38 Unexpected Desserts for Thanksgiving

Think outside the pumpkin pie this year as you plan the sweet side of your Thanksgiving feast: Guests will delight in any of our seasonal desserts, from sweet potato cake with marshmallow meringue icing, praline sauce, and candied pecans, to pears poached in spiced port wine, to a simple but elegant maple pot de crème.

Crepes Cajeta

Crepes Cajeta
Cajeta, a homemade caramel used in traditional Mexican desserts, is a terrific sauce to have on hand for drizzling over ice cream or baked treats.Helen Rosner

Pecan Cream Cake

Pecan Cream Cake
Packed with coconut and pecans and covered in cream cheese frosting, this cake is a specialty of Georgia home cook Cile Ellis.Landon Nordeman

Pumpkin Halvah (Assidat al-Boubar)

Pumpkin Halvah (Assidat al-Boubar)
Like many traditional Emirati desserts, luscious pumpkin porridge (in Arabic it's a halvah, or sweet food) straddles the line between sweet and savory. The dish thickens as it cools, so be sure to serve it while it's still quite warm.Todd Coleman

Pumpkin Pecan Gingersnap Ice Cream

Pumpkin Pecan Gingersnap Ice Cream
Use up leftover pumpkin or squash puree in a sweet, spiced ice cream.Anna Stockwell
Sweet Potato Cake

Sweet Potato Cake

Layers of spiced sweet potato cake alternate with marshmallowy meringue icing in a rich dessert that's a riff on the classic Thanksgiving side.Todd Coleman

Pumpkin and Bourbon Mousse

Pumpkin and Bourbon Mousse
All the traditional flavors of pumpkin pie combine in this satisfying, creamy mousse.Todd Coleman

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Pumpkin Cheesecake
Rum and gingersnaps add a spicy, warming flavor to this rich fall dessert.Beth Rooney

Nutmeg Ice Cream

Nutmeg Ice Cream
Serve this spiced ice cream on its own or scooped on top of warm fruit crisps, cobblers, or pies, particularly apple.Todd Coleman
Pumpkin Cheesecake with Gingersnap and Hazelnut Crust

Pumpkin Cheesecake with Gingersnap and Hazelnut Crust

The dessert's delicate texture is achieved by cooking the cheesecake in a bain-marie, a water bath made by surrounding the springform pan with boiling water.Todd Coleman
Navy Bean Pie

Navy Bean Pie

The silky, custardlike base of this autumnal pie is made from sweetened navy bean purée spiced with nutmeg, vanilla, and cinnamon.Andre Baranowski
Pumpkin Bread (Fein Tau Weiyema)

Pumpkin Bread (Fein Tau Weiyema)

A dense, pudding-like pumpkin bread makes a rich and satisfying dessert. Use leftover butternut, acorn, or pumpkin squash purée.Penny De Los Santos
Maple Pot de Crème

Maple Pot de Crème

Creamy custard sweetened with maple syrup makes a lovely ending to any meal.Todd Coleman
applesauce cake recipe

Spice Applesauce Cake

Applesauce adds moisture and sweet apple flavor in a lovely cinnamon-spiced, autumnal cake. Get the recipe for Spice Applesauce Cake »Tim Mazurek

Mexican Bread Pudding (Capirotada)

Mexican Bread Pudding (Capirotada)
This satisfying dessert uses piloncillo, a type of brown sugar used in Mexican cooking.Todd Coleman
Roasted Sugar-Glazed Pears

Roasted Sugar-Glazed Pears

Roasted pears stuffed with almonds, currants, and raisins make a simple yet elegant dessert.Beth Rooney
Carrot Rice Pudding

Carrot Rice Pudding

Shredded carrots turn soft and sweet in this cardamom-spiced rice pudding.Anna Stockwell
Pumpkin Spice Cake with Mascarpone

Pumpkin Spice Cake with Mascarpone

This batter also makes delicious muffins, perfect for a day-after-Thanksgiving brunch.Anna Stockwell
Walnut Spice Cake

Walnut Spice Cake

Alternating layers of white and brown spiced cake are delicious sandwiched with a rich, chocolate fudge icing.Todd Coleman

Apple Cider-Cinnamon Ice Cream

A refreshing, seasonal ice cream is a satisfying way to end your Thanksgiving meal. See the recipe for Apple Cider-Cinnamon Ice Cream »Penny De Los Santos
Spiced Pumpkin Cake

