The indulgences of Thanksgiving can present a challenge for gluten-free dieters, and dessert is no exception. Thankfully, the list of tantalizing gluten-free creations continues to grow with each passing day, and we’ve gathered 7 of the best here just for you.
Try any of these 7 gluten-free Thanksgiving dessert recipes for an unforgettable taste of the holiday’s sweet side.
1. Maple-Walnut Bars
Say goodbye to old-fashioned pecan pie. Impress your guests with this modern spin on Thanksgiving dessert, in which crunchy, seasonal walnuts blend with the sweet flavors of maple. Keep in mind that you can make your own oat flour at home simply by grinding oats in the blender or food processor. Snixy Kitchen’s recipe yields 9 Maple-Walnut Bars.
- ¼ cup millet flour
- ¼ cup oat flour
- ¼ cup sweet rice flour (also called glutinous rice flour)
- ¼ cup tapioca starch
- ½ teaspoon xanthan gum
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ cup dark brown sugar
- ½ cup cold unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
Maple Walnut Filling:
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon tapioca starch
- ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon butter, melted
- 1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
Directions: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a 8-by-6-inch glass baking dish with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the millet flour, oat flour, sweet rice flour, tapioca starch, xanthan gum, salt, baking powder, and brown sugar. Add the vanilla and unsalted butter and use your fingers to work the butter into the flour, until it becomes a crumbly dough. Press the dough into the parchment paper and bake until set and beginning to brown, about 12-15 minutes.
Meanwhile, beat egg in a bowl. Whisk in the tapioca starch until completely combined. Add the maple syrup, dark brown sugar, melted butter and vanilla to the eggs and mix thoroughly.
Sprinkle the chopped walnuts in the par-baked shortbread-lined baking dish. Evenly pour egg mixture over walnuts, then bake until the filling is completely set, about 20 to 25 minutes. If the center of the filling still jiggles a bit when the pan is moved, then return to the oven until set, about 5 minutes longer. Let cool before slicing and serving.
2. Mini Pumpkin Pie Cheesecakes
Your guests have probably seen enough pumpkin pie to last them a lifetime, so why not offer a pleasant surprise at this year’s holiday gathering? These adorable Mini Pumpkin Pie Cheesecakes from Boulder Locavore are individual servings of light and creamy seasonal deliciousness. Although some stores do sell crumbled ginger snaps, you can just as easily save the effort of tracking them down by grinding up your own ginger snaps at home in the blender or food processor. Recipe takes just 45 minutes to make and yields 12 (4-ounce) mini cheesecakes.
- 1 cup gluten-free ginger snap crumbs
- 1 tablespoon plus 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
- 1 (8-ounce) package of mascarpone cheese, room temperature
- 6 ounces cream cheese (¾ of an 8-ounce package), room temperature
- ¾ cups pumpkin purée (canned or homemade)
- 2 eggs, room temperature
- ¾ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Supplies: 12 (4-ounce) jelly jars
- Chopped Candied Maple Pecans, whipped cream and/or fresh mint sprig
Directions: Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray jelly jars inside with non-stick cooking spray.
In a medium mixing bowl, add the ginger snap crumbs, 1 tablespoon of the granulated sugar and the melted butter; stir to fully combine. Spoon crust mixture evenly into the 12 prepared jars (approximately 1 tablespoon per jar). Tamp crust down with the back of a dining spoon or a wine cork to evenly distribute crust on the bottom of the jars.
In the bowl of a freestanding mixer, beat together the cream cheese, mascarpone cheese, pumpkin purée, remaining sugar (3 tablespoons each granulated and brown sugar) and pumpkin pie spice until smooth.
Add the eggs, one at a time; beat on medium-high until incorporated and the mixture is fluffy and light. Beat in the vanilla extract. Add the cheese mixture evenly to the jelly jars, filling to the lowest outer glass ring (approximately ½-inch from the top of the jar).
Place jars in a 13-by-9-inch baking pan. Fill the pan with boiling water until the water level reaches halfway up the outside of the jelly jars. Place in preheated oven and bake for 30 minutes. Remove mini cheesecakes from the pan and allow to cool to room temperature on a cooling rack. They may be served chilled or at room temperature.
3. Autumn-Spiced Apple Crisp
Primal Palate’s Autumn Spiced Apple Crisp is a spectacular gluten-free and Paleo Thanksgiving dessert option. Granny Smith apples and lemon provide a delightful balance to the sweet flavors of sugar and maple in the dish. Notes of cinnamon and nutmeg finish off this seasonally-spiced taste of the holiday season. Recipe yields 6 servings and takes about an hour to complete.
