25+ Unique Thanksgiving Desserts


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There’s always room for Thanksgiving desserts right? But that doesn’t always mean pie. This list covers the holiday classics, plus several unique and easy desserts that take your favorite sweet fall flavors to a whole new level.

Three baked apples on a plate with melted ice cream on top.

The Best Thanksgiving Desserts – In One Place

Sure, everyone might be stuffed after multiple plates of roasted turkey and a generous amount of Thanksgiving sides. But nothing feels better than ending a festive night on a sweet note. You can never go wrong with the classics – like pumpkin pie or baked apples. But there’s lots of room for creativity when it comes to Thanksgiving desserts.

Think creamy spiced mousses, baked fruits and veggies with a sweet twist, the most indulgent cakes and tarts, or even a simple cozy latte if that’s more your thing. And whether you’re celebrating Thanksgiving on a big or small scale, I’m sure you’ll find a dessert or two (or maybe three) that will suit your sweet needs this holiday season.

Pumpkin chia pudding in a glass jar with a dollop of whipped cream and cinnamon.

Unique Thanksgiving Desserts You Might Not Have Thought Of

Let’s start off with some not-so-traditional Thanksgiving desserts. Because it’s always fun to switch things up once in awhile right? But don’t let the word “unique” scare you. These desserts are incredibly easy to make and give your favorite fall flavors a sweet twist.

  • Pumpkin Pie Chia Pudding Mousse: Yes, you can turn chia pudding into the creamiest mousse by blending it up! This version is deliciously spiced with pumpkin flavors, plus it’s loaded with good-for-you fats and fiber for a healthy dessert option.
  • Pear, Pomegranate, and Maple Crumble: Take your average crumble to the next level by using pears and pomegranates as the base! It’s perfectly sweet, nutty, and tastes amazing served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
  • Spiced Pear Souffle: This light and airy souffle is coziest combination of fresh pears and warming spices.
  • Pumpkin Spice Latte: Who said you can’t have a sweet latte for dessert? And since it’s fall, a classic pumpkin spice latte ought to be first on your drink list.
Two cups of pumpkin spice lattes on a plate.
  • Chai Spiced Coconut Milk: This one is for all the chai tea lovers! Just simmer chai spices and creamy coconut milk together for a sweet and cozy drink.
  • Candied Orange Peels: Turn leftover orange peels into a sugar coated treat! And to kick it up a notch, dip them in melted chocolate for the best citrus orange combo.
  • Salted Caramel Apple Pie Ice Cream: If you’ve got an ice cream maker at home, this salted caramel apple pie flavor is a no-brainer for Thanksgiving (or any day during the holidays really).
Coconut macaroons on a baking sheet next to a bowl of chocolate.

Simple & Easy Thanksgiving Desserts That’ll Wow The Crowd

Making a Thanksgiving dessert doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, these simple desserts are perennial reader favorites. From a 7-minute mug cake to super easy macaroons, here’s a few ideas worth giving a try!

  • Custard: This simple vanilla custard can be drizzled on cake or enjoyed chilled as a pudding with fresh fruit on top!
  • Chocolate Mug Cake: You best believe this super moist and chocolatey mug cake is made in under 10 minutes! Perfect for a dessert made on the spot (and the kiddos love it!).
  • Easy Baked Pears: Pear fans around the table always go crazy for these baked pears! They’re lightly coated in maple syrup, then topped with optional chopped nuts, ice cream, or whipped cream.
  • Molten Chocolate Cake: It’s time to pull those ramekins out for the best molten chocolate cakes. Just don’t forget the chopped pistachios and coconut whipped cream on top – it really makes a difference!
Four servings of chocolate chia mousse topped with coconut whipped cream, nuts and chocolate.
Flourless chocolate cake that's gluten-free, paleo and easy! It's the best flourless chocolate cake recipe and only has 5 ingredients!

Thanksgiving Desserts That Aren’t Pies – Hello Cakes & Tarts!

Pies will always have a special place on a Thanksgiving table. But for those who aren’t pie fanatics, cakes and tarts are the perfect replacement. Plus, they’ll give you more leeway to experiment with different flavors, textures, and design!

  • Paleo Chocolate Cake: This recipe is the holy grail of all gluten-free and dairy-free cakes. It tastes just like a real chocolate cake – super moist, spongy, and layered with the best vegan chocolate buttercream frosting.
  • Almond Cake: If you’re looking for something a bit more simple, this easy almond cake can be enjoyed as it or jazzed up with cream and fruits!
  • Flourless Chocolate Cake: I have to say, this 5-ingredient cake is incredibly soft, semi-sweet, and perfect for those who are nut-free.
A layered brownie trifle in a trifle bowl.
  • Brownie Trifle: This one is definitely a show-stopper with it’s contrasting layers of of rich chocolate brownies, chocolate chia mousse, and homemade whipped cream.
  • Vegan Caramel Cheesecake: If you’re in need of a dairy-free dessert, this vegan caramel cheesecake always wins everyone’s hearts.
  • Chocolate Truffle Tart: Think of this as a rich and luscious Belgian chocolate truffle – in a beautiful tart form.
Gluten-free chocolate chip cookies spread out on a baking sheet.

