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 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 for this classic Thanksgiving dessert.
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 in my pie crust recipe.
If you skip the leaf decorations on top , you’ll have a 2nd pie crust you can use to make leftover turkey pot pie!
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
- Eggs. Eggs set up the pumpkin pie filling. They give the filling its rich, luxurious texture.
- Heavy cream. Heavy cream makes pumpkin pie 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.
- 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.
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 Baking. 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… it’s a pinch of pepper.
I actually add it to my homemade pumpkin pie spice blend, too! Feel free to replace the ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and black pepper below with my homemade spice. (Keep the cinnamon in the filling though!)
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: For some fun twists on this classic, try this recipe as mini pumpkin pies, with a crunch topping on pecan praline pumpkin pie, or with extra spices in chai pumpkin meringue pie.
So from my kitchen to yours, enjoy The Great Pumpkin Pie Recipe. And if you’re looking for more inspiration for your dessert table, here are all of our favorite Thanksgiving pies.Print
The Great Pumpkin Pie Recipe
- Prep Time: 45 minutes
- Cook Time: 1 hour, 5 minutes (includes blind bake)
- Total Time: 5 hours (includes cooling)
- Yield: serves 8-10; 1 cup sugared cranberries
- Category: Pie
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: American
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.
- 1 cup (120g) fresh cranberries*
- 2 cups (400g) granulated sugar, divided
- 1 cup (240ml) water
- Homemade Pie Dough (full recipe makes 2 crusts: 1 for bottom, 1 for leaf decor)
- egg wash: 1 large egg beaten with 1 Tablespoon milk
- 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)
- If garnishing with sugared cranberries, make those first: 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.
- Make the pie crust through step 5 according to my directions and video tutorial in my pie crust recipe. Or use your favorite pie dough or store-bought.
- Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).
- 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 deep dish pie dish. Tuck it in with your fingers, making sure it’s tightly pressed into the pie dish. Fold any dough overhang back into the dish to form a thick rim around the edges. Crimp the edges with a fork or flute the edges with your fingers. Brush edges lightly with egg wash mixture.
- Par-bake the crust: 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. Prick the bottom of the crust all over with a fork to create steam vents and return crust (without weights) to the oven for 7-8 more minutes or until the bottom is *just* starting to brown. (Review this how to par-bake pie crust page if you need extra help with this par-baking step.)
- Make the pumpkin pie filling: Whisk the pumpkin, 3 eggs, and brown sugar together until combined. Add the cornstarch, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, pepper, heavy cream, and milk. Vigorously whisk until everything is combined.
- Pour pumpkin pie filling into the warm crust. Only fill the crust about 3/4 of the way up. (If using a deep dish pie dish as instructed, you should only have a little filling leftover. 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.
- Once done, transfer the pie to a wire rack and allow to cool completely for at least 3 hours before garnishing and serving.
- 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.
- 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.
- Special Tools (affiliate links): Mixing Bowl Set, Pastry Blender, Rolling Pin, Pie Weights (you’ll need 2 packs), Pastry Brush, Pie Crust Baking Shield, Fall Cookie Cutters, and Silpat Baking Mat
- 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.
- 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.
- Spices: Instead of ground ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and pepper, you can use 1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice. Be sure to still add 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of cinnamon.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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!
(PS: Be sure to use fresh cranberries here, not frozen. If you have a bag that needs using, frozen will work for cranberry sauce — another must-have on your Thanksgiving table!)
Reader Comments & Reviews
I used a store bought crust but made the leaves and sugared cranberries. It was delicious and so cute — really festive. Second time making this and am so happy with it. Next time I’m braving the crust.
Oh yeah! I made this last week for a Christmas party, and then ate the leftovers for a week, DELICIOUS!
For those baking in a dairy free household like ours, coconut cream, and bonsoy worked just fine as substitues for the cream/milk. I also did it on a ‘Biscoff’ cookie crust (super easy), you will not be dissapointed, and I’ll be making this again in a couple days for Christmas day!
Can you mix the filling together and chill up to two days in advance?
Hi Erin! We would only mix up to one day in advance. But the filling comes together very quickly!
This recipe was a hit!! I used this recipe for the filling since I had to rescue sheet crust from going unused and made mini hand pies with it! When I make it at home next year I will be making the cranberries and my own crust!
Let there be no waste!!! I cooked off leftover pie filling along with scrap crusts and turned it into homemade ice cream!!
