The 6 Traditional Thanksgiving Pies You Must Make

There’s no Thanksgiving dinner without stuffed roast turkey and traditional Thanksgiving pies. 

Last updated: November 23, 2023

Thanksgiving Pies - Roads and Destinations
Traditional Thanksgiving dessert: pumpkin pie

Traditional Thanksgiving Pies You Must Make

For many Americans, Thanksgiving is both a blessing and a curse. You don’t really need to explain why this famous holiday is so widely celebrated in the USA. The curse, however, is closely related to the main reason that prompted the Indians to celebrate the end of harvest season. An abundance of food is at the core of this burden.

Thanksgiving tables are usually loaded with all kinds of favorite holiday dishes. And yet, there is always room for traditional Thanksgiving pies you can’t say no to. Just looking at these festive, sweet desserts makes your mouth water even if you treated yourself to more than enough delicacies already. A big dessert lover myself, I’ve compiled the list of the best Thanksgiving pies you must make and try.


1. Pumpkin Pie

No Thanksgiving celebration is complete without a pumpkin pie that, by now, has become a symbol of the holiday. Methods of baking this favorite traditional dessert vary from house to house, from state to state. The majority of the classic recipes, though, include a crispy crust and pumpkin-based custard filling.

To add distinguishing taste, one of the favorite Thanksgiving pies is flavored with warming spices such as cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. Some variations of these dessert ask for cardamom and vanilla.

Usually, the pumpkin pie has a single pie shell. Gourmet bakers, however, add an additional crust with crosswise stripes and images of little tree leaves on the side. Needless to say, these small details can transform any traditional Thanksgiving pies, making it impossible to resist the temptation and say no to them.

History: The pumpkin pies have been symbols of Thanksgiving for centuries. The earliest recipes, though, had nothing to do with the firm, creamy texture of the dessert. On the contrary, the dish looked like a soup served in a pumpkin. Only in the early 19th century, the modern sweet pies appeared on the Thanksgiving dinner tables.

Thanksgiving Pies - Roads and Destinations
Pumpkin pie

2. Pecan Pie

The South of the country prefers Thanksgiving pecan pies to the classic pumpkin pies. According to one of many theories about the origin of this sweet dish, the sugar pies were first introduced in medieval Europe. From there, they came to North America and with slight modifications quickly became the nation’s favorite Thanksgiving pies.

A filling of mixed together eggs, butter, sugar, and pecan nuts is what makes the pecan pie the second-popular holiday pastry in the USA. To accommodate a wide range of preferences, brown sugar, maple syrup, molasses, and honey often replace white sugar.

A bit of vanilla adds a sweet aroma with a woody flavor. Some of the pecan pies include secret ingredients such as chocolate and bourbon whiskey. Top this flavorful creation with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream and you got yourself one of the most irresistible tradition Thanksgiving pies.

Thanksgiving Pies - Roads and Destinations
Pecan pie

3. Sweet Potato Pie

Sweet potato pie is another classic Thanksgiving treat from the American South. Some people suggest that African-American slaves introduced the sweet potato pie to the American culture and cuisine.

Unlike the pecan and pumpkin pies, this traditional dessert is made in an open pie shell with no top crust. The sweet filling consists of mashed sweet potatoes, milk, sugar, eggs, and spices such as vanilla and nutmeg.

Sweet potato pie - Roads and Destinations
Traditional Thanksgiving pies: Sweet potato pie

4. Apple Pie

An unofficial symbol of the country and one of the most popular traditional Thanksgiving pies, the apple pie was imported to the United States from Great Britain, Sweden, and the Netherlands. Quickly after its introduction, the pastry stole hearts of the whole nation. Every woman was on a mission to improve the classic apple pie by adding some secret ingredients and creating different variations of the recipe.

Although the technics and methods of making this Thanksgiving dessert vary, the main idea stays the same: the pie has two crusts with the top layer decorated with crosswise stripes. The main ingredient of the filling are apples with a pinch of cinnamon and salt and a little bit of butter and sugar to make this classic dessert extra flavorful.

Apple Pie - Roads and Destinations
Classic Thanksgiving pies: Apple pie

5. Blueberry Pie

Less popular than the four Thanksgiving pies described above, the blueberry pie also sets the bar high. Indigenous to North America, blueberries and, consequently, the blueberry pies were first eaten in their place of origin and later introduced to the rest of the world.

The traditional Thanksgiving blueberry pie has two crusts: a round layer on the bottom and a crumble crust or crosswise stripes on the top. The filling is made from blueberries. Besides the frozen or fresh berries, the tasty stuffing includes cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, butter, and some sugar.

Thanksgiving Pies - Roads and Destinations
Pies to eat this Thanksgiving: Blueberry pie

6. Cherry Pie

Last but not least, the cherry pie claims its well-deserved spot among the favorite traditional Thanksgiving pies. Red natural “candies” have been some of the American favorite berries, what it seems like, forever. And so is the cherry pie. The delicious double-crust dessert with a sweet cherry filling is usually served with whipped cream or ice cream right after heavy Thanksgiving dinner.

Thanksgiving Pies - Roads and Destinations
Traditional Thanksgiving pies: Cherry pie

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