This easy pumpkin pie recipe’s smooth custardy filling makes it my favorite pie for Thanksgiving and every other day of the year.
There’s hardly a Thanksgiving dinner in America that doesn’t include pumpkin pie—and if there is, I don’t want to be a part of it. Growing up, pumpkin pie was my all-time favorite, and it still is today.
As the host of many Thanksgiving dinners, over the years I’ve made a whole lot of pumpkin pies. I’ve tried pumpkin pie recipes that are fancied up with different spices and booze. I’ve made pumpkin pie with evaporated milk straight from the back of the Libbys pumpkin can—and I gotta say, it’s not bad. But the pumpkin pie recipe I go back to most often is an easy recipe from one of my mom’s old Junior League cookbooks.
Soft and creamy, this pumpkin pie tastes almost like a custard. Baked in my no-fail, all butter, from scratch crust it tastes totally decadent with all the familiar fall flavors, yet it’s surprisingly simple to make. It’s the pie I grew up with, and will continue to make over and over again.
What’s In This Pumpkin Pie Recipe
Pie making is a practice, and this easy pumpkin pie recipe is the perfect place to get your start. The recipe list for the custard filling is surprisingly short, and is pretty hard to screw up.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- one 9-inch unbaked pie crust (this is my favorite from scratch pie crust)
- large eggs
- granulated sugar
- heavy cream
- canned pumpkin
- ground cinnamon
- ground nutmeg
- ground ginger
- kosher salt
What’s the Difference Between Pumpkin and Pumpkin Pie Filling
When purchasing, be sure to get the right canned pumpkin. Look for 100% pumpkin or pure pumpkin puree, which will be free of spices and sugars. Avoid using pumpkin pie filling which has already been sweetened and spiced.
Can You Use Real Pumpkin in Pumpkin Pie?
I’ve researched this topic over the years, and I’ve made pies with pumpkin puree I’ve cooked or roasted.
The bottom line I’ve come to discover is that for pie, it’s best to use canned pumpkin. Unlike real pumpkin that you cook yourself, canned pumpkin is consistent in its moisture content so that pie cooks the same pie after pie.
How to Make Pumpkin Pie From Scratch
There are just a few easy steps to make this easy filling from scratch.
Beat the eggs lightly but don’t over-aerate. So that the filling doesn’t gain too much loft, whisk the eggs but not too much. Adding too much air to the eggs by whisking too much will change consistency of the filling from custard to cakey, making it rise and fall in the oven.
Add the other ingredients and mix well. You could use an electric mixer, but I find a simple whisk does the job fine.
Use three eggs yolks and two egg whites for the filling. Adding an extra yolk adds more fat for a more luxe taste. Be sure to save the egg white for brushing the crust before filling.
Use canned pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling. As noted above, and because you’ll be adding your own sugar and spiced, use pure canned pumpkin for this recipe.
Skip the pumpkin pie spice. You could use store bought pumpkin pie spice, but because they’re quite common, it’s just as simple to get the warming flavorings from your spice cabinet. This also allow you to add a bit more of one or the other if you’d like.
How to Make Pumpkin Pie Crust
Sure you could use a store bought pie crust for this recipe—and I certainly have before—but considering how easy it is to make from scratch in the food processor, why wouldn’t you?
A few pumpkin pie crust tips:
- Use a 9-inch glass Pyrex pie dish. I’m all about making things look pretty so I’ve used all sorts of different pie dishes. Fluted, ceramic, aluminum, and the fanciest pie tins I could find at Williams Sonoma. But for the best bronzed crust, even baking, and most pie crust bottom aka least sloped sides, I’ve found that nothing really beats a glass Pyrex dish. Plus, who’s looking at the dish when you have a gorgeous pie?
- Chill the pie crust for 30 minutes before rolling it out. A cold pie crust will hold its shape better and won’t slump in the heat of the oven. If the crust is too hard to work with, let it sit on the counter for 5-10 minutes, and then try rolling it out again.
- Don’t blind bake or pre-bake the pie crust. The custard filling cooks at the same rate as the pie crust so there’s no need to do so ahead.
- Brush the pie crust with whisked egg white before filling. So the crust doesn’t get soggy, brush with the reserved egg white which will act as a barrier and ensure a crisp bottom crust.
How to Bake Pumpkin Pie
Bake at a 425°F for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350°F for about 45 more minutes. Baking the pie in an extra hot oven sets the crust so it won’t slump or fall and gives the custard a head start in cooking too.
After baking for 30 minutes at 350°F, gently tent the crust with strips of foil or a pie crust shield. Be careful not to dent the custard filling.
When done, the center of the pie should be jiggly and not totally set. As the pie cools, the custard will set.
Does Pumpkin Pie Need to Be Refrigerated?
Because the pie is made as a custard with eggs and milk, refrigerate the pie after 2-3 hours at room temperature. The pie should stay good in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
How to Freeze Pumpkin Pie
Pumpkin pie can be frozen then thawed in the refrigerator for 12 hours before eating.
If you make this recipe, please let me know! Leave a rating on this recipe below and leave a comment, take a photo and tag me on Instagram with #foodiecrusheats.
Pumpkin Pie Recipe
- 1 unbaked 9" pie crust
- 3 large eggs , with 1 egg divided
- 1 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 15 ounce can pure pumpkin
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- Preheat the oven to 425°F.
- Roll out one disc of dough to 1/4" thickness. Fit the dough into a 9" pie plate, flute the edges, and refrigerate until you are ready to fill it.
- In a large bowl, lightly whisk 3 egg yolks and 2 egg whites. Reserve the additional egg white in another small bowl and set aside. To the whisked eggs, add the cream, sugar, pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt. Whisk well to combine.
- Remove the pie crust from the refrigerator. Whisk the reserved egg white with a fork and brush the bottom of the pie crust with the egg white. Fill the pie crust with the pumpkin filling and carefully move it to the oven. Bake at 425°F for 15 minutes, the reduce the heat to 350°F and bake for 30 more minutes. Check the crust and lightly tent with pieces of foil or a pie crust shield if it's browning too much, and cook for 15 more minutes. The filling should still be slightly jiggly in the center and will set as it cools. Allow to cool for 2 hours or overnight before serving. Refrigerate for up to 4 days.
More Pie Recipes to Try
- The Berry Best Four Berry Pie Recipe
- Rhubarb And Raspberry Pie With Oatmeal Crumble
- Caramel Apple Pie
- Mountain Fresh Peach Pie Recipe
- 4 Ingredient Ice Cream Pie With Peanut Butter Krispie Crust
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