Thanksgiving is a time to gather with loved ones and indulge in delicious holiday food. But if you’re vegan or cooking for vegan guests, you may be wondering how to put together a sweet finale for your plant-based feast. Have no fear – with the right recipes, vegan desserts can be just as decadent and satisfying as traditional Thanksgiving fare.
We’ll explore the best vegan Thanksgiving desserts to wow your guests and leave everyone feeling full and happy. From rich pumpkin pie to chocolatey indulgences, you’ll find plenty of dairy-free, egg-free treats that still capture that nostalgic holiday flavor.
Classic Vegan Pumpkin Pie
Let’s start with a non-dairy spin on the quintessential Thanksgiving dessert – pumpkin pie. This plant-based version stays true to the classic while being kinder to cows.
The filling gets its creaminess and structure from blended silken tofu, which mimics the texture of eggs when baked. Maple syrup brings a subtle sweetness that works in harmony with aromatic pumpkin pie spice. And the flaky, crispy vegan pie crust holds everything together beautifully.
While your traditional relatives may be skeptical at first bite, this pie will quickly win them over with familiar spiced pumpkin flavor. Drizzle with coconut whip or non-dairy ice cream for added decadence.
Gluten-Free Apple Crisp
Warm, cozy apple crisp is a crowd-pleaser you don’t have to fret over. Simply toss together a few pantry ingredients and pop it in the oven for homemade holiday magic.
This gluten-free version uses almond flour and oats to create a topping that gets perfectly crispy and golden. Feel free to use your favorite baking apples – Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, Gala, Fuji, and more all bake up nicely into tender chunks beneath the crumbly streusel.
Serve individual ramekins warm from the oven and top with non-dairy vanilla ice cream or cream for a sweet, nostalgic treat. Easy, fuss-free, and so satisfying.
Boozy Pecan Pie
For those 21+, add a splash of bourbon to your pecan pie filling for a delicious (slightly naughty) spin. The nutty toasted pecans and buttery filling pair perfectly with notes of vanilla and oak from the bourbon. Plus, the alcohol cooks off, leaving just rich flavor behind.
Use a store-bought vegan pie crust to make this dessert super simple. Or go all out with a homemade shortcrust pastry. The results will have everyone begging for your secret family recipe. Add a dollop of coconut whipped cream or non-dairy ice cream for even more decadence.
Chocolate Hazelnut Tart
Calling all chocolate lovers – this one’s for you! Rich, fudgy chocolate pairs beautifully with sweet hazelnuts in this show-stopping tart.
The filling contains just a few simple ingredients – coconut milk, cocoa powder, maple syrup, and roasted hazelnuts. Process in a blender or food processor until utterly creamy and smooth. Pour into a pre-made vegan tart shell and let it set in the fridge before slicing.
Topped with cacao nibs and sea salt, each slice offers a myriad of contrasting flavors and textures. Crisp, flaky crust – decadent chocolate – salty crunch – nutty richness. It’s chocolate perfection on a fork!
Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars
These no-bake bars deliver all the flavors of caramel apples in delicious cheesecake form. A graham cracker crust serves as the base for rich, tangy cream cheese filling studded with apples and homemade vegan caramel.
The star ingredient in the dairy-free cheesecake layer is cashews, blended until ultra creamy. Green apples provide little bursts of tartness, while the salted caramel ties everything together.
Top with even more caramel and chopped nuts before slicing and serving these gorgeous fall-inspired bars. They’re easy to transport to potlucks and will leave guests wondering how you made vegan desserts taste so unbelievable.
Gingerbread Layer Cake with Maple Frosting
If gingerbread cookies are a holiday staple in your home, take things up a notch this year with gingerbread cake! Spicy, molasses-sweet gingerbread layers are frosted with maple cream cheese for a dessert that’s pure autumn in a bite.
Bake the simple gingerbread cake according to your favorite recipe, doubling it to create two layers. The maple cream cheese frosting is equally simple – just blend cashews, non-dairy milk, maple syrup, and spices in your food processor or blender.
Sandwich the layers with plenty of that rich maple frosting. Top with chopped nuts, candied ginger, even crushed peppermint candies if you want to get fancy. Cut into it to reveal fluffy frosting-filled layers that will make everyone forget all about pie.
Rustic Pear Tart with Walnut Crust
Pears and walnuts are a match made in autumn heaven. This free-form galette showcases both in a simple, rustic tart that feels indulgent yet healthy.
Roasted pears caramelize and collapse into a sweet jammy filling within a hearty walnut oat crust. Simply fold the crust over the filling in a circular pattern – no need to fuss with fancy lattice tops or shaped tins.
The ingredient list is beautifully short, so the fresh flavors of pear really shine through. Feel free to experiment with different pear varieties too. Bartlett and Anjou roast up soft and spreadable, while Bosc keeps some shape and bite.
Serve warm or at room temperature with coconut cream or vegan vanilla ice cream for a cozy fall dessert.
Pumpkin Whoopie Pies with Maple Marshmallow Filling
Stuffed with marshmallowy maple cream, these spiced pumpkin whoopie pies reimagine the nostalgic treat in fall flavor form. Little pumpkin cake rounds sandwich that fluffy filling for a handheld dessert that’s easy to devour.
The pumpkin dough bakes up moist and cakey, nicely pairing with the sweet maple notes in the filling. And if you want to go all out, dip the filled whoopie halves in vegan chocolate for added decadence.
Fun to make and even more fun to eat, these festive pies will be the new guest favorite at your Thanksgiving dessert spread. Just be sure to make extras, because people won’t be able to resist a second.
