Let’s be real. We might make a big deal about the amazing golden hue of this year’s roast turkey and go back for seconds of Grandma Dola’s famous green bean casserole, but most of us are really just waiting a polite and acceptable period of time until we can hit the dessert table.
We’re just here for the pie, thanks.
There’s a lot riding on these Thanksgiving pies. Do you stick to tradition, or branch out into something new? Will your brother be upset if you don’t make “his” pumpkin pie this year? How many pies do you really need? (Trick question: you need all of them.)
Here’s my advice — give yourself a break when it comes to Thanksgiving dessert. Make one or two traditional pies, but then make some room for something new on the table. Who knows — your picky brother might just discover a new favorite!
Table of Contents
- Pumpkin and Sweet Potato Pies
- Apple Pies
- Pecan Pie and Other Nut-Filled Pies
- Wild Card Thanksgiving Pies
- Favorite Pie Crusts (and How to Make Them)
Pumpkin Pie and Sweet Potato Pies
Is pumpkin pie your favorite? What is it about slicing into a creamy, spice-filled wedge that is just so very good? Let's not question these things — best to just have another slice. A few notes:
- Pumpkin pie is best made ahead of time so it has plenty of time to cool and set before serving. You can serve it the same day it's made, but just be sure to allow time to cool.
- Store it in the fridge, where it will keep for 3 to 4 days.
- You can also freeze pumpkin pie: wrap the baked and cooled pie very well in plastic wrap and freeze for up to a month. Thaw in the fridge overnight before serving.
- Pumpkin pie is best served room temperature. If you take it out of the fridge when you sit down to eat, it will be perfect by dessert time.
- Want to make your own pumpkin puree? You can! The instructions are included in our recipe for Old Fashioned Pumpkin Pie.
Want even more ideas? Check out these favorites from our friends! Salted Honey Sweet Potato Pie from Aaron Hutcherson at The Hungry Hutch, Mini Pumpkin Tarts from Erin Alderson at Naturally Ella, and Pumpkin Pie with Maple Whipped Cream from Sally Vargas.
This is absolutely the BEST homemade pumpkin pie recipe! Make it with canned or fresh pumpkin puree and up to several days ahead. Also freezes well! Thanksgiving pie never looked so good or so easy.
Holiday sweet potato pie with a pecan topping. Dense and sweet filling with sweet potatoes, sweetened condensed milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, vanilla, and bourbon. Topped with candied pecan topping. Delicious!
Pumpkin pie lovers, take note! This Pumpkin Chiffon Pie has a gingersnap crust and a light, pudding-like filling. It's a fun and elegant riff on the classic pie, and sure to become a favorite.
Tall and creamy Pumpkin Cheesecake! With a bourbon splashed pumpkin cream cheese filling and a pecan graham cracker crust.
There's no wrong way to make an apple pie: chunky pieces, thin slices, sweet apples, tart apples — they're all winners. A few notes:
- The best apples for apple pie is really a mix! Choose a blend of sweet and tart apples and different varieties. This will give you a good balance of flavors and textures in your finished pie.
- Apple pies can be served room temperature or warm.
- Store apple pies loosely covered with plastic wrap or foil at room temperature; no need to refrigerate.
- Apple pies freeze well! Wrap the baked and cooled pie very well with plastic wrap and then freeze for up to three months. Thaw overnight in the fridge and then warm it up in the oven.
Want even more ideas? Check out these favorites from our friends! Chai-Spiced Caramel Apple Pie from Cindy Rahe at Hungry Girl Por Vida, Apple Cider Cream Pie from Megan Gordon at A Sweet Spoonful, Streusel Apple Pie from Katie Workman at The Mom 100, and Gluten-Free Apple Pie with Coconut Sugar from Lisa Lin at Healthy Nibbles.
This is absolutely the best homemade apple pie you'll ever make! It has a flaky, buttery crust and a tender, lightly-spiced apple pie filling. Use a combination of apples for best flavor, and bake until the top is golden and the filling is bubbly!
Deep Dish Apple Pie! This extra thick, mile-high apple pie has a buttery crust double stacked with apples.
Apple Slab Pie! The perfect dessert for a crowd, plus more flaky crust in every bite. Use a mix of apples for best flavor. Great for apple-picking parties, Thanksgiving, or holiday gatherings.
Absolutely delicious sour cream apple pie with a brown sugar, flour, and butter streusel topping.
Paleo and gluten-free apple tart. So stunning on a Thanksgiving or Christmas holiday table. Easy food-processor pie crust.
This apple cranberry pie is one of our favorite pies to make for Thanksgiving or the holidays! Flaky buttery crust, spiced apples mixed with dried cranberries and brandy.
