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. So, so good. I made a buttermilk pie earlier in the week and had half a homemade pie crust left in my fridge. Since no one brought pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving, I made this for my son (And to use up that crust). He ate 3 slices. Thank you for sharing!!!

  2. Best pumpkin pie recipe!

  3. I made this recipe for Thanksgiving. It is the best pumpkin pie I ever tasted! I don’t have any comment, other than to thank you for sharing your amazing recipe!

  4. Definitely a WIN WIN! I subbed out the heavy cream with coconut cream, the milk with almond/coconut milk and the cornstarch with arrowroot powder. It was superb! Compliments are still coming in!!

  5. Every Thanksgiving one of our family members bakes a couple of pumpkin pies. While my sister raised the bar by making the crust (a recipe where I got her hooked on how pie crusts can be delicious), the pies still just sat to the side with a couple of obligatorily pieces eaten.
    This year I made this one, including the leaves. I came back home after the feast with a small piece. Everybody loved it and couldn’t figure out why it was so much better than past pies made by the label.
    I think it proves yet again that taste and presentation are a winning combo. Well done and thank you. Except I think I am now charged with making the pie every year.

  6. I have had good luck using roasted pie pumpkin. After mixing all the ingredients, I poured the mixture into my Vita-mix blender and whipped it up. The texture was amazing!

  7. sooo yummy! i love to bake but am new to pies. this was a hit. i didn’t have the ground clove, and it was still very flavorful. i tried using candied pomegranates instead of cranberries b/c its all i had – this was good too!

  8. To start off, this is my first pumpkin pie ever. I used a real pumpkin. It was the most delicious pumpkin pie I’ve ever had. I saw that if I followed this recipe, my pie was going to be mush. I only put 3/4cup heavy cream(not a full cup) and did not add ANY milk and I DOUBLED the corn starch. I did not add salt or pepper but doubled the ginger. I bought frozen pie crusts and baked them for 15 minutes before. I also used a food processor to puree the pumpkin. Pic below, it came out great not gritty or ‘herbaceous’, it tastes like an 80 year old grandma that had been baking homemade pies her whole life made it, not like I bought it at the grocery store.

  9. AMAZING. Sally, you are just as amazing as your recipes. All these are delish. This pie is : silky, sweet enough, tender, melting.. the filling has a perfect flavor. The best pumpkin pie ever, I guess. Thank you so much, carry on ! <3

  10. Jeffrey Petersen says:

    This pumpkin pie is the bomb. The very best.

  11. What an amazing recipe!!!! My husband is a pumpkin pie snob and has disappointed time after time for the last couple of years……..even by those he had loved for years. I tried this recipe (cutting the sugar in half) and he could not stop patting his tummy and uttering mmmmmmmmm. Doesn’t matter what else I can or cannot make…….in his eyes I’m the greatest cook because I made him the best pumpkin pie EVER! Thanks for this amazing recipe!!

  12. A big hit! I cut the sugar by 1/4 cup with very happy results.
    Question: can maple be added to the recipe? via maple sugar to substitute for some of the brown sugar? If so, any idea how much? Or (preferably) maple syrup? In that case, how would I compensate for the extra liquid?

    Wouldn’t maple be a good flavor along with the others already here?

    1. HI Tony! You can definitely try using maple sugar instead of some, half, or all of the brown sugar. (That amount is up to you!) If using pure maple syrup, you’d have to play around with the liquid ingredients to ensure there isn’t too much liquid in the filling.

  13. Help! I’m making this pie for our Christmas dinner tomorrow. After reading the recipe I decided to make the filling tonight and let it sit until tomorrow. However, the filling seems EXTREMELY runny. I’m hoping it will set up a bit overnight in the fridge, but the recipe says it should be pretty thick at this stage. Any ideas/suggestions?

    P.S. I used your pie crust recipe and I’m nervous but excited!

    1. Chilling it will help! You’re on the right track if you followed the filling recipe exactly– with canned pumpkin, heavy cream, etc.

  14. Sally, thank you so much for this recipe and for instructions on how to make a pie crust. This was my first attempt at making a homemade crust. I did the vodka version and it was perfectly flakey. The pumpkin filling was amazing and got rave reviews from all of my guests!

  15. Hi!!
    I made this pie for thanksgiving and it was delicious i did bake the crust before putting in the filling but after the pie was baked the crust was completely raw. What can I do to fix that? I want to make it again for Christmas!!
    Thank you!

