7 Best Flavors to Pair with Apples in Thanksgiving Desserts



Photo by: Matt Armendariz ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Matt Armendariz, 2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Much like the turkey that will likely be the savory star of the show on Thanksgiving, apple desserts, which will all but steal the spotlight come dessert, can be complemented by myriad flavors and ingredients; it all comes down to knowing how to pair them and letting the tastes and textures speak for themselves. This Thanksgiving, think beyond the classic apple pie (though, let’s be honest, we’ll have that on our table too — Bobby Flay’s recipe is a go-to favorite). Try dressing up your sweet apple treats with other fall flavors. Check out our top ideas below for seven ways to pair apples with seasonal selects like fragrant spices, pears, cranberries and more.

Spices Galore

Anne Burrell balances the tartness of the green apples in her easy-to-make cake with two kinds of sugar and the warmth of fragrant cinnamon and nutmeg. These powerhouse spices are favorite fall flavors, and they’re natural complements to not just the apples but also the fluffy cream cheese icing.

Apple Tart Tatin

Photo by: Tara Donne

Tara Donne


Sweet, buttery and wonderfully sticky, caramel is what glues the apples to the pastry in Anne’s upside-down dessert. She flips the pan after baking, so the glistening quartered apples are on display.

Get the Recipe: Apple Tart Tatin

Ellie Krieger's Rustic Apple Pie with Dried Cherries As seen on Food Network

Photo by: Stephen Johnson ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Stephen Johnson, 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved


There’s a good reason this recipe is called “rustic.” After you roll out the flaky pie crust, there’s no need to form it in a proper pie pan; simply pile on the fruit filling, studded with cinnamon-laced apples and chewy dried cherries, then fold the dough around it.



Red cranberries

Photo by: amanda kerr

amanda kerr


You’re likely picking up fresh cranberries to make homemade cranberry sauce to accompany the turkey, so grab extra for Ina Garten’s moist cake. Instead of mixing the sweetened apple-cranberry combo into the batter, she preps the two components separately, only blanketing the fruit with the batter just before baking.



Ripe pears on table


Hidden beneath its golden crust of buttery oatmeal crumbles, Ina’s top-rated crisp boasts a quick pear-apple mash-up. There are two kinds of citrus juice running throughout the filling to brighten up the flavor.

Get the Recipe: Apple and Pear Crisp



Photo by: Matt Armendariz ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Matt Armendariz, 2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.


Alex Guarnaschelli likes to baste the apples with the sweetened, spiced rum glaze in which they’re cooking to gently infuse the fruit with that craveable taste.

Photo by: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Matt Armendariz, 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Pumpkin and Pecan

This is a one-two-three punch of fall flavor combos. In what the chefs in Food Network Kitchen call “the ultimate holiday pie for those who love apple, pumpkin and pecan pie equally,” fresh sliced apples come together with both pumpkin and pecan pie fillings for a centerpiece dessert that will leave your family talking for celebrations to come.

Get the Recipe: Apple-Pumpkin-Pecan Pie

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