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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 for this classic Thanksgiving dessert.

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 in my pie crust recipe.

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: 1 hour, 5 minutes (includes blind bake)
  • Total Time: 5 hours (includes cooling)
  • Yield: serves 810; 1 cup sugared cranberries 1x
  • 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

Scale

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 deep dish 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. (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.
  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

Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. I used this recipe to make my first-ever from scratch pumpkin pie, and it was a huge success. The steps you broke down were really helpful and 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!

  2. Just made this and it looks amazing! Tasted a tiny bit that was on the tester and it is on point. I used fresh pumpkin and the color is amazing!

  3. Hi Sally,

    I’d like to make this for a dinner party we’re going to this week and was wondering if you had any advice on reheating it so we can serve it warm at our friend’s house?

    Thanks

    1. Hi Krista! Pumpkin pie is best served at room temperature, but if you’d like to serve it warm, you can cover it and place in a 300F oven for 15 minutes.

  4. Love this recipe, with detailed instructions you can never go wrong. And I especially love the idea of baking the leaves/decorations apart from the pie. On several occasions I placed the pastry leaves on the border and they were droopy o sank into the pie. Looking forward to making the leaves this way. Thanks!

  5. My first pumpkin pie from scratch and it turned out fantastic. I used purée that I got from my Halloween pumpkin instead of the canned. I even bought the mini cookie leaf cutters. Even with a crust cover ring the outside crust was burned. So I simply cut that off and placed all of the leaves down with the Sugared cranberries. Nobody was the wiser.

  6. I love making this pie recipe so much! Truthfully, I love all of your baking recipes haha. Unfortunately, as of this year I can no longer eat dairy. Do you think I could swap full fat coconut milk for the cream and milk? Any other suggestions for dairy free swaps? Thanks!

    1. Hi Kristina, I haven’t tested this recipe with coconut milk or any other dairy free alternative. Please let me know if you decide to experiment with it and if you find something that works!

  7. Turns out perfect every time. Incredible flavor, and even tastier the next day 🙂

  8. This is my new “go to” pumpkin pie recipe! It’s so delicious. I’ve made it several times now. In my latest version, I amped up the spices. I added more pumpkin pie spice and extra cinnamon and nutmeg. Also tried a gingerbread cookie crust—my sweetheart loved it.

    Try this recipe, it will be your new favorite! And don’t forget to add the pepper.

  9. Absolutely delicious! My first attempt ever but the taste was like i’m making this for years. Thank you Sally for inspiring! I’m so happy i found your website 🙂

    Just one thing, i made all butter crust and it didn’t rise enough. I used the regular 9-inch cake pan though which was not glass.

  10. This has been my favorite pumpkin pie recipe – most like my mom’s, for which I have no recipe – since I found it several years ago. Only one thing is missing, imo. I like a bit of rum in my pumpkin pie. I love it the way it is but I think I’d like it better with a small amount of rum.

    My problem is, I don’t know whether I should decrease some other liquid ingredient, like the milk, when adding the rum. Does anyone know about this? I’ve only recently begun using much liquor while cooking and I don’t know whether I need to decrease other liquids or if so, 100% or less.

    1. Hi Lindi! I’m so happy you love this pumpkin pie recipe too. You can add rum if you’d like. I recommend reducing the milk to make up for that extra liquid.

  11. I’ve used this recipe over & over. SO delicious! Can this be made crustless? I know there are many crustless recipes but this is my favorite!! Thank you!

  12. I am not a fan of pumpkin pie (its a texture thing for me) & therefore have never made one. I made this pie for my mom (by request) over the weekend & it was very easy to make & very very tasty (of course I had to try a small piece). I made both crust & filling the night before & assembled & baked the pie the next morning. It does make a lot of filling. I have a shallow 9 in glass Pyrex pie plate & could’ve probably made 2 whole pies with this filling. I ended up using a 6 in cake tin to make another small pie (which my friends got to try & really really loved!). Really lovely flavor in this pie. Thank you for the wonderful recipe!!

  13. Hello –
    Did you dock the bottom of the crust when you blind baked it? Unless I skipped over it in your recipe I believe I read to pre-bake at 375 for 10 minutes, but I didn’t see if you put it back in the oven to cook the bottom and/or dock it first. Thanks! Looking forward to trying this out soon!

    1. Hi Stephanie! No, there’s no need to dock it. Just pre-bake the crust with pie weights, remove the weights, then add the filling.

  14. I am going to try this recipe for Thanksgiving, and I’m so excited about it! I love that you do not use any kind of canned milk – that ingredient turns me away from so many recipes. I love the combination of pumpkin and pecans, so I’m wanting to do some kind of pecan crust instead of the traditional pie crust. I’ve found a few gluten free pie crust recipes that I think will work, but was wondering if you had an alternative pie crust recipe, and also if you think that would be a successful endeavor? Thank you!

    1. If you just want to change the crust what about using my graham cracker pecan crust from this recipe: https://sallysbakingaddiction.com/pumpkin-pie-bars/ (and you can use gluten free graham crackers if you need to).
      Or if I highly recommend my newer recipe for Pecan Praline Pumpkin Pie: https://sallysbakingaddiction.com/praline-pumpkin-pie/

  15. I am making Pumpkin Pies for the first time this year and my mother always used sweet condensed milk along with Pumpkin Pie spice so I would assume this would still work in your recipe minus the heavy cream and spices you mentioned with the exception of the cinnamon? Your thoughts?

