33+ Thanksgiving Desserts That Aren’t Pie

Looking for Thanksgiving desserts that aren’t pie this holiday season? While pie is a beloved classic, there’s a world of delicious dessert options waiting to grace your Thanksgiving table. These 33+ non-pie desserts are sure to satisfy your sweet teeth and add a memorable twist to any Thanksgiving feast. 

collage of four desserts that aren't pie with the text 33 thanksgiving desserts that aren't pie

When you are planning your Thanksgiving menu or Friendsgiving meal, you might be tempted to add a pie or two to the menu. 

But perhaps someone in your party just doesn’t love pie. Yes, even apple pie and pumpkin pie. We all know that person who just isn’t about pie. 

Or perhaps you are just looking for a real show-stopping dessert that everyone will remember. 

Or maybe you think pie crust is a total pain to mess with. (I’ve been in this faction before. I. Get. It.)

Don’t worry — it can still be Thanksgiving without pie, and we’ve got several easy Thanksgiving desserts for you to try. 

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    Need more Thanksgiving food inspration? Check out The Best Thanksgiving Drinks (Cocktails + Mocktails), The Best Thanksgiving Appetizers and The Best Thanksgiving Side Dishes for more ideas.

    A slice of cranberry upside down cake garnished with a dollop of whipped cream and a cranberry on a white pottery plate with other slices behind it
    Upside Down Cranberry Cake

    Why do we eat pie on Thanksgiving? 

    Pie for dessert on Thanksgiving is a tradition. But why pie? According to Martha Stewart, there are a few reasons for pie’s place on the table. 

    In the late 18th century, Thanksgiving stopped being a church-based holiday and became a holiday associated with friends and family. Around the same time, there was a wave of immigrants from the United Kingdom arriving in the United States. 

    Brits are famous for their pies and tarts — they love anything in a crust or pastry shell, from meat to fish to fruit. Many Britons settled in New England, so pie recipes abounded in that area. 

    Also, baking powder wasn’t invented until the 1940s, and it wasn’t readily available then as it is now. This made baking cakes more challenging, because you had to beat a lot of eggs to get the batter to rise. As a result, home bakers didn’t make a lot of cakes until chemical leaveners reached the shelves. 

    The last reason pie is beloved at Thanksgiving is thanks to one person: Sarah Josepha Hale, the “godmother of Thanksgiving.” Hale worked as a writer and magazine editor in the early 19th century. 

    For 17 years, Hale wrote letters to the U.S. presidents, members of Congress and the governor of every state and territory, requesting they make Thanksgiving a national holiday to help unite Americans. 

    In 1983, President Abraham Lincoln finally declared the last Thursday in November as a national day of thanksgiving. Hale responded by publishing recipes we still love today: for turkey, stuffing and pumpkin pie. 

    Types of Non-Pie Desserts

    If you’re ready to think outside the box about Thanksgiving dessert, here are some types of Thanksgiving desserts — that aren’t pie — to consider: 

    • Cakes — those who vote for cake in the great Pie vs. Cake debate will be delighted in a slice of fluffy cake with a delicious frosting at Thanksgiving. 
    • Tarts — are they pies? Maaaaaaybe. Some have traditional pastry crusts, and some don’t. Usually they have a baked or unbaked custard filling. 
    • Cheesecakes — another thing you can slice into wedges is a cheesecake, but it’s not really a pie. These creamy desserts are baked in a springform pan — and sometimes they are no-bake, too. You can always buy one store-bought and top it with sugared cranberries or cranberry sauce.
    • Cookies — cookies make a great addition to dessert tables, especially for anyone who is too full for a slice of pie. 
    • Dessert bars — think brownies, blondies and, well, pie bars. These are hand-held slices of heaven that are as great for serving on a dessert table as they are on a plate with a scoop of ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream
    • Puddings & trifles — desserts with layers of creamy puddings, custards, cookies and crumbles of cake are show-stopping desserts everyone will want a scoop of. 
    • Candy — who said we stop eating candy at Halloween? Fall candies like ____ are great for dessert tables or sending guests home with a sweet snack.
    • Fresh fruit — this is an easy dessert when paired with homemade whipped cream. It takes little time and adds just a bit of sweetness at the end of your meal.
    A Toasted Pecan Old Fashioned sits in a fancy glass on a blue and gold background with the ingredients
    Toasted Pecan Old Fashioned

    Pie-themed Drinks

    You can also bring in some pie vibes with drinks that are flavored like pie. Plus, many drinks are sweet so they can also work as dessert. 

