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20 pumpkin dessert recipes to sweeten the season

Go beyond pie with these sweet and spiced recipes.
/ Source: TODAY

Pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, pumpkin coffee — if liking these things makes us basic, then we’ll wear that title with pride. But while we love the standard pumpkin dishes, we’re firm believers that our favorite fall flavor has more potential than those to-gos.

That’s where this roundup of pumpkin dessert recipes comes in. We’ve compiled all of our favorite options for whatever kind of dessert you’re craving — think pies, cookies, breads, bars, mousse and more. You can also choose between keeping things simple with a classic pumpkin pie or bread, or go with one of our over-the-top options such asa pumpkin chocolate chip layer cake studded with Halloween candy, or decadent mini-pumpkin ginger cheesecakes with pecan brittle and maple cream.

Even though these pumpkin desserts sound fancy, don’t shy away from them just because you’re a beginner baker. Part of the reason these recipes have become seasonal go-tos for us is because of how easy they are to bake, making them perfect for home cooks of all levels. A few of the cakes start with a simple box mix, and other recipes come together without the use of an oven or with less than 10 ingredients. And while most of these recipes call for store-bought canned pumpkin purée, you can always follow our guide if you decide to start with the fresh stuff instead.

Whether you’re looking for the perfect dessert recipes for your Thanksgiving spread or just looking to squash a seasonal craving on a chilly fall night, there’s a sweet pumpkin recipe here for everyone.

Easy-As-Pie Pumpkin Bars

The Milk Bar founder makes these quick bars when she’s craving pumpkin pie, but feeling lazy. It’s also a versatile recipe to feature other fall flavors — for example, try swapping apple butter in for the pumpkin.

Pumpkin Spice Latte Bundt Cake

Not everything needs to be made 100 percent from scratch — this genius recipe starts with a boxed spice cake mix for speed and ease. Better yet, you can use yellow cake mix and then add cinnamon if you can't find a spice cake mix. Your guests will never know!

Pumpion Pie

We promise this “pumpion” isn’t some new viral twist on a pumpkin pie. This pumpkin-apple hybrid actually dates back to the 1670s! It’s made with raisins, currants and sherry, all of which give it a flavor that’s totally unique from any fall dessert that you’ve tried before.

The effortless outcome of a Bundt pan can make any easy recipe look fancy. This batter, which is made with only five ingredients (including a boxed cake mix and canned pumpkin), comes together in only five minutes!

Looking for a way to use up leftover Halloween candy? This genius recipe uses it as the garnish for this pumpkin layer cake. It has all of the flavors of fall in every bite.

There’s no reason pumpkin has to be relegated to dessert status — start your day with all the fall vibes and pair this cake with your morning coffee or tea. This fall twist on coffee cake doubles down on the seasonal squash and features it in both the cake batter and the sweet white chocolate glaze.

Store-bought phyllo dough and canned pumpkin gets the Martha Stewart treatment in this deep-dish dessert. Adding Chinese five-spice powder to the filling is Martha’s super-smart shortcut: Two of its components (cinnamon and clove) are already found in standard pumpkin-pie spice.

The Cherpumple

Consider this holiday monstrosity the turducken of desserts: The Cherpumple combines cherry, pumpkin and apple pies with three different flavors of cake, all stacked high under a blanket of cream cheese frosting.

Homemade Pumpkin Pie

Sometimes, keeping it simple is best. This super-traditional pumpkin pie is the perfect centerpiece for your Thanksgiving dessert spread. We recommend starting with a store-bought crust to cut down on prep time.

Pumpkin Bread

Get the kids in on the baking fun with this one-bowl quick bread. This simple recipe is practically mistake-proof, and perfect for getting little hands involved in the kitchen.

Streusel Topped Pumpkin Pie

Everybody knows that the best part of coffee cake is the crumbly, buttery bits on top. So why not add that same irresistible topping to a pumpkin pie?

Is bread pudding breakfast? Is it dessert? Whichever side of the sweet debate you fall on, this super-decadent caramel pumpkin bread pudding is an awesome addition to any table. A rich base of eggy and buttery challah is key when it comes to making this dessert extra-comforting.

Mini everything is just better — we don’t make the rules. That applies to these mini cheesecakes, which are made by pouring and baking the batter in individual ramekins for a crowd-friendly dessert. The added zing of ginger helps cut all the sweetness!

No-Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake

Who among us hasn’t had a pumpkin pie craving in the middle of August? Just us? Thankfully this version calls for just seven ingredients and doesn’t require an oven, which means you can make it on repeat whenever the craving strikes.

Adding pumpkin to almost anything and makes it better — that obviously includes these (not so) basic chocolate chip cookies. Here, pumpkin adds a subtle flavor that isn't too overpowering, while lending to an extremely soft and fluffy texture, making these cookies almost cake-like.

Creamy Pumpkin Pie

The creator of this recipe swears by using fresh pumpkin rather than the store-bought canned variety. To prepare it, cut whole pumpkins and bake them for an hour or so, depending on the size of the squash. Afterwards, just mash them through an old colander and combine with the rest of the ingredients.

Pumpkin Spice French Toast Casserole

This casserole can be easily made in advance and kept in the refrigerator until you're ready to bake and serve. The extra time in the fridge will let the spices marinate throughout the custard and allow the bread to become melt-in-your-mouth delicious.

Pumpkin Spice 'Ghoulmen'

Dust off your gingerbread cookie cutters a bit early this year for a spooky take on the classic cookie. The result is these pumpkin-spice "ghoulmen," which make the perfect fall party treat.

Chef Lovely's Pumpkin Pie Mousse

This mousse is practically like eating pie filling with a spoon. It all starts with a mixture of pumpkin purée, powdered sugar, pumpkin pie spice and some vanilla, but adding the crumbled ginger snap cookies on top complete the pie-like experience.

This homemade pumpkin pie recipe requires you to use the real deal squash (and a little extra elbow grease for carving). But the payoff, in the form of flavor, is big. You can use the leftover pumpkin shell to make a jack-o-lantern!

Joy Bauer's Pumpkin Pie Shots

Pie is delicious but is a bit messy to serve as a passed dish at parties. Try serving these pumpkin pie “shots” instead — they easily come together without any baking needed.