Easy Thanksgiving desserts might include a classic Thanksgiving pie but could also include easy Thanksgiving cakes, cheesecakes, and no-bake desserts. These easy recipes are perfect for bringing to a Thanksgiving potluck or open house.
When you need an easy Thanksgiving dessert to bring to your family feast or a holiday potluck, you want something that is simple to make and travels well.
These easy recipes are perfect for the new holiday baker who wants an extra-delicious treat to wow family and friends.
You'll find easy ideas including sweet Thanksgiving cakes, how to dress up a store bought cheesecake, and easy 9x13-inch desserts you can take in the car with no trouble.
- How to Choose Easy Thanksgiving Desserts
- 1. Easy Make Ahead Recipes
- Fresh Apple Cake
- Make Ahead Apple Slab Pie
- Freezer Friendly Apple Crisp
- Freezer Friendly Cherry Crisp
- 2. Dress Up a Bakery Dessert
- Sea Salt Caramel Sauce
- Triple Berry Sauce
- Pumpkin Spice Pecans
- 3. Easy 9 x 13 Desserts for Thanksgiving
- Shortbread Pecan Bars
- Banana Pudding (No Bananas!)
- Crescent Roll Cheesecake Bars
- Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake Bars
- Butterscotch Brownies
- Apple Crumble Bars
- Apple Butterscotch Bars
- Pumpkin Spice Cheerios Treats
- 4. Easy Thanksgiving Pies
- Easy Pumpkin Pie
- Easy Pecan Pie
- Cherry Slab Pie
- Oreo Cream Pie
- More Thanksgiving Ideas
- 💬 Comments
How to Choose Easy Thanksgiving Desserts
There are two strategies for Thanksgiving dessert:
- Show Stopping Centerpiece Treats for Advanced Bakers
- Dessert Recipes for the Rest of Us
If you've ever tried to manage the planning, shopping, prepping, and cooking for a full Thanksgiving dinner, you know that the best Thanksgiving desserts are often things you can make ahead of time and keep well.
I have a few other easy tricks to help you make a delicious dessert that is worthy of a place of honor on the dessert table.
1. Easy Make Ahead Recipes
Any Thanksgiving dessert that you can make the day before is a winner in my book.
I do all my dessert prep on Wednesday morning and love treats that I can keep at room temperature to save space in my fridge.
Some of these dessert ideas will take up a little room in the fridge but are worth their effort.
Fresh Apple Cake
Personally, I think this fresh apple cake with browned butter frosting and chopped pecans tastes best chilled. The juicy apples are so yummy cold.
You can make it the day before and just cover it and keep it in the fridge till you serve it.
Make Ahead Apple Slab Pie
Talk about make ahead recipes, this apple slab pie can be prepped and frozen in advance.
You could bake it the day before Thanksgiving and just store it at room temperature. Reheat it in the oven for a few minutes before serving for warm apple pie a la mode.
Freezer Friendly Apple Crisp
If classic apple pie seems daunting, this freezer friendly apple crisp is going to be your new best friend.
My family actually prefers this recipe to pie because of the amazing crispy topping. You can freeze it and bake it while everyone is eating Thanksgiving dinner so it is warm and fresh for dessert.
Freezer Friendly Cherry Crisp
Already have an apple dessert and want to add something with cherries? Don't miss my popular cherry crisp, it has a hint of almond in the filling and is perfect for fall.
Looking for even more make ahead Thanksgiving desserts that travel well?
Don't miss my tips on how to bundle up your goodies to take on the go here:
2. Dress Up a Bakery Dessert
Maybe you've got your hands full making Thanksgiving dinner, maybe you're just anxious about your baking skills.
Whether you use this trick to save time or to just prep a trustworthy dessert you feel confident sharing with family and friends, you just can't go wrong with a dressed up bakery dessert.
By adding a homemade sauce or garnish (that you prep in advance!) you're showing that you put in a little effort to make the holiday special, and extra tasty.
Sea Salt Caramel Sauce
This homemade salted caramel sauce is so delicious you could honestly show up with a jar of just this as your contribution to the feast.
Well, maybe you should also grab a store bought cheesecake on your way, too.
This is the perfect dessert sauce to drizzle over:
- apple pie
- apple crisp
- pecan pie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream
- a plain cheesecake
Triple Berry Sauce
I strongly recommend Costco's giant plain cheesecakes. They have a pretty whipped cream border and then all you need to do is add a batch of my homemade triple berry sauce and some fresh berries for sprinkling over the top.
