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 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 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 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

514 Comments

  1. 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!

  2. 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!

  3. 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.

  4. Heather Zittel says:

    Best pumpkin pie I have ever had.

  5. Amazing recipe! Thank you.

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

  7. 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.

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

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

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

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

    I laughed so hard when she told me that.

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

  10. This was so delicious!!!

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

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

    Try it. You will not be disappointed!

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

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

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

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

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

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

  15. I didn’t want all the cream calories so I substituted only one cup evaporated milk instead of the 1 and a fourth cream and raised the cornstarch to 2.5 Tablespoons. I felt lazy and wanted a quick dessert so I put whole ginger snap cookies on the sides and bottom and baked in square pyrex dish. Turned out very well but was real sweet. Topped with a little whip cream. I had always tried the recipes on the pumpkin can and never did like them. They weren’t spicy enough and didn’t like the texture. This one is great!

  16. Super silky and great flavor! Very simple pie filling with great payoff. Not grainy or gummy. Will make this one again.

  17. Thrilled with my pie using this recipe! I read that using kabocha or red kuri squash would make the best “pumpkin” pie (apparently the line between squash and pumpkin is blurry, and canned pumpkin is frequently squash). I used a red kuri and just loved the pie. Very happy with this recipe, it will be my go-to pumpkin pie recipe.

  18. Christine Abbaticchio says:

    Best our whole family has ever had! Agreed with other comment that the pie filling was not even just a little thick. Turned out perfection. Added to the recipe book immediately. Mind Blown.
    Thank you so much for sharing!

  19. best pumpkin pie! I did a battle of the pies this weekend with three recipes and this pie won first place amongst my friends. This will be my go-to from now on. And i always use sally’s pie crust recipe using the shortening and butter; it always turns out.

  20. Cheryl Brantley says:

    My Hubby is a type 2 diabetic so I am always looking for treats for him I can make. Changed this recipe to low sugar and it was absolutely wonderful! That little bit of cornstarch made the pumpkin hold together beautifully. I replaced the brown sugar with 3/4’s of a cup of Swerve sugar replacement and I added a tablespoon of dark sorghum to bring up the flavor to that of brown sugar. That pie was so good! The spices are just right and I love the black pepper in it. Thank you Sally for sharing this one! It will be my go to from now on.

  21. Malcolm Hart says:

    Made two pies today for the first time. Made with your crust and whipped cream. Delicious! Both pies went fast.
    Also have tried the pumpkin cookies, the carrot cake and your scones. Love em all!

  22. Diane Cooper says:

    This was excellent! Mine was pretty runny when I put it in (sloshy?), but firmed up and tasted delicious! Thank you!

  23. Do you use canned plain pumpkin puree? Alot of canned pumpkin puree has different seasonings added..

    1. Yes Dan, use pure pumpkin puree with no spices in it. This way, you can control what spices go in and how much. I hope that answers your question.

  24. Rosemary Bruins says:

    The best

  25. This recipe looks delicious, but I can’t have heavy cream. Any substitutions that will work? Canned coconut?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Julie, You can definitely use canned coconut cream here. Let us know if you try it!

  26. If making into mini pies. What would be the bake time at what temp?
    Thanks!

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Sarah, It depends how big the mini pies are. Use your oven light to keep your eye on them and bake until the pie filling is just about set.

  27. Jennifer Pepler says:

    I have made several of your other recipes but not this one yet. You have great recipes and I appreciate you sharing them! I think I will make this over the weekend but wondered with the left over filling if used in store bought individual tart shells, would you just put the filling in the frozen shells and bake? Or would you pre bake the tart shells prior to putting your filling in? Thanks for your time and the recipes!

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Jennifer, You can pre-bake the mini crusts, but it’s not necessary. The smaller surface area will bake just fine under the filling.

  28. Does it matter if I use pumpkin pie filling from a can vs pumpkin purée from a can??

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Carissa, Yes it matters 🙂 Pumpkin pie filling not only is filled with spices and sugar, its consistency is completely different. If you are interested in making your own puree, some readers have reported making fresh pumpkin puree this way: https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/pumpkin-puree-recipe-1922629

  29. Kayla Marie Ruschkowski says:

    If you are using a store-bought crust, do you bake it before you add the filling?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      If you are using an unbaked store bought crust then yes, pre-bake the crust for 10 minutes as directed in step 5. Happy baking!

  30. Amazing recipe!!! I was wondering if I can use the left over crust and filling to make tarts in a muffin tin? If so how long should I cook it for?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Kandace, You can! It depends how big the mini tarts are. Use your oven light to keep your eye on them and bake until the pie filling is just about set.

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