I would happily attend a Thanksgiving feast centered entirely around pies (Grandma, are you listening?). Away with the cranberry sauce that still shows the lines from the can, out with the impossibly dry turkey, and farewell to 1960s casseroles. Instead, I’m welcoming pies, pies, and more pies. From the have-to-have-them classics like apple and pecan pies to modern twists like an apple-pecan hybrid, [this Thanksgiving](https://food52.com/blog/26724-resident-thanksgiving-menu-2021, I’m putting dessert first. Who’s with me?
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Before we can debate about pecan vs. pumpkin (pecan wins hand over fist, obviously), we have to talk about pie crusts. Every pie needs one, and this 2-ingredient, all-butter pie crust is as classic and versatile as they come.
2. Apple Pie
Even when inflation is through the roof, new COVID variants emerge every week, and gas costs more than tickets to a Harry Styles concert, there’s still one thing to be thankful for: apple pie. This recipe uses the aforementioned all-butter pie crust, plus a spiced apple filling made with tart apples.
What’s the difference between these two apple pie recipes? Let’s start with the pie dough: It uses a combination of shortening and butter for a crust that’s equal parts flavorful and flaky. As for the filling, it calls on three kinds of apples (Granny Smith, Golden Delicious, and Macintosh) for varied flavors and textures.
Be the talk of Thanksgiving dinner with this apple pie that’s a true work of art. Thin slices of apples are arranged in a tight spiral to create the illusion of a rose blooming from the all-butter crust.
No butter here! From the crust (which is made with coconut oil and oat milk) to the jammy filling (that’s all thanks to the natural apple juices baked with a little bit of cornstarch), this dairy-free pie is an inviting dessert for Thanksgiving dinner.
This crumbly, deep dish pie is somewhere in between a traditional apple pie for Thanksgiving and an apple crisp. The apple filling is topped with a generous oat-walnut streusel.
Out with the delicious, but expected apple pie from yore and in with these apple pie cookies. “Unlike a traditional pie, these cookies are ideal for easy dropping off for friends and neighbors—but once they are baked and you sample that first flaky, spiced morsel, you may be tempted to keep them all for yourself,” writes recipe developer Melina Hammer.
Baking a classic apple pie recipe can be fussy to say the least. That’s why we love galettes—aka rustic, free-form pies that are just as delicious as traditional pastry without all the work.
Leave it to Food52’s resident baking BFF Erin Jeanne McDowell to raise the bar for what an apple pie should look and taste like. She added a rich cider caramel reduction to the apple filling and we’re all better off for it.
Yes, there should be pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving but it doesn’t need to follow all the rules (for what it’s worth, I’m not a huge fan of traditional pumpkin custard pie). That’s where this lighter, brighter recipe from Emma Laperruque comes in—”This cream pie-ified rendition features a gingery graham cracker crust, pumpkin pastry cream, and a sour cream–spiked whipped cream,” she writes. I’ll help myself to seconds.
Looking for a classic pumpkin pie recipe for Thanksgiving? This is it. Pumpkin purée is caramelized in a pan to bring out some toasty flavors before it’s whisked away with eggs, cream, and milk for the filling.
This Thanksgiving pie recipe will appeal to everyone, and we mean everyone. Not a fan of traditional pie crust? No worries! This one is made with crushed gingersnap cookies (brilliant!) and filled with a spiced pumpkin custard (score!).
13. Apple Pecan Pie
Whether you can’t decide between making an apple or pecan pie, or simply want to minimize time spent in the kitchen, this two-for-one special is our new favorite Thanksgiving pie recipe.
Pecan pie is often criticized for being too sweet, so we made a few tweaks (enter: dark corn syrup, double the amount of pecans, and brown sugar) for a richer, nuttier filling.
Every time Melissa Clark enters the room (whether literally or figuratively), she instantly transforms everything we thought we knew about cooking and baking. This time, she’s switching up pecan pie and we’re better off for it: She uses maple syrup instead of the usual corn syrup and infuses it with star anise and a touch of rum.
16. Pecan Pie Bars
Put a platter of these handheld pecan pie bars on the kids’ table and watch everyone at Thanksgiving dinner—adults included—suddenly turn into magicians, making the sweet bites disappear in 3, 2, 1.
Samantha Seneviratne thought long and hard about how to make pecan pie a little sweeter and more interesting, until the answer became obvious: add chocolate and bourbon (lots and lots of bourbon).
18. Sweet Potato Pie
Sweet potato pie never seems to get the love and attention that its sweeter cousin pumpkin gets, but we’re declaring this the year that this root vegetable finally gets its time in the spotlight. Recipe developer Nicole Price recommends roasting the sweet potatoes before making the filling to enhance their sweet, caramel notes.
19. Ube Pie
If you’ve never cooked with ube before, what better time than Thanksgiving to introduce a new root vegetable to the menu? “It’s a colorful alternative to a sweet potato or pumpkin pie, consisting of a flaky, buttery crust, a rich, velvety custard, freshly whipped cream, and purple yam chips for a perfectly subtle crunch,” writes recipe developer Kimberly Camara.
Balance the natural sweetness of sweet potatoes with tangy buttermilk and an assortment of ground spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and allspice) for this Thanksgiving classic.
An all-new dessert for Thanksgiving is this pie-cake hybrid made with butternut squash that has been roasted with orange, olive oil, cardamom, brown sugar, and honey.
Friendsgivings or Thanksgiving potlucks tend to be a little more casual than the traditional family feast. Enter: these laid-back but utterly delicious hand pies. There are three classic iterations: apple, pumpkin, and cranberry fillings, all of which can be tucked into our favorite all-butter pie dough.
Give cranberries a life beyond sauce! Here, cranberries and sage—two fall staple ingredients—join together for one autumnal Thanksgiving pie.
There’s a lot to love about this pie for Thanksgiving but the standout element for me is in the crust: it’s an all-butter pie dough rolled in gingersnap cookie crumbs.
Pears are a natural canvas for so many fall flavors, but instead of the expected trio of cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger, we’re introducing garam masala into the mix. This traditional Indian spice mixture brings a little bit of heat and a whole lot of welcome spice.