ARTICLE / RECIPE ROUNDUP

Irresistible Mini Thanksgiving Desserts

Sweet! These 17 adorable treats prove you can have your cake (and pie, and cheesecake) and eat it, too.

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Too many desserts, too little time. Even on Thanksgiving, when our stomachs can be more accommodating than Hermione Granger’s beaded handbag, there are limits. (Harry Potter fans will recall that the clever young witch enchanted her bag so it could hold a stack of books and a camping tent, among other things.) Fortunately, if you never met a Thanksgiving dessert you didn’t love, the only spell you’ll need to cast this year will be the one that makes your favorite treats miniature.

Pumpkin, sweet potato, cranberry, pecan, apple, caramel, and butterscotch? That’s a yes. Let’s consider these holiday flavors as the springboard for some incredibly cute mini Thanksgiving dessert recipes. Are you planning a dessert buffet? Looking for the perfect potluck contribution? Searching for one simple Thanksgiving dessert? We’ve got options!

Pumpkin and sweet potato mini desserts

In these days of pumpkin spice oatmeal and pumpkin spice marshmallows, treats made with the noble gourd extend well beyond pie. Orange sweet potatoes sing the same earthy and sweet flavor notes and can be used in similarly creative ways.

Mini Pumpkin Oreo Cheesecakes

Mini Pumpkin Oreo Cheesecakes

Five Boys Baker totally had me at “put a whole Oreo in the bottom of a muffin tin.” But to seal the deal, this mom of yes, five boys, beats together a sweet combo of cream cheese, canned pumpkin, and spices; pours the batter over the cookies; and bakes the cheesecakes for a doable 30 minutes.

Mini Pumpkin Pies

Mini Pumpkin Pies

Enjoying just a bite or two of pumpkin pie is no problem when you use store-bought mini tartlet shells for the pastry. Each gets filled with a mere two tablespoons of pumpkin custard, which is flavored as you might hope this time of year with cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg.

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes

The Busy Baker achieves the pumpkin + spice + cream cheese trifecta with moist cupcakes made with pumpkin and a dreamy cream cheese frosting. For bonus style points, she pipes on a swirl of frosting using a pastry tip, and sprinkles the cupcakes with crunchy turbinado sugar.

Pumpkin Spice Truffles

Pumpkin Spice Truffles

If you think truffles are tricky, this recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction will change your mind. She combines pumpkin puree, cream cheese, pumpkin pie spice, graham cracker crumbs, and melted white chocolate and chills the mixture to firm it up. Then she shapes balls and dips them in more melted chocolate. In the mood for a dark chocolate coating instead of white? Go for it.

Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes with Salted Caramel Sauce

Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes with Salted Caramel Sauce

Are you expecting a big crowd for Thanksgiving? Because this delightful recipe makes 24 little cheesecakes. As the pumpkin-cream cheese mixture bakes over the graham cracker crust, it creates hollows, the perfect spot for a spoonful of caramel. Add a pinch of flaky sea salt and a dollop of whipped cream if you’re feeling fancy.

Chai Sweet Potato Cupcakes

Chai Sweet Potato Cupcakes

A double-chai syrup made with chai tea bags and whole spices is the power ingredient here. Beat it into the cupcake batter (which also includes four kinds of dry spices) and into the buttery frosting to infuse these little pastries with loads of fall flavor.


Cranberry mini desserts

Not just for cranberry sauce! Put tart fresh and dried berries to work in pies, cookies, and cheesecake.

Cranberry-Plum Mini Pies With Crumble Topping

Cranberry-Plum Mini Pies With Crumble Topping

A ruby colored mixture of red plums and cranberries with orange zest gets topped with a brown sugar-cinnamon streusel in these handsome mini pies. The pastry is circles cut from store-bought pie crust that are nestled into muffin tins.

Looking for a recipe you can create in stages? Slice-and-bake cookies to the rescue! Up to a few days ahead, you can shape logs of chopped chocolate, dried cranberry, and pecan cookie dough. When you’re ready, cut slices and pop them into the oven. It’s a Yummly original Guided Video Recipe.

Cranberry Swirl Mini Cheesecakes

Cranberry Swirl Mini Cheesecakes

No special talent is needed to create these mini cheesecakes, but they come out with a painterly beauty that’s sure to get your Thanksgiving guests talking. All you do is simmer cranberries with sugar, water, and a little lemon zest to create a sauce. Drop spoonfuls into muffin cups of cheesecake batter, swirl with a toothpick, and bake.

Apple Cranberry Mini Pies

Apple Cranberry Mini Pies

Do miniature pies get much cuter? With a 3-inch-round cookie cutter and some refrigerated dough, you’ll be on your way to holiday hurrahs.


Pecan mini desserts

Buttery, sweet, and mellow, pecans slide oh-so seamlessly into Thanksgiving pies, cookies, and candies.

Easy Mini Pecan Tarts

Easy Mini Pecan Tarts

While a whole slice of rich pecan pie may be too much for those of us who like to try multiple desserts, a couple of bites of the pie made in store-bought mini phyllo dough shells hits the spot.

If you’re a beginning baker, you’ll want to check out Yummly’s original Guided Video Recipes that lead you step by step to success. Case in point: these bars made with a shortbread crust and a nutty brown sugar, maple syrup, and bourbon filling.

Pecan Pie Truffles

Pecan Pie Truffles

High Heels and Grills takes the classic Thanksgiving dessert concept and makes it bite-size, combining the expected nuts and syrup with graham cracker crumbs, and rolling balls in chocolate coating.


Apple, caramel, and butterscotch mini desserts

The harvest table wouldn’t be the same without its common symbol, the apple, and the fruit's frequent sidekicks caramel and butterscotch.

Apple Hand Pies

Apple Hand Pies

If you’re a from-scratch baker, consider creating your own flaky sour cream-butter pastry and filling circles with diced apples, cinnamon, and sugar. The recipe makes 14 to 20 mini apple pies, so you’ll have plenty to share for Thanksgiving dessert.

Apple Pie Cupcakes

Apple Pie Cupcakes

Looking for an extra-easy recipe? In this cake recipe, cake mix meets canned apple pie filling with a swirl of whipped cream or scoop of vanilla ice cream for some mini treats. Done and done!

Mini Caramel Apple Cheesecakes

Mini Caramel Apple Cheesecakes

A whole cheesecake can get messy when you’re cutting it up for a crowd. Not the case here, with these personal-size vanilla- and graham-cracker-crumb cheesecakes with a sauteed spiced apple and caramel topping.

Butterscotch Pots de Creme

Butterscotch Pots de Creme

Like an ultra-creamy version of pudding, luscious pots de creme does not disappoint for sheer decadence. This butterscotch version goes all out with molasses-y muscovado sugar, plenty of egg yolks and half-and-half, vanilla bean paste, and flaky sea salt. For the swirled whipped cream topping you could opt for store-bought caramel, but why not take the time to make a homemade buttermilk version of the sauce? Small ramekins or coffee cups create the perfect mini serving containers.

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