15 Thanksgiving Dessert African American Would Love

Deborah Olayiwola
Deborah Olayiwola
Deborah is a content marketing specialist, with a passion for the food niche, she writes engaging content that celebrates the joy of food and its power to bring people together. Having worked on different projects. Her curiosity and creativity shines through in her writing.
- Advertisement -

For many African American families, Thanksgiving is a time to gather with loved ones, reflect on what we’re grateful for, and of course, enjoy some truly delicious food. Dessert is often the highlight of any Thanksgiving meal. From sweet potato pie to pecan pie and everything in between, Thanksgiving desserts hold a special place in many people’s hearts.

In the spirit of celebrating African American food traditions, I’ve compiled a list of 15 amazing Thanksgiving desserts that are sure to be hits at any gathering. These desserts represent cherished recipes passed down through generations along with creative modern twists. While Thanksgiving is a time to enjoy classics like sweet potato pie, it’s also a chance to try new spiced-up spins on old favorites.

I’ve included both types in this list, ranging from the traditional to the innovative. Try one or more of these sweet treats to share with family and friends this Thanksgiving – they’re sure to love indulging in these desserts as much as you love making them!

Sweet Potato Pie

No Thanksgiving dessert spread would be complete without classic, velvety sweet potato pie. This southern staple dates back centuries and remains a cherished recipe in many African American families today.

The filling’s blend of mashed sweet potatoes, sugar, spices like cinnamon and nutmeg, along with eggs and evaporated milk delivers a perfectly balanced sweet and creamy flavor.

The pie’s flaky crust adds great texture and pairs nicely with the smooth interior. Make it extra special by topping your sweet potato pie with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream just before serving.

For an inventive twist, add a layer of toasted pecans between the filling and pie crust for some crunch. Sweet potato pie is a dessert that never disappoints – be sure to save a slice for yourself!

web pictures 6

Pecan Pie

What’s Thanksgiving without pecan pie? This classic pie features a filing of corn syrup, brown sugar, vanilla, eggs, butter, and of course, loads of pecans. The crunchy toasted pecans pair perfectly with the ultra-sweet and sticky filling. And the contrast of the crisp flaky pie crust and gooey interior makes each bite even more delicious.

Pecan pie has its origins in the south, becoming linked with Thanksgiving as it spread across the country. Feel free to spice up your pecan pie by adding bourbon, chocolate chips, or maple syrup to the filling. And for extra flair, arrange the pecan halves in decorative circular or criss-cross patterns along the top of the pie.

Drizzle the pie with melted chocolate or salted caramel sauce for added decadence. No matter how you slice it, pecan pie remains a quintessential Thanksgiving treat.

web pictures 3 1

Banana Pudding

Bring some southern comfort to your Thanksgiving feast with classic banana pudding. This chilled dessert combines sliced bananas, vanilla wafers, sweet vanilla pudding, and whipped cream. Stacked in a dish and chilled to let the flavors meld, it’s pure creamy, banana-y goodness.

Many African American cooks have their own unique takes on banana pudding, varying the pudding flavors and textures or adding extras like pineapple or raisins. Feel free to make it your own with dark chocolate pudding or by sprinkling crushed cookies or crumbled graham crackers between the layers.

Top it off with freshly whipped cream and extra banana slices for a picture-perfect presentation.

web pictures 4 1

Peach Cobbler

Warm, fruity peach cobbler is a classic comfort food dessert, perfect for chilly fall evenings. This baked dish has a biscuit-like topping over sweet peaches sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar. As it bakes, the juices from the peaches bubble up and create an irresistible syrupy filling. The origins of cobbler come from early colonial America, but it became very popular in southern cooking.

You’ll find it on the tables of many African American families’ Thanksgiving feasts today. Peach cobbler highlights peak summer peaches, making it a bridge between seasons. Put your own spin on this dessert by using other fruits like berries, apples, or pears.

You can spice it up by using pie dough instead of biscuit dough on top and brushing with egg wash for sheen. Any way you make it, peach cobbler evokes nostalgia and brings people together.