    These drinks go well with pie or any of the below Thanksgiving desserts that aren’t pie. 

    The topping drips down the side of a Praline Pumpkin Upside Down Cake before serving
    Pumpkin Upside Down Cake with a Bourbon Praline Topping

    Erin’s Easy Entertaining Tips

    Who doesn’t love offering more than one dessert for Thanksgiving dinner that celebrates fall flavors? This time of year is all about sharing, and what better way than with delicious Thanksgiving desserts?

    Here are some thoughts for you if you’re hosting this year:

    • Offer a range of desserts. Everyone has different preferences, so be sure to have a variety of apple, pecan, pumpkin and cranberry choices. 
    • Consider your guests’ dietary preferences. Many desserts contain dairy and gluten, so take caution for anyone with serious allergies or intolerances. 
    • Whipped cream and ice cream pair well with many desserts, so be sure to stock up ahead of time. These are the perfect way to finish many dishes. Drizzles of caramel sauce and chocolate sauce can be a nice garnish, too.

    The Best Thanksgiving Desserts that Aren’t Pie

    If you’re skipping the pecan pie and chocolate pudding pie this year, I can’t blame you because there are really so many great options. 

    The Best Thanksgiving Desserts that Aren’t Pie

    Looking for Thanksgiving desserts that aren’t pie this holiday season? While pie is a beloved classic, there’s a world of delicious dessert options waiting to grace your Thanksgiving table. These 33+ non-pie desserts are sure to satisfy your sweet teeth and add a memorable twist to any Thanksgiving feast. 

    Cakes and Cupcakes

    Cakes and cupcakes for Thanksgiving may seem strange, but they’re actually a great way to infuse seasonal flavor in a non-pie format. 


    Cheesecakes offer the same elegance as a Thanksgiving pie, but in a creamy and delicious format. 

    Brownies & Bars

    These brownies, blondies and bars have all the best flavors of Thanksgiving pie, but you can eat them with your hands. You could serve them warm with ice cream for a delicious Thanksgiving sundae, too!


    Who said you can’t have cookies at Thanksgiving? Try adding them to your Thanksgiving dessert spread... I bet they’ll be gone in no time at all. 

    Kid-Friendly Thanksgiving Desserts

    These are desserts the kids can help to make. From no-bake recipes to ones they can help decorate, these kid-friendly desserts are great for any occasion throughout the fall season, too. 

    Tarts & Crisps

    Who wouldn't love a tart or a crisp at their Thanksgiving dessert table? Serve these with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a healthy dollop of whipped cream to really bring them over the top.

    Pudding, mousse & trifles

    Who doesn't love a cool and creamy dessert for the holidays? These offer unique, creamy flavors and texture to the Thanksgiving dessert table.

    Mini Pies and Hand Pies

    Perhaps you aren’t here for making a big ol’ pie, but your party might be into these miniature versions. I thought I’d include them in case you want something pie-adjacent. 😉

    Other Thanksgiving desserts that aren’t Pie

    More ideas for you here, in case the previous ones aren't what you are looking for...

    collage of four desserts that aren't pie with the text the best non-pie thanksgiving desserts

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Why do we eat pie at Thanksgiving? 

    Pie became a Thanksgiving tradition due to various historical factors, including the influence of British immigrants who loved pies, limited cake-making ingredients in the late 18th century, and the efforts of Sarah Josepha Hale to establish Thanksgiving as a national holiday, along with her publication of beloved Thanksgiving recipes, including pumpkin pie.

    What are some Thanksgiving desserts that aren’t pie? 

    For Thanksgiving, you can make a wide range of desserts that aren’t considered pie, including cakes, cookies, brownies, bars, tarts, crisps, cobblers, puddings, mousse and trifles. Choose desserts with traditional Thanksgiving flavors like pumpkin, pecan, cranberry, sweet potato, ginger, cinnamon, caramel or chocolate.  

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