How to Make Pumpkin Pie

Ready to learn how to make pumpkin pie? This recipe was years in the making. No cans of milk, fresh pumpkin puree, and the perfect blend of spices have made this recipe the winner of the quest for a pumpkin pie recipe that tastes like happy!

Go roll out the pie crust, it’s time to make PUMPKIN PIE! (Yes, the recipe will work with canned pumpkin too)

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a small pumpkin pie with a dollop of whipped cream

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It may sound funny, but this pumpkin pie recipe and I are like old buddies. We are both completely different now than when we first met.

The pie has evolved over the many, many (22 and counting) Thanksgivings that my husband and I have prepared the family feast.

Our first pumpkin pies were made from the famous can of pumpkin recipe… Just like my ancestors before me.

Then we spent a few years buying all the pies… Just like the other busy people we knew… My thinking back then was that pie was a lot of work for little return (GASP!)

Back then, my husband was the only one even brave enough to make a pie, I thought they were too hard!

Then we went back to making canned, but always trying to tweak the recipes.

As the years passed, our tastes and eating habits changed (for the better I like to think) and Sweet Bytes was born.

Sweet Bytes has an obsession with perfection and baking from scratch. (Notice I talk about my business in the 3rd person? She’s very pushy and I need to distance myself sometimes.)

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A fresh pumpkin pie recipe

The first quest in perfecting the pumpkin pie recipe began with making fresh pumpkin puree. We wanted local pumpkins, to support local farmers, and for the made in Oklahoma appeal. Plus, we really like the people who run this farm stand not too far from our home.

The really cool thing about going with a local farmer is they know EVERYTHING you could ever want to know about their items. How to pick the best, why to choose a certain variety, what time of year the fruits and vegetables are in season (link to a cool little table chart I made), and what to avoid when you’re selecting your produce.

A pie pumpkin from the farmer's market

Local farmers are a great wealth of information.

If you want to know all about choosing pumpkins and how to make your own pumpkin puree, you can go check out How to Cook Pumpkin for Pie; otherwise, let’s carry on.

A pumpkin pie recipe without evaporated milk

After we settled the fresh pumpkin sourcing, we tried a few different versions using evaporated milk. However, I figured if I was going to the trouble of making puree, I might as well get rid of ALL the cans.

It took a little experimenting to get a perfect blend of dairy products. The recipe had to turn out just the way I imagined it or I wasn’t going to be happy. Still, even without the evaporated milk, the pie baked beautifully every time.

It seems like evaporated milk is just one of those ingredients that everyone assumes HAS to be in pumpkin pie. Yet, I’ve found that almost any kind of milk will work. Even almond milk works, but the taste and texture will vary depending on what you use.

Pretty cool!

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Ingredients in pumpkin pie filling

  1. Pumpkin puree
  2. Cream
  3. Milk
  4. Eggs
  5. Sugar
  6. Brown sugar
  7. Salt
  8. Cinnamon
  9. Ginger
  10. Nutmeg
  11. Ground cloves

There are a few more ingredients in this than the typical pumpkin pie recipe, but it’s so good. If you don’t use a lot of these spices year around, you can buy the tiny jars. I also avoided getting too fancy with the spices or types of sweeteners. Simple ingredients are very nice in well known and loved recipes.

Kitchen equipment and tools needed to make pumpkin pie filling

  1. Large mixing bowl
  2. Medium mixing bowl
  3. Kitchen scale
  4. Liquid measuring cups
  5. Dry measuring cups and spoons
  6. Spatula for stirring

That’s it. Well… technically. I know if you made the puree and the pie crust you also need the equipment to make those things too, but for the filling, it’s VERY BASIC. I don’t even use a mixer.

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How to make pumpkin pie

To make pumpkin pie, first, you need to do a little prep work. I like to start with a parbaked pie crust. (You can read just how to do that over on the article all about baking pie crust.) I prefer a traditional pie crust for pumpkin pie, but feel free to use your favorite. Here’s another link the best pie crust, at least in my life, it’s the best.

a raw pie crust lined with parchment paper and filled with ceramic pie weights for parbaking pie crust for pumpkin pie

If you’ve been wanting to try pumpkin pie with graham cracker crust, you can find the recipe for graham cracker crust here.

We also need pumpkin puree. If you are going to make it fresh, be sure to puree at least 15 ounces for the recipe.

The mixing method for the pumpkin pie is so simple. However, it has been developed intentionally to mix all of the ingredients thoroughly and not add too much air to the filling.

In a very similar fashion to cheesecakes, pumpkin pies are prone to cracking down the middle when they are baking or cooling.  Too much air when mixing might be one of the causes of cracking.

In a large mixing bowl, add the pumpkin puree and the eggs. Gently stir together with the spatula before adding the cream and milk. After adding the cream and milk, stir the whole mixture gently until everything is incorporated.

Next, in the medium mixing bowl, you’ll add the sugars and spices and mix well with a fork until it’s a uniform mixture.

Close up of pumpkin mixture with sugar mixture poured on top to make pumpkin pie filling

Pour the sugar mixture into the wet ingredients and stir slowly until it’s all blended together. Make sure you scrape the bottom and sides frequently so everything is well blended.

Finally, pour the finished pie filling into your parbaked pie crust and bake according to the recipe.

When it’s done, remove it from the oven and allow it to cool to room temperature before refrigerating.

When the pie is cooling, I like to place it in the microwave or under a cake saver, where it can cool slowly. Cooling too fast may also be a cause of cracking.

Baking sheet with six small pumpkin pies fresh out of the oven

How to tell when pumpkin pie is done

The common way to tell if a pumpkin pie is done is to stick a knife in the center and see if it pulls out clean. I go through a lot of trouble not to crack my pie, so I really can’t bear stabbing the poor thing, but feel free if you must.

I bake the pie until it doesn’t jiggle in the center when I gently bump the side of the pan. Pumpkin pie is a custard pie and this method works for all of them as far as I can tell. It should be set very similar to Jell-o when you bump it.

If the pie has baked the full time and it’s still jiggly, keep baking it. Pie is done when it’s done… Unless you didn’t measure your milk or cream right… The pie will set when it’s ready. It may take an extra 10 -15 minutes depending on how cold your ingredients were when you started and how accurate your oven is.

Just keep checking on it in 5-minute intervals and it will be fine.

The pie slightly puffs up when it’s baking and settles as it’s cooling, don’t be alarmed. In the picture above, the pumpkin pies had just come out of the oven and you can see how they are still puffed up a bit… I love that.

How to fix a cracked pumpkin pie

Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, the pumpkin pie gets a crack. Thankfully, there are 3 solutions!

  1. You can easily smooth the cracks back together with an offset spatula! The better you are with the spatula, the more flawless your pie will appear. Cake decorators got this in the bag! (This little video shows exactly how, but the pie looks really dark.)
  2. Cracks can be easily covered with cute pie crust cutouts or well placed whipped cream
  3. You can decide that the cracks are part of the deal and that everyone will love the pie just as it is. AND THEY WILL! No one will notice once it’s sliced and served, I promise.

Pumpkin Pie Recipe

No cans of milk, fresh pumpkin puree, and the perfect blend of spices have made this recipe the winner of the quest for a pumpkin pie recipe that tastes like happy!

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword pie, Pumpkin Pie
Servings 8
Calories 300 kcal
Author Mikel Ibarra @ Sweet Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1 9" Parbaked pie crust
  • 15 Oz Fresh pumpkin puree (slightly less than 2 cups) 425.243 grams
  • 2 Large eggs (slightly beaten)
  • 1 Large egg yolk (slightly beaten)
  • 3/4 Cup Heavy Cream 177 mL
  • 3/4 Cup Whole milk 177mL
  • 1/3 Cup Granulated sugar 65 grams
  • 1/2 Cup Brown sugar 100 grams
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt 2.5 grams
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Ground cinnamon (not fresh) 5.2 grams
  • 1 teaspoon Ground ginger (not fresh) 1.7 grams
  • 1/4 teaspoon Ground nutmeg (not fresh) .58 gram
  • 1/8 teaspoon Ground cloves (not fresh) .29 gram

Instructions

Pre-heat the oven to 350°F, place rack in lower 1/3 of the oven

Mise en Place

  1. Puree 15 ounces of fresh pumpkin

  2. Parbake a pie crust in a 9" pie plate

Make the filling

  1. In a large mixing bowl, stir together pumpkin puree, slightly beaten eggs, and the egg yolk. 

  2. Add heavy cream and milk to the pumpkin mixture and stir slowly until liquid ingredients are incorporated. 

  3. In a medium mixing bowl, add sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, salt, nutmeg, and the cloves. Mix together with a fork until all of the dry ingredients are well mixed and blended together. 

  4. Pour sugar mixture into the pumpkin mixture and stir together with a spatula or wooden spoon until all ingredients are blended. Do not use a mixer. Scrape the bottom and sides of the mixing bowl and continue stirring until everything is incorporated. 

  5. Place the parbaked pie crust on a baking sheet. Pour the pie filling into the pie crust. Do not overfill the crust, leave a little room at the top.  

Bake the pie

  1. Bake the pie for approximately 60 minutes or until done. Pie is done when it is set in the center and only slightly jiggles when you bump the side of the pan. 

Cooling, storing and serving the pie

  1. Remove pie from the oven and allow to cool slowly to room temperature. The inside of a microwave works well. 

  2. When the pie is cooled to room temperature, store in the refrigerator until serving. 

  3. The pie is amazing with homemade whipped cream! 

Recipe Notes

Pumpkin pie requires refrigeration. It will stay fresh in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Feel free to bake it a day or two ahead so the spices have time to mingle! This recipe will also work with canned pumpkin puree

Frequently asked questions about pumpkin pie

  1. Does pumpkin pie have to be refrigerated? Yes. It can stay out for 2 hours, and then it needs to be refrigerated.
  2. Can pumpkin pie be frozen? Yes! You can wrap it in several layers of plastic wrap or an airtight container. Thaw in the refrigerator for 12 hours or overnight to avoid any weeping of the filling.
  3. Can I substitute canned pumpkin for fresh pumpkin puree in this pie recipe? Yes, the amount of pumpkin puree will stay the same.
  4. Is there a pumpkin pie crust recipe? In short, no. The truth about all pies is you can put their filling into any kind of crust you want. You can make a chocolate crust, a pate sablee, or even just pour it into a pie plate and bake it with no crust.

Questions or comments

I will be happy to answer any questions you have about baking pumpkin pie! Please leave a comment or send me an email and sign up for the newsletter to stay in touch!

A pinterest graphic with a pumpkin pie decorated with pie crust leaves

 

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