Our 25 Best Fall Cookies and Bars for Thanksgiving

cranberry cheesecake bars

You can never have enough apple, pumpkin, cranberry or pecan treats on the Thanksgiving dessert table. This delicious lineup of cookies, bars and other two-bite treats is full of sweets that will be right at home on any holiday dessert board. Recipes like our Pecan Pie Bars and Cranberry Cheesecake Bars promise to add even more fall flavor to your menu.

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Cinnamon Streusel Fresh Apple Bars


These sweet, cinnamon-flavored apple bars are the perfect accompaniment for your afternoon cup of coffee or tea.

02 of 25

Healthy Pumpkin-Oatmeal Cookies

pumpkin oatmeal cookies

These tender pumpkin-oatmeal cookies have the perfect amount of sweetness from brown sugar and raisins and a slightly nutty flavor from almond butter. Enjoy them as an after-school snack or a healthy dessert. Several testers also said they'd love to eat them with a cup of coffee in the morning.

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Caramel Apple Cookies


Kids and adults alike will love these fall caramel apple cookies. They are crisp on the bottom and chewy in the center with bits of apple and just a hint of spice. The caramel glaze takes them over the top!

04 of 25

Cranberry Cheesecake Bars

cranberry cheesecake bars

A great dessert option for your next holiday party, these sweet cheesecake bars have an oat crust and a cranberry-orange sauce that's swirled on top and baked right in.

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Spiced Pumpkin Cookies


The deep flavors of molasses, cinnamon, ginger, allspice and nutmeg make these wholesome pumpkin cookies delicious without the addition of butter--and they lend themselves beautifully to the inclusion of whole-wheat flour. They are also the perfect texture for a sandwich cookie--fill them with a slightly sweetened cream cheese frosting.

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Oatmeal-Coconut Cookies with Cranberries & White Chocolate


Our classic oatmeal cookie recipe gets a flavor twist with coconut, white chocolate chips (which have a more delicate flavor than milk or dark chocolate) and tart dried cranberries. The result is a chewy, sweet treat that's sure to leave you coming back for more.

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Pumpkin Spice Latte Cookies


Indulge your PSL obsession with these pumpkin spice cookies. Instant espresso powder gives these soft, cakey cookies a subtle yet recognizable coffee flavor. Spread with cream cheese frosting (with more pumpkin pie spice flavors) and sprinkle with cinnamon to finish. And, go ahead, drink a pumpkin spice latte while you eat them for the full PSL experience. After all, it's only fall for so long (though we'd eat these cookies year-round). To make these cookies kid-friendly, simply omit the espresso powder.

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Apple-Oatmeal Cookies

Apple Cookies
Brie Passano

These healthy apple cookies made with oats, shredded apples and brown sugar make snack time enjoyable for everybody.

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Pumpkin Chocolate Chunk Cookies


Classic chocolate chip cookies get a fall update by mixing in pumpkin puree and pumpkin spice. Not only are these pumpkin cookies even more flavorful than regular chocolate chip cookies, they're also oh-so-soft and cakelike. Use chocolate chunks for big gooey bites of chocolate or opt for mini chocolate chips to ensure a bit of chocolate in each bite.

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Pumpkin Sugar Cookies


These pumpkin sugar cookies are soft and moist with just the right amount of spice and a delicate pumpkin flavor topped off with a nice lightly spiced glaze. They're perfect for a fall after-school snack or light dessert.

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Mini Pecan Pies


The key to these decadent treats is the portion size--baking them in mini-muffin tins keeps the carbs and saturated fat in check. And maple syrup allows you to make this pecan pie recipe without corn syrup.

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Pumpkin Cheesecake Swirl Brownies


For bigger hits of chocolate goodness, use chopped bittersweet chocolate in place of the chips. Hold on to the leftover pumpkin puree--it's yummy stirred into your morning oatmeal or yogurt.

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Boot Tracks


Patti Anderson, a professional quilter, had never entered a cooking contest before she took our challenge. This quick, no-fuss, chewy chocolate cookie is made on your waffle iron. No need to haul out the big mixer, you can mix the batter with a small hand mixer or even by hand. Kids love these!

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Cashew-Cardamom Shortbread

Cashew Cardamom Shortbread
Pooja Makhijani

These cardamom-spiced shortbread cookies were inspired by the Indian sweet kaju katli.

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Fresh Apple Squares


One batch of dough does double duty as both the crust and streusel topping to make one of the easiest desserts around.

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No-Sugar-Added Oatmeal Cookies


Classic oatmeal cookies without all the sugar, these better-for-you gluten-free treats get their sweetness from ripe bananas and chopped dates.

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Cranberry Crumble Bars


These cranberry-orange bars freeze well. Make a batch on a free afternoon and pop them in the freezer so you'll always have a healthy dessert on hand when company calls.

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Almond Burfi


Burfi is an Indian sweet treat often served and gifted during Diwali and other festivals--or whenever one has a craving. Usually made with either condensed milk or ghee (or both), it's a decadent sweet that's not quite a cookie, not quite a candy, but something in between. It's often described as a kind of fudge. Throughout South Asia and the diaspora, different families have their own unique ways of making it, and that's the beauty: from the size and shape to the toppings and mix-in spices, everything can be customized. Even chocolate burfi is a thing! This version uses nonfat dry milk powder, almond flour and less sugar than most other burfi recipes for sweet satisfaction that's just a bit lighter, so you can feel good about serving up seconds.

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Ginger Molasses Cookies

Ginger Molasses Cookies
Photography / Greg DuPree, Styling / Ruth BlackBurn / Julia Bayless

The spelt flour in these ginger molasses cookies offers a chewy texture and a nutty flavor that shines with the ginger in this easy holiday cookie recipe.

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Pecan Pie Bars


These delectable bar cookies are great for holiday cookie trays, to bring out at casual gatherings, or just to enjoy with a cup of coffee.

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Carrot Cake Bars

Carrot Cake Blondies
Photographer / Antonis Achilleos, Prop Stylist / Kay Clarke, Food Stylist / Emily Nabors Hall

Classic carrot cake flavors abound in these easy bars. They're rich like brownies, but their cake-like texture helps keep them light. A yogurt and cream cheese-based frosting topped with nutty walnuts completes this crowd-pleasing dessert. If you're avoiding gluten, look for gluten-free oat flour or make your own by processing gluten-free oats into powder in your high-speed blender.

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Cinnamon Icebox Cookies

Cinnamon Icebox Cookies

Slice-and-bake icebox cookies are the ultimate make-ahead treat. You can make a batch and bake as many as you like, saving the rest of the dough in the freezer. These simple swirled cookies are rolled in finely chopped pecans. They're mildly sweet—perfect for after dinner or paired with coffee.

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Chocolate Chip Almond Butter Cookies

Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
Carolyn Hodges, M.S., RDN

Natural almond butter gives these gluten-free cookies a wonderfully rich flavor and tender, slightly chewy texture. Folding in chopped toasted almonds along with mini chocolate chips ensures plenty of chocolate and crunch in every bite.

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Chocolate Chunk-Walnut Meringue Cookies

Chocolate Chunk-Walnut Meringue Cookies

Look to these meringue cookies if you want a new, simple, no-fuss holiday cookie recipe. They're ready to eat after drying in the oven for an hour, but you can leave them in there longer–even overnight.

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Gluten-Free Fudgy Teff Brownies


Whole-grain teff flour (made from a tiny ancient grain) has a nuance of cocoa flavor to start with, making it a natural choice for brownies. These gluten-free brownies are moist and satisfying, intensely chocolaty and have a tender texture.

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