- 6 Granny Smith apples, peeled and chopped
- ½ lemon, the zest and juice
- 1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ½ cup maple sugar + 1 tablespoon for the apple filling
- ½ cup unsalted butter, cubed and at room temperature, plus 2 tablespoons for the apple filling
- 1 cup + 1 tablespoon blanched almond flour
- ¼ cup coconut flour
- ¼ teaspoon Himalayan pink sea salt
- 1 tablespoon coconut palm sugar, or maple sugar
Directions: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Peel the apples and cut into bite size pieces. Discard the cores. Place the chopped apples into a medium-size mixing bowl.
Add the lemon zest to the apples, as well as the lemon juice, and stir to combine. Sprinkle ½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon, and ¼ teaspoon of ground nutmeg over the apples. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of maple sugar over the apples, and stir to combine evenly.
Melt 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter and pour over the spiced apples. Stir to combine. Liberally grease a 9-inch pie pan, or baking dish with butter, and pour the apples into the pan.
In a food processor, add 1 cup of blanched almond flour, ¼ of coconut flour, ½ cup of maple sugar, 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon of sea salt, and ½ cup of the cubed butter. Pulse until you create a ball of dough in the food processor.
Crumble the dough over the top of the spiced apples. Sprinkle the top of the crumble with the remaining tablespoon of almond flour, and the tablespoon of coconut sugar. Bake on the middle rack, in the center of the oven for 45 to 50 minutes. Serve with a scoop of ice cream, if desired.
4. Chocolate Pumpkin Pecan Fudge
Gooey, rich fudge is fantastic enough on its own — but it becomes doubly so with the incorporation of seasonal flavors like pumpkin and pecan. Three Beans On A String has just the recipe to unite these flavors, along with a lavish fudge and crunchy pecan texture: Chocolate Pumpkin Pecan Fudge. The recipe takes just 10 minutes to prepare, but should be made ahead of time and allowed 3 to 4 hours to set in the freezer before serving. Yields 18 servings.
For chocolate layer:
- ⅔ cup full-fat canned coconut milk
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1 (12-ounce) package semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For pumpkin layer:
- 1 cup unsweetened almond butter
- ¼ cup coconut oil, softened
- ⅓ cup pumpkin purée
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 cup pecans halves or pieces
Directions: For chocolate layer: Line a small baking dish with wax paper, covering the sides of the inside of the dish so you can easily lift out the finished fudge.
In a saucepan, bring the coconut milk to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer for 3 to 5 minutes; avoid scorching. Add the coconut oil to the saucepan and stir until it melts. Add the chocolate chips. When they begin melting, use a whisk to stir the mixture until it has no lumps.
Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla. Pour into the baking pan, spreading it evenly across the bottom of the pan with the back of a spoon. Freeze until firm, about an hour.
For pumpkin layer: In a large mixing bowl, mix together the almond butter, coconut oil, pumpkin puree, maple syrup, cinnamon, and salt. Stir until smooth.
To assemble: Remove the chocolate layer from the freezer and confirm that’s it’s firm. Pour the pumpkin mixture on top of the chocolate layer, spreading evenly with the back of a spoon. Arrange the pecans on top of the pumpkin layer, being careful not to press them into the mixture. Place the finished fudge into the freezer until solid, 2 to 3 hours. Once solidified, lift the fudge out of the pan, remove the wax paper, and cut into small pieces. Serve immediately.
5. Pecan Cake with Sweet Potato Frosting
Bring in the flavor this Thanksgiving with the Pancake Princess’s luscious Pecan Cake with Sweet Potato Frosting. You’ll want to be careful in preparing the frosting; depending on how watery your sweet potatoes are, the amount of milk needed will vary. Add enough to make the icing easily spreadable, without being runny. To simplify this dish, you can even use leftover sweet potato casserole filling as a base for your icing. And who can resist those gooey marshmallows on top? It yields 1 (6-inch) layer cake.
For the pecan cake:
- ⅔ cup pecan meal (or a scant ⅔ cup of pecans, ground into meal)
- ⅔ cup oat flour
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 large eggs
- ⅓ cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 6 tablespoons buttermilk or runny yogurt
For the sweet potato frosting:
- ¾ cup roasted sweet potato
- 6 tablespoons milk of your choice
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar or maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon brown (hazelnut) butter
- 1 teaspoon orange zest (optional)
- ½ cup mini marshmallows for topping
Directions: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Whisk pecan meal, flour, cornstarch, and baking powder together in a bowl.
In another bowl or glass measuring cup, whisk the eggs until frothy, yellow, and thick. Add the brown sugar, maple syrup, vanilla, and buttermilk; whisk until combined. Fold the wet mixture into the dry until just combined.
Pour half the batter into 6-inch round cake pan and bake for 18 minutes, or until cake springs back lightly when touched. Let cool for 5 minutes, then release cake from pan and set aside to cool. Re-grease the cake pan, then bake remaining batter for another 18 minutes until done. Set aside to cool as you prepare the frosting.
