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30 of Grandma’s Best Thanksgiving Desserts

Looking for decadent Thanksgiving desserts? These pies, cakes, tarts and other sweet treats are straight from grandma's kitchen.

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Apple Pie

I remember coming home sullen one day because we’d lost a softball game. Grandma, in her wisdom, suggested, “Maybe a slice of my homemade apple pie will make you feel better.” One bite, and Grandma was right. If you want to learn how to make homemade apple pie filling, this is really the only recipe you need. —Maggie Greene, Granite Falls, Washington

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Hot Milk Cake

This simple, old-fashioned milk cake tastes so good it will surprise you! As I remember my mom’s delicious meals, this dessert was always the perfect ending. Mom always used “a dash of this and dab of that” to come up with what we thought was “the best.” —Rosemary Pryor, Pasadena, Maryland
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Chocolate Malted Cookies

These cookies are the next best thing to a good old-fashioned malted milk. With malted milk powder, chocolate syrup, and chocolate chips and chunks, these are the best cookies I’ve ever tasted…and with six kids, I’ve made a lot of cookies over the years! —Teri Rasey, Cadillac, Michigan
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Pumpkin Bread Pudding with White Chocolate Sauce

This old-fashioned treat is so warm and comforting on chilly evenings. Pumpkin gives it great seasonal appeal, and the white chocolate sauce makes it even more irresistible. —Shirley Glaab, Hattiesburg, Mississippi
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Black Walnut Cake

My mother’s family members all were excellent cooks and known for their great hospitality. A longtime family favorite, this old-fashioned black walnut cake was always expected at holiday dinners, special occasions and potlucks.
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Butter Pecan Cookie Bars with Penuche Drizzle

I have made these Butter Pecan Cookie Bars for many, many years. They are rich, chewy, nutty and buttery—all the good stuff. They freeze well, that is, if they last long enough. A little drizzle of old-fashioned penuche icing takes them over the top. —Kallee Krong-McCreery, Escondido, California
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Potato Candy

My children love this old-fashioned potato candy. It’s so easy to make and I always have the ingredients on hand. Nutella would also work as a filling in place of peanut butter. —Bonnie Presley, Lovely, Kentucky
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Apple Cobbler

Treasured by my family, this easy recipe for old-fashioned apple cobbler is a delicious nostalgic dessert. It travels well and slices nicely, so it’s perfect for picnics or tailgate parties. We like apples, but you can use your favorite fruit. —Rita Reifenstein, Evans City, Pennsylvania
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Grandma’s Chocolate Meringue Pie

My grandmother served this old fashioned chocolate pie recipe after Sunday dinner each week, usually with an apology it was “too runny” or something else was wrong with it. Of course, grandma’s chocolate pie was never less than perfect! —Donna Vest Tilley, Chesterfield, Virginia
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Classic Sweet Potato Pie

This simple but special deep-dish pie provides a down-home finish to hearty autumn meals. Pecans and pumpkin pie spices make this a comforting seasonal classic. —Paul Azzone, Shoreham, New York
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Slow-Cooker Berry Compote

This berry compote is an old recipe my grandma made when I was younger. She always added extra blueberries to help thicken the sauce. —Diane Higgins, Tampa, Florida
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Snickerdoodle Cheesecake

My maternal grandmother preferred sewing and quilting to cooking and baking, but there were some things that she cooked and baked really well. She was the only person I knew who made snickerdoodles, simple but yummy cookies that I've always enjoyed. Since cheesecake is my very favorite dessert, I couldn't resist coming up with one that re-creates those flavors. I think of my grandmother each time I make it! Sometimes I'll drizzle the slices with maple syrup. —Lisa Varner, El Paso, Texas
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Molasses Pumpkin Pie

When our sons come home at Thanksgiving to hunt with their dad, I make this pie recipe from Grandma Fetting. We celebrate Thanksgiving in our cabin in the North Woods, a 40-year-old tradition. —Lois Fetting, Nelson, Wisconsin
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Classic Apple Cranberry Crisp

For a little old-fashioned goodness, treat your clan to this divine dish that bakes up warm and bubbly. It's great on its own or served with a scoop of ice cream. —Billie Moss, Walnut Creek, California
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Tillie's Ginger Crumb Cake

This recipe goes back at least as far as my grandmother, who was born in the early 1900s. Our sons and I enjoy eating it in a bowl with milk poured on it—much to the dismay of my husband, who prefers it plain! —Kathy Nienow Clark, Byron, Michigan
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Italian Horn Cookies

