For anyone who loves food, Thanksgiving dinner is probably the best meal of the year. The food options are bountiful and endless, and all you need to worry about doing afterward is spending three days cozied up at home. The days leading up to Thanksgiving, though, can be a different story. Gathering and cooking all of that food can be stressful, especially if you’re relatively new to the game. But then enter: no-bake Thanksgiving desserts.
Turkey takes forever to cook. So when it comes to whipping up Thanksgiving dessert, you need to plan for the fact that your oven will be occupied for three to four hours on Thursday afternoon. Then there’s the fact that you can’t just skip certain side dishes because you feel overwhelmed—everyone has a different favorite, so you need to go all out with a full spread in order to not ruin anyone’s holiday. By the time you’ve figured out the logistics of cooking dinner, dessert can seem like a real hassle.
While I love a good pumpkin pie as much as anyone, I’ve learned that the smartest way to handle dessert is to either bake a few pies far in advance, or just ask that guests each bring one. And to make sure you have something to contribute to the sweets table, I advise choosing a simple, no-bake dessert that you can prep at least a day ahead of time, and just pull out of the fridge or freezer when the time is right.
The 12 no-bake Thanksgiving desserts below range from single-serve parfaits to a delicious pumpkin cheesecake. All are easy, tasty, and will fit right in with your holiday spread.
Not a pie person? This pumpkin cheesecake might be right up your alley.
Pumpkin Icebox Cake
Freezer desserts aren’t just for summertime. This easy pumpkin icebox cake is made with layers of graham crackers, so it also tastes a whole lot like pie.
Forget cookies. These gooey chocolate-oatmeal bars are dense and sweet, but you can cut them small enough that they’re not overly rich.
Pumpkin Spice Latte Bites
These vegan and gluten-free pumpkin spice latte bites are a relatively light dessert, which means they’re perfect after a big Thanksgiving meal.
Not sure what pumpkin lush is, exactly? It’s a layer of buttery graham cracker crumbs topped with pumpkin pudding, finished with a gorgeous cloud of whipped topping.
Pecan Pie Mini Tarts
These teensy tarts might be even more decadent than the original. Throw together pecan pie mini tarts by blending an almond-oat-maple base and topping it with sweet pecans.
Coconut Pecan Praline Cookies
You literally won’t be able to stop eating these coconut pecan praline cookies. Don’t sweat it, though—Thanksgiving is a day of decadence.
Apple Pie Parfaits
Who needs to fuss with crust when you can make gorgeous individual apple pie parfaits instead?
Apple Yum Yum
WTF is a “yum yum”, you ask? All you need to know is that this apple yum yum is made with butter, apples, cream cheese, whipped cream, sugar and sweet apple pie filling. (Yum yum, indeed.)
Apple Pie Bites
Store-bought pastry shells are good for so many things, from appetizers to cute desserts. These apple pie bites are a shining example.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Dessert
Not feeling the fall flavors? That’s fine, go all out with this chocolate peanut butter dessert, which will leave no craving unquenched.
Coconut Almond Bars
These coconut almond bars are straightforward in the best way—and that layer of chocolate on top does not disappoint.