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24 Heirloom Thanksgiving Desserts

Even on Turkey Day, everyone will be saving room for these timeless Thanksgiving desserts.

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Pumpkin Ice Cream Roll

This wonderfully light dessert is our standby at Thanksgiving and Christmas. The hint of pumpkin and the refreshing ice cream make a most delicious after-dinner treat. —Gayle Lewis, Yucaipa, California
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Maple Sugar Pumpkin Pie

We make our own maple syrup, and that's what gives this pie its special taste. You might want to bake this for your Thanksgiving meal. —Martha Boudah, Essex Center, Vermont
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Bread Pudding with Homemade Caramel Sauce

My famous bread pudding is a sweet way to make use of the day-old dinner rolls that didn’t get gobbled up at Thanksgiving. The combination of the soft pudding with the sweet, velvety smooth sauce is a match made in heaven. —Anita Geoghagan, Woodstock, Georgia
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Pecan Pumpkin Dessert


I always fix this recipe for Thanksgiving. It was given to me by a friend, and I’ve shared it with many others. —Sue Williams, Mt. Holly, North Carolina
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Cran-Apple Cobbler

My cranberry-packed cobbler is the crowning glory of many of our late fall and winter meals. My family isn't big on pies, so this favorite is preferred at our Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations. The aroma of cinnamon and fruit is irresistible. —Jo Ann Sheehan, Ruther Glen, Virginia
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Carrot Cake with Pecan Frosting

My husband constantly requests this homey, old-fashioned version of carrot cake. The frosting is still tasty even without the pecans. —Adrian Badon, Denham Springs, Louisiana
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Cranberry Icebox Cookies

These crisp cookies are especially popular at Thanksgiving and Christmas with a cup of hot tea or coffee. It's convenient to bake a batch, too, because you can store the dough in the fridge until needed. —Gloria Anderson, Paso Robles, California
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Squash Custard Pie

Acorn squash has been a favorite of mine since I was little and my mother baked it with sugar and cinnamon. This particular pie was something I improvised. We love pumpkin pie, but had fresh squash in excess. So I came up with this new variation! It's good to take to potlucks, to pie or cake walks at school, or to serve as a different dessert for Thanksgiving or Christmas. —Mary Kelly, Hopland, California
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White Chocolate Pumpkin Cheesecake

Although my family enjoys all of the dishes I serve on Thanksgiving Day, it's this rich and creamy cheesecake they look forward to the most. — Joyce Schmidt, Lilburn, Georgia
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Cinnamon-Sugar Sweet Potato Pastries

We always have leftover mashed sweet potatoes after our Thanksgiving feast. I take what’s left to make an indulgent filling for sweet potato empanadas. Convenient crescent roll dough makes this recipe easy as pie. —Sarah Vasques, Milford, New Hampshire
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Cranberry Walnut Pie

Here’s a wonderful dessert for Christmas or Thanksgiving. With ruby-red color and a golden lattice crust, this pie looks as good as it tastes. —Diane Everett, Dunkirk, New York
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Spiced Eggnog Pumpkin Pie

With its 10-minute prep time and lovely blend of mild eggnog flavor and spices, this is a dream dessert for a busy hostess! It’s a staple for Thanksgiving and Christmas. In fact, my grown kids request it whenever they come to visit. —Patti Leake, Columbia, Missouri
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Cranberry Pecan Pie

I first prepared this pie at Thanksgiving to share with my co-workers. It was such a success! Now I freeze cranberries while they are in season so that I can make it year-round. —Dawn Liet Hartman, Mifflinburg, Pennsylvania
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Pumpkin Chip Cake with Walnuts

Pumpkin Chip Cake with Walnuts

My grandmother gave me this family recipe. After a few changes, I made the treat even healthier and tastier. Holidays wouldn’t be the same without it!—Amy Bridgewater, Aztec, New Mexico
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Gingery Pumpkin Pie

My birthday is in late November so my mom often morphed the Thanksgiving pumpkin pie into my birthday "cake" and had all the family sing for me. This is an update on her recipe, adding lots more of our mutual favorite ingredient, ginger. The pie's best after it's nice and chilled. Birthday candles optional. —Emily Tyra, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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Raisin Pecan Pie

I remember my Grandmother Voltie and Great-Aunt Ophelia making this southern-style pie for Thanksgiving. It was always one of the many cakes and pies lined up for dessert. —Angie Price, Bradford, Tennessee
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Cranberry-Lime Semifreddo with Pound Cake

Everyone has a favorite way to serve pound cake, but no one will expect this! It's my go-to trick for using up leftover cranberry sauce. —Christine Wendland, Browns Mills, New Jersey
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Lemon Orange Cake

I like to bake this lovely three-layer cake instead of a more traditional pie for Thanksgiving. It has that tangy Florida citrus flavor and isn't any more difficult to make than a two-layer cake. —Norma Poole, Auburndale, Florida
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Fluffy Pumpkin Pie

Children love this pie—marshmallows make the filling light and fluffy. It's a quick and easy recipe that I've shared many times over the years. Since it doesn't need to bake, this pie comes in handy at Thanksgiving and Christmas when your oven is in demand. —Phyllis Renfro, White Bear Lake, Minnesota
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Pumpkin Walnut Cheesecake

One of my friends gave me this recipe, and it quickly became a family favorite. I especially love making this dessert for Thanksgiving. But be forewarned—you can’t eat just one slice! —Susan Garoutte, Georgetown, Texas
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Thanksgiving Baked Apples

We have always loved applesauce but wanted to do something a little bit more elegant for Thanksgiving. Over the years, I have adjusted this recipe, using different fruits and alcohols, but this is the most enjoyable combination. —Heather Edwards, Hopewell, New Jersey
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Citrus-Kissed Sweet Potato Cake

I came up with this spiced cake to use up leftover sweet potatoes after Thanksgiving. Cover the grated sweet potatoes with a damp paper towel to prevent discoloration.—Deborah Biggs, Omaha, Nebraska
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Honey Pecan Cheesecake

Birthdays and holidays are great times for cheesecake, and Christmas is ideal for this particular one. In our annual church bake-off, it won first place! —Tish Frish, Hampden, Maine
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Pumpkin Cranberry Cheesecake

One Thanksgiving, I was eating pumpkin pie and decided to have some cranberry sauce with it. I loved the combination so much, I experimented and came up with a two-tone cheesecake that has a ruby-red layer at the bottom. —John Abraham, Boca Raton, Florida

Annamarie Higley
Annamarie Higley is an Associate Print Editor for Taste of Home magazine, as well as the brand's special issue publications. A midwestern transplant originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, she enjoys hiking, trivia-ing, and—you guessed it!—all things cooking and baking.
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