    1. Hi Sun! You can pre-bake the crust for 5-10 minutes longer to help guarantee it’s a little more done.

  16. I’m making you pie recipe now and the crust is in the oven, but the filling is extremely runny. I added an extra tablespoon of corn starch so I’m hoping for the best.

  17. So far I have made this recipe twice in the last month. I have been looking for a good homemade pumpkin pie recipe for years & have finally found the keeper! Very happy with the recipe and definitey think the black pepper is genius. However I did make a few adjustments. I found the batter to be too runny so I upped the cornstarch to 2 TBS and increased to 4 eggs. I also made my pie with homemade graham cracker crust as that is my family’s preference for pumpkin pie. It is also easier & quicker that way. Thank you!!!

  18. This pumpkin pie is simply AMAZING!!!!!! I was very hesitant about adding the pepper. I couldn’t taste “pepper” at all!!!!!! This will now be my go to recipe!

  19. BEST PUMPKIN PIE IVE EVER HAD

  20. I’ll tell. I always baked a few pies according to your recipes, it always turned out 5+. Something didn’t work very well with this, but my husband ate everything and was satisfied!
    The dough was not the same as yours, but a little dark – a little orange, greasy and heavy … Maybe the products let us down? And yet I put it in the oven, we recently moved, I cook for the third time in this oven, so everything cooks in it for a very long time, even to the maximum capacity (I have gas). Instead of 30–35 minutes, the pie was baked for almost 1.5 hours, if not more, I had a direct panic 🙂 But I think that I will somehow adapt to this and will delight my loved ones with new masterpieces according to your recipes!

  21. I made this recipe and the filling was amazing (although I love spice so I will probably ramp up the spice next time). However, I had a problem with the crust shrinking on one side and the crust, although it was flaky, was a little less tender than I would have liked. Do you have any suggestions about how to fix this problem?

    1. Hi Sarah, If your pie crust is shrinking, my first tip is to avoid over-working the pie dough. Dough should only be mixed until the ingredients come together. I recommend using a pastry cutter instead a food processor. Let it rest for at least 2 hours in the fridge– and if you can let it rest longer, awesome. Better yet, make the pie dough discs a few days in advance so they can rest during that time. Likewise, use gentle force when rolling out pie dough. Roll out very slowly and take your time. Keep the ingredients as cold as possible. You can even freeze the crust for 20-60 minutes before blind baking. That always always helps! (I usually do that.)

  22. Hey there ! 🙂
    I am so excited to try this recipe tonight! I searched for a good pumpkin pie recipe on the internet and found a lot where evaporated milk is used .. could you explain to me the difference between using this type of milk and heavy cream? 🙂

    Greetings from Germany! xx

    1. Hi Julia, Heavy cream has a much higher fat content and will help the pie filling thicken nicely.

  23. One of the creamiest pumpkin pies i have ever made (or eaten)! Absoluuuuuutely delightful! My tweaks to the recipe: no cranberries (i like my pumpkin just as it is!), less brown sugar than called for (I used about 3/4 c.), a homemade (of course) graham cracker crust in a 9″ round cake tin (pre-baked for 10 min. after a 15-minute set in the freezer). I poured the entire pumpkin batter into the pan , and it reached the top of the tin. In my (touchy) old gas oven at 375 F, it needed only 40 minutes. The cream and milk were definitely key!

  24. Hi Sally, I just wanted to let you know that this is the best! I won’t ever look at another recipe for pumpkin pie! Cranberries were out of stock, but still an amazing pie. I also used your all butter pie crust ( without alcohol because we don’t do alcohol) and it was ever so flaky and delicious. Thanks again and again!

  25. Pumpkin pie in April, why not! HAd all of the ingredients during this stay at home order and we loved the results. Wonderful texture and the crust was very workable. Thank you for sharing this one and we can’t wait to make it again for Thanksgiving.

  26. Heather Zittel says:

    Best pumpkin pie I have ever had.

  27. Amazing recipe! Thank you.

  28. Great pumpkin pie recipe, best one I’ve tried.

  29. So I had leftover filling, but not much dough. Rather than making mini pies I used the filling for pumpkin french toast. Definitely give it a try!
    Oh, and the pie was delicious.

  30. When using canned pumpkin what other ingredients from the list above should I add to it? Just pepper?

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