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California’s Easy Thanksgiving Desserts to Make This Year

California’s Easy Thanksgiving Desserts to Make This Year

Even after a hearty Thanksgiving dinner, there's always room for dessert. Whip up these easy sweet treats from California bloggers.


5 min read

November 04, 2021

Turkey and stuffing take the spotlight on Thanksgiving, but the desserts are just as anticipated—if not even more. And, contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to follow an age-old family recipe to impress your guests on the big day; a simple Thanksgiving dessert can easily stand out on a hearty table! After all, less time spent alone whipping up elaborate recipes in the kitchen means more time spent with family—a true win-win situation if you ask us.

Give everyone a heads up to save room for something sweet this year; these easy Thanksgiving dessert recipes are going to have them reaching for seconds and thirds.

Thanksgiving Treats for Kids

Unleash your inner child and get the kids involved this Thanksgiving by making unicorn cookies. Photo courtesy of Bakers Royale.

1. Unicorn Cookies

This easy Thanksgiving treat for kids is a dessert and a distraction all in one—and we have Bakers Royale to thank for that. The range of customizable toppings in this recipe gives the little ones a chance to make their cookie dreams come true.

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12 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 ½ cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon salt
1 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon honey
3 ½ cups rolled oats

Optional toppings
Dried fruits
Chocolate chips
Mini peanut butter cups
Caramel popcorn

For a fall twist on a classic treat, whip up these crispy pumpkin churros. Photo courtesy of A Cozy Kitchen.

2. Pumpkin Churros

Crispy on the outside and soft and warm on the inside—these simple churros with a fall twist from A Cozy Kitchen will definitely be a hit with kids of all ages this Thanksgiving dinner.

¾ cup water
½ cup unsalted butter
½ cup pumpkin puree
¼ teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 quart oil
⅓ cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice  

Easy Thanksgiving Cupcakes

Looking to cut some calories this year? These healthy yet delicious maple cupcakes have you covered. Photo courtesy of Amy's Healthy Baking.

3. Maple Cupcakes with Pumpkin Pie Frosting

The ultimate quick Thanksgiving cupcake recipe comes from the San Diego based-blog Amy’s Healthy Bakingrejoice, because all of our fall-favorite California ingredients are featured in this treat.

2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¾ teaspoon baking powder
¾ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon maple extract
½ cup plain Greek yogurt
½ cup maple syrup
½ cup nonfat milk

1 cup pumpkin puree
½ cup plain Greek yogurt
¼ cup sugar
1 ½ serving instant vanilla pudding mix
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
⅛ teaspoon ground ginger

Vegans don't have to feel left out on Thanksgiving with these dairy and egg-free carrot cake cupcakes. Photo courtesy of Kitchen Confidante.

4. Carrot Cake Cupcakes

These simple Thanksgiving cupcakes from the Bay Area's Kitchen Confidante are fluffy, moist, ready in 30 minutes, anddrum roll please—vegan and dairy-free. Who said adopting a vegan diet means giving up tasty Thanksgiving desserts?

2 ½ cups carrots, grated
1 cup granulated sugar
½ cup coconut oil
¼ cup canned chickpeas
¼ aquafaba liquid (from canned chickpeas)
¼ cup coconut, shredded
¼ cup pecans
¼ teaspoon vanilla
 1 ¼ cup flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon baking powder

8 ounces non-dairy cream cheese
8 tablespoons vegan butter
2 cups powdered sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla

Easy Thanksgiving Pie Recipes

Craft this beautiful and tasty cranberry pie in 30 minutes or fewer—no baking required. Photo courtesy of White on Rice Couple.

5. No-Bake Cranberry Pie

This Thanksgiving, we're thankful for White on Rice Couple, a California-based blog run by Todd and Diane, who have blessed us with this no-bake, fruity, tasty, and easy Thanksgiving pie.

1 ½ cups graham crackers crust
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
⅛ teaspoon salt
½ cup butter melted

1 ½ cups heavy whipping cream
½ ounces cream cheese
¼ cup sugar
1 (14 ounces) can cranberry sauce
1 teaspoon vanilla
Zest of 1 orange

Savor the flavors of pecan pie in bar form by making these tasty treats. Photo courtesy of Just a Taste.

6. Pecan Pie Bars

These chewy pie bars from San Diego-based Just a Taste are an ideal quick Thanksgiving dessert. Featuring all of the classic pecan pie flavors we know and love—minus the difficult baking steps—these pecan pie bars will take you to seventh heaven.

2 sticks unsalted butter
⅔ cup packed brown sugar
2 ⅔ cup flour
½ teaspoon salt

1 stick unsalted butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar
⅓ cup honey
2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 cups chopped pecans

Easy Thanksgiving Cakes

With a classic combination of apples and caramel, this cobbler is hard to resist. And why should you? Photo courtesy of The Kitchy Kitchen.

7. Apple Caramel Cobbler Cake

Apples, caramel, and cake—what’s not to love? This easy Thanksgiving dessert comes from The Kitchy Kitchen. Indulge in this Los Angeles-based blogger's cobbler cake recipe for the ultimate dessert; oh, and make sure to serve it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

2 cups of apples, cored and sliced
⅔ cup salted caramel
1 cup flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
⅔ cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs

Life is sweeter when you're having a pumpkin bar with cream cheese frosting. Photo courtesy of Culinary Hill.

8. Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

There’s no such thing as too many pumpkin-flavored easy Thanksgiving desserts. And these delicious bars by Culinary Hill are filled with cream cheese, so you definitely won’t hear us complaining. Perfectly spiced and not too sweet, these easy bars are the dream simple Thanksgiving dessert to whip up on the day of.

2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
¼ teaspoon salt
2 cups granulated sugar
16 ounces pumpkin puree
1 cup vegetable oil
4 large eggs

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
½ cup butter, softened
4 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
24 pumpkin candies

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