9 Non-Traditional Thanksgiving Desserts

Thanksgiving is a special holiday that brings family and friends together to make memories and celebrate the season. Parades, football games, hunting, and even “turkey trots” are annual Thanksgiving day activities people enjoy.

Still, the main event of the day is spending time with loved ones and enjoying a delicious Thanksgiving Day dinner. 

You may prefer a more traditional Thanksgiving menu of roast turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans, rolls, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie.

But if those aren't your favorite foods, you might be looking for more unique options with wonderful fall flavors. 

While pumpkin pie is the most common Thanksgiving dinner dessert, it may not be a hit with everyone at your feast. That's why you should consider a few non-traditional options that are both delicious and can spice up the choices on your holiday table.

array of thanksgiving desserts displayed on wooden table

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9 Thanksgiving Desserts Beyond Traditional Pumpkin Pie

Here are nine unique dessert recipes for Thanksgiving that are sure to impress your family and friends. 

1. Concord Grape Pie

If you've never had a piece of grape pie, you don't know what you are missing! Grape pies are a lot of work – but the first bite of this vibrant dessert will remind you that all your effort was worth it.

Allrecipes Concord Grape Pie has plenty of 5-star reviews. There are even helpful tips in the comments about ways to speed up peeling the grapes and variations on the pie crust you may want to try.

2. Caramel Apple Cheesecake

While fresh apples provide the central flavor of this creamy cheesecake, the caramel sauce covering the top layer and the buttery crust of each slice provides extra sweetness in this dessert idea.

Another bonus of this Taste of Home recipe? You can make it a day in advance of your celebration so you can focus on the rest of the meal on Thanksgiving day!

3. Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Chip Cookies

If you give this Delish recipe a try, you may not save it just for holiday treats. According to the reviews, these cookies are a hit year-round with children and adults alike.

While the main complaint in the comments is that they are somewhat cake-like, there are suggestions about how to give the cookies a more crisp crust. Variations include using white chocolate or cutting up chocolate bars in chunks to blend with the pumpkin flavor.

4. Pecan Pie Brownies

Rather than stick to traditional pecan pie recipes or your “go-to” pecan squares, combine some of your favorite flavors into one mouth-watering dessert.

You can make this Allrecipes dessert ahead of the big day and store it until after the turkey and fixings are gone. Described as “two desserts in one,” – it combines your favorite brownie flavor and a pecan crunchy crust topping.

5. Apple Bourbon Bundt Cake

This alternative dessert is a fun replacement for the classic flavors of apple pie or apple crisp. While the prep time for this recipe may be longer than usual, the comments reveal that your guests will want this cake to be an annual part of your Thanksgiving meal.

“One of the best cakes I've ever made” and “It was a huge hit” are just a few of the positive comments describing this NY Times Cooking recipe. 

6. Sweet Potato Casserole Dessert

This Allrecipes dessert has one of the highest rankings on the site and skips putting sweet potatoes on the dinner table and reserves them for dessert. 

A “fluffy sweet potatoes mixed with butter, sugar, and vanilla, and baked with a crunchy pecan streusel topping” is clearly a hit with people who try it. With over 1,400 5-star reviews, swapping out a traditional dessert recipe for this unique option, “sweet potato pie,” is an easy decision.

7. Pumpkin Pie Pudding

Your dessert spread may still need traditional autumnal flavors! But you can skip the pie crust and pumpkin filling of traditional pumpkin pies and make this Taste of Home spin-off recipe.

This treat is creamier than pie and won't just make the kids happy – it's a pumpkin custard dessert for everyone to enjoy. It's also a slow-cooker recipe, so you can set it and forget it while you visit with your loved ones or tackle other holiday meal recipes.

8. Cranberry and Apple Cake

This Food Network recipe uses fresh cranberries and Granny Smith apples for its main flavor ingredients. A beautiful alternative to some traditional desserts, tart cranberries in a cake may be enjoyed by some over canned cranberry sauce served with dinner.

You can have a warm and tasty homemade cake that's a wonderful blend of fruit and spice in just over an hour.  

9. Gingerbread Pudding Cake

Another moist cake option, this Food.com recipe is “out of the park good,” according to reviews. While it may look somewhat watery (“a sad mess,” according to some) – reviewers were delighted to see that the finished product was far from what they feared might happen!

A comment to describe it – “this pudding and cake hybrid oozes an intense, sticky syrup…fantastic for the holidays and a cold night.” Put away your chocolate cake recipes and give this new ginger-flavored treat a scoop of vanilla ice cream to top it off.

Breaking From Tradition

You still may decide to opt for candy corn or caramelized apples as treats for the little ones at your feast. But you may choose to scrap the traditional apple pie and vanilla ice cream or pumpkin and pecan pies and try some different dessert recipes.

Try these 5 Fun & Delicious Sangria Recipes for Fall too!

If variety is really the spice of life, reflect it in your dessert table offerings! You might find a dessert that's a real hit with your family and friends becomes a part of your Thanksgiving menu every year.

Do you stick to traditional Thanksgiving desserts and dinner menus? What are some of your favorite Thanksgiving desserts?


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