey tart looks and tastes like apple pie, except it uses pears! Each serving has half the calories of an average pie slice. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Sweet Potato Pie Cake Roll

Smooth cream cheese filling is all rolled up in the cinnamony sweet potato flavor of this cake. This change-of-pace dessert looks stunning on a dessert table, and tastes just as amazing as it looks. —Bernice Taylor, Wilson, North Carolina
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Buttermilk Pecan Pie

This is the treasured "golden oldie" that my grandmother made so often whenever we'd come to visit. Grandma grew her own pecans, and we never tired of cracking them and picking out the meat when we knew we'd be treated to her special pie! —Mildred Sherrer, Fort Worth, Texas
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Mini Pumpkin Cakes

I saw these cute cakes at a local grocery store and decided to make my own version at home. They’re a hit at any fall gathering. —Jennifer Dorff, Waukesha, Wisconsin
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Tender Pecan Logs

Folks always ask me to make these tender nutty logs. Not overly sweet, they're just right with a steaming cup of coffee or tea. —Joyce Beck, Gadsden, Alabama
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Sweet Potato, Pear, and Fig Crisp

My unusual fruit crisp celebrates the flavors of the holidays. Offer it as a side, or add ice cream to make it a standout dessert. —Deanna McDonald, Kalamazoo, Michigan
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Triple Pear Pie

One year, I won a giveaway and received three kinds of pears. After sharing a few with family, I used the rest to prepare a pie for our dessert at Easter that year. Put this together with some vanilla ice cream and it's the perfect pairing! —Jenn Tidwell, Fair Oaks, California
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Miniature Pumpkin Cake Towers

I make these pumpkin treats every autumn and they are gone in minutes. The spice combination is perfect for fall, and it is all wrapped up in a pretty little cake.—Deb Lyon, Bangor, Pennsylvania
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Bread Pudding with Homemade Caramel Sauce

My famous bread pudding is a sweet way to make use of the day-old dinner rolls that didn’t get gobbled up at Thanksgiving. The combination of the soft pudding with the sweet, velvety smooth sauce is a match made in heaven. —Anita Geoghagan, Woodstock, Georgia
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Cranberry Icebox Cookies

These crisp cookies are especially popular at Thanksgiving and Christmas with a cup of hot tea or coffee. It's convenient to bake a batch, too, because you can store the dough in the fridge until needed. —Gloria Anderson, Paso Robles, California
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Cranberry-Cherry Nut Pie

This delightful, stress-free pie combines cranberries with convenient cherry pie filling for a fresh, fun flavor. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Favorite Chocolate-Bourbon Pecan Tart

I grew up in Louisiana where, as in most of the South, pecan pie is a staple. This tart variation is extra good because it includes chocolate. I decided to up the decadence even more by adding bourbon and drizzling some caramel on top. —Amber Needham, San Antonio, Texas
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Fresh Pear Ginger Crisp

Gingersnaps lend crunch to my heartwarming cool-weather classic, featuring the season's juiciest fruit—pears.—Linda Robertson, Cozad, Nebraska
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More The Merrier Orange, Fig & Walnut Bars

Orange, fig and walnuts make a bar that’s uniquely different and delicious. Think you can eat just one? —Judy Dalton, Danville, Virginia
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Gingerbread & Pumpkin Cream Trifle

We wait for these flavors all year long. Stack up the layers in a big trifle bowl, or make minis for everybody at the table. —Amy Geiser, Fairlawn, Ohio
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Billie's Southern Sweet Potato Cake

I made sweet potato cakes for my kids when they were younger and they told me in their little voices, "Mommy, you're the best baker." Little did they know that was Mommy's first attempt at homemade cake! —Billie Williams-Henderson, Bowie, Maryland
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Maple Pumpkin Pie

Tired of traditional pumpkin pie? The maple syrup in this special pie provides a subtle but terrific enhancer. —Lisa Varner, El Paso, Texas
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Pecan Meringue Pie

My good friend sent me this recipe and when I made it, it was every bit as delicious as she said! I love making it for Thanksgiving.—Anne Powers, Munford, Alabama
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Cranberry Cake with Caramel Sauce

This sweet and tangy cake, loaded with bits of cranberries and topped with warm caramel sauce, is even better served warm with a scoop of ice cream. —Darlene Brenden, Salem, Oregon
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Pumpkin Pie Tartlets with Maple Pecan Crust

After discovering I had multiple food sensitivities, I began developing holiday recipes that would be safe for me, but enjoyable for others, too. These tarts are delicious—with no gluten, eggs or dairy! —Chantale Michaud, Guelph, Ontario
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Sour Cream Pumpkin Cake

The nicely spiced streusel in the center of this cake is a marvelous surprise and complement to the cinnamony pumpkin cake. It's delicious for breakfast or dessert. —Elaine Holmberg, Norfolk, Nebraska

Also check out these Thanksgiving desserts made with a healthy twist!

Grace Mannon
Grace is a full-time mom with a Master's degree in Food Science. She loves to experiment in the kitchen and writes about her hits (and misses) on her blog, A Southern Grace.

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