This caramel pumpkin mousse is light, flavorful, and the perfect pumpkin dessert after your Thanksgiving feast.

Individual desserts are nice to serve after a large meal, and this pumpkin mousse recipe fits the bill. Just place them in front of your guests and let them dig in. No slicing. No cutting. And no need to share!

You may also enjoy my pumpkin caramel latte flan recipe.

For ease of browsing, find all of my individual dessert recipes in one place. Now let’s make this mousse.

3 dishes of caramel pumpkin mousse on 3 plates with rosemary garnish.

Watch my caramel pumpkin mousse web story here.

Caramel Pumpkin Mousse

I think I might create recipes backwards. Most folks will make something and then figure out what to call it. I tend to come up with a name and then figure out how to make it!

The Beloved helped me come up with this name: Caramel Pumpkin Mousse with Cocoa Nib Streusel. Yum!

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The figuring out how part was actually pretty easy, and you get to benefit from my playing in the kitchen, because this mousse is super excellent and creamy and delicious!

What Is Mousse?

Mousse is the French word for foam, so a mousse is any food–sweet or savory–that is smooth, creamy and filled with tiny, tiny air bubbles, usually from folding in whipped cream and/or meringue.

The most classic flavor of dessert mousse is probably chocolate mousse or mousse au chocolat, but mousse can be made in almost any flavor. Here’s how:

  1. Decide on your flavor and incorporate it into a rich base.
  2. Fold in whipped cream and/or a cooked meringue (to be food safe–either Swiss or Italian meringue). (Classic French mousse usually also contains yolks. If you are concerned about egg safety, use Pasteurized eggs.)
  3. Chill and enjoy.

How to Make This Mousse

Individual footed clear bowls of caramel pumpkin mousse topped with whipped cream, streusel, and sprigs of rosemary.
Light and airy caramel pumpkin mousse takes traditional pumpkin pie flavors and whips them up into a lighter-feeling dessert to end your Thanksgiving feast!

Pumpkin mousse is not hard to make. Here’s the game plan, step by step:

  • Caramelize the sugar.
  • Make the base and chill.
  • Whip the cream and fold it into the pumpkin mixture.
  • Garnish and serve!
  • The pumpkin flavor shines through, and you also get just a hint of caramelized bitterness which keeps the dish from being too sweet.

This pumpkin mousse is flavored with traditional pumpkin spice, so it’s familiar yet a bit sophisticated. Plus, it’s really easy to make.

Do I Have to Make Caramel Pumpkin Mousse?

Close up a a footed glass bowl of pumpkin mousse on a brown plate with a spoon.

Nope. You can just make regular pumpkin mousse.

If you’re not sure of your caramelizing skills, it will still be delicious.

Just heat the first amount of cream with the sugar (you may want to use a bit less than called for since caramelized sugar is less sweet than regular sugar) to dissolve it, and you’re in business!

Tools You’ll Need to Make Mousse

Mousse is not hard to make, but there is some equipment that can make your mousse making life easier. Whether you use a hand mixer or a stand mixer, not having to whip all the cream by hand can be a real time (and arm) saver.

A large spatula and a nice large bowl with a rounded bottom make short work of folding the components together.

Want Some Other Thanksgiving Dessert Ideas?

Thanksgiving is my favorite food holiday, so I have quite a few Thanksgiving desserts on the site. Here are some to get you started:


A Note About Measurements

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5 golden stars for rating recipes

Caramel Pumpkin Mousse with Cocoa Nib Streusel

Jennifer Field
This Caramel Pumpkin Mousse with Cocoa Nib Streusel is surprisingly easy and fast to make, plus it makes an elegant presentation. Lighter than pumpkin pie without all that oven time. Fancy!
4.84 from 6 votes
Tried this recipe?Please give it a star rating!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Individual Desserts
Cuisine American
Servings 8 -10
Calories 433 kcal


For the Mousse

  • 7 oz granulated sugar 1 cup
  • 2 oz water 1/4 cup
  • 8 oz heavy cream (about 1 cup)
  • 1 15 oz can pumpkin (not pie filling)
  • 1 Tablespoon sorghum syrup Lyle’s Golden Syrup, mild molasses or honey
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • several gratings of fresh nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 12 oz heavy cream 1 1/2 cups

For the Streusel (can easily be doubled if you want a ton)

  • 1 oz unsalted butter, soft 2 Tablespoons
  • 1 oz granulated sugar about 2 Tablespoons
  • ½ oz all-purpose flour* about 2 Tablespoons
  • ½ oz rolled oats* 2-3 Tablespoons
  • 1 oz cocoa nibs about 2 Tablespoons
  • heavy pinch of fine sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • several shakes of chocolate bitters (optional)

