Pie is without a doubt the most popular dessert for Thanksgiving. They can be tricky to master and may seem a little daunting, but it’s worth it to get that perfect sweet bite after you’ve had your fill of turkey and stuffing. (However, if pie really isn’t your thing, here are eight easy recipes that maintain Thanksgiving flavors without the hassle of pie.)
Whether you’d like to stick to the basics or branch out with something new, pie is always a great addition to the Thanksgiving table. These pies all have warm, autumnal Thanksgiving flavors, but some are far from traditional — think chocolate gingerbread and sesame banana — and your guests will be sure to gobble them up.
Tips for baking Thanksgiving pies
First, here are a couple ways you can reduce stress on Thanksgiving and make sure your pies turn out well.
- Make them ahead of time. Rather than trying to bake everything for Thanksgiving all at once, spread out your schedule so you don’t have to rush. Bake your pie one or two days ahead of time and keep it in the fridge until it’s needed. If your pie is best served warm, cover it in tinfoil and stick it in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 20 minutes, and it’ll be just as good as if you’d baked it that afternoon.
- Don’t buy store-bought pie crust if you can help it. I know it’s easier, but it’s really worth it to make your own, and it really doesn’t have to be that difficult. This recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction takes about two minutes to make, and all you do is stick the ingredients in a food processor and let the machine do the work — no kneading or folding required.
8 Thanksgiving pie recipes
It’s a classic for a reason. This apple pie recipe is the one I use every year, and it’s never failed me — it’s simple but delicious, with a caramel-y sauce and the perfect blend of spices.
This was recently voted the Internet’s best pumpkin pie from bake-off queen The Pancake Princess, so you can trust that it has been thoroughly vetted. It won thanks to its caramelized surface, buttery crust and cheesecake-like texture, thanks to the cream cheese in the filling.
If pumpkin isn’t your thing, sweet potato offers a similar flavor with a natural sweetness and thicker texture. This recipe calls for you to cook and mash your own sweet potatoes, but you can also purchase canned sweet potato puree if you’re short on time.
The browned butter and maple syrup add depth to the traditional pecan pie. This recipe is additionally wonderful because it does not use corn syrup but still has a sweet, gooey filling.
This recipe is incredibly easy, which is perfect when you have a host of other menu items to cook. It’s basically a spiced custard in a pie crust and develops a delightfully caramelized top after baking, so even the pickiest of eaters will have difficulty finding fault with this one.
Do you want the flavor of an apple pie without the hassle of coring, peeling and chopping a bunch of apples? This recipe takes a custard base and adds delicious apple butter for a fun twist on the traditional apple pie.
This cozy treat uses a gingerbread base as a wonderful vehicle for a luxurious chocolate ganache. The ganache does call for amaretto, so if you’d like to swap that out, Ania (the author) recommends almond milk infused with orange peel.
This is my all-time favorite banana cream pie recipe. Banana might not be the most traditional Thanksgiving flavor, but I like having something a little lighter to balance out the spicier flavors of most autumnal desserts. This particular banana cream pie has warm, nutty flavors from an unexpected ingredient — toasted sesame oil — so I think it’s still perfect for fall.
I’ll be honest, the sour cream and sesame oil threw me off here when I first came across it. The first time I made this recipe, I omitted the sesame and just used plain whipped cream for the topping. It was good, but the second time I made it I placed my full trust in Saffitz and followed the recipe to a T, and I learned my lesson — I will never doubt her again.