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