Pecan Pie and Other Nut-Filled Pies
If a slice of nut-filled pecan pie is the only thing you crave on Thanksgiving, then you've come to the right spot. A few notes:
- Pecan pie is best made a day or two ahead so it has time to fully cool and set before serving. (If it's still warm, the filling will ooze.)
- Cover the cooled pie with plastic wrap or foil and store in the fridge for 2 to 3 days before serving.
- Pecan pie is best served room temperature or slightly chilled (so it's easier to slice and serve). If you take it out of the fridge when you sit down to eat, it will be perfect by dessert time.
- If you like warm pecan pie, we recommend warming individual slices in the microwave rather than the whole pie.
- Yes, pecan pie can be frozen! Wrap the baked and cooled pie very well in plastic wrap and freeze for up to a month. Thaw in the fridge overnight before serving.
Want even more ideas? Check out these favorites from our friends! Maple Bourbon Chocolate Pecan Pie from Sense and Edibility, Nutella Pecan Pie Bars from Megan Keno at Country Cleaver, Mexican Chocolate Pecan Pie from Irvin Lin at Eat the Love.
With a homemade crust, sweet pecan filling and a touch of molasses, this is THE pecan pie for your Thanksgiving table! Make it a day or two ahead, or freeze it for even longer.
Do you love nuts? This caramel nut tart recipe combines walnuts, pecans, and almonds, in a caramel filling, served in a buttery crust.
Walnut Pie! Similar to pecan pie, with fresh chopped walnuts, in a custardy base, sweetened with maple syrup.
Upgrade your pecan pie this Thanksgiving! This chocolate pecan tart is like a cross between a nut-filled brownie and chocolate fudge.
Wild Card Thanksgiving Pies
Feel like throwing something new into the mix? These pies may not be in the Holy Trinity of Thanksgiving Pies, but they're still festive and fun to serve on Thanksgiving! A few notes:
- Cream pies will need at least a few hours to set, and are even better made the day before.
- If your pie is topped with whipped cream, wait to do that until just before serving since the whipped cream tends to deflate if it sits or is refrigerated.
Want even more ideas? Check out these favorites from our friends! Thanksgiving Tri-Pie (Apple, Pecan, and Pumpkin Pie!) from Nick Evans at Macheesmo, Gluten-Free and Vegan Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie from Sabrina Modelle at The Tomato Tart, and Bittersweet Chocolate Pudding Pie with Dark Rum from Elizabeth Stark of Brooklyn Supper.
Peanut butter lovers, this one's for you! It's the most decadent and indulgent peanut butter pie EVER, made with extra peanut butter in the filling, peanut butter cups on top, and a drizzle of melted peanut butter and chocolate. We warned you!
Coconut Banana Cream Pie! Two great pies, combined in one. Graham cracker crust, creamy coconut custard, ripe bananas, and whipped cream topping.
Chocolate, pudding, and pie—the best of all possible worlds! This easy, make-ahead pudding pie sets up in a few hours in the fridge, just in time for dessert.
This is the BEST lemon meringue pie! The tart and creamy lemon custard filling is topped with mile-high billowy meringue. Make this when you want something impressive.
This Key Lime Pie is an American classic. Ours is made with lime juice and sweetened condensed milk in a graham cracker crust and topped with whipped cream. Use key limes if you have them, otherwise substitute regular limes.
Favorite Pie Crusts (and How to Make Them)
And last but not least, here's everything you need to know about making your own pie crust for Thanksgiving — or not! If you're not in the mood to make your own, check out our guide to the best store-bought pie crusts. A few notes about pie crusts:
- The pie crust dough can be made ahead and kept in the fridge 3 to 4 days before you plan to bake.
- You can also make and freeze most pie crusts up to three months ahead of time. Freeze either the disks of dough, or freeze the rolled-out dough in the pie pan. If freezing disks of dough, let them thaw overnight before rolling it out.
- If you're blind baking, try using sugar instead of pie weights! It's a little surprising, but it works! The method is outlined in How to Blind Bake a Pie Crust.
Several pie crust recipes—an all butter pie crust, or pate brisee, an all butter crust with almonds, combining butter and shortening crust, and how to pre-bake or blind-bake a pie crust.
Easiest, flakiest homemade pie crust EVER! No machine required. This buttery pie and pastry crust is our favorite, anyone can make!
Putting together a graham cracker crust is not hard at all—and it comes together quickly. Use this recipe to make cream pies, key lime pie, cheesecake, or any other pie that could use a graham cracker crust!
Does your pie recipe call for pre-baking or blind baking the crust? Here's a guide with tips for blind baking success!
A how-to guide on making a lattice top for your homemade pies. Step-by-step instructions with photographs.
Wonder which frozen or pre-made, store-bought pie crust you should buy? Here's our ultimate Our Site guide to the best and the worst of the bunch.