7 No-Bake Thanksgiving Desserts That Just Might Steal the Show

By uptolights - November 10, 2019

  7 No-Bake Thanksgiving Desserts That Just Might Steal the Show

For anyone who loves food, Thanksgiving dinner is probably the best meal of the year. The food options are bountiful and endless, and all you need to worry about doing afterward is spending three days cozied up at home. The days leading up to Thanksgiving, though, can be a different story. Gathering and cooking all of that food can be stressful, especially if you’re relatively new to the game. But then enter: no-bake Thanksgiving desserts.

Turkey takes forever to cook. So when it comes to whipping up Thanksgiving dessert, you need to plan for the fact that your oven will be occupied for three to four hours on Thursday afternoon. Then there’s the fact that you can’t just skip certain side dishes because you feel overwhelmed—everyone has a different favorite, so you need to go all out with a full spread in order to not ruin anyone’s holiday. By the time you’ve figured out the logistics of cooking dinner, dessert can seem like a real hassle.

While I love a good pumpkin pie as much as anyone, I’ve learned that the smartest way to handle dessert is to either bake a few pies far in advance, or just ask that guests each bring one. And to make sure you have something to contribute to the sweets table, I advise choosing a simple, no-bake dessert that you can prep at least a day ahead of time, and just pull out of the fridge or freezer when the time is right.

The 12 no-bake Thanksgiving desserts below range from single-serve parfaits to a delicious pumpkin cheesecake. All are easy, tasty, and will fit right in with your holiday spread.

  7 -Pumpkin Cheesecake



  • 1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 stick melted salted butter


3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1 (15-ounce) can pureed pumpkin
3 eggs plus 1 egg yolk
1/4 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

For crust:

In medium bowl, combine crumbs, sugar and cinnamon. Add melted butter. Press down flat into a 9-inch springform pan. Set aside.

For filling:

Beat cream cheese until smooth. Add pumpkin puree, eggs, egg yolk, sour cream, sugar and the spices. Add flour and vanilla. Beat together until well combined. 

Pour into crust. 

Spread out evenly and place in oven for 1 hour. Remove from the oven and let sit for 15 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 hours

  6 -Pumpkin Icebox Cake


  • 2-1/2 cups freshly whipped cream divided (or can use 2-1/2 cups of your favorite whipped topping like Cool Whip)
  • 1 8-ounce package cream cheese softened
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 cup pure pumpkin puree NOT pumpkin pie filling
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 12 graham crackers

Optional Toppings:

  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • shaved chocolate
  • caramel sauce
  • powdered sugar


  • Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer, beat the cream cheese and sugar until creamy. Add pumpkin puree, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice and continue beating until smooth and well combined. Fold in 2 cups of freshly whipped cream or Cool Whip until incorporated.
  • Spread a thin layer of the cream cheese mixture in an 8x8" pan, coating the bottom of the pan.
  • Place 3 graham crackers across the center of the pan and then break up 1 or 2 more crackers as needed to fill in the gaps. Spread half of the cream cheese mixture on top.
  • Top with another layer of graham crackers, breaking them as needed to make them fit. Spread the remaining cream cheese mixture.
  • Top with the final layer of graham crackers. Spread the reserved 1/2 cup freshly whipped cream over evenly.
  • Sprinkle on chopped pecans and shaved chocolate
  • Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight until the graham crackers have softened completely. Prior to serving, drizzle with caramel sauce and sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired. Serve chilled.

To Make Fresh Whipped Cream:

  • With a hand mixer or in the bowl of a stand mixer, whip 1-1/2 cups of heavy cream until it just holds stiff peaks. Add 1/4 cup of powdered sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract and whip to combine.

Recipe Notes

*To make this icebox cake in a 9x13 pan, increase the amounts by 1.5

  5 -Chocolate-Oatmeal Bars

These easy chocolate oatmeal bars are made with a brown sugar and oat crust topping and a rich chocolate filling. The filling is super easy to make with sweetened condensed milk and chocolate chips
Chopped pecans or walnuts are added to the filling for the extra crunch. If you or your family aren't a fan of nuts, add some toasted coconut or toffee bits.


