There’s something sort of sadistic about preparing a Thanksgiving meal and serving it to your loved ones. Your lineup of starchy, buttery, tryptophan-laden savory dishes are designed to make it damn nigh impossible for your guests to resist stuffing themselves to the point of pain. (You know everyone’s going to pop the button on their jeans under the table and hope no one notices, because no one ever remembers the stretchy pants, do they?) And then, when they’re up to their eyeballs in stuffing and mashed potatoes and yams and gravy, you really do it to 'em.
You bring out the pie. And everyone groans and hems and haws and says how they just couldn’t possibly. But of course they do, the liars. "Just a little slice," they say as they cut a totally normal-sized portion. When all is said and done, everyone is stuffed to the gills but smugly happy as they ease into their pie-filled food comas. And you, you little freak of a host, are equally pleased with yourself for giving everyone all that food and making them like it.
But you can’t cross that finish line without having a strong dessert plan. Here are our best Thanksgiving-worthy pies, cakes, and ice creams that are sure to put your entire family to sleep, but in a good way.
The Classic Apple Pie Recipe
Don't let pumpkin pie have a monopoly on the Thanksgiving dessert table. A good old-fashioned, double-crusted apple pie is just as all-American as pumpkin, but don't forget the vanilla ice cream.
Vegan Pumpkin Pie Recipe
Pumpkin pie usually relies on eggs to help the filling set. In this vegan pumpkin pie, silken tofu firms up the filling inside a flaky, vegan butter-based crust.
Brown Butter Pumpkin Pie Recipe
Pumpkin pie is the one true Thanksgiving classic, the one everyone looks for in the holiday buffet spread. This pumpkin pie is extra autumnal, thanks to the addition of toasty brown butter in the filling.
Bourbon Pecan Pie Recipe
Some people really hate on pumpkin pie, and to those people, we say you probably need to find something better to do with your time, but also, have a really freakin' good pecan pie, then, you jerks.
Goat Cheese Pumpkin Pie Recipe
Don’t let the inclusion of goat cheese in this pumpkin pie throw you off. With an almond cookie crust, and plenty of sugar and cream cheese in the filling, its perfect balance of sweet, tangy, and creamy will be welcome at the end of the long, heavy meal.
Vinegar Pie Recipe
Vinegar pie doesn’t taste anything like vinegar, FYI. Filled with classic vanilla custard, this simple pie relies on a few tablespoons of vinegar instead of lemon juice to make it nice and tart. This will be the sleeper hit of your dessert menu this year, we promise.
Chocolate Pudding Pie Recipe
Chocolate pudding pie is a safe bet year-round, so add it to the Thanksgiving dessert table for a guaranteed people-pleaser.
Pumpkin Pie with Cinnamon Fluff Recipe
You don't need whipped cream or ice cream to top this classic pumpkin pie when you've got cinnamon-spiked marshmallow fluff.
Chess Pie Recipe
With a Meyer lemon and buttermilk curd, this Southern-inspired chess pie is zingy and bright enough to perk everyone up after that rich, savory holiday spread.
Sweet Potato Pie Recipe
Embrace the sweetness of the sweet potato and stop trying to turn it into the savory side dish it’s not. In this sweet potato pie, combine the tuber with sweetened condensed milk, vanilla, and warm spices for the perfect addition to your holiday dessert feast.
Ground Cherry Pie Recipe
Ground cherries are the subtly sweet pie filler that you’ve been needing in your life, and this ground cherry pie is perfect for anyone whose sweet tooth is a little more subdued.
Rustic Apple Cider Cake Recipe
Hell, who said pie was the only thing you could serve for Thanksgiving dessert? Cider makes this apple layer cake so perfectly moist that no one will miss the pie.
Cinnamon Spice Cake Recipe
Frost it lightly and this easy, spiced layer cake will be just right for a homey, cozy holiday like Thanksgiving—and you don't even have to worry about making the perfect pie crust.
Cranberry and Orange Cake Recipe
Making cranberry sauce from scratch this year? Those bags of berries always seem bigger than you really need, so save some for this light and refreshing cranberry and orange cake. Your palate will thank you.
Gluten-Free Peanut Butter and Chocolate Tart Recipe
This chocolate peanut butter tart is basically a giant version of your favorite candy, and it's the perfect way to keep your gluten-free guests happy when dessert rolls around, too.
Burnt Honey and Rosemary Ice Cream Recipe
No matter what pie or cake you go with, everyone’s going to want some ice cream to go with it. This honey and rosemary ice cream will pair well with just about any of them, although this brown butter and sage option would work well, too.