This pie recipe is to die for!!! Made it for thanksgiving and it was delicious. Making a second one this week, thanks Sally!
I loved this recipe so much! I wanted desperately to try a different recipe this year, and I know you would have the perfect recipe for pumpkin pie. Thank you!
I used this pumpkin pie recipe for Thanksgiving 2022, and it was fabulous. I used fresh pumpkin, and based on your reasoning for using canned, I used cheese cloth to squeeze the water out. There was so much water! My pie turned out so creamy and smooth. I will never used another recipe again– filling, crust, cranberries and all!
I made this pie for Thanksgiving with fresh roasted pumpkin and the all butter crust and it came out amazing! I had multiple people tell me it was the best pumpkin pie they ever had. The crust was crispy and flaky, and the filling was beautifully smooth and set. It was surprisingly easy to make and is my new go-to pie recipe.
This came out yummy! I hadn’t planned to bake pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving but when I went to the store, they only had gluten-free, vegan pies left (no hate! But there are very picky eaters in my extended family and I was sure they’d revolt if they saw the label). So I grabbed a pack of 2 frozen pie shells (so can’t comment on the crust recipe here!) and used this filling recipe. Note that though this makes 1 deep dish pie, it was enough to fill both my standard frozen pie shells! Bake time was a bit shorter, but I just kept an eye on them til they looked done. Yummy!
You did it again! Another fabulous recipe. I chose yours when looking for a pumpkin pie recipe to make my first ‘from scratch’ pie, knowing I could trust yours. It turned out to be the best pie I’ve ever made! I chose to use fresh pumpkin (also a first for me). It was the right choice for me. I was amazed with how it turned out. I won’t eat a store bought pumpkin pie again. Thank you, Sally’s Baking Addiction! You helped make a fabulous Thanksgiving tradition for us.
This was PERFECT! You know a pie looks good when there are 5 pumpkin pies on a potluck buffet and this is the first one gone! And the flavor/texture was on point too. I didn’t have pie weights so I used dry beans (that have become my pie weights) and this worked marvelously. Thank you again Sally!!!
This pumpkin pie really does have the best flavor. I’ve been disappointed in pumpkin pies for years. They tend to be bland. I almost thought my fond memories were just dreams. This recipe restored my faith. I’ll be making it every year & maybe again next month for Christmas. Thank you.
3 years in a row, the only pumpkin pie I bake! THE BEST!! We have always had debate about the appropriate spice blend and ratio but this one is perfection! The pepper gives it that zing for the spice lovers without drowning the other flavors in clove like so many recipes do. And so easy Recommend!!
Success! I shouldn’t have tried a new recipe to take to a Thanksgiving dinner but I did. I followed the crust and filling recipe exactly and it was a hit. Everyone loved it. Perfection.
Such a delicious pumpkin pie. I could not find my grandmother’s recipe and I wanted a flavorful pie not what is available in the grocery stores. I have not baked a pie in 12 years due to losing my spouse, the inconvenience of my condo kitchen and arthritis in my feet and ankles but I made a grand effort for our family Thanksgiving using the pie basket that my grandmother and mother used. They would have loved it, too! Thank you for sharing this wonderful recipe!
I struggled a bit with the crust, after being in fridge overnight was too difficult to work with, but got a little better once closer to room temperature. I thought I had over handled it but it still came out tender and flakey. Par baked using marbles for weights. I found the texture of the filling a little less firm than I like, and overly sweet (I used dark brown sugar, which also make the color a bit too dark). Next time (and there will be a next time!) will take dough out after 30 min (my usual practice) and reduce the sugar and milk/cream.
Love the presentation with the leaves and candied cranberries! I am using a mix of star shapes as that is what I have on hand, but will be picking up the leaf cutters for stocking stuffers, including mine!
I used this recipe for Thanksgiving this time. Easily one of the best I’ve made. Everybody loved it. I almost skipped the black pepper thinking maybe it will be a bad idea. But no, it just gives a small amount of warmth to it.
Any tips on making a pie shield? Mine looks so weird and yours is a perfect circle but I can’t seem to replicate it.
Is yours more of an oval? See if you can cut the foil to be more of a rounded semicircle. It doesn’t truly matter, though, because as long as the edges are covered, you’re good.
Amazing recipe! Easy to follow and tasted great. Any idea what to do with the leftover filling? We had smaller pie pans so we have a lot left over.