My family has been making these delicate fruit-filled cookies for generations. They’re light and flaky, with the look of an elegant old-world pastry. —Gloria Siddiqui, Houston, Texas
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Caramel-Apple Skillet Buckle

My grandma used to bake a version of this for me when I was a little girl. She would make it using fresh apples from her tree in the backyard. I've adapted her recipe because I love the combination of apples, pecans and caramel. —Emily Hobbs, Springfield, Missouri
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Classic Pumpkin Pie

Nothing says Thanksgiving like a slice of pie. And you can relish every luscious bite of this pumpkin pie recipe since the tender crust is made with canola oil and a mere hint of butter. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Apple Roly-Poly

My grandmother’s apple dessert is genuine regional fare. With 13 children plus the men at Grandpa’s sawmill, she had to do lots of cooking each day! —Megan Newcombe, Cookstown, Ontario
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Grandma's Pecan Rum Bars

My grandmother handed down the recipe for these gooey bars that we all love. The candied cherries are a must. —Deborah Pennington, Falkville, Alabama
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Old-Fashioned Banana Cream Pie

This old-fashioned banana cream pie recipe is full of flavor. Because it uses instant pudding, this no-bake dessert is ready in just minutes. —Perlene Hoekema, Lynden, Washington
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Sweet Potato Mini Cakes

Whenever I make these cute desserts, I think of my grandmother. She always used extra sweet potatoes from her garden in pies, breads and cakes and added black walnuts from her trees for good measure. —Joyce Larson, New Market, Iowa
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Pecan Shortbread Tea Cakes

My Grandma Ellis made her shortbread cookies only at Christmas because the ingredients were so indulgent. The results are, too! —Trisha Kruse, Eagle, Idaho

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Contest-Winning Chocolate Potato Cake

I won grand champion honors in a potato festival baking contest with this moist chocolate cake. The icing recipe can be doubled if you have a real sweet tooth. —Catherine Hahn, Winamac, Indiana
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Grandma's Rice Pudding

My sisters and I always loved the recipe for rice pudding our grandma made. After she passed away, I took it upon myself to try and find the secret to her rice pudding. It took quite a bit of experimentation, but I finally got it right! And I'm glad to share this easy recipe here. —Margaret DeChant, Newberry, Michigan
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Oma's Apfelkuchen (Grandma's Apple Cake)

My husband’s German family calls this Oma’s apfelkuchen, which translates to "Grandma’s apple cake." They’ve been sharing the recipe for more than 150 years. I use Granny Smith apples, but any variety works. —Amy Kirchen, Loveland, Ohio
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Candied Sweet Potato Pies

My grandmother made the best candied sweet potatoes and incredible apricot fried pies. I think this recipe combines the best of both! —Angela Eshelman, Phoenix, Arizona
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Salted Nut Squares

A favorite of young and old, this recipe came from my sister-in-law. It’s simple to prepare and delicious. There’s no need to keep it warm or cold, so it’s perfect for the potluck that has you traveling longer distances.
—Kathy Tremel, Earling, Iowa
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Grandma Pietz's Cranberry Cake Pudding

For generations, our family has handed down this cake recipe starring cranberries. Simple and unusual, it remains a treasured family heirloom. —Lisa Potter, Camp Douglas, Wisconsin
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Chocolate Pear Hazelnut Tart

As a teenage foreign exchange student in the south of France, I was horribly homesick. Then my host family's Grandmother Miette arrived and asked if I'd like to help her bake this nutty tart from scratch. It turned my trip around and inspired my lifelong passion for baking. Weighing ingredients, roasting nuts, kneading dough—the art of baking transcends language. —Lexi McKeown, Los Angeles, California

Also check out these Thanksgiving desserts made with a healthy twist!

Katie Bandurski
As Senior Shopping Editor, Katie connects Taste of Home readers with the best gifts, deals and home products on the market. An avid foodie and a holiday enthusiast, Katie is an expert at cultivating meaningful moments. When she’s out of the office, you’ll find her exploring Wisconsin, trying out new vegetarian recipes and watching Christmas movies.
Hannah Pugh
Hannah Pugh is an Assistant Editor for Taste of Home. She focuses on writing affiliate content product reviews, newsletters and recipe collections. In her free time, she can be found sipping coffee at cafes, reading or rock climbing with her husband.