For the longest time, Thanksgiving has been seemingly defined by a few culinary staples. It's always been about the turkey, the mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce, and to top it all off, the pumpkin pie. For those of us, however, that don't really see the fuss behind the orange octagon of flavor, Thanksgiving dessert has long been a disappointment, leading to a need to seek alternatives.
This list of recipes is just that, offering eight of the best fall sweets that could perhaps topple the stemmed titan. Does your fall classic make the list?
See also: 10 Festive Thanksgiving Cocktail Recipes
Another recipe, another shake-up of the traditional formula. This recipe comes from Alfred Portale, the main chef and owner of Portale Restaurant in New York City, and is sure to wow. "While pumpkin pie deserves great respect as a Thanksgiving dessert, it's fun to shake up tradition and impress your friends with this sophisticated variation," Portale says. "The burnt sugar top tastes especially delicious with the sweetly spiced pumpkin cream."
Scared of ovens? Even if you’re not, this recipe is a cool dish—pun intended—to serve after any meal. Created by Food Network personality Jason Goldstein, this graham cracker and cream cheese special is a great snack for all ages, and fun to make as well!
Graham Cracker Crust
Pumpkin Pie Filling
Courtesy of Virgil's Real Barbecue, this traditional standard is full of rich, nutty goodness, tempered by cinnamon and molasses.
Chef Andrea Anthony of the Hampton's Lobster Roll restaurant shares with us her go-to Thanksgiving dessert; a decadent fruit pie crumble that'll leave your family wanting more. "For the home cook, store bought refrigerated pie shells are convenient and bake just like they’re homemade," Anthony says. "If you opt to use frozen cranberries, make sure to thaw them out slightly beforehand. For those who prefer an apple crisp, eliminate the pie shell and bake in a casserole dish."
Whether you call them “squares” or “bars,” this delicious dessert is both a perfect after-dinner treat and a good snack for a long day. This recipe comes straight from Joy of Baking, a site with more than 24 years of experience and awards, introduced by founder Stephanie Jaworski onto YouTube in 2019. Try this delicious double-decker dessert for yourself!
Molly Baz, one of Bon Appetit’s Senior Food Editors, has plenty of recipes to share both on social media and her recently released cookbook, Cook this Book. One of the more popular ones for the fall season is this scrumptious autumn plate with a special twist, made straight from the trees up above. Despite the natural taste, this can be made following a simple trip to the grocery store.
No, this isn’t a trick to get your kids to eat their vegetables. This vegan-friendly dessert comes from British food writer Ella Woodward, known for her cookbooks about “clean eating," and it's earned rave reviews online for its rich, chocolatey taste, despite the main ingredient being a Thanksgiving root. Try this one at your dinner, and see for yourself!
Yes, this is supposed to be a list of pumpkin pie alternatives, but this simple mix was too good to pass up. This recipe from Laura Vitale, the host and creator of the popular cooking YouTube channel Laura in the Kitchen, is a perfect Netflix snack to enjoy in front of the fireplace. Just make sure to clean up afterwards!
One of the main problems to solve during Thanksgiving is what to do with all those extra cranberries. Luckily, Sarah Carey of Everyday Food is here to help with a delicious cobbler, a summertime classic for the early winter season. The best part? No cobbler is ever perfect, so if it comes out a little dryer, just call it a crumble!
Technically, these should be considered a breakfast food more than dessert, but we’re sure your sweet tooth won’t care what time of day it is. This recipe, borrowed from the New York Times, is sure to scratch any remaining autumn itch you may still have. Try it for yourself:
Photography by: Courtesy of Portale; Courtesy of Chop Happy; Courtesy of Virgil's Real Barebecue; Courtesy of Lobster Roll