For the sweet potato frosting: Add all ingredients to a high-powered blender and blend until very smooth.
To assemble: Frost baked, cooled cake layers. Top with mini marshmallows and turn on broiler. Once broiler is heated, put the cake on a baking tray and broil for 30 to 60 seconds, or until marshmallows start to brown. Remove and serve.
6. Coffee Roasted Pumpkin Seed Snack Clusters
Half Baked Harvest’s Coffee Roasted Pumpkin Seed Snack Clusters are full of flavor, packed with the vanilla, cinnamon, allspice, and maple flavors of autumn, all draped in an irresistible chocolate coating. Pistachios and pumpkin seeds offer a delightfully crunchy finish. The snacks are an all-natural taste of the season’s best flavors. The recipe takes an hour to complete and yields 25 to 35 clusters, which can be stored in an airtight container (or in the fridge) for up to 2 weeks.
- 3 cups raw pumpkin seeds, rinsed and dried
- 1 cup raw pepitas (pumpkin seeds minus the shells)
- 1 cup pistachios
- 2 tablespoons ground or whole flax seeds
- ½ cup pure maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 to 4 tablespoons fresh coffee grounds
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- ⅛ teaspoon all-spice
- 6 ounces semi-sweet or dark chocolate, melted
Directions: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
Spread the raw pumpkin seeds (not the pepitas) on a greased baking sheet. Roast the pumpkin seeds for 15 minutes to dry them out. Remove from the oven. Leave on the pan.
To the pan with the pumpkin seeds, add the pepitas, pistachios, flax, maple syrup, coconut oil, vanilla extract, coffee grounds, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and all-spice. Toss well, making sure all the seeds are evenly coated. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, stirring 2 or 3 times during cooking until the pumpkin seeds are golden in color. Remove from the oven and using the back of a rubber spatula, push the seeds into an even layer about ½-inch thick. Allow the seeds to cool completely (as they cool they will harden). Break up into clusters.
Line a baking sheet with wax paper. Melt the chocolate in the microwave or on the stove. Carefully dip the clusters into the melted chocolate. Place on the prepared baking sheet and if desired sprinkle with coffee grounds and sea salt. Repeat with the remaining clusters.
7. Cinnamon Chip Scones
The secret behind Sweet Treats Baking’s perfectly moist gluten-free Cinnamon Chip Scones? Pumpkin puree. The mild flavors of pumpkin are dominated by the polished cinnamon flavors in these treats. Once they’re prepared, you can store the scones, covered, at room temperature for up to 2 days. They also freeze well. It yields 12 to 16 scones, depending on size.
- 1 stick unsalted butter, cold
- ⅔ cup buttermilk
- 2 cups gluten-free, all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ cup cinnamon chips
- ½ cup pumpkin purée
- Tapioca starch, for dusting
- Powdered sugar
Directions: Grate cold butter, using the large grate part of a box grater, onto a piece of plastic wrap or parchment paper. Place the grated butter into the freezer while measuring and preparing the remaining ingredients.
Measure the remaining ingredients. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, soda, powder, salt, and cinnamon. Add the frozen butter pieces and toss quickly with your hands to combine. Break up any large clumps. Add cinnamon chips and briefly toss to combine.
In a liquid measuring cup, whisk together the buttermilk with the pumpkin purée. Add the liquid to the dry ingredients and quickly mix with your hands until the dry ingredients are just incorporated. Be careful not to overwork the dough or let the heat from your hands melt all the butter.
Dust the clean counter or board with additional tapioca starch. Pat the dough out, adding tapioca starch on top of the dough and onto your hands, until the dough is approximately an inch tall. Use a small round cutter to cut out scones. Place the cut scones onto the prepared baking sheets. Carefully gather the scraps and re-pat them out, repeating the process until the dough is all used. Alternately, use a large cookie scoop to make drop scones by scooping the scone dough out of the bowl and portioning it directly onto the sheet pan.
Use a dry pastry brush to brush off any excess tapioca starch. Bake both pans in the preheated oven for 15 minutes, rotating the pans and swapping the top and bottom pans halfway through. The scones are done when they are lightly brown and the cinnamon chips begin to caramelize.
Remove pans from the oven and allow to cool while the glaze is made.
For the glaze: In a separate bowl, sift a little powdered sugar to remove any lumps. Add a splash of milk and whisk until combined. Adjust the amount of milk and powdered sugar until you achieve a thick glaze. Stripe the glaze across the slightly warm scones, using either a cornet paper piping bag, a zip-top bag with a corner cut off, or a pastry bag. Alternately, dip the slightly warm scones into the glaze. Allow the glaze to set; serve.