As a reminder, most pies can be made two or more days in advance. If you go the cake or cookie route, those can also generally be stored at room temperature for a few days, or frozen for even longer.
No-Bake Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake
This was the runaway hit from my simpler Thanksgiving menu last year. I combined pumpkin pie and a no-bake cheesecake for an ethereal and easy-to-assemble dessert. Making it even easier is a store-bought graham cracker crust. Get the recipe.
Silky Pumpkin Pie
Our pie queen Daniela Galarza elevates this classic with a few smart twists, including cooking the pumpkin and straining the filling, for an ultrasmooth result. Serve with Pecan Butterscotch Sauce to get the best of both worlds with that other holiday favorite. Get the recipe.
Other pumpkin ideas: No-Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars (light and low-lift); Libby’s New-Fashioned Pumpkin Pie With Dulce de Leche and Cardamom (an upgraded version of the staple recipe); Pumpkin Creme Brulees (elegant, made in Instant Pot); Maple and Pumpkin Custard (just the filling, baked in a cast-iron skillet); Fluffy Pumpkin Buttermilk Pie (gingersnap crust, light and fluffy filling); Vegan Pumpkin Pie With Coconut Cream (with molasses and pureed pecans!); Pumpkin-Caramel Tart With Toasted Hazelnut Crust (featuring a short bake time and a press-in crust); Pumpkin Hazelnut Bars (easier to transport than a pie).
Apple Crumble Tassies
If apple pie stresses you out, try these mini versions with a simple press-in crust and a buttery crumble topping. Get the recipe.
More apples: Caramel Apple Pie With an All-Butter Crust and Painted Cutout Topping (no lattice crust, just pretty cutouts); Apple Sharlotka (one-bowl Russian cake); Apple Tarte Tatin (stunning pie alternative); Apple Cranberry Crumb Pie (from our Voraciously Baking Basics newsletter series by Joy “the Baker” Wilson); Albemarle Pippin Apple Cobbler (perfect for any tart apple); Tiffany MacIsaac’s Double-Crust Apple Pie (classic!); Caramel Apples (a wild card, but fun).
Pecan Bundt Cake
More pecans: Pecan Tassies (more bite-size pies); Whiskey-Laced Pecan Pie (jazzed up with whiskey or rum); Creole Pecan Praline Bars (easy slab dessert); Bourbon Pecan Pie (vegan, sweetened with maple syrup and brown sugar); Date Pecan Pie (best served cold); Pecangipane Pear and Cranberry Tart (looks fancy, freezes well).
Cranberry Tart With Gingersnap Cookie Crust
Elegant but approachable — and quite tart! — is how I’d describe this dessert filled with a cranberry curd. Get the recipe.
More cranberries: Roasted Cranberry Pie With Meringue and a Press-In Cookie Crust (a real looker); Instant Pot Cranberry Bourbon Bread Pudding (makes great use of your multicooker); Tiny Tim Cranberry Tarts (two-bite tarts with a cream cheese pastry); Cranberry Apple Lattice Pie (with a red wine and cranberry compote); Apple Cranberry Brown Betty (a lighter take on a classic); Cranberry Tart With Hazelnut Crust (lets the berries really shine).
Patti LaBelle’s Sweet Potato Pie
More sweet potatoes: Sweet Potato Pie With Macaroon Crust (zesty and gluten-free); Sweet Potato Pecan Dessert Cups (individual desserts, mash-up of sweet potato and pecan pies); Brown Sugar-Sweet Potato Cake (dense and moist); Persian-Spiced Sweet Potato Pie (no precooking of sweet potatoes required).
Sour Cream Maple Cake With Maple Buttercream Frosting
This autumnal cake is one-bowl, which is just the thing you need to cut back your dishwashing on such a busy day. Get the recipe.
More maple: Maple and Pumpkin Custard (like a crustless pie); Maple Bread Crust Pudding With Salted Caramel Sauce (thrifty and tasty).