Efficiency and timing are key when it comes to cooking a holiday feast, and the less prep time a dish needs the better. Thanksgiving sheet pan desserts are a sneaky way to save a little time in the kitchen without having to sacrifice taste. They're easy, quick, and require very little clean-up. Plus you can still get that traditional autumn dessert vibe without having to bake a pie from scratch.
If the thought of forgoing your homemade pumpkin pie makes you want to cancel Thanksgiving, that’s understandable. Tradition is a huge part of the holidays, and the day won’t feel complete without the things you love. Still, that doesn’t mean you can’t switch it up a little. You can create a treat table with a variety of traditional and non-traditional options. This way, your guests can choose to finish off their meal with some of your famous pie or an almost-effortless sheet pan dessert (or, they can do both - no judgment!).
If you like the idea of spending less time in the kitchen and more time celebrating, here are 15 Thanksgiving-worthy sheet pan dessert recipes that require less than 30 minutes of prep time, and are just as delicious as a homemade pie.
1. Easy Saltine Toffee
Any dessert that includes “Easy” in the title is one to consider for Thanksgiving. Sabrina at Dinner Then Dessert came up with the recipe for this delicious Easy Saltine Toffee that has that perfect blend of salty and sweet with a nice crunch. Just break up the toffee however it decides to split, and put it on a platter for your guests to devour.
2. Apple Pie Bars
3. Cinnamon Maple Caramel Popcorn
If you like caramel corn, then you'll love this upgrade from Cookie and Kate. In only 25 minutes, from prep to ready-to-eat, you and your guests can indulge in some Cinnamon Maple Caramel Popcorn for a sweet treat after a big dinner. It may not be as filling as pie, but who can say they didn't save room for a handful of popcorn?
4. Chocolate-Almond Puff Pastry Braid
Rather than putting in the time and effort it takes to make a chocolate pie, consider this Easy Chocolate-Almond Puff Pastry Braid instead. Georgia, the mastermind behind The Comfort Of Cooking blog, came up with this gorgeous and delicious dish that only requires five minutes of prep. It has all the important parts of a pie (an airy flaky crust and, of course, chocolate) but none of the work. It's so good that no one will judge you if your answer to "What are you thankful for this year?" is "This super-easy dessert recipe I found."
5. Oatmeal Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
Getting some kids to try new foods can be a hard sell. So, if you want to have a special dessert for them to top off their dinner (that probably consisted of rolls and mashed potatoes), these Oatmeal Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies from Taste and Tell have your back. Not only are these cookies super quick and easy to make, but they have some pumpkin in them so they're still on-brand with Thanksgiving.
6. Candied Walnuts
Sometimes, after a heavy meal, all you need is something with a little sugar and a good crunch to really satiate you. These Candied Walnuts by Two Peas And Their Pod are fantastic for the guest who would rather fill up on turkey than dessert (shockingly, there are actually people who prefer savory over sweet). Plus, if there happen to be any leftovers, and that's a big if, candied walnuts are great for snacking on throughout the day.
7. Caramel Apple Pie Cookies
These professional-looking Caramel Apple Pie Cookies are basically bite-size pies for those guests who, after dinner, don't have room for a whole slice of regular pie. Jenn, author of the Princess Pinky Girl blog, came up with this recipe that's perfect for hosts who don't love to spend all day in the kitchen. From prep time to cooling, these cookies only take 50 minutes to make, which is basically an eternity compared to the five seconds it will take your friends and family to eat them.
8. Apple Pumpkin Dessert Pizza
Pizza isn't a traditional Thanksgiving dish, but this Apple Pumpkin Dessert Pizza can be an exception. Blogger Celeste shared this recipe on This Grandma Is Fun, calling it one of her favorite fall treats. While describing the dessert, Celeste notes that she makes her crust from scratch (classic grandma move), but said that it tastes just as good with a store-bought crust (classic busy-mom move). This dessert has warm, cinnamon-sugary apples, pumpkin spice, and a sweet glaze, so don't count on enjoying any leftovers.
9. Pumpkin Sheet Cake With Brown Sugar Icing
If you're less of a pie person, and more into cake, this Pumpkin Sheet Cake with Brown Sugar Icing is just for you. The brilliant bakers at Ready Set Eat came up with this twist on traditional pumpkin desserts knowing that time is of the essence on holidays. This cake only takes 30 minutes of prep, including the made-from-scratch icing, and is ready to eat 50 minutes after that.
10. Bacon Pecan Brittle
Okay, bacon isn't exactly something that comes to mind when you think holiday dessert, but this Bacon Pecan Brittle is worth the risk. Sommer, author of the blog A Spicy Perspective, created this recipe specifically for the holidays. Overall it's a sweet, airy treat but the bits of bacon give it just the right amount of a salty/savory bite.
11. Caramel Stuffed Pumpkin Snickerdoodle Cookies
Have you ever thought, "this would be so much more delicious if it had some caramel with it" while eating a dessert? Baked by Rachel applied that exact idea to the classic snickerdoodle cookie, then went a step further and made it perfect for Thanksgiving, creating a recipe for Caramel Stuffed Pumpkin Snickerdoodle Cookies. This dessert is basically fall in the form of a cookie, and there's no shame in setting a couple aside just for yourself before putting the rest on a serving platter.
12. Caramel Apple Sheet Cake
Apple pie is a pretty common holiday treat, but if you're in the mood for something a little different, Corey, author of Family Fresh Meals, created the perfect recipe for it. Her Caramel Apple Sheet Cake is so good, your guests will have no idea the cake itself came from a box. It only takes 40 minutes to make, from start to finish, and provides enough dessert for 12 people.
13. Cranberry Pomegranate Walnut Bars
If you're the kind of person who puts a Christmas tree up on Nov. 1, then there's no reason your Thanksgiving dessert can't have the same vibe. These Cranberry Pomegranate Walnut Bars by Good Life Eats take only 10 minutes to prep and yield 24 bars. They are the perfect blend of sweet and tart and will definitely upstage the cold cranberry sauce sitting on the dinner table next to the turkey.
14. Butterscotch Cornflake Cookies
Rebecca, author of Sugar and Soul, offers no shortage of delightful recipes on her blog, but these Butterscotch Cornflake Cookies stand out as a wonderful (and easy) holiday treat. They're sweet and crunchy like a classic Rice Krispie Treat, but the unique butterscotch flavor gives them a cozy warmth. Not to mention, their cook time is only five minutes.
15. Peanut Butter Chocolate Graham Cracker Toffee
This Peanut Butter Chocolate Graham Cracker Toffee only takes 20 minutes to prep and 15 minutes to cook (then has to chill for two hours, but at least it's not taking up valuable oven space on Thanksgiving!). The recipe from Mel's Kitchen Cafe requires very little work because it uses packaged graham crackers, peanut butter, and chocolate chips. You only have to make one part of this dessert from scratch (really, you just have to melt some butter and sugar together) but your guests will absolutely love it!