Old Fashioned Pumpkin Pie

DessertThanksgivingPiePumpkin

BEST homemade pumpkin pie recipe! With fresh or canned pumpkin purée, cream, brown and white sugar, eggs, and pumpkin spice

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

The single most requested dessert at our Thanksgiving table is pumpkin pie. (The second being apple pie.)

In fact, pumpkin pie is so synonymous with the holidays that during this time you can find “pumpkin spiced” everything, from lattes to donuts.

Homemade vs Canned Pumpkin Pie

When making a pumpkin pie from scratch, you have a choice. You can either use pumpkin purée from a can, or make your own pumpkin purée by cooking a sugar pumpkin.

Canned pumpkin purée will give you a consistently good result in your pumpkin pie. Making your own purée by roasting a sugar pumpkin (or other flavorful winter squash like kabocha or butternut) can give you a deeper, more interesting flavor.

Which one tastes better? My friend Suzanne and I performed an experiment with her family to find out which pie tasted better, the one with canned pumpkin or the one made with puréed roasted sugar pumpkin.

Each of us received two slices, one from each pie, without knowing which was which. The winner?

Pumpkin Pie served with whipped cream

The adults clearly preferred the pie made from roasted pumpkin—it had a richer flavor. One child preferred the pie made from the canned purée, the other two had no preference. Needless to say, everyone finished both of their slices, and the whipped cream too!

Pumpkin Pie Spices

When people think of Pumpkin Spice, they’re really thinking about the spices in a pumpkin pie, which are cinnamon, ground ginger, nutmeg, and cloves and/or allspice. Cloves and allspice taste a lot alike, so typically you wouldn’t need both of them in your mix.

In our pumpkin pie recipe, we add a small amount of ground cardamom to our pumpkin spice mix. An 1/8 of a teaspoon isn’t much, but it’s enough to give the pie a sparkle it wouldn’t otherwise have.

Make Ahead

Pumpkin pie is one of those pies you can easily make a day or two ahead. You can make both the crust and the filling in advance and then bake them the day of. Or you can make the pie, loosely wrap it in plastic wrap and keep it chilled in the refrigerator for up to two days.

You can even easily freeze pumpkin pie, for storage up to a month. To freeze, let the pie cool completely to room temperature. Then wrap it with a few layers of plastic wrap, and then a layer or two of aluminum foil. Wrap it tightly so that the air touching the pie is minimal.

To defrost, let the pie defrost slowly, for several hours or overnight in the refrigerator.

Want more ideas for Thanksgiving pie?!

More great pumpkin desserts

Updated November 6, 2018 : We spiffed up this post a little to make it sparkle! No changes to the recipe.

Old Fashioned Pumpkin Pie Recipe

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  • Cook time: 1 hour
  • Yield: Serves 8

Ingredients

  • 2 large eggs plus the yolk of a third egg
  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons of cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon of lemon zest
  • 2 cups of pumpkin pulp purée from a sugar pumpkin* OR 1 15-ounce can of pumpkin purée (can also use puréed cooked butternut squash)
  • 1 1/2 cup heavy cream or one 12 oz. can of evaporated milk
  • 1 good crust (see pâte brisée recipe or our no-fail flaky pie crust recipe)

* To make pumpkin purée from scratch, cut a medium-small sugar pumpkin in half. Scrape out the insides (reserving the pumpkins seeds to roast) and discard. Line a baking sheet with Silpat or foil. Place the pumpkin halves cut side down on the lined baking sheet and bake at 350°F until a fork can easily pierce them, about an hour to an hour and a half. Remove from oven, let cool, scoop out the pulp.

roasted-pumpkin-800-1 roasted-pumpkin-800-2

Alternatively you can cut the pumpkin into sections and steam in a saucepan with a couple inches of water at the bottom, until soft (strain before using). If you want the purée to be extra smooth, press the pulp through a food mill or chinois.

Special equipment:

Method

1 Preheat your oven to 425°F.

2 Beat eggs, mix in sugars, salt, spices, lemon zest: Beat the eggs in a large bowl. