The Great Pumpkin Pie Recipe

Bursting with flavor, this pumpkin pie recipe is my very favorite. It’s rich, smooth, and tastes incredible on my homemade pie crust and served with whipped cream.

pumpkin pie

Pumpkin cookies, pumpkin bars, pumpkin lattes, pumpkin cupcakes, pumpkin bread, but HELLO what about pumpkin pie?? My Great Pumpkin Pie Recipe is here today.

Did you know that testing the perfect pumpkin pie recipe is a lot more challenging than one would assume!? Fresh pumpkin, canned pumpkin, ginger, no ginger, brown sugar, white sugar, cornstarch, flour, no cornstarch, no flour…?

But I finally I cracked the pumpkin pie code. I grew up in a house of pumpkin pie lovers and absolutely no Thanksgiving was complete without a nap and a massive slice of pumpkin pie. What I’m trying to say is, my pumpkin pie standards are high. When it comes to this Thanksgiving classic, I’m a huge snob. And now that I’ve found the best pumpkin pie recipe, I can rest easy at night. And you can too!

pumpkin pie garnished with sugared cranberries and pie crust designs

pumpkin pie filling in a mixing bowl

Pie Crust

Let’s start with the pie crust. Every pumpkin pie has to start with a stellar pie crust. My homemade pie crust uses a mix of shortening and butter so you get the most buttery tasting, tender, flaky (so flaky) pie crust. It’s easy to make. And I have a video tutorial and step-by-step photos here.

pie crust rolled out with leaf cut outs

leaf pie crust designs on a baking sheet

Fresh or Canned Pumpkin in Pumpkin Pie?

I tested this recipe with both and I truly liked the pie using canned pumpkin better. The canned pumpkin pumpkin pie (say that 3 times fast) was a little more sturdy when baked for the same amount of time. The pie baked with fresh pumpkin puree tasted grainy and a little… herbaceous? I prefer using fresh pumpkin puree in savory recipes, not desserts. This is your call, you can use either fresh or canned pumpkin.

Other Ingredients in Pumpkin Pie

  1. Eggs. Eggs set up the pumpkin pie filling. They give the filling its rich, luxurious texture.
  2. Heavy cream. Heavy cream makes pumpkin pie luxurious and silky smooth. It’s thick, creamy, and absolutely heavenly in this pumpkin pie recipe. I use 1 cup of heavy cream and 1/4 cup of milk. I found that 1 and 1/4 cups of heavy cream (or more) was simply too much. Too thick, too gloppy! You can also use the heavy cream to make homemade whipped cream for the topping.
  3. Cornstarch. A starch thickener is one of the most important ingredients in a pie filling. I use a touch of cornstarch in my pumpkin pie because it helps set up the pie. Makes it a little sturdier and firm, while keeping everything smooth.

pumpkin pie

My Secret Ingredient

This sounds so incredibly weird. But I add freshly ground black pepper to my pumpkin pie filling. It’s bizarre, I know. But I’m being serious. I got this tip from the genius kitchen crew over at King Arthur Flour. And I am forever grateful. Because this little addition turns your pumpkin pie into the BEST pumpkin pie. No one will know it’s there! Except for you. And they will all be wondering what makes this spiced pie so good. A pinch of pepper.

pumpkin pie with one slice missing

How to Avoid Cracks in Pumpkin Pie

Silky yet thick, this pumpkin pie cuts beautifully as long as it is baked for the right amount of time. The bake time is about 55-60 minutes. At this time, the center of the pumpkin pie will be slightly wobbly. It will set as it cools. Careful not to overcook; overcooking it will cause the filling to crack.


PS: Here is my recipe for mini pumpkin pies.

slice of pumpkin pie with whipped cream

So from my kitchen to yours, enjoy The Great Pumpkin Pie Recipe.

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pumpkin pie with one slice missing

The Great Pumpkin Pie Recipe

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 65 minutes
  • Total Time: Overnight (14 hours - includes time for pie dough and cranberries)
  • Yield: serves 8-10; 1 cup sugared cranberries
  • Category: Pie
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Bursting with flavor, this pumpkin pie recipe is my very favorite. It’s rich, smooth, and tastes incredible on my homemade pie crust and served with whipped cream. The pie crust leaves are purely for decor, you can leave those off of the pie and only make 1 pie crust. You can also leave off the sugared cranberries.


