The Best Thanksgiving Desserts

I was talking with my friend Joy Manning the other day about our mutual dislike of turkey, and she made a very astute point about the underlying food focus of Thanksgiving. “I think it’s more of a butter holiday, a side dish holiday, a pie holiday,” she said.

Joy, I could not agree more. If I had my way (and lately, this has been possible!), I would just have appetizers, sides, and desserts at my Thanksgiving feast.

butterscotch pumpkin chocolate pie
Photo: Casey Barber

This isn’t surprising to anyone who knows me personally, because apps, sides, and desserts are pretty much my thing for every occasion and every day of the year.

Especially at Thanksgiving and Christmas, though, the lineup of potential choices within those three categories is overwhelming.

Who needs a turkey on the table when you could have six sides and three desserts, not counting any cheese straws, stuffed olives, or other pre-dinner nibbles?

And since I’ve already rounded up the best Thanksgiving side dishes on Good. Food. Stories., I now present the best Thanksgiving desserts I have to offer here.

cherry cranberry pear pie
Photo: Casey Barber

Yes, pie features heavily in any list of Thanksgiving desserts, and this roundup is no exception.

But rather than a plain old pumpkin pie, I’d rather show up with a swirled butterscotch pumpkin chocolate pie that looks like it was baked in a Nightmare Before Christmas kitchen.

And instead of cranberry relish, I’m all about serving a cranberry pie—one that tempers its pops of tart berries with tender pears and tangy cherries.

thanksgiving dessert collage

If pies aren’t your thing, you could always serve some maple cream sandwich cookies alongside a cheese plate or a few scoops of ice cream and call it a night.

There’s never a wrong answer when it comes to the sweet portion of the feast, and that goes double for Thanksgiving desserts. Pick one, pick a few, and save room for the final course.

The Best Thanksgiving Desserts

Thanksgiving desserts are worth saving room for—especially these modern recipes for favorite pies and other holiday sweets.

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