What does your mind think of when you hear the words “Thanksgiving”at any point in time? Is it family togetherness? The best Thanksgiving desserts on the planet? Turkeys going gobble gobble? The horrific act of those thoughtless carnivores raising those precious turkeys just to gut them come Turkey Day?
This homeschool mama carnivore LOVES some roasted turkey on Thanksgiving! And as much as I love it, I don’t know why I wait all year long to eat the good stuff. But that’s not where my mind goes to when I think of Thanksgiving. I immediately think of family, food, and desserts.
There’s something special about eating my old granny’s banana pudding and pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving. Watching her make it and serve it my whole life year after year, and especially while growing up, branded that easy thanksgiving dessert into my brain forevermore. RIP Nanny.
To honor dear nanny and her delicious banana pudding, I thought I’d put together a handful of easy (and cheap!) Thanksgiving dessert ideas especially for you this Thanksgiving. Ones that you won’t have to spend a small fortune on at any bakery!
1. Pumpkin Pie
I don’t know about you but every family I’ve had the pleasure of sharing Thanksgiving with always serves up a side of Pumpkin Pie. This is easily one of the best Thanksgiving desserts out there since it definitely makes the most of the autumn pumpkin harvest.
Making your pumpkin filling (puree): All you really need to do is purchase pumpkins from a farm (I think they’re tastier from a farm), cut that pumpkin in half, roast it until it’s tender, and then scoop out the pumpkin puree and put it in a medium bowl.
After scooping out the pumpkin puree, add seasoning to it (including salt, if you wish) – now you have yourself a tasty pie filling! Way to go, you! Seasoning could be pumpkin pie spice, nutmeg, allspice, and cinnamon + salt. You can even make your own pumpkin pie spice by DIY Pumpkin Pie Spice Recipe.
By doing it this way, you save yourself from having to buy pumpkin pie filling or puree from a store which can be over $3 per can. Since each whole pumpkin yields several cups you’ll find you will have plenty for your pie filling, but, hey, if you need more, grab another pumpkin and repeat the process.
Once you finish this process, add your homemade pumpkin puree to some crust. Heat the oven to 425º and put your pie in there for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, lower the temperature to 350º and continue baking for 30-45 minutes. To test if it’s done, insert a knife about 1 inch away from the crust; if it comes out clean, it’s done. Cool.
2. Pumpkin Bread or Pumpkin Spice Bread
Have you ever noticed how moist pumpkin is? It makes for a great cake or loaf of bread. With this recipe, you can make it as spicy as you like (hence the ‘Pumpkin Spice’ part of the name) to suit your taste. Think about frosting or glazing it when you’re done making this for a more festive, eye-appealing, mouth-watering, smell-goodness completed pumpkin bread recipe.
Since I’m talking about bread here it makes sense that you need a loaf pan. However, you can get away with a round cornbread pan. To fulfill the yield results of the below recipe, you may need about two or three 7×3 inch loaf pans.
This easy make thanksgiving recipe calls for ingredients you probably already have in your home. I’m sure you have some eggs, veggie oil, water, and white sugar, right? Ok, then. Let’s proceed. (I’ll add the ingredients list within this toggle thingy right here:)
3. Pumpkin Cheesecake
Pumpkin is a healthy fruit, full of fiber, and a great additive for cheesecake! Pumpkin gives it coloring, moisture, and healthy qualities to your cheesecake, versus a high caloric, dense, and fattening cheesecake.
The steps are pretty easy here. Again, refer to our pumpkin puree recipe up top in #1 (pumpkin pie). The ingredients for this are:
Crust: Graham cracker crust or make your own.
Cream Cheese: 3 bars (8 oz. each), softened
Brown Sugar: 1 cup
Vanilla Extract: 1 teaspoon
Sour Cream: 1/4 cup, at room temperature
Eggs: 3 large eggs
Flour: 1 tablespoon
Spices/Seasonings: Pumpkin Spice & pinch of Salt
You’ll want to beat the cream cheese and brown sure together like your beating the enemy. Or until it’s light and fluffy. Then beat in the pumpkin puree, the vanilla extract, and the sour cream. Add your eggs. Then beat in the flour and the spices. The spices can be pumpkin pie spice + a pinch of salt. Pour this cheesecake mixture over a crust (can be a DIY crust or a store-bought crust. I recommend a graham cracker crust).
Set your oven to 350º and put in the oven for about 1 hour and 30 minutes. You’ll see it dancing a slight jig when it’s read. Not a lot of jig; just a light jig in the middle. Pull out and let cool for about 15 minutes.
On top, you can squirt some dollops of whipped cream around the perimeter and even put a layer of caramel or fudge. (Yeah, will go great with our healthy cheesecake.)
That’s about it. You’ll find this will be a family favorite and they’ll ask you to make it every year!
4. Apple Pie
You didn’t think I would talk all about pumpkins for Thanksgiving desserts, did you? Of course, we have to add an apple pie! Let’s not allow the harvest in the orchards to go to waste. Apple picking is so much fun!
A side, kind of unrelated, note: Search around your community for a family fun outing to pick apples or pumpkins or strawberries, etc. It’s a wonderful way to show the kids about how fruit and vegetables make their way to their plates – plus it’s loads of fun for the whole family.