Pumpkin Spice Pecans
These easy pumpkin pie spiced pecans are perfect for filling candy dishes you plan to scatter around the house on Thanksgiving.
Fun Trick: Chop them up and sprinkle them over pumpkin pies for crunch or add to a plain cheesecake with that caramel sauce I mentioned above.
3. Easy 9 x 13 Desserts for Thanksgiving
Gosh do I love making an easy 9 x 13 dessert bar, cake, or torte when I have to bring my treat on the go.
These easy recipes can be covered and brought along in your car with no trouble.
They are also so easy to store in an over-crowded fridge.
Shortbread Pecan Bars
If a traditional pecan pie seems daunting, why not bake a double batch of my shortbread pecan bars instead?
You can slice them in giant squares for a generous dessert or cut them into bite-sized portions for adding to a dessert tower with other small cookies and tid bits.
Banana Pudding (No Bananas!)
But what if your guests don't like bananas?? My banana pudding is totally banana-free and makes an excellent addition to a dessert buffet with those pretty Chessmen cookies on top.
Crescent Roll Cheesecake Bars
This crispy cinnamon-topped crescent roll cheesecake bar could be easily made as a Thanksgiving dessert by adding cinnamon apple pie filling in the layers.
Or you could just bake it as is, and add a dollop of cinnamon apples from the grocery store refrigerator aisle on the side to give your family options for how they want to eat it -- with apples or without.
Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake Bars
Pumpkin pie can stir a little debate among Thanksgiving dessert eaters who aren't always a fan of the texture.
Pretty much everyone will love these ooey gooey butter cake bars with just a simple sprinkle of powdered sugar over the top.
Butterscotch and pecans are delicious any time of year but these butterscotch brownies will absolutely fly off the dessert table once people taste that delicious crispy cookie crust.
Just like the pecan pie bars above, you can cut these in bite-sized squares for mixing in a dessert buffet.
Apple Crumble Bars
I love when a Thanksgiving dessert has a strong nod to a traditional Thanksgiving pie but is much easier to make.
These apple crumble bars are perfect for bakers who don't want to mess with pie crust during the busy holiday.
Drizzle them with the caramel sauce I mentioned above and you'll be the star of the holiday.
Apple Butterscotch Bars
If crispy oat topping is more your cup of tea, these delicious apple butterscotch bars have a sweet crumbly texture with an ooey gooey base.
They will travel well in the baking pan. Might I suggest they be an over-indulgent Thanksgiving breakfast time treat while everyone is busy baking in the kitchen?
Pumpkin Spice Cheerios Treats
Want a fun no bake treat to make with the kids or for the littles coming to visit for the holiday?
This easy Pumpkin Spice Cheerios treats recipe has caramel and a white chocolate drizzle. YUM.
4. Easy Thanksgiving Pies
When most people search for easy Thanksgiving desserts, they're not necessarily imagining a pie to show up on the list.
Easy Pumpkin Pie
How easy is this pumpkin pie recipe? So easy that it is featured right on the can of Libby's pumpkin pie filling.
If you've ever tried to bake from that recipe, you've probably had a bunch of questions. I broke every step down for new bakers so you can have success right from the first try.
Easy Pecan Pie
If I had to vote for the best Thanksgiving pie, this pecan pie would win me over every time.
With just a touch of bourbon in the mix and an easy store bought pie crust, this pecan pie can be made the day before and be just as delicious.
Cherry Slab Pie
I love to bake a slab pie when I serve a big crowd because the square pieces are just so easy to slice and plate.
This cherry slab pie can be made with frozen cherries once they're off season and the dark berries are the perfect palette for using a cute holiday cookie cutter on the pie dough.
Oreo Cream Pie
I'm not sure about you but when I was a kid, my mom always served a chocolate French silk pie at Thanksgiving because she knew we kids just couldn't get on board with the pumpkin and pecan yet.
This easy Oreo cream pie just takes a few minutes to prep, can definitely be made ahead, and is the most thoughtful thing to add to a Thanksgiving dessert buffet for the picky eaters at your table.
More Thanksgiving Ideas
Now that you've got your easy Thanksgiving desserts all picked out, what about the rest of your meal plan?
Don't miss my other easy Thanksgiving recipes for your family feast: