20 Easy Thanksgiving Desserts

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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.

The photo collage shows 4 different easy Thanksgiving desserts including cheesecake, apple cake, pecan pie bars, and banana pudding.

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.

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How to Choose Easy Thanksgiving Desserts

There are two strategies for Thanksgiving dessert:

  1. Show Stopping Centerpiece Treats for Advanced Bakers
  2. 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.

Fresh Apple Cake
This easy apple cake is bursting at the seams with fresh apples. It’s the perfect way to use your orchard haul this fall. Top it with nutty brown butter frosting or easy cream cheese frosting and chopped pecans for an amazing make-ahead Thanksgiving dessert.
5 from 40 votes
A square slice of apple cake topped with soft frosting and pecans sits in front of the metal baking pan it came from. A bite is missing.

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.

Apple Slab Pie
This freezer-friendly apple slab pie is a delicious fresh apple dessert any time of year. The flaky pie crust and juicy apples are great with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top!
5 from 40 votes
A square piece of apple pie has a fork taking a bite.

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 Apple Crisp
This freezer apple crisp will change your holiday baking forever. Make one big batch but split it into two smaller desserts -- one to bake now and one to stash in your freezer for later. Perfect quick and easy Thanksgiving dessert. 
4.34 from 86 votes
A freezer-friendly metal pan holds an 8x8-inch apple crisp with crumble topping.

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.

Fresh Cherry Crisp
This delicious fresh cherry crisp is the perfect way to use up everyone's favorite summer berry. The buttery crispy topping is wonderful with the sweet, syrupy filling. Serve hot with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
4.98 from 48 votes
A white bowl of fresh cherry crisp shows the juicy filling and golden brown crumble topping.

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
Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce
This addictive homemade caramel sauce makes an excellent ice cream topping or dessert sauce for fall treats.
4.98 from 46 votes
A mason jar filled with homemade caramel sauce with a spoon.

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.

Triple Berry Sauce
This simple triple berry sauce is so easy to make using fresh or frozen blackberries, blueberries, and strawberries. Drizzle it over cheesecake or your favorite dessert.
4.48 from 21 votes
A slice of plain cheesecake has fresh strawberries, blackberries, and blueberries sprinkled over the top and on the table. A drizzle of dark purple triple berry sauce is dripping down from the top. A pitcher of sauce is nearby.

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.

Pumpkin Spice Pecans
Easy pumpkin spiced pecans make a delicious snack mix to set out at a party or for bundling up as an easy homemade gift at the holidays. Chop them up and use them for garnish over cheesecakes and other fall desserts.
5 from 41 votes
A mason jar filled with spiced pecans has a blue ribbon tied around it and sits on a blue plate with more pecans sprinkled around.

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.

Shortbread Pecan Pie Bars
These rich and chewy shortbread pecan pie bars have a crispy cookie crust, a gooey caramel center, and salty pecans all over the top. Slice up a square to share with friends for fall entertaining.
4.96 from 41 votes
A stack of shortbread pecan pie bars on a cake plate for serving.

Banana Pudding (No Bananas!)

If you love classic Southern recipes for big family dinners, then you know that banana pudding is an essential dessert for feeding a crowd.

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.

Banana Pudding {No Bananas}
This easy potluck dessert recipe is a classic southern church dessert. While it usually features fresh bananas layered in the creamy pudding mix, this recipe is completely banana free for anyone who has an allergy or strong aversion to banana flavor.
4.91 from 52 votes
A slice of banana pudding sits on a stack of white plates. You can see that there are no bananas in the layers.

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.

Crescent Roll Cheesecake Bars
Layers of flaky crescent rolls surround a creamy cheesecake filling topped with a crispy cinnamon sugar coating. This easy dessert tastes like two treats in one: a delicious rich and creamy cheesecake and a crispy cinnamon churro!
4.98 from 37 votes
Two churro cheesecake bars are stacked on a blue and white plate in front of the baking dish of treats.

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.

Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake Bars
These rich and delicious pumpkin gooey butter cake bars are the perfect make-ahead Thanksgiving dessert. They travel really well if you're in charge of bringing the pumpkin dessert!
5 from 45 votes
The sliced pumpkin gooey butter cake bars are on a white plate. There's a dusting of powdered sugar over the top for garnish.

Cranberry Bliss Bars

So many Thanksgiving desserts are extra sweet and rich. These delightful cranberry bliss bars are the perfect choice because the tart cranberries and fresh lemon juice in the icing will complement the other goodies so well.

Cranberry Bliss Bars
Sweet spiced cookie bars studded with dried cranberries and white chocolate chips are decorated with a stunning cream cheese icing and a drizzle of melted white chocolate. This copycat Starbucks recipe makes a perfect fall treat for Thanksgiving or Christmas parties.
5 from 40 votes
A blue plate has several squares of cranberry bliss bars ready to serve.

Butterscotch Brownies

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.

Butterscotch Brownies
This one-bowl recipe is so easy, the batter will be done before the oven has even pre-heated! It's a perfect first recipe for kids learning to bake. The sweet and salty combo is utterly addictive.
4.90 from 47 votes
A batch of butterscotch brownies have been cut into squares on a piece of foil.

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 Crumble Bars
These deliciously easy apple crumble bars have a light and flaky apple crumble topping that comes together with just three ingredients. Bake these with your kids for a simple Thanksgiving dessert.
5 from 42 votes
A square of apple crumble bars is served on a white plate with a drizzle of caramel sauce over the top.

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?

Apple Crisp Bars
Homemade apple crisp bars with pecans, oats, and the special secret ingredient: butterscotch chips! This delicious dessert bar is the perfect treat for a fall dinner, Halloween, or even an easy Thanksgiving dessert.
5 from 45 votes
Tiered cake plate serves squares of apple crisp bars with an oat crumble topping and butterscotch chips.

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.

Pumpkin Spice Cheerios Bars
These no-bake pumpkin spice Cheerios treats combine melted marshmallow and caramel for a delicious fall dessert. This easy recipe is great to have some fall baking fun with the kids.
4.75 from 4 votes
A wooden platter has 3 squares of pumpkin spice cheerio bars with a ceramic pumpkin decoration.

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.

Thanksgiving pies intimidate new bakers, but if you use my tricks for baking with a store bought pie crust, these will be the easiest Thanksgiving pies ever.

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 Pumpkin Pie
This easy pumpkin pie recipe takes just 10 minutes to prep and is perfect for a first time pie baker. Make a delicious Thanksgiving pie to add to the family feast in just minutes.
5 from 6 votes
A pumpkin pie in a white pie plate.

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.

Easy Pecan Pie Recipe
This easy pecan pie recipe can be made with or without corn syrup if you use the simple substitutions. A splash of bourbon adds depth of flavor but could also be omitted if you desire. This classic holiday pie is filled with salty crunch and an ooey-gooey filling everyone will love.
5 from 6 votes
The homemade pecan pie is in a white pie dish on a blue background.

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.

Cherry Slab Pie
A simple way to feed a crowd, this delicious cherry slab pie can be baked with frozen cherries or fresh cherries during the peak of the season.
4.93 from 57 votes
A cherry slab pie sits in a metal baking pan and has heart-shaped cut outs for the top crust.

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.

Oreo Cream Pie
This easy no bake OREO cream pie uses up one family-sized package of Double Stuffed Oreos. Cool and creamy and filled with chocolate wafer cookies and vanilla creme filling in the Oreo cookie crust and Oreo cream center, this easy pie is a huge hit with kids.
5 from 53 votes
The oreo cream pie has one slice missing so you can see the cookie crust, oreo cookie cream center, and whipped topping.

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:

The photo collage shows several easy Thanksgiving desserts including pecan pie bars, cheesecake bars, apple cake, and a berry cheesecake next to a Thanksgiving dinner table with pies and pumpkin napkins.

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