I don’t have a 9inch deep dish pie dish. It’s a standard 9inch wide pie dish. Does the recipe amount change at all to accommodate?
No big changes. You’ll just have a little filling leftover and the bake time may be quicker, but no shorter than 50 minutes. So, start checking at 50.
I’m excited to try this! Can I add a little brandy to the filling?
Hi Lynette, You can add brandy if you’d like. We recommend reducing the milk to make up for that extra liquid.
Can I use evaporated milk in place of the regular milk, and still use the same amount of heavy cream? I don’t always have milk on hand.
Hi Lisa, We don’t recommend it– best to stick with the written recipe. The pie filling is much thicker and creamier using cream/milk.
This pumpkin filling is DELICIOUS. I’ll definitely make it again, and I loved the addition of black pepper – it really made it pop! My crust was a little disappointing – I parbaked as directed, but when sliced it was definitely a little on the soggy side. I’m used to doing an egg wash on the crust for custard-based pies, which will be my only change to this for next time. Overall, fantastic flavor, and I’m so happy to find a recipe that doesn’t call for evaporated milk!
I am very excited to try this recipe today! I am wondering if I need to adjust the temperature or the time if I am baking two pies at once. Please advise.
Hi Susan, The baking time shouldn’t change. Happy baking!
Question – I accidentally bought half and half rather than heavy cream. Do you think it would be fine to substitute? Oops!
Hi Lauren, 1 and 1/4 cups half-and-half should be fine (to replace BOTH the cream and the milk), but the pie may need a little longer in the oven since you’ll be missing some fat. (Since the recipe calls for more cream than milk!)
I made this for the first time for Thanksgiving. Best pumpkin pie I have ever had. So smooth with a crisp ctrust. My husband dutifully tried it even though he doesn’t typically like pumpkin pie. He loooved it! I made it exactly as written and made the leaves and sugared cranberries. Im still getting requests for the recipe. It was all gone and the other pie was still there. Making another today just for my husband and myself.
Hi! I plan on making this for Thanksgiving, so I did a test run last night. Great flavor, but I had trouble with the bake. The crust got overdone too fast and the pie was a little less baked than I normally like. Should I decrease the parbake time and also tent foil the whole pie for the entire filling bake?
Hi Jenn, For next time, you could try just a few minutes shorter on the par-bake (don’t eliminate completely), try turning the temperature down and baking the pie for longer, moving it further away from the heat source, or covering the crust with a pie shield or foil once the edges start to brown. Hope this helps!
How long does the extra filling last in the refrigerator for?
Love this pie!
Do you have a muffin recipe for the almost 2 cups of the filling I had left?
Hi Debbie, you can make some mini pumpkin pies!
Can I water bake my pumkin pie to avoid cracking? Andrew
Hi Andrew! If you’re careful not to over-bake the pie, it shouldn’t crack. Let us know if you give this recipe a try!
Oh no! I forgot the corn starch and the pie has been in the oven for about 15 mins. Is it ruined?
Hi Jenn, the cornstarch plays an important role in thickening the filling and keeping everything smooth. The pie may not set as well, but the taste should be similar. Hope you enjoy it!
Trying this recipe next week! We have a couple lactose intolerant people in the family and was going to sub full fat coconut cream for the heavy cream, unsalted plant butter for the butter, and almond milk for the milk. Do you think there will be any major issues with those substitutes?
Hi Cameron, We haven’t tested this recipe with any dairy free alternatives, so we’re unsure of the results. Please let us know if you decide to experiment with it and if you find something that works!
This is THE BEST pumpkin pie ever! Thank you for this recipe, I make it every year ever since I first tried it. I always get several compliments on it. Question: does the baking time change when baking two pies at once? Thank you!
So glad you love it, Kaitlyn! The baking time shouldn’t change. Happy baking!
Finally a great tasting pumpkin pie filling !! We are a vegan household so I used Just Egg for egg replacement and Country Crock plant cream for the heavy cream and oat milk for regular milk. This worked beautifully ! Didn’t change anything else! Thank you so much for this recipe the spice blend is terrific also! Today’s pie was my final attempt at a pie for everyone for Thanksgiving next week.
This is by far the BEST pumpkin pie recipe out there! It is so creamy and the crust is perfectly flakey. The pie crust leaves on top make it look so sophisticated. I will be trying the sugar cranberries this year.