When thinking about the Thanksgiving dinner menu, what are the first foods you think of? Turkey, potatoes, stuffing, cranberries, and veggies were the immediate things that came to mind. But what about the desserts? Sometimes that’s the last thing on someone’s mind, but I’d argue Thanksgiving desserts are just as important as the turkey. And just like the main meal, you’ll be going for seconds, maybe even thirds, of these sugary delights. My mantra is you should always end your meal with a sweet treat. So, obviously, I will be ranking Thanksgiving desserts.

A couple of weeks before Thanksgiving, my family will start to throw hints of what they’d want to eat at dinner. My family has a big sweet tooth, so pies and cakes are almost always requested — meaning we have a dessert table. I see this table as a sampler, taking a bit of everything. I don’t know if it’s just me, but I become a full-on critic on Thanksgiving — what can I say, Thanksgiving is about all the food and there should be 10s across the board. I’m ranking these Thanksgiving desserts by what makes me want to go for seconds.

6. Apple Pie 

Don’t hate me for this, but apple pie will be taking the last place spot for me — controversial I know. I just don’t like the texture and taste of softened apple chucks. I try it almost every year, and I always end up eating just the ice cream.

5. Pumpkin Bread

I don’t really consider this a dessert, but GoodHousekeeping has pumpkin bread on its list of best Thanksgiving desserts. I will use this as an opportunity to hype up pumpkin bread, it’s better than cornbread and banana bread. You can have it plain, add chocolate chips, add a bit of ginger to spice it up — 10/10 no notes for pumpkin bread. But again, I don’t really consider this a dessert, however, I wouldn’t be mad to see this at the dessert table. There are just better desserts that will be on the table.

4. Pecan Pie

Pecan pie takes fourth place only because there are better desserts that will be present on Thanksgiving. Don’t get me wrong, I love the crunchy-ness of the pecans on top. I went to a potluck last year where one of my friends brought a chocolate pecan pie and I still think about it. Pecan pie also goes great with ice cream and having a warm slice of pie with ice cream melting on top is an absolutely delicious thought. I just recently made pumpkin spice ice cream that will be making an appearance on Thanksgiving to go along with the pecan pie my family and I will be having (well the ice cream will be going with all the desserts TBH). However, pecan pie isn’t the first thing I go for when getting dessert.

3. Chocolate Chip Cookies

Cookies just need to make an appearance at Thanksgiving, especially chocolate chip cookies. I like knowing there’s a bit of chocolate included in desserts (yes, I am a chocoholic). To make them more “Thanksgiving-y,” I make pumpkin spice or pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. For pumpkin spice chocolate chip cookies, you just follow your favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe, then add two teaspoons of pumpkin spice and switch out the vanilla extract for pumpkin spice coffee syrup. My favorite pumpkin chocolate chip cookie recipe is Pumpkin Spiced and Iced Cookies from Nestle Toll House. The addition of pumpkin puree makes the SOFTEST cookies.

Since I don’t gatekeep, here’s a photo from my Nestle Toll House cookbook: 

Photo by Giselle Medina

2. Pumpkin Pie 

Not a shocker for pumpkin pie to be in the top two. Call me basic, but I LOVE anything pumpkin-flavored — pumpkin pie, pumpkin cookies, etc. This is just necessary to have on Thanksgiving. Pumpkin pie, either store-bought or homemade, will always hit. The texture and spices make this dessert the perfect dessert to end the Thanksgiving festivities. Plus, there are so many ways to jazz up your pumpkin pie leftovers, if there’s any left. 

1. Carrot Cake 

Carrot Cake holds a special place in my heart. It is a traditional dessert in my household that is a fan favorite and always asked for. I love the mixture of all the spices and how it pairs so well with the cream cheese icing. It’s mandatory to have the inclusion of small carrot and pecan pieces. Raisins, however, aren’t allowed. Raisins have never been my vibe, but if they’re yours, I’m not fully judging.