Ingredients

Sugared Cranberries

  • 1 cup (120g) fresh cranberries*
  • 2 cups (400g) granulated sugar, divided
  • 1 cup (240ml) water

Pumpkin Pie

  • Homemade pie crust (full recipe makes 2 crusts: 1 for bottom, 1 for leaf decor)
  • one 15oz can (about 2 cups; 450g) pumpkin puree*
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 and 1/4 cups (250g) packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon (8g) cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger*
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground or freshly grated nutmeg*
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves*
  • 1/8 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 cup (240ml) heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) milk (I use 1% – any is fine)
  • egg wash: 1 large egg beaten with 1 Tablespoon milk

Instructions

  1. For the cranberries: Place cranberries in a large bowl; set aside. In a medium saucepan, bring 1 cup of sugar and the water to a boil and whisk until the sugar has dissolved. Remove pan from the heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Pour sugar syrup over the cranberries and stir. Let the cranberries sit at room temperature or in the refrigerator for 6 hours or overnight (ideal). You’ll notice the sugar syrup is quite thick after this amount of time. Drain the cranberries from the syrup and pour 1 cup of sugar on top. Toss the cranberries, coating them all the way around. Pour the sugared cranberries on a parchment paper or silicone baking mat-lined baking sheet and let them dry for at least 2 hours at room temperature or in the refrigerator. You’ll have extra, but they’re great for eating or as garnish on other dishes. Cover tightly and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  2. Make the pie crust through step 5 according to my directions, tips, and pictures. Or use store-bought.
  3. For the pumpkin pie filling: Whisk the pumpkin, 3 eggs, and brown sugar together until combined. Add the cornstarch, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, pepper, cream, and milk. Vigorously whisk until everything is combined.
  4. Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).
  5. Roll out the chilled pie crust: Remove 1 disc of pie dough from the refrigerator. On a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough out into a 12-inch circle. Make sure to turn the dough about a quarter turn after every few rolls. Carefully place the dough into a 9-inch pie dish. Tuck it in with your fingers, making sure it is smooth. With a small and sharp knife, trim the extra overhang of crust and discard. Crimp the edges with a fork or flute the edges with your fingers, if desired. Brush edges lightly with egg wash mixture. Line the pie crust with parchment paper. Crunching up the parchment paper is helpful so that you can easily shape it into the crust. Fill with pie weights or dried beans. (Note that you will need at least 2 standard sets of pie weights to fit.) Make sure the weights/beans are evenly distributed around the pie dish. Par-bake the crust for 10 minutes. Carefully remove the parchment paper/pie weights.
  6. Pour pumpkin pie filling into the warm pre-baked crust. Only fill the crust about 3/4 of the way up. (Use extra to make mini pies with leftover pie dough scraps if you’d like.) Bake the pie until the center is almost set, about 55-60 minutes give or take. A small part of the center will be wobbly – that’s ok. After 25 minutes of baking, be sure to cover the edges of the crust with aluminum foil or use a pie crust shield to prevent the edges from getting too brown. Check for doneness at minute 50, and then 55, and then 60, etc.
  7. Once done, transfer the pie to a wire rack and allow to cool completely for at least 3 hours. Decorate with sugared cranberries and pie crust leaves (see note). You’ll definitely have leftover cranberries – they’re tasty for snacking. Serve pie with whipped cream if desired. Cover leftovers tightly and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Notes