A large plate of fresh homemade cookies always hits the spot. Not to mention, they’re super easy to whip up in less than an hour. But if you don’t have any time to spare on the big day, you can always make these a day in advance. Just warm them up and they’ll be as good as new!

  • Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies: I gotta say, these are the best gluten-free chocolate chip cookies. They’re perfectly chewy, have a slight outer crunch, and they’re dotted with rich chocolate chips.
  • No Bake Cookies: Oatmeal lovers can rejoice with these chocolatey no-bake cookies! But if you’re worried about them being too gooey or hard, I can assure you this is a fool-proof recipe.
  • Gluten-Free Pumpkin Cookies: For cookies on the softer side, you’ll love this pumpkin variation. The secret here is to use real pumpkin!
  • Vegan Pecan Oat Cookies: I love chewy cookies, but these crunchy oat-y cookies are just as good. Plus they’re a great way to get some pecan flavors on the table!
Slicing up a paleo pumpkin pie.

Lastly, You Can’t Go Wrong With These Classic Thanksgiving Desserts

Thanksgiving dinner always welcomes these mainstay classics. Pumpkin pie is on the menu here, along with spiced apple favorites.

  • The Best Paleo Pumpkin Pie: Aiming for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner? Then this pumpkin pie is a must-make!
  • Baked Apples: Transform juicy apples into this super cozy dessert baked with oats, nuts, raisins, and warm spices.
  • Easy Apple Crisp: Another sweet take on apples this season is none other than a crisp! This one has a crumbly almond cinnamon topping and is best served with vanilla ice cream.
  • Fresh Banana Pudding: This classic, feel-good dessert gets a healthier spin with tons of fresh bananas!
  • Paleo Pumpkin Bread: Since we’re on a pumpkin roll here, someone ought to bring a loaf of this pumpkin bread. It has just the right amount of sweetness, is perfectly spiced, and tastes amazing with a cup of coffee or tea.

For more Thanksgiving dinner inspiration, check out my Thanksgiving Menu and recipes, best Thanksgiving Side Dishes, and Thanksgiving Game Plan!

I hope this list gives you some dessert inspiration for the big day. If some of these recipes make it to your Thanksgiving dinner table, I’d love to hear which ones were your favorites below!

20+ Unique Thanksgiving Desserts

5 from 1 vote
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 1 hour 15 minutes
Total: 1 hour 35 minutes
Servings: 8 slices
Author: Lisa Bryan


Thanksgiving dessert doesn't always mean pie. I'll show you tons of unique and easy desserts that take sweet fall flavors to a new level.


Pie Crust

  • 1 ¼ cup almond flour
  • ½ cup cassava flour
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 5 tablespoons cold butter, or organic palm shortening for dairy-free
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons cold water

Pumpkin Pie Filling


  • To make the crust, stir together the flours and salt in a mixing bowl. Cut in the butter using a pastry cutter or your fingers until you have a crumbly mixture.
  • Add the egg and one tablespoon of water into the bowl. Use your hands to knead the ingredients together until a ball of dough forms. If the mixture is too dry and crumbly, add the second tablespoon of water (I used two for my recipe).
  • Wrap the ball of dough with plastic wrap or parchment paper and place in the refrigerator for at least one hour.
  • Preheat your oven to 350°F. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll it out between two pieces of parchment paper or use your fingers to push the dough into a 9-inch pie pan. Use a fork to piece a few holes in the bottom of the dough.
  • Pre-cook the crust for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine all the pumpkin pie filling ingredients. Using a hand mixer on medium speed, blend all ingredients together for one minute.
  • Pour the filling mixture into the pre-cooked pie crust and place it back in the oven for 50 to 60 minutes.
  • Remove the pie from the oven, cool at room temperature for 30 minutes, then refrigerate for 2 hours to firm up.


Calories: 324kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 100mg | Sodium: 247mg | Potassium: 220mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 8615IU | Vitamin C: 2.9mg | Calcium: 106mg | Iron: 2.8mg
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Thanksgiving Desserts, Thanksgiving Recipes
Did you make this recipe?Mention @downshiftology or tag #downshiftology!

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About the author

Lisa Bryan

Lisa is a bestselling cookbook author, recipe developer, and YouTuber (with over 2.5 million subscribers) living in sunny Southern California. She started Downshiftology in 2014, and is passionate about making healthy food with fresh, simple and seasonal ingredients.

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Recipe Rating


  1. My little sister is gf, and these recipes saved us for thanksgiving! She loves being apart of everything but can’t eat everything we eat, so making her own special cookies made her so happy. Thanks and happy thanksgiving!!5 stars