Thanksgiving can be an intimidating holiday whether you are gluten-free or not. Add in the gluten-free factor, and you’ve upped the ante quite a bit. I’m here to assure you that it’s possible to have gluten-free Thanksgiving desserts that taste amazing (and not just amazing for gluten-free). In fact, I’m willing to bet that zero humans will even notice they are GF. I’ve rounded up a few of my favorite, delicious gluten-free desserts for Thanksgiving (or anytime). You’ve got this! Plus scroll to the bottom for my recipe for gluten-free pie crust that’s light, buttery, and flaky — just like good pie crust should be!Jump to Recipe
14 Delicious Gluten Free Desserts for the Holidays
These sweet, tiny cranberry tarts are packed with big flavor. You’ll love the easy tart shell, quickly made with crushed gingersnap cookies and butter and baked in a muffin tin. Filled with a no-bake creamy cheesecake base decadently flavored with a generous splash of Grand Marnier, these festive treats will be the star of the show.
Fall is finally in full swing, and you know what that means – it’s pumpkin season! And what better way to celebrate this cozy time of year than with a delightful, moist, and utterly scrumptious gluten free Pumpkin Loaf Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting? If you’re not already drooling, you soon will be!
This delicious Pumpkin Gingerbread Cake – gluten-free (obviously) is the perfect sweet bite the minute the weather turns colder. It’s made with homemade roasted pumpkin purée – a Long Island Cheese pumpkin to be precise (that I picked myself). And full of warming spices like cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves – plus my favorite secret ingredient that helps cut down on refined sugar…it’s prune purée (trust!).
This is the most delicious pumpkin pie I have ever made. Not only is the filling smooth and lovely, but it is richly flavored and doesn’t crack while baking. I include a recipe for homemade pumpkin butter, but if you don’t want to make your own pumpkin butter from scratch, plenty of stores carry jars of it in the jam section.
This gluten free recipe for Apple Pie is everything you (or I) could want in a pie. The crumb topping is crispy and thick, the gluten free pie crust is flaky, and the spicy apple filling is perfection. Serve this pie with ice cream, whipped cream, salted caramel sauce (or all of the above).
If you aren’t sure whether you’re on “team apple pie” or “team apple cake,” not to worry. This recipe for Gluten Free Irish Apple Cake is kind of somewhere in the middle. Loaded with cinnamon laced chunky apples, and topped with a nutty crumble, this gluten free cake is what autumn dreams are made of. I love it because it’s not overly sweet – which means that it’s equally suitable for breakfast or dessert (or anything in between).
This gorgeous Pear Pie is studded with juicy blackberries and baked in a flavorful syrup made with red wine from California and just a touch of rosemary. The gluten free pie crust, which has also been lined with homemade almond paste, is flaky and flavorful and easy to work with. This pie tastes like just like a slice of autumn – California style.
Frangipane is essentially a ground nut paste filling that puffs beautifully when baked. This version is shot through with cranberries that peek out like buried jewels. What’s more, it’s spiked with orange zest and a decent splash of brandy. The crust tastes exactly like my great grandmother’s shortbread, and when combined with the toasty, tart, nutty flavor of the filling, you have one showstopping dessert that is definitely worth the calories, and the somewhat lengthy preparation time.
Folks, I have for you the best Gluten Free Olive Oil Cake recipe on the internet. Not only is it redolent with orange zest and amaretto, it’s topped with sliced pears and almonds. It’s so simple to make and absolutely delicious, and it’s a recipe you will turn to again and again. Best part? It keeps well at room temperature and is best made a day ahead!
Come Thanksgiving, there are some things that are non-negotiable; for example, cranberry bread for breakfast. Typically, I dutifully whip up a classic recipe loaded with chopped cranberries, orange zest and walnuts. But after 22 years of essentially making the same recipe (now a gluten-free version), I decided to get wild. This recipe for gluten-free cranberry bread is redolent with orange and rosemary and topped with a sweet tart cranberry glaze.
These sweet cakes just sing fall. Chock full of sweet tart apples and smothered in a rich caramel glaze, it’s hard to stop after just one. If you don’t have a mini-bundt pan, make cupcakes instead. To feed a larger crowd, double the cake recipe and use a large bundt pan.
This French Apple Cake, adapted from Cook’s Illustrated, has a rich custardy bottom, a light cake layer and a crisp sugary topping. Serve it warm, or at room temperature – either way with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream.
Spice cake has always been a favorite of mine. When I was little, I’d always request it for my birthday. Heck, I still do! So it’s no surprise that these gluten-free spice cupcakes with pumpkin swirl cream cheese frosting make an appearance at our house AT LEAST once each autumn.
How To Make The Best Gluten Free Pie Crust
- ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons tapioca flour, plus more for dusting plus more for dusting
- ¾ cup cornstarch
- ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons brown rice flour superfine if you can find it
- ¼ cup sorghum flour
- 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- 1½ teaspoons xanthan gum
- 1 cup cold salted butter diced (2 sticks or 16 tablespoons)
- 3 large eggs
- Add the tapioca, cornstarch, brown rice flour, sorghum flour, sugar, salt and xanthan gum to the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade attachment and pulse to combine. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
- Add three of the eggs, one at a time, and pulse just until the mixture comes together.
- Turn out onto a work surface, dusted with rice flour and knead just until it comes together. Divide in half, pat each half into a disk, and wrap well with plastic. Refrigerate for 2 hours or up to 2 days.
- Roll one-half of the pie dough into a 14-inch round. Carefully roll dough back over the rolling pin and use it to carefully lift dough into a 9-inch pie plate. Lift edges of the crust and let the dough slump into the plate – don’t stretch it. Trim the edges so there is about a 1-inch overhang. Fold the edges under and crimp as desired.
- Make sure your butter is very cold before mixing it into the flours.
- Don’t overmix the dough – I like to use a food processor, but a pastry cutter, or even your fingers can work well. You want to still be able to see pea-sized chunks of butter throughout the dough.
- Chill the dough before you roll it out and be sure to lightly flour your surface with tapioca starch.
- An offset spatula is a lifesaver. I like to run the offset under the dough each time I run the rolling pin over the dough.
- Freeze the rolled pie dough in the pan before filling to help prevent shrinkage.
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