  1. Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: Pumpkin pie freezes well, up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving. Pie crust dough freezes well for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before using. If decorating your pie with sugared cranberries, start them the night before. You’ll also begin the pie crust the night before as well (the dough needs at least 2 hours to chill; overnight is best). The filling can be made the night before as well. In fact, I prefer it that way. It gives the spices, pumpkin, and brown sugar flavors a chance to infuse and blend. It’s awesome. Cover and refrigerate overnight. No need to bring to room temperature before baking.
  2. Special Tools (affiliate links): Mixing Bowl Set, Pastry Blender, Rolling Pin, Emile Henry Ceramic Pie Dish, Pie Weights (you’ll need 2 packs), Pastry Brush, Pie Crust Baking Shield, Fall Cookie Cutters, and Silpat Baking Mat
  3. Cranberries: Use fresh cranberries, not frozen. The sugar syrup doesn’t coat evenly on the frozen berries, leaving you with rather ugly and some very plain shriveled cranberries.
  4. Pumpkin: Canned pumpkin is best in this pumpkin pie recipe. I use and recommend Libby’s brand. If using fresh pumpkin puree, lightly blot it before adding to remove some moisture. The bake time may be longer.
  5. Spices: Instead of ground ginger, nutmeg, and cloves, you can use 1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice. Be sure to still add 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of cinnamon.
  6. Pie Crust: No matter if you’re using homemade crust or store-bought crust, pre-bake the crust. (Step 5.) You can use graham cracker crust if you’d like, but the slices may get a little messy. Pre-bake for 10 minutes just as you do with regular pie crust in this recipe. No need to use pie weights if using a cookie crust.
  7. Pie Crust Leaves: On a floured work surface, roll out one of the balls of chilled dough (keep the other one in the refrigerator). Roll out into any shape you really want (doesn’t matter) and 1/8 inch thickness. Using leaf cookie cutters, cut into shapes. Brush each lightly with the beaten egg + milk mixture. Cut leaf veins into leaves using a sharp knife, if desired. Place onto a parchment paper or silicone baking mat-lined baking sheet and bake at 350°F (177°C) for 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove and set aside to cool before decorating pie.
  8. Mini Pumpkin Pies: Many have asked about a mini version. Here are my mini pumpkin pies. They’re pretty easy– no blind baking the crust!

Keywords: pumpkin pie

 

Pie Crust Leaves

My pie crust recipe makes enough for two crusts. So with the extra dough, you can make adorable leaves for decoration on your pumpkin pie. Or any pie, really. I’ve seen the pie crust leaves baked directly on top of the rim of the pie – and I tried that – but was not thrilled with the results– too much uneven baking. The underside of the leaves weren’t really cooked through and the tops got a little burnt (even through my pie shield). So, to make things easier, just bake the pie crust leaves separately and place them on top of your pie before serving. You can also sprinkle them with a little cinnamon-sugar right before baking. I was going to do that, but I forgot.

My leaf cookie cutters (affiliate link) don’t have “veins” so I made leaf veins myself using a sharp paring knife. It’s tedious, but if you want authentic looking leaves you can go ahead. Don’t worry if your veins aren’t perfect. That’s a weird sentence.

My directions for the leaves are in the print-out recipe above.

unsliced pumpkin pie with pie crust designs

Sugared Cranberries

Let’s talk about those sugared cranberries! I like to use them on pumpkin pie because they give a vibrant, fresh pop of color to the very brown and very orange pie. Plus, they’re tasty and festive. Simply prepare a sugar syrup, let the cranberries soak in the syrup overnight, drench in sugar (so dentist-approved) and let dry for a couple hours. My recipe for sugared cranberries is in the print-out recipe above, too!

fresh cranberries in a bowl of sugar syrup

sugared cranberries on a baking sheet

648 Comments

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  1. I made this recipe for my family’s thanksgiving dinner and everyone loved it. I’m usually not a huge fan of pumpkin pie myself, but this recipe is delicious.

  2. Excellent recipe! The spices are perfect and the texture is wonderful. I made mine in a deep pie dish so didn’t have any leftovers and had to cook it a little longer. My go-to pumpkin pie recipe from now on!

    1. Chris Pellett says:

      As a retired farmer a comment on using pumpkins. Halloween pumpkins are not cooking pumpkins and have stringy, not very sweet flesh. There are many good cooking pumpkins such as Cinderella. Personally I use winter squash which is indistinguishable from pumpkins. I like to use the dark orange fleshed varieties such as Kabacha, Sweetmeat, or Red Kuri. Butternuts also works well.
      It takes about 1 -1.1/2 pounds squash to yield 2 cups of purée . Slice the squash in half and remove all seeds and stringy flesh in seed cavity. Place it cut side down on parchment paper in the microwave. Microwave the squash until very soft. It tales about 5 minutes for a small squash.

      Scrape the flesh from the skin with a large spoon. Place cooked flesh in food processor or blender and process until very smooth. At this point I add the other ingredients in the same order as recipe above and just pulse to blend.

      I think this produces a much superior flavor to canned pumpkin. The only change I would make in the recipe is to decrease the sugar 1/4 cup because winter squash is sweeter than pumpkin.