To Garnish and Serve

  • Lightly sweetened and softly whipped cream (add some cinnamon if you like)
  • Crumbled streusel
  • Rosemary sprigs**


For the Mousse

  • In a heavy bottomed saucepan, heat the sugar and water to boiling. Boil with the lid on for a minute to wash down any sugar crystals. Take the lid off and continue to boil until deeply caramelized. You can swirl the pan once it starts to color to keep the color even. Immediately remove from the heat and pour in the cream. Stir until smooth.
  • Add the pumpkin puree, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla and stir well.
  • Press the mixture through a fine mesh strainer to remove any pumpkin strings or any other little bits of whatever that will keep your mousse from being smooth and silky. This is optional, but it doesn’t take too long and the texture will be much better if you do this step.
  • Put the puree in a metal bowl, press plastic wrap down on top of it and refrigerate until at least cool if not cold, about an hour or up to four.
  • Whip the second amount of cream to medium to medium-stiff peaks and fold the pumpkin mixture in gently but thoroughly.
  • Pour into individual compotes or wee dishes or wine glasses of into whatever vessels make you happy. Chill until serving.

For the Streusel

  • Preheat the oven to 375F.
  • Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and blend until no dry flour or sugar remains.
  • Spread onto a parchment-lined sheet pan and bake until golden brown and crisp, 13-18 minutes, depending on your oven.
  • Let cool on a rack and then break into pieces. Can be made a day or two in advance. Store in an airtight container until serving.

To Garnish and Serve

  • Dollop a bit of cream on each Vessel of mousse. Add a piece or three of the streusel, or chop it and sprinkle it all over–your call. Add a festive bit of greenery and serve.
  • Enjoy!

Did You Make Any Changes?


*If you don’t like oatmeal in your streusel, substitute 4 oz flour and leave the oats out completely.
**I don’t usually like to garnish with anything that isn’t actually in the dish, but in this case and for a festive occasion, I think it’s fine. You can also garnish using whatever herb/s you like–even a mint leaf or two would be lovely.


Serving: 6ozCalories: 433kcalCarbohydrates: 42.3gProtein: 3gFat: 30gSaturated Fat: 18.3gCholesterol: 105mgSodium: 302mgFiber: 2.3gSugar: 35.7g
Keyword mousse, pumpkin mousse, Thanksgiving
Did you make this recipe?Please tell us what you loved!

Thank you so much for spending some time with me today.

Take care, and have a lovely day.

A dessert dish of pumpkin mousse with whipped cream.
Creamy, dreamy and light on the palate, caramel pumpkin mousse will leave you wanting more, and with room for more!

What’s your favorite Thanksgiving recipe?



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  1. 5 stars
    I made this last weekend. I added some ginger, allspice and a wee bit of mace to make the mousse taste more like my pumpkin pie. Lovely texture; but know that this not a firm mousse. Straining the mixture prior to cooling is a must. Thanks for the recipe.

    1. Yes, straining definitely refines the texture as instructed in the recipe. I’m glad you altered it to suit your taste, for sure! As it turned out my mousse was plenty firm enough to spoon nicely, so it’s possible there were some differences in the water content of our pumpkin puree. Regardless, I’m very glad you enjoyed it, Michelle!

  2. I do love all the flavors of this dessert but had to chuckle at the sentence that started with ‘First of all, if you can caramelize sugar’ as I am the WORST at that step. Not that I don’t know the reason why…how many times do I think I can walk away for ‘just a minute’ and not have it burn, hmm?

    Back to caramel and mousse and cocoa nibs…sounds fantastic!

    1. I once walked away from a pan of hummingbird food and came back to smoke hovering near the ceiling and an entire pan full of what looked like spongy lava rock. Believe me, I’ve been there! The caramel flavor is really so perfect with the pumpkin. Just keep telling yourself that as you force yourself to stay right by the stove! lol

  3. I find this concept irresistible! Did I mention that I’m addicted to streusel nd that I happen to have a container of cocoa nibs? Just because it’s after Thanksgiving doesn’t mean I’m done with pumpkin either – and I just happen to have a can of pumpkin leftover:)

  4. 5 stars
    Oh Jenni, this is such a perfect dessert for the holidays. You did it again, home run! Stunningly beautiful, easy to make, and easy to adapt for diet restrictions; yep, another winner from our beloved Jenni!! 🙂 The perfect ending to our #ProgressiveEats feast!

  5. SO elegant and irresistible! I’m loving the pairing of pumpkin and caramel–perfect indulgence. Have a terrific Thanksgiving, my friend. xoxo

    1. Thank you so much, Liz! I hope you and your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving as well! Gotta make some coffee and go see about your Carrot Puff now. Sounds fantastic! And this mousse was so good. Yay!

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