  • 1 cup butter (softened)
  • 2 cups light brown sugar (packed)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups quick-cooking rolled oats

For the Chocolate Filling:

  • 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 package (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 cup pecans (or walnuts,​ chopped)

Steps to Make It

  1. Heat the oven to 350 F (180 C/Gas 4). Lightly butter a 10 x 15 x 1-inch sheet pan
  2. In a large bowl, cream together 1 cup butter and brown sugar. Beat in eggs and 2 teaspoons vanilla.
  3. In another bowl combine the flour, baking soda, and 1 teaspoon salt; stir in oats. Stir dry ingredients into the creamed mixture until well blended; set aside.
  4. Pat about three-quarters of the oat mixture into the bottom of the prepared sheet pan. Set aside the remaining oat mixture.
  5. In a heavy saucepan over low heat combine the sweetened condensed milk, chocolate chips, 2 tablespoons butter, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Stir until the chocolate chips have melted and the mixture is smooth. Stir in 2 teaspoons vanilla and pecans or walnuts.
  6. Spread the filling mixture over bottom crust in the baking pan, and then crumble the remaining oat mixture evenly over the top.
  7. Bake the bars in the preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes. Cool before cutting into squares.



  • 1 3/4 cups almond flour (can sub for oat flour)
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour (can sub oat flour)
  • 2 tablespoons of coconut sugar
  • 2 scoops Turmeric chai blend of Terra Origin or pumpkin pie spice (or a mix of cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and a dash of ginger)
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter (can sub for any nut butter)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 T + dairy free milk of choice*
  • Cinnamon and coconut sugar, to coat bites in (optional)


  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sweetener, Turmeric chai blend (or pumpkin pie spice) and mix well.
  2. In a microwave safe bowl or stovetop, heat the peanut butter with the maple syrup until combined. Mix in the vanilla extract. Slowly pour the wet mixture and pumpkin to the dry mixture and mix well. Depending on consistency, either add dairy free milk of choice or extra flour until a firm texture is formed. I didn’t need any extras, it was fine just like that.
  3. Using your hands, form into small bite sized balls. Roll balls in optional cinnamon/coconut sugar mixture and place on a baking tray or plate. Refrigerate for at least 10 minutes to firm up.
  4. Enjoy


Try this pumpkin lush as an unexpected finish to your meal and watch the rave reviews pour in!

This easy no-bake pumpkin lush is layers of graham cracker crust, pumpkin pudding and whipped topping, all topped with caramel and pecans. The ultimate fall dessert!


  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 7 tablespoons butter melted
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • cooking spray
  • 1 5- ounce package vanilla pudding mix
  • 1 12- ounce can evaporated milk
  • 1 15- ounce can pumpkin puree
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tub whipped topping thawed
  • 1/2 cup caramel sauce
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans


  • Coat a 9"x9" pan with cooking spray.
  • In a medium bowl, mix together the graham cracker crumbs, butter and sugar until thoroughly combined.
  • Firmly press the graham cracker mixture into the bottom of the pan. Chill for 30 minutes.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the pudding mix and evaporated milk. Add the pumpkin puree and cinnamon and stir until smooth. Let set for 5 minutes.
  • Pour the pumpkin pudding over the graham cracker crust and spread into an even layer.
  • Chill for one hour.
  • Spread the whipped topping over the pumpkin pudding layer. Drizzle the caramel sauce over the whipped topping and sprinkle with pecans.
  • Chill for 2 hours or up to 2 days.
  • Prior to serving, use a knife to slice the lush into squares. Freeze for 20-30 minutes, then use a spatula to remove the squares from the pan. This step will help you get neat slices. Serve




  • All-purpose flour
  • Refrigerated pie crust
  • Eggs
  • Granulated sugar
  • Corn syrup
  • Pecan halves
  • Butter
  • Vanilla extract


  • Roll out pie crust dough (2 crusts). Use a 3.5 – 4 inch cookie cutter to cut circles in dough for a total of 12-16 circles.
  • Press dough into a greased nonstick muffin pan.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, combine 3 large eggs, 3/4 c. sugar, and 1 c. light corn syrup. Mix well.
  • Add 2 c. pecan halves, 1/3 c. melted butter, and 1 tsp. vanilla. Mix well.
  • Fill each pie crust with approx. 1/4 cup of filling.
  • Bake at 350° for 30 minutes.
  • Cool completely in pan before removing and serving

  1 -No Bake Coconut Pecan Praline Cookies

Coconut Pecan Praline Cookies
20 minutes active; 1-2 hours inactive to prepare serves 18-24


  • 2 cups pecans
  • 2 cups sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  • In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, stir together sugars, evaporated milk, corn syrup and butter until melted and smooth.
  • Bring to a boil and cook for 3 minutes, then remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract and salt. Fold in shredded coconut and pecans until incorporated, then continue stirring for 3-4 minutes, or until mixture begins to cool.
  • Once thick, use a tablespoon or small ice cream scoop to drop spoonfuls of cookie “dough” onto wax paper-lined baking sheets.
  • Let set completely (freezing if necessary), then enjoy!

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