12 Canned-Pumpkin Desserts Perfect for Fall

Katie Sweeney

Bad news for pumpkin lovers: Money reports that pumpkin crops are down by half this year, and the pumpkin harvest concluded much earlier than usual. That means that while you’ll still be able to find plenty of pumpkins for making jack-o'-lanterns, you might want to stock up on canned pumpkin now, because a disappointing pumpkin yield means canned pumpkin manufacturers like Libby’s won’t have a reserve stock of product. Thus, when your local grocery store sells out, they'll likely be out until October 2016. The next time you’re at the market, pick up a few cans of pumpkin. Not sure what to do with it? Why, whip up a delicious and impressive dessert, of course. Here are 12 sweet treats to make now, before the canned pumpkin supply runs out.

Surprise trick-or-treaters or an older loved one on Halloween by giving them a batch of these pumpkin spice cookies. The outside of the cookies are crisp, but the center is soft and chewy. A luxurious cream cheese frosting finishes them off. We dare you to have just one!


Start making this pumpkin spice ice cream several days before you plan on serving it. You must make a custard base (with brown sugar, vanilla bean, eggs, canned pumpkin, and cinnamon) and chill it overnight in the fridge before you place it in the ice cream maker. Once you’ve churned it, it requires at least five hours in the freezer to firm up.

Looking for an alternative to pumpkin pie? I recommend pumpkin cheesecake. It has the same consistency but is a little easier to make, because you don’t have to deal with a traditional pie dough. The crust in this recipe is a graham cracker crust, but gingersnaps or chocolate wafer cookies would also pair well with the pumpkin flavor.

If you’re one of those people who is grossed out by butter, keep scrolling because this recipe is not for you. However, if you’re a fan of buttery rich cakes, you’ve got to try this pumpkin churro layer cake. The cake layers are dipped into a butter bath and then showered with a mixture of cinnamon and sugar. The resulting cake is reminiscent of a churro, but requires no deep frying.

What happens when you add pumpkin purée to a traditional chocolate chip cookie? You get these delectable cookies.

Were you thrilled about the thought of homemade ice cream but bummed when you remembered you don’t have an ice cream maker?! This recipe is for you. Just make sure to leave plenty of time for freezing!

Pumpkin purée adds a warm depth to traditional chocolate cake in this recipe. The cream cheese frosting is flavored with orange zest and juice, and colored a vibrant orange hue (with food coloring), making it a perfect dessert for a Halloween dinner party.

Wow your family with a modern take on classic pumpkin pie. This recipe fills a chocolate pie crust with a mixture of pumpkin purée, sour cream, bourbon, and maple syrup. Before serving, the top is covered with a thick layer of sugar that gets caramelized with a kitchen torch.

When I was growing up, the best mornings were when my mom made cinnamon rolls — usually on a special occasion. Treat your kids (or your sister or significant other) to this memorable morning ritual by putting together a batch of pumpkin cinnamon rolls.  

Were you excited by the thought of pumpkin cheesecake but not sure how to make it vegan? This recipe breaks it down beautifully.

These bite-sized pumpkin layer cakes are almost too cute to eat. Obviously the frosting of choice for pumpkin cakes is cream cheese, because this recipe calls for it, too!

When I saw this recipe for pumpkin tiramisu in the latest issue of Food & Wine magazine, I knew I had to make it. Pumpkin purée is mixed with cream and mascarpone cheese to make a light but decadent filling. The rest of this dessert is signature tiramisu: ladyfingers soaked in coffee and a heaping pillow of whipped cream topped by chocolate shavings.

Tina Frey Designs Large Cake Stand ($188)

Williams-Sonoma Glass Trifle Bowl ($40)

What's your favorite pumpkin dessert? 

Explore: Pumpkin, Desserts

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