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

649 Comments

  1. Ok I couldn’t wait any longer. My pie had only been cooking for an hour but I cut a little sliver and oh my gosh it is amazing! This is by far the best (and easiest!) pie crust recipe ever! And the pumpkin is delicious. Just the right amount of sweetness. And I think the secret ingredient gives it that extra something special. It totally makes sense! Another awesome recipe Sally!! No need to test this out before thanksgiving. Just do it!

  2. I used this recipe to make my first-ever from scratch pumpkin pie, and it was a huge success. The steps sbd tips you broke it down into were totally approachable-the result was a hit with everyone that tried it (even someone who never likes pumpkin pie!). This will be making an appearance at thanksgiving…

  3. We just made this pie and it really is delicious – thanks Sally! The crust was simple and the filling was a really nice blend of flavors. I don’t love pumpkin but I actually love this pie!

    PS – the name always makes me think of Charlie Brown and the Great Pumpkin

  4. First I must say that you are brilliant! Everything I make is from your blog and it always is the most delicious thing I’ve ever tasted!

    I’m planning on making this pumpkin pie and your salted caramel apple pie for thanksgiving next week. (Quite a challenge for someone who has never made pie before) I read that you can make the dough and refrigerate it a few days before. If I were to make the dough on Sunday, then make one pie on Tuesday and another on Wednesday, would they both still be good for thanksgiving and a couple days after?

    So appreciate your response and once again thank you for the amazing recipes!

    1. Yep! You can make the dough on Sunday, keep it in the fridge until Tuesday, make one pie with 1 crust, then another on Wednesday with the 2nd half of the crust. Both will be great as leftovers after Thursday. Enjoy!

      1. Thanks so much for the reply! Very excited!

  5. I made two of these pies for friends today and they were so delicious. Even my friends who “don’t like pumpkin pie” loved it! Thanks for the great recipe!

  6. Hi Sally! I’m excited to make this recipe for Thanksgiving.

    For the pie pan, how deep do you mean for deep dish?

    Thank you!

    1. anywhere between 1.5 – 2 inches deep

  7. I made this for our small group Thanksgiving dinner last night. It got rave reviews!

  8. Do you leave the cranberries in the frig over night?

    1. I leave them at room temperature, but the refrigerator is OK.

  9. Jaimil Rivera says:

    Can I make the pie crust in my food processor? instead of using the forks or the pastry cutter… 🙂

    1. Yes you could, but I find the crust isn’t nearly as flaky that way. By hand is best. But do what is easiest for you if flakiness isn’t a priority.

  10. oh my word….myself and our new future son in law love pumpkin pie so I have started my annual over the top pumpkin pie recipe search….I am so impressed with this recipe I can’t stand it!!!! I think after all these years I have finally found it and won’t be making the back of the Libby’s can!! Lol. I think the biggest shock is how many people have commented and said they don’t like pumpkin pie!! Made me sort of sad to imagine not loving pumpkin pie!! Thank you and I can’t wait to check out the rest of your blog!!! Oh and TOTALLY making those cranberries for on top!!!!!!

  11. Sally-your recipe was amazing. My son went and got a second piece after he took only one bite of the first piece!

  12. Can I use a spring deep dish pan? If so what do you suggest using to make sure the crust doesnt stick to the pan.

    1. I’ve made a pie this way before, I put parchment paper or aluminum foil around the part of the pan that you will be removing, then you can carefully peel it away after you take the edge away! If you use foil also grease the inside of it with crisco…butter…etc

  13. Made this, loved it, will make it again!! Thanks for the recipe and the pictures and the details! It really helps!

  14. Hi Sally, made your pumpkin pie for a party today here in London – it was my first one and went down a storm! Our resident american friend said it was a great pumpkin pie so that made my day! love the spice combination and the black pepper is a revelation. Keep up the good work – love this blog!!! Sabs

  15. Sally – this is such a beautiful pie! Can it be made the day before.. Or is it best to serve same day as baked? Thanks so much for sharing.. I can’t wait to try it!

    1. Kathy, serving the next day is perfectly fine. Store covered at room temperature or the refrigerator.

  16. Hi Sally! This looks awesome! I usually make the recipe on the back of a can of pumpkin, but wanted to switch it up this year. I didn’t even look far, because I know everything I make of yours will turn out beautifully. I have a question, out of curiosity. Why do the standard pumpkin pie recipes use evaporated milk? Does it change the consistency of the pie?

    Thank you!

    1. Hey Andrea. Evaporated milk is easy for a lot of people, however I like to use fresh dairy since I use canned pumpkin (canned pumpkin for texture and taste purposes). Plus, I find the pie filling to be much thicker and creamier using cream/milk.

  17. Sally,

    Beautiful pie! I have always just made the simple Libby’s pumpkin pie.
    How does the heavy cream/milk/egg compare to using a can of evaporated milk? Is it better or about the same?

    Love the idea of the pepper to spice it up!

    1. Hey Jennifer. Much better– it’s fresh! And since I like to use canned pumpkin for texture and taste purposes, I prefer to use fresh dairy. Plus, the pie is much thicker and creamier.