This is probably one of the simplest pie recipes to make, although the ones I laid out here are all simple. I would consider this apple pie recipe a “classic” – I bet you can find this exact recipe on all the recipes food blogs out there. The “hardest” part is making buttery -liquid to pour over the apples. Maybe.
Start with getting a regular pie crust and about 8 apples. You can choose whichever kinds of apples you want to go with here – Granny Smith apples, Fiji apples, the red blush kind, whatever. I’m a sucker for organic fruits and veggies, so my go-to would be the organic kinds of apples.
Go ahead and peel your apples and then slice them into the size of slices you would give your kids. On the stove, mix together 1 cup of butter, 1/4 cup of water, and 1/3 cup of white sugar and 1/3 cup of brown sugar. To make it pasty, add about 2 or 3 tablespoons of flour (all-purpose). As I said, mix these together until it gets to boiling, then cover and turn the heat down to a simmer.
I assume you have a pie pan with your crust that you got from the store. If you made the crust, you’re pretty good – I’m sure you know you need a pie pan then. Put your crust in the pie pan and put the apples you sliced earlier in the crust that’s in the pie pan.
Make a lattice crust to put over this. You can buy store-bought pie dough for this or make your own. Don’t know how to make a lattice crust? This video will show you exactly how:
After you put the lattice crust on top, get your liquid mixture and add your seasonings to it. Seasonings I would add would be apple pie spice, nutmeg, and cinnamon, but you could very well add allspice to it. Mix it all together.
hen pour the liquid mix slowly on top of everything. The keyword here is slowly. You want it to seep through the lattice holes and pour on top of the lattice crust too.
When you’re done prepping, put your oven to 425º F. If you have to warm it up beforehand, I would make this your very first step. Give it a good hit of the 425º for about 15 minutes, then turn it down to 350º and bake for 40-ish minutes (ovens may vary). Just bake it long enough until your apples are soft.
Feel free to get super festive and add cranberries, raisins, nuts, and anything else really on top of the apples before you put the lattice on top and before you pour the mixture on it. I’ve tried it with cranberries and it’s an explosion of flavor in my mouth – super delicious.
Serve with a dollop of cream or ice cream on the side.
5. Sweet Potato Pie
If you didn’t know, I’m from Texas. We’re a homeschool family that travels throughout the year, but we do like to go back to our roots a couple of times a year also to visit fam and take care of business. Sweet Potato Pie is one of the best Thanksgiving desserts you can find on this side of the Mississippi. It’s a popular, classic Southern favorite that’s similar to the pumpkin pie, except it uses yams instead of pumpkins, and the sweetness is natural from the yams themselves.
First, you start off by softening these sweet potatoes. You’ll need about a pound of yams, so about 1 or 2 yams will do the trick. Now you want to boil it with the skin on first, for about 45 minutes or so, and then run under some cold water to make it easier to peel the skin off.
Put the yams in a bowl and slap about 1/3-1/2 cup of butter on top of the potatoes. Get out a potato masher and go to town on a potato mashing spree, mashing the butter in with the yams as you go. If you have a mixer, you can opt to mix instead of mash.
The ingredients you’ll need is here:
Crust: Store-bought crust or make your own
Milk: 1/2 cup
White Sugar: 1 cup
Vanilla Extract: 1 teaspoon
Eggs: 2 large eggs
Spices/Seasonings: Nutmeg, Allspice, Cinnamon
Add white sugar, eggs, milk, and your seasonings. I love vanilla extract in this so make sure you add vanilla extract as well. Your seasonings can be nutmeg, allspice, and cinnamon. Mix everything together now – the yams and the ingredients and the seasonings.
Pour in a pie crust and put the pie in the oven, heated for 350º F for about an hour. You’ll know it’s done when you poke a toothpick in the center and it comes out clean. Just so you know, this particular pie tends to rise like an alpha dog, or like bread, when you’re baking it, but that’s normal. It’ll go back down once it cools.
And that’s all she wrote about the sweet potato pie. Enjoy!
The Decadent Conclusion
The desserts you can make at home “from scratch” are so much nicer to your bank account and really they’re oftentimes more delicious if you follow my directions. Store-bought desserts are dulled in taste in comparison to your home-made desserts. Just think of the bragging rights you can gift your family! Trust me, they’ll be amazed at what you whipped up this year.
If you are tracking your weight during the holidays or going easy on some ingredients, just switch out some sweeteners with agave, go easier on the sugar, or go without the sugar altogether. Most, if not all, of the recipes can use its own natural sugars to sweeten the desserts. Try it; you might just find you like it better that way. Plus you’ll be able to eat more plus eliminate the guilt while staying on track with your weightless goals/health food planning.
To wrap things up, some thing you will need from your kitchen or perhaps purchase separately from the Thanksgiving dessert recipes above are the following:
I did mention to you that I love me some Thanksgiving desserts. By the time you’re done with making and eating these desserts, you might just think of desserts first when you think of Thanksgiving too! This is a judgment-free zone.
Do you have a classic Thanksgiving dessert recipe you make every year to share with us moms? Please put them in the comments below! Enlighten us – or lighten our dessert-making loads! Happy Turkey Day, fellow carnivores.
5 Easy Thanksgiving Dessert Recipes (You Can Make Today) To Help You Bake The Perfect Pie Every Time