7 Easy Treats to Bake for Everyone You Love This Thanksgiving

As a baking show addict and dessert lover, I couldn’t resist sharing some recipes for the holiday that literally celebrates food! For some convenience, I included the level of difficulty. Most of them aren’t terribly difficult and should be easy enough to make on the busiest cooking day of the year, so please enjoy.

  1. Level of Difficulty: So easy, you could make them while preparing the Thanksgiving turkey.

    Number of Servings: 16

    Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes

    I have yet to have the pleasure of making this grab and go, modern version of a classic pecan pie, but I couldn’t pass it up! If you know how to make brownies, this should be easy as pie. *wink wink* In all seriousness though, I, unfortunately, don’t have the pleasure of having an oven in my dorm, for obvious safety reasons, but if I did, you bet this is the first thing I would bake. Also, the main reason the time is so long for this recipe is that you need to freeze the crust for fifteen minutes, but you can still be baking and mixing ingredients together, so I promise it won’t actually take you almost an hour and a half to bake this cake of deliciousness. If you plan a bit and multitask, you only really have to do around 35-40 minutes of hard work, then bake for 25 minutes, and you’re as golden as the crust. That was as cheesy as it sounded in my head as it does on the screen, but maybe it inspired you to crank up some holiday jams and get your baking on. Long story short, this recipe is the perfect way to bring back a delicious Thanksgiving classic and make it portable. It’s especially helpful for friends and family that are always too busy working their booties off preparing food for everyone else.

  2. Level of Difficulty: Easy as Pie! (Seriously, you’re just mixing and putting it in an oven.)

    Number of Servings: 8-10

    Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes

    I’m very excited to put this recipe in because I have actually made it and know that it is incredibly delicious. It’s also a wonderful alternative for anyone who can’t have sugar. I made it for Easter this year and without gloating too much, I think it was a hit (so much in fact that my grandfather asked to take some home, and that honestly warmed my heart more than lights on a Christmas tree). My grandfather has diabetes, so that was why I decided to make this perfect treat in the first place, and I can honestly say it lives up to my very hopeful expectations. It does have some sugar because of the sugar from the apples, but after some lengthy (and delicious) research, this one was the best healthy alternative I’ve found, and it tastes as good as any apple pie with added sugar. So, if you’re a baker or just an adorable dessert lover, I highly recommend this alternative.

  3. Level of Difficulty: Time consuming, but delicious and easy!

    Number of Servings: 18-24 (depending on how big you make them)

    Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

    So I have an addiction to baking peanut butter blossom cookies every year, starting around this time of year, and this is by far the best Thanksgiving alternative for all you festive bakers out there. They are a bit harder to make, but a lot of that is due to the ingredients that are involved and the commonality of them. The hardest thing is the pumpkin spice Hershey kisses, which you can switch out for regular Hershey kisses if that’s more your style. Also, I’m not a massive white chocolate person, so if you prefer, you can also switch out the white chocolate pudding for chocolate pudding. They also take a bit of time to make, but so much of that is decorating, and honestly, is it really work if it’s fun? Overall, I think this treat is the cutest alternative, and if you’re an avid pumpkin spice lover (because aren’t we all secretly fans?) this recipe was made for you.

  4. Level of Difficulty: Almost as easy as those festive drop cookies.

    Number of Servings: 24-35 (depending on how big you make them.)

    Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

    These cookies are almost as good as my sister’s regular chocolate chip cookies, and honestly, I think that’s a massive accomplishment. I honestly can’t think of a better way for festive treats and classics to collide, and my goodness do these cookies put regular chocolate chip cookies to shame (almost). I also bake enough to last me through my entire hibernation period during winter break. They’re also the gooey kind of pumpkin cookies that melt in your mouth as you chew, and if that’s not the best indication to a good cookie, then I don’t know what is. I’ve had the pleasure of making these pieces of deliciousness before, and I can genuinely say that they are as good as I’m hyping them up to be.

  5. Level of Difficulty: Lots of work, but not difficult!

    Number of Servings: 8-10

    Total Time: 12 hours (you have to refrigerate it, prep time is only an hour.)

    I’m as addicted to cheesecake as kids are to the holiday season, and as much as my stomach disagrees, I don’t see anything wrong with it. I have accepted this part of myself, and I encourage others to as well. And if anyone ever offers you anything with a cookie crust, you’re legally obligated to accept. I’m sorry, I don’t make the rules!

    While this isn’t necessarily the easiest recipe on this list, it is one of my favorites! I’ve made this recipe in portable form (pumpkin cheesecake bars are a personal favorite of mine) and can say in all sincerity that it’s a great dessert to bring to loved ones during the holidays. I think it’s so perfect because for a lot of people, they don’t think of cheesecake as a thing to commonly bake, so when they see it, it’s like a little treat that they forgot they wanted. I debated between putting the pumpkin cheesecake bars on here or these, but I felt this would even out the pecan bars from the first recipe! Also, the two are so similar, so if you would prefer the cheesecake bars, you could honestly just switch out the pan. So much of this recipe is just waiting anyway, so it’s perfect for anyone who is busy during this time of year because you can make it the night before and then refrigerate it overnight.

  6. Level of Difficulty: Easier than brownies!

    Number of Servings: 12-16

    Total Time: 2 hours

    I have a few friends that can’t have gluten, and then I thought about how much that would stink if I couldn’t eat anything on a festive dessert list. So, for all gluten-free friends out there, this one’s for you! I have made gluten-free desserts before, but never this specific treat. The best part about this recipe is the only gluten-free thing you really have to go out of your way to buy is a box of gluten-free honey nut Cheerios, but those are just regular cheerios anyway, so if you know any friends or family and want to surprise them with a little treat, here’s your opportunity! They’re as simple to make as some homemade brownies, just different ingredients, and the only reason the time is so long is that it needs a lot of oven time. Honestly, it’s not as time consuming as you may have been led to initially believe. I strongly encourage you to make this recipe and make someone’s day, because it’s something everyone can enjoy, so please go out and spread some love.

  7. Level of Difficulty: Made for kids! You’ve got this!

    Number of Servings: Varies on # of apples!

    Total Time: 45 minutes

    Here’s to an easy recipe for all you busy bakers this Thanksgiving! I also don’t have kids, but I feel like this is the perfect activity to get your kids involved and focused on something. The ingredients are all incredibly easy to find and actually use, so although it may get kind of messy, as long as you put out some parchment paper, cleanup shouldn’t be too bad. Also, this is my treat that I pretend is healthy because it has apples in it, so I highly encourage you to have the same mentality, because making yourself feel bad about eating unhealthy is such a waste of energy when you could be enjoying your chocolate covered apple. They’re also cut into slices, so if you are trying to limit yourself, it’s practically already done for you. Overall, I think this is the perfect recipe for fruit lovers and chocolate addicts alike, especially if you’re looking for a kid-friendly treat!

I grew up baking and have had hundreds of incredible memories from it, so I can't encourage you more strongly to create some of your own. Even if you think you're the worst baker to ever step foot in the kitchen, I purposely made sure these were all desserts that are achievable for everyone, and I assure you that you can do it. If nothing else, there's a reason those little festive sugar cookies that you just drop on the pan were invented, and everyone loves those! Happy holidays and happy baking, everyone.