Thanksgiving Dessert

Red Velvet Cake

Add a pop of festive color to your Thanksgiving table with red velvet cake! This chocolaty red cake layered with fluffy cream cheese frosting has become a modern American classic. It’s popularity initially grew within the African American community in the mid-20th century.

The tangy cream cheese icing perfectly balances the cocoa flavors in the cake. And the striking bright red hue makes this dessert as fun to look at as it is to eat! You can prepare red velvet as a layered cake, cupcakes, or even cake balls for easy serving.

Play with different flavors in the frosting like lemon, peppermint, or peanut butter. Top it with crushed candy canes or sprinkles for extra flair. However you slice it, red velvet cake adds beauty and delight to any holiday spread.

Red Velvet Cake 1

Sweet Potato Cheesecake

For a showstopping Thanksgiving dessert, look no further than sweet potato cheesecake. This unique twist on classic cheesecake incorporates mashed sweet potatoes into the filling, resulting in a luscious texture and complex, comforting flavor.

The sweet potato’s natural sugars caramelize as it bakes, adding delicious depth. Spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger nicely complement the sweet potato as well. Prepare your crust from graham crackers, gingersnaps, or vanilla wafers and top the chilled cheesecake with whipped cream just before serving.

Adding toasted pecans, praline, or salted caramel drizzle takes this cheesecake over the top. Your Thanksgiving guests will be amazed by this creative, memorable dessert.

Sweet Potato Cheesecake 1

Apple Crisp

Warm and cozy apple crisp is a simple, satisfying dessert that comes together easily for busy holiday hosts. Just toss apple slices with cinnamon, sugar and a touch of lemon juice, then top with a lightly spiced oat topping.

As it bakes, the juices from the apples bubble up to create a delicious interior while the oat topping gets crispy and golden brown. Though apple crisp recipes vary wildly, they often have origins in African American communities and southern cooking.

Make it your own by using different fruit fillings or incorporating nuts, granola or coconut flakes into the topping. Serve apple crisp warm with a scoop of ice cream for a sweet ending to your Thanksgiving meal.

Apple Crisp 1

Sweet Potato Bread Pudding

Elevate leftover holiday bread into a rich, decadent dessert with sweet potato bread pudding. This comforting dish combines cubed bread, mashed sweet potato, sugar, eggs, evaporated milk, spices, and vanilla. As it bakes, the bread absorbs the custardy filling, resulting in a moist, spiced pudding-like interior.

Sweet potatoes lend their natural sugars and gorgeous orange hue. Top individual servings with bourbon caramel sauce, whipped cream and candied pecans for over-the-top presentation. Or simply dust with powdered sugar or cinnamon sugar for easy enjoyment.

However you choose to serve it, sweet potato bread pudding transforms simple ingredients into an indulgent, memorable Thanksgiving treat.

Sweet Potato Bread Pudding 1

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Pumpkin cheesecake is the perfect thanksgiving dessert. Blending rich, velvety cheesecake with pumpkin puree and autumnal spices, it’s a showstopper of a Thanksgiving dessert.

Make sure to bake your crust thoroughly before adding the filling, as cheesecakes require gentle, low baking to prevent cracks. Amp up the flavor with cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg – pumpkin and spice were made for each other!

Decorating your cheesecake with candied pecan pieces, drizzled caramel and dollops of whipped cream takes it over the top. Pumpkin cheesecake satisfies pumpkin pie cravings in an indulgent new way. Surprise and delight your Thanksgiving guests when you cut into this spectacular seasonal dessert.

Pumpkin Cheesecake 1

Fried Sweet Potatoes

Add something savory and soulful to your Thanksgiving dessert spread with fried sweet potatoes. This southern specialty takes sliced sweet potatoes, coats them in spiced batter then deep fries them until crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside.

They become an addictive, irresistible fry bursting with sweet potato flavor. The sweet potatoes develop an added layer of sugariness as their natural sugars caramelize in the hot oil. Serve fried sweet potatoes warm, dusted with powdered sugar or cinnamon sugar.

