15 Easy Thanksgiving Desserts for a Crowd

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slice of raw carrot cake on a white plate
Photo: Megan Olson

Whether you're hosting a big crew for Thanksgiving, have been assigned the dessert course for the holiday potluck or are dropping off sweet treats on the doorstep of friends and family for a safely-distant Thanksgiving dinner, these big-batch Thanksgiving dessert recipes are about to become your turkey day saviors. From pecan tarts and pumpkin bars to apple crisp and cranberry cake, each of these Thanksgiving desserts for a crowd serves at least 10 adults per batch. So no matter how, where, or with whom you're celebrating this Thanksgiving (even a small group with BIG appetites!), consider these easy Thanksgiving desserts for your menu. Because when you don't have to make several separate pies, you'll have even more time during the hectic week of the holiday. Now that's something to be thankful for!

01 of 15

Pecan Cranberry Butter Tarts

Pecan Cranberry Butter Tarts
Photo by Rob Tanner. Rob Tanner

Thanksgiving dessert servings: 15

Can't quite decide between pecan pie or a cranberry dessert? Don't! These itty-bitty pies feature the essential elements of both in one handheld package: brown sugar-coated pecans, dried and fresh cranberries, and a buttery pastry. Since this Thanksgiving dessert for a crowd starts with store-bought tart shells, prep time is just 20 minutes.

02 of 15

Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

Thanksgiving dessert servings: 24

With everything you adore about cheesecake and pumpkin pie combined in one jelly roll pan creation, this is one of our biggest and best pumpkin desserts. Besides butter, eggs, and cream cheese, this entire recipe can be made with long shelf-life pantry staples, including a package of pound cake mix, a can of pumpkin puree, and a can of condensed milk.

03 of 15

Sheet Pan Apple Crisp

Thanksgiving dessert servings: 12

"I served this at a family dinner for dessert and had rave reviews. There was nothing left," says Nana. You'll have glowing reviews about the easy 20-minute prep, too, since you simply slice apples and toss them with flour, cinnamon, and brown sugar, then top that with a nicely-spiced walnut-oat crisp topping. Roast and prepare for rave reviews—especially if you serve it warm and a la mode.

04 of 15

Lottie's Peanut Butter Cupcakes

PBJ Cupcakes - Berry Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting

Thanksgiving dessert servings: 24

So what if peanut butter and banana aren't quite "traditional" Thanksgiving dessert flavors? The kids and kids at heart will gobble these up nonetheless. And since these peanut butter goodies feature applesauce and are just 125 calories each, we're saving a few unfrosted cupcakes to enjoy as breakfast and snacks throughout the holiday weekend. (Psst...here's the Banana Butter Frosting recipe recommended for the topping!)

05 of 15

Quick and Easy Pumpkin Mousse

glasses full of pumpkin mousse topped with whipped cream
Mackenzie Schieck

Thanksgiving dessert servings: 10

Marshmallows, canned pumpkin, and cream transform into something magical in this uber-easy mousse recipe that Allrecipes home bakers swear is "PERFECT" and a "HUGE success" since it " can be thrown together quickly and still make a great impression on guests." Serve it scooped or piped into bowls or martini glasses or up the ante by spooning this Thanksgiving dessert for a crowd into chocolate shells (like these Lang's Chocolate Dessert Shell Bowls; $16 for 12, walmart.com).

06 of 15

Maple Pecan Shortbread Squares

plate of Maple Pecan Shortbread Squares

Thanksgiving dessert servings: 16

Shortbread cookie meets maple-pecan pie in this seven-ingredient Thanksgiving dessert for a crowd. Begin by prebaking the shortbread crust, then top with a maple syrup and pecan custard for some luscious, fall-flavored bar cookies. One bite and you'll understand why these squares have garnered more than 200 five-star ratings!

07 of 15

Cranberry Upside-Down Coffee Cake

a slice of cranberry- and pecan-topped coffee cake on a white plate with the rest of the cake in the background
Scott M.

Thanksgiving dessert servings: 12

When it's topped with brown sugar, butter, pecans and cranberries, coffee cake is not just for brunch! Try it as a low-fuss Thanksgiving dessert for a crowd (that can easily flex as a Black Friday brunch, too, if you're lucky enough to have leftovers). A cup of sour cream in the cake batter offers a super-tender crumb and moist texture.

