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.

Bursting with flavor, this pumpkin pie recipe is my very favorite. It's rich, smooth, thick, and tastes incredible on my homemade pie crust! sallysbakingaddiction.com

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

Bursting with flavor, this pumpkin pie recipe is my very favorite. It's rich, smooth, thick, and tastes incredible on my homemade pie crust! sallysbakingaddiction.com

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! 😉

How to make pumpkin pie from scratch on sallysbakingaddiction.com

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.

Decorate your pies with pie crust leaves! On sallysbakingaddiction.com

Decorate your pies with pie crust leaves! On sallysbakingaddiction.com

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.

Bursting with flavor, this pumpkin pie recipe is my very favorite. It's rich, smooth, thick, and tastes incredible on my homemade pie crust! sallysbakingaddiction.com

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 how this spiced pie is so damn good. A pinch of pepper.

Bursting with flavor, this pumpkin pie recipe is my very favorite. It's rich, smooth, thick, and tastes incredible on my homemade pie crust! sallysbakingaddiction.com

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.

Bursting with flavor, this pumpkin pie recipe is my very favorite. It's rich, smooth, thick, and tastes incredible on my homemade pie crust! sallysbakingaddiction.com

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

Print

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
  • 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 is 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.
  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. Filling will be a little thick.
  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. (Crunch up the parchment paper first so that you can easily shape it into the crust.) Fill with pie weights. Make sure the weights are evenly distributed around the pie dish. Pre-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.
  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: 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. If using fresh pumpkin puree, lightly blot it before adding to remove some moisture. The bake time may be longer.
  5. Spices: About 1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice can be used instead of these spices.
  6. Pie Crust: No matter if you’re using homemade crust or store-bought crust, pre-bake the crust. (Step 5.)
  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.

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.

Bursting with flavor, this pumpkin pie recipe is my very favorite. It's rich, smooth, thick, and tastes incredible on my homemade pie crust! sallysbakingaddiction.com

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!

How to make sugared cranberries on sallysbakingaddiction.com

How to make sugared cranberries on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Sugared Cranberries for your holiday baking and pumpkin pie-- these are so simple!
I call this the GREAT pumpkin pie recipe because it's my absolute favorite recipe for this Fall dessert!
Here's how to make adorable and festive pie crust leaves for your homemade pies! #pumpkinpie #applepie

497 Comments

  1. Making this for the second time (first time was last week). I used a cup of fresh pumpkin that I’d frozen. I used a frozen pie crust. I halved the recipe. Didn’t use the cranberries. Didn’t use the egg wash. Baked for 70 minutes. It looked very dark but it was very delicious. It wasn’t thick at all.

    Which reminds me of a story my mom told me. She was a young bride and decided to make a pumpkin pie. She got the can out, and dumped it into the crust. It WAS thick. She spread it around the crust and threw it into the oven (the can said “complete pumpkin pie mix”).

    She was confused because she remembered her mom being so careful putting it into the oven, so it wouldn’t spill over!

    And, that’s the way I remember her doing it, and that’s how I did it just now, lol.

    I laughed so hard when she told me that.

  2. Thank you for this recipe. I tried this on the family and no one noticed the black pepper but raved about the pie. The black pepper really adds a not-spicy kick to this recipe that I always felt pumpkin pies needed.

  3. This was so delicious!!!

    It was Not “a little thick” after adding the liquid, so I was worried I did something wrong, but it turned out deliciously!!

    This recipe was simple yet amazingly tasty!!
    This is going in my recipe stash. It was so good I’m not even gonna look for another pumpkin pie recipe. This IS IT.

    Try it. You will not be disappointed!

    [Only one tiny change: I added sugar to my crust bc I like a slightly sweet crust (2-3 Tbsp)]
    {I did not have pie weights, so I just baked it.}

  4. I made Sally’s pumpkin pie recipe for two Thanksgiving seasons. My father is a pumpkin pie snob and has definitely passed his test! I tend to have trouble baking pumpkin pies in general – I swear, for some reason pumpkin pie is my kryptonite – I always tend to have them overdone or underdone. But for this recipe, I do not have any trouble!

  5. Hi Sally,
    I made this recipe for the first time tonight (actually my first homemade pie ever! What have I been doing with my life?!), and loved it. I still have leftover batter, and saw that you mentioned in Step 6 that we could maybe use it for making mini pies. Mine was pretty runny, but do you think there is any chance I could make some kind of muffins or cupcakes instead from what is leftover? I know there is no baking powder in the batter, so wasn’t sure how much that would affect it. Thanks!

    1. Hi Stephanie! So glad you loved this pumpkin pie recipe. For the leftover batter, you could make mini pumpkin pies similar to these mini key lime pies (with the graham cracker crust). Or how about adding a graham cracker crust (perhaps halve this recipe) to a 9×5 inch loaf pan, pre-baking the crust for 10 minutes, pouring the remaining batter on top, and baking until it’s set.

  6. Would this recipe work with a sugar substitute? And if so how much

  7. This was good, but not great. Here’s what I though could be better, and will be modifying next time:
    -I did not find it to be as flavorful as my local bakery’s pies. I’ll try it again by adding doubling up on the spices, or maybe .5x
    – I found that I could have poured the entire batter into the crust, not just 3/4 as the recipe states. It could have used some more height

  8. I made this pie for Sunday night dinner (yes, I’m aware it’s only August) and this was seriously, hands down, the absolute best pumpkin pie I’ve ever tasted. I loved it! My husband glared at me after he tasted it because he’s always maintained that his grandma makes the best pumpkin pie, and he refused to admit that this one dethroned hers (she always just used the classic libbys pumpkin pie recipe). She passed away a few years ago so I settled with letting him declare this the SECOND best pumpkin pie he’s ever tasted. Even though we both knew it was the best ever I’ll never use a different recipe again! I can’t wait to make this for the in laws this holiday season.

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