    1. For this recipe I recommend sticking with the cream and not condensed milk. About 1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice can be used instead of the spices.

  16. I will be making this pie again for the fourth year in a row — it is ALWAYS a hit, and my go-to. I have it permanently bookmarked! Just wanted to stop by and say THANK YOU, Sally, for sharing your amazing creations. Everything you post is so delicious! Happy Holidays to you and your family!

  17. If I sub the spices (cinnamon, clove, ginger, nutmeg) for pumpkin spice should I still add the salt and pepper ? Thank you!

  18. Hi Sally!

    I’ve scanned the comments and couldn’t find this in there:

    I love this recipe and have never found a better one! I really want to make this pie for Thanksgiving, but my friend’s daughter has an egg allergy.

    Is there anything I can do?

    Thanks!

    1. Hi Jenny, I’m so glad you love it! I have not tested this recipe with an egg substitute but let me know if you try it!

  19. Hi there! I want to bake this today to bring to a dinner gathering tomorrow. Do you think I can substitute the heavy cream plus the milk for 1 and 1/4 cups half and half? I already have it in the fridge and am trying to cut down my massive grocery list anywhere I can haha

    1. 1 and 1/4 cups half-and-half should be fine, 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!)

  20. Thank you for a wonderful recipe. The church I am employed by had a fundraiser in October and I offered to make 4 pumpkin pies for the bakery table. I dropped off the pies and my co-worker did not believed that I made them. The pies look like they were made at a high end bakery. The pies were the first thing to sell at $15 each. Woo hoo!

    My daughter works for my husband’s company in NYC. Yesterday the office had a Friendsgiving. We both made your pie. She commutes to work on the Long Island Rail Road and the NYC subway. Both my husband and daughter came home with wonderful stories of people on the trains and subway commenting on how lovely the pie looked. A family even suggested that it looked like a winner from the Great British Bake Off.
    Once again thank you for a great recipe and inspiring me to make something as simple as a pumpkin pie look beautiful!

  21. I made this last weekend for a “friendsgiving” and it was great! (although my friend who is a chef said it was lacking in spices). I used an all butter crust and ended up with extra crust and extra filling so I put the filling in the fridge and the crust in the freezer and returned to it later in the week to make mini pies per your recommendation. For the mini pies, I simply rolled out the dough, cut circles, and put in a muffin tin and filled about a tablespoon of filling per pie (I also added extra pie spice and pepper). Then baked at 375 for about 20 minutes (no blind baking). They turned out delicious. I still have extra filling… I think I will try to bake it in a ramekin.

  22. Hello Sally yesterday was the first time I every baked a pumpkin pie. My sister loves your site and says you can never go wrong with anything you post. I had to tweak your recipe a little because I can not have a lot of sugar. So I did a 1/4 cup of brown and 1 cup of splendor and I have to say it came out great. Flavor was so rich and no you can not taste the pepper. The only thing I have to do is work on actual baking time my crust edge burned a bit and it baked only 50 mins. I did do something a little different with left over mix in stead of putting in another pie crust I put it in a casserole dish and baked it like that and it was perfect to me with whip cream on he side. Thank you for your post

    Nanette

  23. This is without a doubt the best pumpkin pie recipe. I followed the directions exactly as written and it was perfect. Thank you.

  24. I am not a great baker and usually stick with no bake desserts or rely on the expertise of my extended family and friends. But, I helped my son learn to bake a pie and this recipe was easy to follow and came out of the oven beautifully! He brought it to his friends’ house as a thank you for all the time he spends there. He came home with an empty pie dish! And rave reviews!
    We will make another one this week for Thanksgiving dessert. He can’t wait! We followed the recipe exactly, and had some leftover like you mentioned. How long will that keep in the fridge?
    Thanks for your amazing recipe! This no bake girl is a convert!

  25. I have NEVER made a pumpkin pie and tried this. It was fantastic and a big hit at the family Thanksgiving. It came out exactly as pictured.

  26. An truly excellent pumpkin pie recipe — great flavor and a nice light and creamy texture. A couple of thoughts: I think using freshly grated nutmeg and DARK brown sugar makes a really difference. The recipe says to fill the shell only 3/4 full — but if you are not doing the decorating, then you can fill it more than that. My pie was ready in 45 minutes — so check early.

  27. Hi Sally – I enjoyed this recipe but I found that I had a greasy mouth feel at the roof of my mouth. Could this be from the heavy cream? Any way to avoid that feeling?

    1. Hi Camille, I wonder if the pumpkin pie wasn’t baked long enough? Or was it the crust that tasted greasy? I’ve never experienced a greasy taste before. You can try substituting the 1 cup heavy cream + 1/4 cup milk for just 1 cup half-and-half if you’d like.

  28. I’ve been using this recipe for years now and I’m never disappointed. I do often use my own pumpkin purée. The key to this being successful in a pie is 1-making sure you roasted the pumpkin long enough to make it very some 2- having a high quality blender to purée it smoothly and 3- straining it in cheesecloth overnight. The straining makes it nice and thick like store bought. They only other change I make to the recipe is the crust. I make a crust out of ginger snaps (similar to graham cracker crust but with ginger snaps). It’s so easy to make and really amps up the spice in the pie. Since I don’t make the crust I obviously don’t have crust leaves, so omit the sugared cranberries. But this year I’m thinking of doing the sugared cranberries and toasted pecans to make a holly design on the pie. I get rave reviews every single time. Thank you for this recipe.

  29. I used your “all butter” pie crust recipe. Will that make a difference in bake times?

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