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Easy Thanksgiving Dessert Recipes

Updated on September 21, 2013
Marye Audet profile image

Marye Audet-White is an internationally known food writer, food editor for Texas Living, cookbook author, and food blogger.

The holidays are a busy time but you can add some memorable, yet easy, Thanksgiving dessert recipes to your holiday menu. By using time saving techniques, making the food ahead of time, and choosing simple recipes without many ingredients you can make the best Thanksgiving dessert recipes ever.

Making homemade desserts for the holidays is not only less expensive; homemade pies and cakes have less preservatives, are generally healthier, and just taste better than the commercial varieties. Use local organic ingredients when you can for the best, freshest flavors of fall.

Easiest Pie Crust

Many people are afraid of pastry crusts. They are not difficult to make but if you want to keep things super easy this Thanksgiving try a crumb crust. When you think of fall flavors you probably think of spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger. What better way to hold a Thanksgiving pie filling than with a gingersnap crumb crust? Fast, easy, and delicious!

Recipe for the Easiest Pie Crust Ever

Time:5 minutes

  • 35 Gingersnap cookies
  • 2 Tbs sugar
  • 5 Tbs unsalted butter, melted
  1. Place cookies in a food processor and pulse until the cookies form fine crumbs.
  2. Measure out 1 ½ cups of crumbs and add in sugar.
  3. Add the melted butter.
  4. Mix with a fork until the crumbs hold together.
  5. Press in the bottom and up the sides of a 9 inch pie plate.
  6. The pie crust is ready to be used.

*Variation: use vanilla wafers in place of the Gingersnaps.

Easy Pumpkin Pies

Pumpkin pie is traditional at Thanksgiving. If you don't have the time or the expertise to make the conventional one try one of these delicious alternatives.

Easy Pumpkin Pie

Prep time:5 minutes

Bake time:1 hour or so

May be made 1 – 2 days ahead of time, wrapped and refrigerated.

  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 15 oz pumpkin puree (not pie mix)
  • 1 ¼ cups half and half
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 1 gingersnap pie crust
  1. Mix ingredients in the order given and pour into the pie crust.
  2. Bake at 425 F for 15 minutes and then at 375 for 40-50 minutes.
  3. Pie is done when a knife inserted 1 inch from center comes out clean.

Easy Pumpkin Ice Cream Pie

Prep time: 5 minutes

Freeze time: At least 3 hours

May be made 1 month ahead, wrapped, and frozen

  • ½ gallon softened vanilla ice cream
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree (not pie mix)
  • ½ cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • Gingersnap crust
  1. Mix ingredients together and spoon into crust.
  2. Wrap and freeze up to one month.
  3. Allow to stand at room temperature 15 minutes before serving.

*For variety add a layer of pecan praline ice cream under the pumpkin mixture. Sprinkle top with pecans.

Apples for Easy Thanksgiving Dessert Recipes

Apple Pie Cake

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 30 minutes

May be made 1 – 2 days ahead of time, wrapped, and refrigerated (heat briefly before serving)

  • 2 21 ounce cans of apple pie filling
  • 1 box spice cake mix
  • ¾ cup of butter, melted
  1. Preheat oven to 350F
  2. Grease a 13x9 inch pan
  3. Pour in apple pie filling and spread evenly
  4. Sprinkle spice cake mix on top
  5. Drizzle butter on top, making sure that cake mix is evenly moist (you may need to gently mix the cake mix around with a fork -but don't mix it into the apples.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes.
  7. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream

Easy Apple Pie

Prep time 5 minutes

Bake time:15 minutes

May be made ahead, wrapped and refrigerated

  • 2 cans apple pie filling (may need less)
  • 1 gingersnap or vanilla crumb crust
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F
  2. Pour apple filling into crust
  3. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes
  4. Serve with whipped cream

Plan for Dessert

Just because you are busy doesn't mean that you can't serve mouthwatering desserts for the holidays. Use these easy Thanksgiving dessert recipes whenever you need a quick, delicious dessert. Other websites to try are:

Use planning and organizing skills, as well as make ahead Thanksgiving recipes to keep things easy this holiday season!


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    • kartika damon profile image

      kartika damon 8 years ago from Fairfield, Iowa

      i just bookmarked this hub - I will be needing some of these over the holiday! Kartika


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