6 Recipes That Turn Your Thanksgiving Leftovers Into Dreamy Desserts

Thanksgiving leftovers are often used to make hearty sandwiches, reheated turkey suppers, and savory brunches. For those of you craving something on the sweeter side, though, you can also create desserts using your extra holiday food. Sweet potatoes can be transformed into cake, leftover pie can be made into a milkshake, and extra cranberries can be turned into tantalizing tartlets. Here are 6 dessert recipes that put your Thanksgiving leftovers to good use.

1. Cranberry Tartlets

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Using your leftover pie dough and extra cranberry sauce, you can create Martha Stewart’s Cranberry Tartlets. These tart and tangy treats are easy to make, filled with zesty flavor, and will appease anyone’s post-Thanksgiving appetite. The recipe yields 12 servings.


  • 12 (2¾-inch) squares of dough
  • 6 tablespoons cranberry sauce
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • Sanding sugar

Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Arrange squares of dough in cups of a mini-muffin pan. Top each square with 1½ teaspoons cranberry sauce; fold in edges. Freeze for 30 minutes. Beat together egg yolk and cream. Brush tartlets with egg wash; sprinkle with sanding sugar. Bake until golden, 30 to 35 minutes.

2. Holiday Leftover Sweet Potato Cake

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Allrecipes.com user MLYIN delivers a dish that utilizes your leftover sweet potatoes. If you can’t fathom eating another dessert in the near future, you can also freeze your extra potatoes and make this recipe for Christmas. For a cake that’s a touch more indulgent, we suggest making Cooks.com’s Vanilla Glaze Frosting.


  • 1¾ cups white sugar
  • ¾ cup vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups cooked, mashed sweet potatoes
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ½ cup beer

Directions: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease and flour a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Stir together the sugar and vegetable oil in a large bowl until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla and sweet potatoes. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a separate bowl.

Stir into the batter 1 cup at a time, alternating with the beer just until everything comes together. Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan. Bake for 35 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting or serving.

3. Leftover Pie Crust Cookies

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Instead of throwing away your leftover pie dough, you can use it to create cookies. Completely Delicious’ cookies are crisp, crunchy, and filled with buttery flavors that will melt in your mouth. You may find yourself making pie dough just to prepare this recipe!


  • Pie crust scraps
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • Sugar or cinnamon-sugar, for sprinkling

Directions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Gather the leftover pie scraps into a ball. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to about ¼-inch thick. Cut out into desired shapes and place on prepared sheet pan. Whisk together the egg and water. Brush on top of the cut-out dough and sprinkle with sugar or cinnamon-sugar. Bake until golden brown, about 10 to 12 minutes. Store in an airtight container for up to several days.

4. Leftover Pumpkin Pie Brulee

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If you’ve got leftover pumpkin pie but can’t stand the thought of eating another slice, you can turn it into a caramelized dessert instead. Food Network’s Leftover Pumpkin Pie Brulee only requires 2 ingredients and can easily be whipped up in less than 10 minutes.


  • Leftover pumpkin pie
  • 5 tablespoons sugar

Directions: Peel crust off the outside of overturned pieces of pie and line the inside of small ramekins or coffee cups with the pie crust pieces. Spoon pumpkin pie filling equally into small ramekins or stoneware coffee cups. Sprinkle a tablespoon of sugar over the filling in each ramekin.Using a mini-torch, torch the top until sugar is caramelized. The ramekins can also be browned under a broiler. If using a broiler, stick the cups inside a pan filled with ½-inch of water and place under the broiler until just browned on top.

5. Thanksgiving Leftover Cranberry Nut Squares

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Mixed nuts and your extra cranberry sauce create dessert bars that are sweet, salty, tart, and tangy. Cakespy’s recipe via Serious Eats yields 24 bars. If you still have leftover cranberry sauce on-hand, we suggest using it to make Ricki Heller’s Cranberry Ice Cream. It’ll taste terrific with your bars!



  • 1½ sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • 1½ cups flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt


  • Leftover cranberry sauce or 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1½ cups nuts of your choice
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • ¾ cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature

Directions: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 9-by-13-inch pan thoroughly, and line the bottom with a strip of parchment paper so that the ends poke out on the sides. In an electric mixer fitted with a paddle, beat the butter with the sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. At low speed, beat in the flour and salt until a soft dough forms. Press the dough over the bottom of the prepared pan, patting it in evenly and firmly.

Bake in the center of the oven for about 12 to 15 minutes, until the crust is lightly golden on the edges and the top has a dull look. Let cool. Put the corn syrup and brown sugar in a heavy saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and add the butter and vanilla. Let the mixture cool, and then add the eggs and whisk until smooth. Put off to the side for a moment.

Spread the cranberry sauce evenly on top of the baked and cooled crust, or if you are using dried cranberries, scatter them evenly. Scatter the nuts evenly on top of the cranberry layer. Pour the liquid mixture over everything. It will be a thick mixture; try to pour it so that you get even coverage over the other toppings. Bake for about 45 to 50 minutes, or until the filling is lightly bubbling on the sides and looks firm in the middle. Let cool thoroughly; the filling will continue to set as it cools.

6. Leftover Pie Shake

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Create a rich and frothy milkshake using a leftover piece of pie. Whether you have extra pumpkin, apple, or pecan, The Kitchn’s shake is guaranteed to taste great. For an extra tasty treat, we recommend serving it with Brown Eyed Baker’s Fresh Homemade Whipped Cream.


  • 1 slice leftover pie
  • 2 scoops ice cream
  • 2 tablespoons whole milk
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch cinnamon

Directions: Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until well-combined and frothy. Serve immediately.