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50 of Our Best Fall Desserts

Capture the sweet flavors of autumn in recipes for pumpkin bars, apple pies, spice cookies, cranberry cobblers and more fall desserts.

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Nantucket Cranberry Tart

While everyone is enjoying a bountiful meal, this eye-catching tart can be baking to perfection in the oven. The pretty holiday dessert calls for very few ingredients, and it’s a snap to assemble. —Jackie Zack, Riverside, Connecticut

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Pumpkin Pecan Cheesecake Exps Pbz21 25938 E04 23 5b

Pumpkin Pecan Cheesecake

You’re sure to draw compliments with this delectable homemade dessert from Lorraine Darocha. In Mountain City, Tennessee, she prepares it the day before by topping a from-scratch pecan crust with luscious layers of cream cheese and spiced pumpkin.
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Quick Cranberry Chip Cookies Exps Tohca23 11147 P2 Md 08 12 5b 1

Quick Cranberry Chip Cookies

I received these delightful cookies for Christmas a few years ago. I was watching my diet, but I couldn’t stay away from them! The tart cranberries blend beautifully with the sweet chocolate and vanilla chips. —Jo Ann McCarthy, Canton, Massachusetts

Check out more fall cookies that’ll make your home smell amazing.

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Cinnamon Apple Cheesecake Exps Ugfbmz17 33485 B04 04 4b 3

Cinnamon Apple Cheesecake

An attractive topping of cinnamon-spiced apple slices and a homemade oat-and-walnut crust make this creamy fall dessert a definite showstopper. —Emily Ann Young, Edmond, Oklahoma

Psst! You probably haven’t tried these new fall desserts yet. (But you definitely should!)

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Caramel Pecan Cheesecake Pie Exps Tohpp19 35948 E03 19 3b 4

Caramel-Pecan Cheesecake Pie

In fall or any time of year, this nutty, rich and delicious pecan pie recipe is one I am proud to serve. While it seems very special, this caramel pecan cheesecake is a snap to make. —Becky Ruff, Monona, Iowa

Need an after-dinner showstopper? Try these gorgeous fall desserts.

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Rustic Nut Bars

My friends love crunching into the crust—so much like shortbread—and the wildly nutty topping of these chewy, gooey bars. —Barbara Driscoll, West Allis, Wisconsin
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Gingerbread Pumpkin Trifle Exps Pcbbz20 41718 B08 19 4b 12

Gingerbread Pumpkin Trifle

I like to spice up our Thanksgiving dinner with this special dessert featuring two popular holiday flavors. A delicious alternative to pumpkin pie, it’s my favorite potluck contribution. —Deborah F. Hahn, Belle, Missouri
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Air-Fryer Apple Fritters

An air fryer makes these easy apple fritters healthier than old-fashioned fritters, yet they are still just as delicious. They’re a quick and easy fall dessert that includes a scrumptious brown butter glaze! —Alyssa Castriotta, North Scituate, Rhode Island
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Gingered Almond Truffle Tart Exps Tohdj23 169172 Dr 07 13 5b

Gingered Almond Truffle Tart

Fresh ginger complements the chocolate truffle filling in this elegant, almost sinful tart. Small servings are best! —Janice Elder, Charlotte, North Carolina
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Libby’s Pumpkin Delights

Just make this dessert once, and Libby’s Pumpkin Delights will be one of the recipes you look forward to each fall! —Melissa Erdelac, Valparaiso, Indiana

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Ginger Maple Macadamia Nut Cookies Exps Hcbz22 181933 P1onp2 Md 06 03 4b

Ginger & Maple Macadamia Nut Cookies

This spiced cookie has a real kick of ginger, similar to traditional German lebkuchen. If you don’t have crystallized ginger, use colored sprinkles. —Thomas Faglon, Somerset, New Jersey
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Cranberry Carrot Layer Cake Exps Tohcom19 19290 C07 23 2b 3

Cranberry-Carrot Layer Cake

This moist cake smothered with rich cream cheese frosting makes any dinner festive. Every autumn, I go to a cranberry festival in Wisconsin and load up on fresh cranberries to freeze for year-round cooking. —Nellie Runne, Rockford, Illinois

We love making fall desserts for a crowd. Find big-batch bars, cookies, cakes and more.