Drizzling with honey or maple syrup pushes them into dessert territory. Or keep them more savory and serve with hot sauce or ranch dressing for dipping. However you choose to enjoy them, fried sweet potatoes offer fun finger food alongside your fork-and-knife desserts.

Fried Sweet Potatoes 1

Sweet Potato Spoonbread

Sweet potato spoonbread brings southern comfort to the Thanksgiving table. This baked pudding has a custard-like interior and a uniquely soft, spoonable texture.

Folding mashed sweet potatoes into the cornmeal batter provides moisture, sweetness and color. The winning combination of corn, buttermilk, eggs, butter, sugar and spices creates a flavor as lovely as fresh baked cornbread.

Spoonbread makes an excellent accompaniment to any holiday meal. Serve it directly from the baking dish family style so guests can scoop their own portions.

Top it with melted butter, maple syrup, or extra mashed sweet potatoes for a sweet touch. However you choose to enjoy it, spoonbread satisfies with soulful southern flair.

Sweet Potato Spoonbread 1

Sweet Potato Pie Ice Cream

This incredibly delicious ice cream turns sweet potato pie into a luscious frozen dessert. Blend sweet potato puree with heavy cream, sugar, cinnamon and spices for sweet potato custard ice cream base.

After churning, layer the ice cream with crumbled graham crackers, toasted pecans, and marshmallows for pie texture. Or swirl it with salted caramel for added luxury. Top each serving with whipped cream, candied pecans, and a drizzle of blackberry or pomegranate molasses for contrast.

Sweet potato pie ice cream impresses guests with its creamy texture and sweet potato flavor in frozen form. It’s sure to be your new favorite sweet and unexpected Thanksgiving dessert tradition.

Sweet Potato Pie Ice Cream 1

Pound Cake with Cranberries

Classic pound cake dressed up for the holidays – what could be better? This simple dessert comes together easily yet never fails to impress. Bake a traditional vanilla or lemon pound cake, then brush the top and sides with spiced cranberry syrup as soon as it comes out of the oven.

The cake will absorb the brilliant red syrup as it cools. Top slices with lightly sweetened whipped cream and fresh cranberries for garnish. Other options include drizzling the cake with chocolate, salted caramel or pumpkin glaze.

Or rolling the edges in chopped pecans, coconut or holiday sprinkles. Whatever your preference, pound cake with cranberries makes for a stunning Thanksgiving dessert presentation.

Pound Cake with Cranberries 1

Rum Cake

Boozy rum cake is a fantastic finale for grown-up holiday feasts. This moist, dense cake is soaked through with an alcoholic rum syrup for complex flavor. Choose light or dark rum depending on your preference.

Frost it with an infused buttercream, sweetened cream cheese, or vanilla drizzle glaze. Garnish your Thanksgiving rum cake with sugared cranberries, toasted nuts or lime zest. A dollop of whipped cream makes the perfect finishing touch.

Rum cake adds spirit and decadence – the ideal indulgence to end a wonderful holiday meal.

Rum Cake 1

Bourbon Pecan Pie Milkshake

Pump up your pie game with this adults-only bourbon pecan pie milkshake! Start with a base of vanilla bean ice cream, whole milk, and bourbon. Blend in all the flavors of pecan pie – corn syrup, brown sugar, pecan pieces, vanilla.

Pecan Pie Milkshake 1

Top each glass with whipped cream, more chopped toasted pecans, pecan pie crust crumbles and a drizzle of salted caramel for over the top decadence. Bourbon pecan pie in milkshake form creates a fun, innovative way to enjoy Thanksgiving desserts. Bottoms up to holiday cheer!

Share this post:
Deborah Olayiwola
Deborah Olayiwola
Deborah is a content marketing specialist, with a passion for the food niche, she writes engaging content that celebrates the joy of food and its power to bring people together. Having worked on different projects. Her curiosity and creativity shines through in her writing.

Must Try Recipes

You'll also love