15 Dessert Ideas for Thanksgiving Featuring Seasonal Flavours

Our best dessert recipes featuring pumpkin, orchard fruit, and chocolate
Published September 22, 2021 | Updated September 13, 2022

Whether you’re looking for a lightened-up version of a classic Thanksgiving dessert or inspiration for something new and decadent featuring fall flavours, we’ve compiled 15 of our favourite recipes for sweet yet simple ways to end the big meal. The beauty of many of these dessert recipes is that they can be made ahead of time, giving you more time to focus on yourself, your guests and that which you are thankful for.


Pumpkin, a member of the squash family, originated in Central America and has been considered a staple of Thanksgiving cooking since the 1600s. The pumpkin pie we know and love today is considerably different from its early prototype, which consisted of a custard-like base featuring milk, honey, and spices baked into a hollowed-out pumpkin shell. Today, pumpkin puree and canned pumpkin (which can be used interchangeably) is made from several varieties of squash, which have been bred for their sweeter taste. Our take on classic pumpkin pie uses phyllo pastry in place of traditional pie crust for a lighter base while keeping the custardy filling sumptuous and rich.

Orchard Classics

When it comes to baking with apples and pears, two orchard fruits which become widely available in September and October, it’s all about choosing the best fruit for the job. Apples such as Honeycrisp, Pink Lady, Braeburn, Granny Smith, and Cortland are considered ideal because of their balanced sweet and tart flavour, crisp texture and lack of mealiness. When it comes to pears, Bartlett, Bosc, and Green Anjou are all good choices for similar reasons. If you have a surplus of apples, try making applesauce in the slow cooker and serve with pork or chicken or as a dessert with vanilla ice cream.


Regardless of whether you’re in the mood for a sophisticated flourless chocolate cake or a cup of comforting chocolate pudding, the recipes below are sure to cure any cravings for cocoa you might have. When chocolate is the main event, it’s important to choose the best quality bars you can find whenever possible. If a homemade dessert isn’t in the cards, try pairing dark or milk chocolate with cheese and nuts — blue cheese, triple cream brie, and extra-aged gouda are all excellent when served at room temperature alongside small pieces of chocolate.