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Spiced Pumpkin Ice Cream Puffs Exps Pcbz19 48093 E04 26 4b 2

Spiced Pumpkin Ice Cream Puffs

This extraordinary fall dessert showcases homemade pumpkin ice cream and cream puffs. The effort is worthwhile…and you can make the parts ahead of time for easy assembly later.—Richard Lasher, Stuarts Draft, Virginia
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Classic Sweet Potato Pie

This simple but special deep-dish pie provides a down-home finish to hearty autumn meals. Pecans and pumpkin pie spices make this a comforting seasonal classic. —Paul Azzone, Shoreham, New York

Craving more grandma-approved fall desserts? We’ve got you covered.

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Chai Cupcakes

You’ll get a double dose of the spicy blend that’s frequently used to flavor tea in these moist single-size cakes. Both the cupcake and frosting use the blend, which combines some of the best flavors of the season. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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Giant Molasses Cookies

My family always requests these soft molasses cookies. These chewy molasses cookies are also great for shipping as holiday gifts or to troops overseas. —Kristine Chayes, Smithtown, New York
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Apple Betty with Almond Cream

I love making this apple betty for friends during the peak of apple season. I plan a quick soup and bread meal, so we can get right to the dessert! —Elizabeth Godecke, Chicago, Illinois
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Apple Turnovers

Give this traditional apple turnover recipe a try. It makes a dessert that’s both tender and flaky, with apple pie-like filling and a thin, white glaze. I freeze the extra turnovers and warm them up in the microwave. They’re great with coffee. —Dorothy Bayes, Sardis, Ohio
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Pumpkin Pie Pudding

My husband loves anything pumpkin, and this creamy, comforting pumpkin pudding recipe is one of his favorites. We make our easy pudding all year long, but it's especially nice in the fall. —Andrea Schaak, Bloomington, Minnesota

These no-bake fall desserts are perfect for when the weather is still warm.

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Chocolate Maple Bars Exps H13x9bz17 17749 D06 09 5b 13

Chocolate Maple Bars

My family runs a maple syrup operation, and I'm always looking for new ways to incorporate maple syrup into my cooking and baking. These bars are delicious! —Cathy Schumacher, Alto, Michigan
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Winning Apple Crisp

I live in apple country, and making a delicious apple crisp is one way to use the fruit. This treat doesn’t take a lot of time to assemble. —Gertrude Bartnick, Portage, Wisconsin
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Apple Snickerdoodle Dump Cake Exps Tohdj23 200198 Dr 07 13 7b

Apple Snickerdoodle Dump Cake

With an apple farm just down the road, I’m always looking for creative ways to use up those bushels. We love this cozy cake with caramel drizzle and a scoop of vanilla or cinnamon ice cream. —Rachel Garcia, Colorado Springs, Colorado
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Pumpkin Latte Cheesecake Pretzel Tarts Exps Hca21 249275 B06 02 5b

Pumpkin Latte Cheesecake Tarts

It’s hard to resist this pumpkin latte cheesecake recipe. Use extra pretzel crumbs or toffee chips for a garnish. —Arlene Erlbach, Morton Grove, Illinois
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Baklava

Many ethnic festivals are held in my city throughout the year. One in May is the Greek Hellenic Festival. My family enjoys baklava—a traditional walnut strudel. The recipe uses phyllo dough, which is not difficult to work with. Just have your ingredients ready to go and follow the directions on the package. The results are scrumptious and well worth the effort. —Judy Losecco, Buffalo, New York

Go nuts! We can’t get enough of these nut-filled fall desserts.

