1. Brandied Pumpkin Pie
A creamy pumpkin pie is a tried-and-true way to end the Thanksgiving meal. You can, of course, stick to tradition, with a classic take. Or … you could live a little. This Melissa Clark recipe benefits from the addition of brandy, and you can even use canned squash in place of the pumpkin.
Recipe: Brandied Pumpkin Pie
2. Skillet Caramel-Apple Crisp
Not everyone loves pie. And that’s OK. There are many ways to satisfy a sweet tooth. For those who like a bit of crunch with their tender apples, there’s this skillet caramel-apple crisp from Yossy Arefi. The recipe yields a good amount of caramel sauce — for sweetening the apples, for serving alongside and for devouring later.
Recipe: Skillet Caramel-Apple Crisp
3. Carrot Cake
Those who love cake at any occasion should try this carrot cake from Dorie Greenspan. It’s warmly spiced with cinnamon, packed with coconut, raisins and nuts and finished with a tangy cream cheese dressing.
Recipe: Carrot Cake
4. Bourbon Pecan Pie
For some, there is little finer in life than a slice of pecan pie. This version, from Julia Reed, is a classic: The alcohol evaporates, leaving behind a filling that’s equal parts tender and crunchy. “The goo,” one commenter wrote, “is excellent.”
Recipe: Bourbon Pecan Pie
5. Cranberry Curd Tart
A radiant beauty, David Tanis’s cranberry curd tart makes an elegant statement on the Thanksgiving table. Make it a few days in advance and wow your loved ones by breaking it out on the holiday.
Recipe: Cranberry Curd Tart
6. Sweet Potato Pie
Baking powder makes this version of the Southern classic from Amanda Hesser extra light and fluffy. Commenters recommend baking the potatoes instead of boiling them, and using cream in place of evaporated milk. You do you.
Recipe: Sweet Potato Pie
7. Pecan Pie Truffles
Falling somewhere between pecan pie, rum balls and a traditional truffle are these sweet little treats, which Tara Parker-Pope adapted from the food writer Hannah Kaminsky.
Recipe: Pecan Pie Truffles
8. Apple Pie
“I am not the biggest fan of apple pie … until now.” The commenters have spoken. Sam Sifton’s recipe, adapted from the pastry chef Kierin Baldwin, has thousands of five-star reviews.
Recipe: Apple Pie
9. Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars
You don’t need a water bath or a springform pan for this creamy dessert from Erin Jeanne McDowell. The recipe yields 15 bars, but leftovers keep in the refrigerator for up to five days. Make them in advance, or save them for a week of sweet snacking.
We have a full guide on buying and cooking Thanksgiving turkey, but here are answers to some of your most common questions:
- What’s the easiest way to roast a turkey? You don’t need to brine, stuff, truss or baste a turkey to get delicious results. Try this simple recipe for starters.
- How big of a turkey should I buy? Buy one pound per person, or a pound and a half per person if you’d like to make sure you have leftovers. If you’re ordering your turkey from a butcher or farmer, you’ll need to do so a few weeks in advance.
- How do I thaw a frozen turkey? Allow one day for every four pounds of turkey. A 12-pound turkey, for example, will need three days to defrost. Thaw your turkey in the fridge and make sure to put it in a bowl or on a platter as it may drip.
- How will I know when the turkey is cooked? Take its temperature. A digital thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh should read 165 degrees.
- How do I carve the turkey? Watch this video for instructions.
Source: Our Best Desserts
- Our Best Sides
- Five-Ingredient Recipes
- Mains That Aren’t Turkey
- All Thanksgiving Recipes