08 of 15

Basic Truffles

Basic Truffles rolled in cocoa powder and nested in candy cups

Thanksgiving dessert servings: 35

Here's one that's for serious chocolate lovers only. Use just three ingredients—high-quality chocolate, heavy cream, and your desired flavor of extract—and you'll end up with nearly three dozen cocoa bites that are super-rich, decadent, and delightful as a mini meal-ender.

09 of 15

Pumpkin Brownies

Pumpkin Brownies topped with chopped nuts

Thanksgiving dessert servings: 16

Speaking of chocolate, we're giving that popular flavor a fall makeover with (you guessed it) canned pumpkin! Starting with a layer of chocolate batter, this brownie recipe stacks a vibrantly-hued pumpkin batter on top. Use a knife to swirl through both for an eye-catching marble appearance that's almost as impressive as the flavor of this easy Thanksgiving dessert. Almost.

10 of 15

Easy German Apple Sheet Cake

Thanksgiving dessert servings: 24

If you have a big apple haul from the orchard or supermarket, this Thanksgiving dessert for a crowd is a brilliant and beautiful solution. It calls for about 3 pounds of your favorite apple variety, which are sliced and served atop a thin citrus-scented cake. Add raisins for an extra hint of sweetness and texture, if desired.

11 of 15

Sweet Potato Cupcakes with Toasted Marshmallow Frosting

cupcakes with piped marshmallow topping on a white dish

Thanksgiving dessert servings: 12

Sweet potato casserole morphs into cupcake form in these marshmallow-frosted cupcakes. A cup of mashed sweet potatoes lends color and a craveable, moist texture to the cakes, while seasonal spices like nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, and ginger give each bite an autumnal punch. Allow to cool, pipe on the marshmallow creme-infused topping, then toast under the broiler for that gorgeous golden topping.

12 of 15

Pumpkin Crunch Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Thanksgiving dessert servings: 12

"This tastes a bit like pumpkin cheesecake on a sugar cookie crust, but the ingredients may surprise you (they did me!)," admits Mimsy, who shared this Thanksgiving dessert for a crowd recipe. Some of the usual fall dessert cast members are here, like canned pumpkin and cinnamon. Those surprises? You'll find them hiding inside the crust. Rather than cookie dough, it's made from chopped nuts and a package of yellow cake mix with pudding.

Buy it: Pillsbury Moist Supreme Yellow Cake Mix ($1.39, target.com)

13 of 15

Paleo Raw Carrot Cake

Paleo Raw Carrot Cake
Megan Olson

Thanksgiving dessert servings: 16

When you're planning Thanksgiving desserts for a crowd, it's a generous and inviting idea to cover all dietary preferences and allergies. These paleo diet-friendly, raw, and vegan cake bars showcase cashews, a variety of coconut ingredients (flour, milk, oil, flakes), maple syrup, and dates for sweetness and, of course, a cup of carrots. The icing for this no-bake cake is so delicious, you might want to eat it with a spoon!

14 of 15

Pumpkin Cannoli

Pumpkin Cannoli
Kim's Cooking Now

Thanksgiving dessert servings: 12

This classic Italian dessert feels totally at home when you pipe the cannoli shells full of pumpkin cream filling. Mascarpone and ricotta cheeses, homemade whipped cream, and instant pudding mix team up to lighten up pumpkin puree into cloud-like texture territory. Once filled, you can make these cannoli your own by sprinkling the ends with mini chocolate chips, chopped nuts, or fall-themed sprinkles.

Buy it: Sweet Tooth Fairy Autumn Harvest Sprinkle Mix ($14.95 for three, amazon.com)

15 of 15

Banana Pudding IV

Banana Pudding IV in a glass dish

Thanksgiving dessert servings: 12

DazzlinDarlene says, "I have been making this recipe for over two years for family and large parties and have NEVER had any leftovers. People get upset if I don't bring this with me!" We can confirm that you'll have zero disappointed or upset guests if you add this vanilla pudding, whipped cream, banana, and vanilla wafer trifle to your Thanksgiving menu. Assemble it all in layers in a glass bowl for a supersized parfait that looks as incredible as it tastes.

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