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Pumpkin Cheesecake Empanadas Exps Pcbbz21 189682 B05 05 1b 8

Pumpkin Cheesecake Empanadas

These cute pumpkin cheesecake empanadas make the perfect treat—and we love that they are baked and not fried! —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Southern Sweet Potato Tart

Our family loves sweet potatoes, so I try to incorporate them in as many dishes as I can. My secret ingredient is the bourbon—it’s what makes this tart so delicious. —Marie Bruno, Watkinsville, Georgia
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Slow-Cooked Gingered Pears

My slow cooker allows me to serve a heartwarming dessert without much effort. Topped with caramel sauce, these tender pears feature a surprise filling of nuts and brown sugar.—Catherine Mueller, St. Paul, Minnesota
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Apple Crumb Bars

This has been a favorite apple bar recipe of mine for many years. I’ve made these apple crumb bars for parties and for family, and they’re always a hit. —Barbara Pickard, Union Lake, Michigan
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Pumpkin Whoopie Pies Exps Ucsbz17 16705 C05 25 5b 20

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

My kids start begging me for these cakelike sandwich cookies as soon as autumn arrives. I haven't met a person yet who doesn't like these fun treats. —Deb Stuber, Carlisle, Pennsylvania
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Pumpkin Pecan Praline Pie Exps Tohon19 237024 E06 12 4b 20

Praline Pumpkin Pecan Pie

My husband and I are not big fans of traditional pumpkin pie, but my mother and others are, so we must have pumpkin pie as one of the fall desserts at Thanksgiving. I decided to meet everyone halfway with this pumpkin pecan pie recipe and it was a hit. Now I bring it to Thanksgiving every year. My mother doesn’t even feel the need to bake her own pumpkin pie! —Emily Reese, Glade Hill, Virginia
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Caramel Apple Strudel Exps Fbmz18 83900 B05 09 8b 3

Caramel Apple Strudel

My father, who was born and raised in Vienna, Austria, would tell us stories about how his mother covered all the kitchen counters with dough whenever she made apple strudel. This recipe is a modern, delicious way to carry on part of my family's heritage. —Sarah Haengel, Bowie, Maryland
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Pumpkin Crunch Parfaits Exps Pcbbz21 16136 B05 04 7b

Pumpkin Crunch Parfaits

Here’s a fun dessert that your youngsters can help make. It’s a great treat for Halloween or Thanksgiving.—Lorraine J. Darocha, Berkshire, Massachusetts
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Fresh Pumpkin Pie

In my opinion, there’s no contest as to which homemade pumpkin pie is best. No matter how good your canned filling is, it will never match pumpkin pie from scratch. —Christy Harp, Massillon, Ohio
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Apple Dumpling Bake

I received this recipe for baked apple dumplings with Mountain Dew from a friend of mine, then tweaked it to suit my family's tastes. The soda is definitely the secret ingredient in this rich apple dessert. —Chris Shields, Monrovia, Indiana
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Homemade Pumpkin Ice Cream Exps Ft21 35944 F 0826 1

Homemade Pumpkin Ice Cream

Folks who favor the flavor of pumpkin really need to try this spiced pumpkin ice cream recipe. But be prepared to make more! —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Apple Brandy Pecan Cake Exps Fbmz21 222850 E05 07 8b 8

Apple Brandy Pecan Cake

My favorite apple cake is made with a shot of brandy and drizzled with caramel to set off the wonderful flavors. If alcohol is a no-go, use orange juice instead of apple brandy. If you’d rather go the chocolate route, add mini chocolate chips to the cake and use chocolate ice cream topping for the drizzle. —Nancy Heishman, Las Vegas, Nevada
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Maple Butterscotch Brownies Exps Tohca21 1945 E03 18 1b V2

Maple Butterscotch Brownies

I often make a double batch of these brownies—they go fast no matter where I take them! I’ve baked them for family dinners and church suppers, and I always come back with an empty pan. They are easy to make and freeze well. —Grace Vonhold, Rochester, New York
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Ganache Topped Pumpkin Tart Exps Tohon20 247097 B06 04 1b 2