Spiced Pumpkin Cake

A welcome addition to the holiday table, this simple frosted layer cake can be made with either canned or homemade puréed pumpkin.Todd Coleman
Apple and Cranberry Upside-Down Cakes

Apple and Cranberry Upside-Down Cakes

This recipe, from Fore Street restaurant in Portland, Maine, calls for using six 4" steel blini pans. But you can make a single cake in an 8" cast-iron skillet, if you prefer. If fresh or frozen cranberries aren't available, use reconstituted dried berries. Get the recipe for Apple and Cranberry Upside-Down Cakes »Khushbu Shah

Cinnamon Rice Pudding

There's nothing like homemade rice pudding—creamy, sweet, and comforting. The brown sugar lends a caramel-like sweetness, while cinnamon and rum-soaked raisins add warmth and depth. Get the recipe for Cinnamon Rice Pudding »Todd Coleman
Macerated Fruit Conserve (Rumtopf)

Macerated Fruit Conserve (Rumtopf)

This sweet-tart conserve is a luscious accompaniment to ice cream. It also adds a fruity dimension when stirred into champagne.Todd Coleman

Olive Oil Quatre Quarts with Chopped Fruit

Olive Oil Quatre Quarts with Chopped Fruit
This variation on a classic French pound cake, in which ingredient quantities are determined by relative weight, uses olive oil instead of butter for a light, fresh flavor. The recipe was developed by SAVEUR contributor Nancy Harmon Jenkins, who recommends using a Polder Kitchen Scale for accurate measure.Todd Coleman

Bratapfel mit Walnusseis (Baked Walnut-Stuffed Apples with White Wine)

Apples are roasted in wine and butter for this sweet and spicy dessert, a staple of holiday markets throughout Germany.Todd Coleman
rum bundt cake recipe, rum cake recipes

Rum Bundt Cake

A supremely moist, boozy Southern bundt cake fitting for any holiday spread.Helen Rosner

Glazed Cinnamon Oatmeal Cookies

Glazed Cinnamon Oatmeal Cookies
Dough studded with dried cranberries and a drizzle of sweet, cinnamon-spiced glaze take oatmeal cookies from ordinary to perfect.Helen Rosner
Pecan Pie Brittle

Pecan Pie Brittle

This twist on traditional pecan pie provides a snack-able ending to any holiday feast.Todd Coleman
English Sticky Toffee Pudding

English Sticky Toffee Pudding

In this version of the classic English dessert, adapted from one in Rose Levy Beranbaum's Rose's Heavenly Cakes (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009), dates are soaked in stout beer and then pureed, resulting in a super-moist crumb.Eilon Paz

Chocolate Spice-Cake Pudding

Replacing bread with chocolate spice cake adds richness and dark chocolate flavor to this pudding.Guy Kloppenburg
Honey-Nut Tart with Chocolate Rye Crust, Late Winter Feast

Honey-Nut Tart with Chocolate Rye Crust

The gooey filling in this tart is held together by a rye flour crust that gets its structure, and depth, from chocolate.Bill Phelps

Maple Syrup Dumplings

The warm flavor of maple syrup enhances rich dumplings in a super-simple, comforting dessert.Landon Nordeman

Acadian Syrup Cake

Ken Smith, the executive chef at Upperline restaurant and an avid home baker, often serves this spiced, cane syrup-sweetened cake. On special occasions such as Thanksgiving and Christmas he pairs it with a sauce made from satsumas, a clementine-like citrus fruit that grows in Louisiana and is available in the late fall.Landon Nordeman

Russian Punch Cake

Impress your guests with a show-stopping layer cake stuffed with a luscious custard filling and topped with meringue frosting.Landon Nordeman

Honey Ice Cream

Serve this simple, elegant ice cream with fresh fruit or on top of warm bread pudding. See the recipe for Honey Ice Cream »Chris Granger

Baked Apples with Caramel Sauce

Fuji apples hold their shape perfectly when baked and coated in caramel.André Baranowski

Indian Pudding

Vanilla ice cream makes the perfect topper for a warm, molasses-sweetened Indian Pudding.Landon Nordeman
Squash Bread Pudding with Rum Sauce

Squash Bread Pudding with Rum Sauce

This Mexican take on a Cajun-style bread pudding is studded with cubes of squash and plump raisins.Landon Nordeman