  18. Hi! So same as other reader, I have only used the Libby’s recipe. And the only complaint I have heard from people about pumpkin pies they haven’t liked is that they are too “spicy” (except for the Libby’s). So compared to the taste of the Libby’s recipe, how would you compare the “spice” of your recipe to it? Also, this may seem random, but I saw a pumpkin pie recipe that had you make a Brulee on the top (torching brown sugar), have you tried this? And do you think it would make it way too sweet? Thanks!

    1. this recipe is a little spicier. and I’ve never attempted a brûlée topping– let me know if you try that!

  19. 1st time attempting a pumpkin pie and am nervous. I have a couple questions…do you use a pyrex or non-stick pie pan? What do you consider deep dish? Most of the pyrex pans are pretty standard…maybe 1-1/2″ deep. Lastly, is the brown sugar the only sweetener in the recipe…the Libby’s canned pure pumpkin puree doesn’t list any sugar on the label. Thanks and I hope it turns out as well as everyone has stated.

    1. I use all sorts of pie dishes; it doesn’t matter if it is nonstick. The high fat content in the crust prevents any sticking. 1.5 – 2 inches for the deep dish. Yes, I only use brown sugar.

  20. Hi Sallly,
    Love how your humor comes through your posts. I am going to make this decadent pie for Thanksgiving this year (very excited to show my mother I’m a rock star baker- thanks to you.) Just had a couple quick questions: I am also making an apple pie, do you have an apple pie recipe posted? And, can I use the same pie crust recipe for both? Thanks a bunch!

    1. Yep– you can use my pie crust recipe (linked in this post and in my apple pie recipe post) for both. My apple pie recipe: https://sallysbakingaddiction.com/2013/07/04/salted-caramel-apple-pie/

  21. I just made 2 of these pies for Thanksgiving, without the cranberries and pie leafs, and though I have yet to cut into it, it looks and smells great! I do have a question though, I see you state that the pies freeze well, just to thaw overnight in the refrigerator. That’s great since I have tons of frozen pumpkin puree left over from our halloween pumpkins and would like to make a few pies to store for a later date, and most recipes I find say that it doesn’t freeze well. If I do this, what is the recommended re-heat temperature and time in the oven after thawing overnight in the refrigerator? Thank you!

    1. Oh, and when I make the pies to freeze, do I cook them first, cool for 3 hours and then freeze? Or do I prepare them and freeze them without baking? Thanks!

      1. Hello Christina, although this is not my recipe…it’s the BEST ever! You definitely need to bake this pie before freezing. You are really going to love Sally’s recipe. Better than any pumpkin pie I have ever tasted and I have made many a pie in my 53 years!! Enjoy and Happy Thanksgiving!

  22. I thought I had my butter and shortening into pea sized pieces, But when I rolled the pie curst into a ball and flattened into a disk, I can see small pieces of butter. Should I try another batch of pie crust? Or will the butter melt and infuse into the curst? Also, I thought I read somewhere that making the filling a day or two ahead of time prior to baking helps make the flavors blend more. Is this correct? Thanks. Appreciate your help.

  23. Well, I just took this out of the oven and it looks phenomenal!! Very even, no weepy/watery residue on top, no cracks…simply beautiful! Used my own crust recipe, as my kids would likely disown me if I didn’t. I also used a 10″ pie plate and was able to scrape every last drop into the prepared crust. Cannot wait to serve this Thanksgiving Day! (I may have to sample it before then, and then cover up the evidence with cranberries, or something!) 🙂 Thanks so much!!

  24. alexandra robertson says:

    Hi Sally,
    can this recipe be doubled successfully? It looks so good I want to make two for dinner! Thank you!

  25. I made this pie yesterday to bring to my sister in laws. It made extra so I taste tested it and it taste AMAZING! By far the best pumpkin pie I’ve ever had! Can’t wait to see what the others think!!

  26. I made mine yesterday for thanksgiving day. Should be fine

  27. Melissa,
    Thank you soooooo much! I had just put the pie in the oven, so quickly removed it, poured the puree into a bowl and added more sugar. My gut told me to pack the sugar but I didn’t. Thanks!!! You just saved my Thanksgiving pie!

  28. I’m trying to find a sugar-free pie filling since I cannot have sugar. I make a gluten-free pie crust, which is wonderful. But it’s tough to find a filling recipe that does not have sugar. I do not like the “sugar-free” brown sugar substitutes since they don’t pack and the taste isn’t always there. I do have xylitol. It won’t give it the same taste but it would sweeten the Tandy pumpkin puree I roasted up.

  29. Hi Sally, So far I am loving this recipe as I am making it! Quick question, you say the homemade crust recipe makes 2 pie crusts for the bottom and the leaf cutouts. Would it be enough for 2 bottoms or should I make more? Thanks!

    1. If you do not do the leaf cut outs, 1 recipe for my homemade pie crust (which makes 2 crusts) is enough for the two pies yes!

  30. I made this pie a few weeks ago for my family who usually doesn’t get too excited over pumpkin pie, and they all raved about it!!! We all liked it much better than my previous recipe (straight off the can). I’m excited to make it again for a bigger Thanksgiving crowd.

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