Apple Cider Donut Holes with Maple Glaze
Along with pumpkin, apple is an iconic fall flavor that begs to be baked into dessert. These mini baked donut holes deliver spiced apple flavor in bite-sized form, dipped in sweet maple glaze.
The donuts get both moisture and apple taste from fresh apple cider, reduced down into the batter. Warm spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger add even more autumnal appeal.
Bake up a big batch, then let guests spear, glaze, and devour on their own for interactive fun. The mini size makes them easy to pop as is, but feel free to add vegan caramel or chocolate sauces for dipping too.
Pumpkin Cheesecake Swirled Brownies
Brownies and cheesecake together? Yes please! Marbling pumpkin cheesecake into fudgy brownies takes these classic treats to a whole new level of delicious.
Start with your favorite vegan brownie recipe baked in a sheet pan. As the brownies cool, make a simple no-bake cheesecake mixture by blending tofu, pumpkin puree, maple syrup, and spices.
Then pour and swirl the cheesecake over the top of the brownies. As you slice, you get a marbled effect with rich pumpkin cheese against deep chocolate. The combo is absolute heaven for pumpkin and chocolate addicts.
Finish off with caramel sauce, chocolate drizzle, candied pepitas – get creative with your preferred brownie toppings!
Cranberry Almond Tart
Bright, festive cranberries pair beautifully with nutty almond flour in this impressive holiday tart. The almond crust has a texture similar to shortbread, providing the perfect base for lightly sweetened cranberry filling.
Fresh or frozen cranberries work equally well here. Cook them down with orange juice and maple syrup into a gorgeously hued jam. Chill it completely before pouring into your pre-baked tart crust.
Let guests slice their own mini tart wedges and watch the vibrant pink cranberries dazzle against the golden crust. Top with coconut whip or vanilla ice cream if desired. It’s an elegant, everyday way to enjoy cranberries beyond just sauce.
Vegan Eggnog Pudding
No dairy? No problem! Eggnog is easy to veganize into this lush, silky holiday pudding. Simply blend soaked cashews with plant milk, maple, rum, and spices until ultra thick and creamy.
Chill the eggnog mixture completely to allow it to solidify before serving. Then top with extra nutmeg and cinnamon for that quintessential eggnog flavor in rich pudding form.
Spoon it into pretty glasses or serve family-style in a big bowl for easy scooping. Pair with ginger cookies or pie for a new vegan spin on your post-Thanksgiving meal.
Pumpkin Roll with Cream Cheese Filling
Remember those classic holiday pumpkin rolls studded with cream cheese filling from the bakery? This vegan version captures all that nostalgia in soft, spiced pumpkin cake rolled around dairy-free cream cheese.
The cake itself bakes up light, fluffy, and super moist thanks to fresh pumpkin puree in the batter. A touch of cinnamon brings familiar pumpkin pie spice flavor.
Once cooled, simply spread the cake with cashew-based cream cheese filling and roll it up into a roulade. Easy peasy and so stunning sliced to reveal the swirled filling inside. Top with chopped nuts or powdered sugar for an elegant presentation.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are some good vegan substitutes for eggs in baking?
Some effective egg replacements for baking include:
- Blended silken tofu or banana – ideal for pancakes, muffins, and loaves
- Flax or chia seeds mixed with water – great in denser items like brownies
- Aquafaba (chickpea water) – whips up like egg whites for meringues
- Commercial egg replacer powder – follow package instructions
- Applesauce or pumpkin puree – provides moisture in cakes
What ingredients can be used to replace butter in vegan desserts?
Popular dairy-free butter substitutes include:
- Coconut oil or butter
- Vegetable oil or shortening
- Nut butters like cashew or almond butter
- Avocado oil or mashed avocado
- Refined coconut oil for a more neutral flavor
- Vegan margarine sticks made from plant oils
How do you make vegan pie crust without shortening or butter?
Great vegan pie crusts can be made using:
- Coconut oil chilled until firm
- Solidified refined coconut oil for flakier texture
- Cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil
- Nut butters like cashew or almond butter
- Vegan shortening sticks made from plants
- Mix of vegan butter and oil for flavor and flake
What are the best nut or seed butters to use in vegan desserts?
Great nut and seed butters for baking include:
- Cashew butter – neutral flavor, ultra creamy
- Almond butter – rich, nutty almond taste
- Sunflower seed butter – affordable, sunflower flavor
- Peanut butter – classic flavor, peanut protein
- Tahini (sesame paste) – toasty sesame notes
Are there good pre-made crusts, tart shells or pie shells for vegan baking?
Yes, many brands offer pre-made vegan crusts, tart shells, pie shells and graham cracker crusts. Always check the label to be sure they are dairy-free and egg-free. Some popular options are made by:
- Wholly Wholesome
- Earth Balance
- Immaculate Baking Company
- Mi-Del Gluten Free
- Kite Hill Almond Milk Creamery
With so many incredible options for vegan Thanksgiving desserts, plant-based diners don’t have to miss out on a sweet, celebratory finale. From classic pumpkin pie and apple crisp to show-stopping fruit tarts, chocolate indulgences, and fun bite-sized treats, vegan desserts can be just as nostalgic, decadent and satisfying.
Getting ready for the Christmas party season, arm yourself with creamy dairy-free ingredients, egg substitutes, and festive fall flavors to create innovative and compassionate holiday bakes that maintain tradition. Just as with Thanksgiving, impress your guests with vegan Christmas desserts, showcasing that sweet delights are always better when shared with everyone at the festive table.