Chocolate Ganache Pumpkin Tart

I love the flavor combination of spiced pumpkin and chocolate, which inspired me to create this chocolate pumpkin tart. Sometimes I like to sprinkle chopped crystallized ginger over the chocolate ganache for extra flavor and texture. —Bernice Janowski, Stevens Point, Wisconsin
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Pumpkin Spice Cookies

These big, soft spice cookies created by our staff have a sweet frosting that makes them an extra-special treat. Enjoy! —Taste of Home Test Kitchen, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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Autumn Apple Torte

During apple season, I always look forward to making this yummy torte. It has a cream cheese layer and apples galore. —Margaret Wilson, San Bernardino, California
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Apple-Nut Bread Pudding

Traditional bread pudding gives way to autumn's influences in this comforting dessert. I add apples and pecans to this slow-cooked version, then top warm servings with ice cream. —Lori Fox, Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin
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Contest Winning Chocolate Potato Cake Exps Fbmz19 27688 E05 02 8b 16

Contest-Winning Chocolate Potato Cake

I won grand champion honors in a potato festival baking contest with this moist chocolate cake. The icing recipe can be doubled if you have a real sweet tooth. —Catherine Hahn, Winamac, Indiana
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Cinnamon Chip Chai Spiced Snickerdoodles Exps Cwdj18 203737 E08 10 4b 5

Cinnamon Chip Chai-Spiced Snickerdoodles

I love cinnamon chips, and this is an intriguing way to use them. Make sure to stock up on them during the holiday season. —Marietta Slater, Justin, Texas
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Spiced Pumpkin Bars Exps Pbz21 12041 E04 23 2b

Spiced Pumpkin Bars

These bars are moist, with bold pumpkin and spice flavors. When I want to lower the cholesterol, I use egg whites in place of the eggs.—Richard Case, Johnstown, Pennsylvania
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Maple Pumpkin Cheesecake Exps Pcbz20 24557 E08 19 1b 10

Maple Pumpkin Cheesecake

For our first Thanksgiving with my husband’s family, I wanted to bring a special dish and decided I couldn’t go wrong with a dessert that combines cheesecake and pumpkin pie. It was a huge success!—Jodi Gobrecht, Bucyrus, Ohio
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Easy Pennsylvania Dutch Apple Cobbler

This is a common dish from where I was born and raised in Pennsylvania. It’s a classic Dutch-style apple cobbler recipe—easy, quick and delicious. Who wouldn’t love this golden brown delight? —Andrea Robson, York, Pennsylvania
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Creamy Butterscotch Pudding For 2 Exps Cf2bz20 46274 E11 20 10b 3

Creamy Butterscotch Pudding for 2

One day when I had a craving for something homemade, I tried from-scratch pudding. It’s much better than the store-bought kind! —EMR, tasteofhome.com
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Paul’s Pumpkin Patch Pudding

This recipe originated with Donna Esh, whose husband, John, is the manager at the restaurant my brother Jim and I operate. I reworked it slightly and named it after our dad.—John Smucker, Bird-in-Hand, Pennsylvania
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Chocolate Caramel Wafers

To keep my holiday cooking quick, I’ve come to rely on fast recipes like this one. The crunchy-chewy tidbits are our youngster’s favorite.
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Pumpkin Spice Cake Exps Ft20 583 F 0916 1 9

Pumpkin Spice Cake

We sometimes call this pumpkin spice cake “Thanksgiving Cake” because it’s a tasty alternative to pie, but we don’t relegate it to just that holiday. I think you’ll agree it’s delicious any time of the year. —Kathy Rhoads, Circleville, Ohio

James Schend
As Taste of Home’s Deputy Editor, Culinary, James oversees the Food Editor team, recipe contests and Bakeable, and manages all food content for Trusted Media Brands. Prior to this position, James worked in the kitchen of Williams-Sonoma and Southern Living. An honor graduate of The Culinary Institute of America, he has traveled the world searching for great food in all corners of life.