Grandma’s Favorite Thanksgiving Desserts

Our Easiest Pumpkin Pie Ever
PHOTO: GREG DUPREE; STYLING: HEATHER CHADDUCK HILLEGAS

Grandma’s got her favorites. We’re talking desserts, y’all. And when it comes to Thanksgiving, she expects to see those sweet treats on the holiday buffet. While she’ll always be thrilled to see a homemade Apple Pie, she can’t resist some over-the-top desserts that only come out during the holiday season. We’re looking at you, Butterscotch-Spice Trifle and Lemon-and-Chocolate Doberge Cake. So this Thanksgiving, we hope you’ll get inspired by some of Grandma’s favorites, from fruity pies to rich and creamy bars to decadent chocolate cakes.

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Ultimate Apple Pie

Ultimate Apple Pie from Buxton Hall
GREG DUPREE; PROP STYLING: CHRISTINE KEELY; FOOD STYLING: TORIE COX

The Thanksgiving feast is filled with new recipes and old-school family favorites. There’s no celebration without a classic apple pie with the most spectacular lattice top.

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Our Easiest Pumpkin Pie Ever

Our Easiest Pumpkin Pie Ever
GREG DUPREE; STYLING: HEATHER CHADDUCK HILLEGAS

There are pies. And then there are the pies that everyone expects to see at every family gathering. Our Pumpkin Pie is not only simple, but it’s delicious. This is a great choice for a novice baker who is set on bringing a homemade dessert to Thanksgiving dinner this year.

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Cinnamon Roll Apple Pie

Apple Cinnamon Roll Pie
ANTONIS ACHILLEOS

Dare we say this is the sweetest recipe that you’ll be digging into on Thanksgiving Day. This is the recipe for the baker who is dreaming of showing up to the celebrations with something extra special.

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Butterscotch-Spice Trifle Recipe

Butterscotch-Spice Trifle
PHOTO: VICTOR PROTASIO; PROP STYLING: CLAIRE SPOLLEN; FOOD STYLING: TORIE COX

Thanksgiving is not all about the pies. Not only is this trifle layered with decadent fall flavors, but it’s presentation is just as stunning.

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Pumpkin Spice-Heath Cake

Pumpkin Spice-Heath Cake

For the one who wants to treat the family to something extraordinary that’s not a pie or cake: Enter the bar. These bite-sized desserts are filled with incredible flavors that include pumpkin spice and heath.

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Tomato Soup Cake

Southern Living Tomato Soup Cake on a cake plate with a slice cut on a plate beside
JEN CAUSEY, FOOD STYLIST: CHELSEA ZIMMER, PROP STYLIST: JULIA BAYLESS

Trust us when we say Grandma knows her desserts. This rich, moist, old-fashioned cake will bring her back memories of holidays past.

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Pumpkin Cake

pumpkin cake with whipped cream
CAITLIN BENSEL; FOOD STYLIST: TORIE COX

Meet the season’s new pumpkin spectacular. For those who love the fall ingredient, you’ll understand why everyone is asking for seconds.

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Pumpkin Pound Cake

pumpkin pound cake
PHOTOGRAPHER: ANTONIS ACHILLEOS, PROP STYLIST: CLAIRE SPOLLEN FOOD STYLIST: MARGARET DICKEY

Almost too impressive to devour. This pound cake is packed with the rich pumpkin flavors and made in a bundt pan with a gorgeous design.

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Maple Pumpkin Pie

Southern Living Maple Pumpkin Pie whole in the pie plate ready to serve
CAITLIN BENSEL, FOOD STYLIST: TORIE COX

Even pumpkin pie naturalists will fall for this recipe that is sweetened with maple for just the right touch of special.

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Chocolate Chiffon Cake

Chocolate Chiffon Cake
PHOTOGRAPHER: ANTONIS ACHILLEOS, PROP STYLIST: CHRISTINE KELLY FOOD STYLIST: ALI RAMEE

It’s Thanksgiving. Break out the chocolate desserts for the family members who aren’t into the pumpkin, pecan, or apple assortment. This moist and choclotey creation is perfect for rounding out the dessert buffet.

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Swiss Roll Cake

Southern Living Swiss Roll Cake sliced on plates to serve
MOLLY BOLTON

The roll that everyone remembers – and requests. Perfectly moist chocolate cake is rolled around fluffy whipped cream for a wonderful dessert.

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Chocolate Delight

Chocolate Chip Cookie Delight
FRED HARDY II; FOOD STYLIST: RUTH BLACKBURN; PROP STYLIST: CHRISTINE KEELY

There are many (many) names for this dessert, which means it’s not only a memorable choice – it’s also been around for some time. Count on memories of enjoying this layered chocolate delight for years to come.

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Lemon-and-Chocolate Doberge Cake

Lemon-and-Chocolate Doberge Cake
PHOTO: VICTOR PROTASIO; PROP STYLING: CINDY BARR; FOOD STYLING: TORIE COX

If you’re looking for an easy recipe to make for the holiday, this may not be the one for you. If you’re looking for a regional recipe that will make an impression, this multi-flavored, multi-layered cake is the one that will steal the spotlight.

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Fresh Apple Cake

Fresh Apple Cake
HANNAH ZIMMERMAN/SOUTHERN LIVING

Your turn to bring dessert – but, you’re bored of pie? Cut to the cake. Apple cake, that is. This recipe is a delightful combination of apples, cinnamon, and nuts, and slathered with fluffy cream cheese frosting.

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Applesauce Cake

Southern Living Applesauce Cake cut and ready to serve
CAITLIN BENSEL; FOOD STYLIST: TORIE COX

Think Applesauce Cake sounds too simple for a holiday fete? Think again. It may be easy to whip together, but it’s rich, fluffy, and flavorful cake will be unforgettable.

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Pear Upside-Down Cake

pear upside down cake
PHOTOGRAPHER: ISAAC NUNN, PROP STYLIST: JULIA BAYLESS, FOOD STYLIST: RUTH BLACKBURN

Make room on the table, there’s a new dessert in town. Let the season’s ripe pears shine in this cake that is spiced with cinnamon and cardamom for a warm and comforting combination.

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Southern Sweet Potato Cake

Southern Sweet Potato Cake
VICTOR PROTASIO; PROP STYLING: HEATHER CHADDUCK; FOOD STYLING: ERIN MERHAR

Tender, moist, and spiced just right with cinnamon, nutmeg, and ground cloves. The finishing touch is the caramel frosting that brings it all together.

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Pecan Pie Brownies

Pecan Pie Brownies
MICAH A. LEAL

Introducing the result of pecan pie and chocolate brownies coming together in one out-of-this-world dessert. Consider yourself warned: They’re made by baking a sheet of thick brownies and then adding a layer of pecan pie filling spiked with a touch of bourbon. How’s that for indulgent?

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Over-The-Moon Chocolate Pie

Over the Moon Chocolate Pie
VICTOR PROTASIO; PROP STYLING: KAY E. CLARKE; FOOD STYLING: TORIE COX

Pecan. Pumpkin. Apple. Make room on the table for something that delights the chocolate lovers at the holiday table. This dessert was inspired by the classic MoonPie, and is sure to wow with its rich chocolate filling and the light and cloudy marshmallowy meringue topping.

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Hummingbird Cake

Hummingbird Cake
SOUTHERN LIVING

It would not be a Southern holiday (or any special gathering) without the Hummingbird Cake. No matter the occasion or the season, this classic cake will dazzle with its moist layers flavored with canned pineapple and bananas.