      1. As a retired farmer, still big gardener,I agree with Chris. Not all pumpkins are created equal. Sweet pumpkin are not Halloween pumpkin and squash! Just plain yummy

  3. I used this recipe to make a 9-inch (non-deep-dish) pumpkin pie and it was incredible! I saved the remainder of the pie filling in a mason jar in the fridge and was going to use it to make baked pumpkin bars, but haven’t had time yet and now it’s been in the fridge for 5 days. Do you think it would still be okay to use, or is that a little too long to have waited?

    Thank you!!

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Rebecca, We are so happy you enjoyed this recipe! Your leftover filling should be ok but I would use it today if possible 🙂

  4. My daughter wanted pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving, so I chose this recipe based on all the positive reviews. It was delicious! I used a store-bought frozen pie crust for the convenience, but I did make the pie-crust leaves (sprinkled with turbinado sugar) and the sugared cranberries. I wasn’t sure about the sugared cranberries at first but they grew on me and I can’t resist popping one each time I pass them. I used the entire bag of cranberries rather than just one cup. I like them so much, in fact, that I’m soaking another batch of cranberries right now. I had leftover pumpkin pie filling so decided to use your idea of making mini-pies in a muffin tin. I forgot to grease the wells on the first batch, but thankfully the pies still came out. I greased the wells on the second batch and it was definitely easier to remove the pies. I love the bite size version, I make stick to making those from now on. My filling was nowhere near as thick as yours – it was thin enough to be pourable, I’m not sure why, but the filling still baked up well (I used Trader Joe’s organic canned pumpkin). Thank you for a great recipe!

  5. Just as titled “Best pumpkin Pie ever”. I am not a fan of pepper but this must be the secret. It’s delish!!

  6. Made this recipe for Thanksgiving and even those of us who are not pumpkin pie lovers found this pie delicious. Very smooth and creamy. The spices were just the right amount and not overpowering. I made this in a deep pie dish so cooked it longer, but had no leftover batter. Certainly a keeper for future Thanksgivings. Thanks for sharing!

  7. Solid recipe. I turned my leftover filling into delicious pumpkin pancakes the next day. Just added 1.5 c of flour, 2 t baking powder, 1/4 t baking soda, some salt, and a little more milk and I had the tastiest pumpkin pancakes! Double win.

  8. This pie was amazing! I made it for Thanksgiving and everyone commented that it was beautiful and delicious. I even did the little leaves on top!!! Thank you Sally, as always, for awesome, delicious, beautiful outcome!

  9. I’ve made this pie twice and had excellent results both times! I did use fresh garden pumpkins (they were pie pumpkins) and had great results!

  10. It is not possible to mess up this pie. I have made it even without the right proportions of some stuff and it still turned out amazing. No cracks in the top. Tastes fantastic. I have found the recipe I will use from now on. Thank you!

  11. Why would you create a recipe where all of the filling isn’t used? I didn’t realize this until the filling was made and now I’m kind of irritated that I have all of this leftover filling which will be going to waste. I’m not going to use it to make miniature pies because I needed one pie, not several. I don’t understand what the point is? Why would you purposefully create a recipe that makes too much??

  12. We make this also as a crust-less pie and it’s still so good. Plus it whips together so fast when there’s no pastry to assemble.

  13. Carol M Murphy says:

    I was looking for a pumpkin pie for company that was not the Libby’s recipe. This turned out so wonderful! I will be writing this down on a recipe card and putting it in my recipe book for all future pumpkin pies! Thank you so much for the amazing recipe!! !

  14. The pie was incredible, best pumpkin pie ever. Thanksgiving morning I added the extra pie mixture to our pancakes and we had the most amazing pumpkin pancakes for breakfast.

  15. Lori Fischer says:

    The spices and flavour was good but I moved it down from 5 star because the volume of filling is way too much for one pie. There is actually enough for two pies. I realize it was mentioned in the recipe that there might be enough for a few tarts. The recipe should be adjusted to prepare two pie crusts.

  16. Thank you for all your wonder, clear and simplistic recipes. We use this one sans crust and serve it as a side dish with fowl. Have been making it for a year and the family loves it!

  17. Hi! I love this recipe, but I messed up and accidentally baked this at 350 until it looked set – I didn’t notice until it was too late. Do I need to remake it? I think it was in the oven roughly 65 minutes.

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Erin, as long as it’s cooked through (until the center is almost set and a little wobbly), you should be just fine!

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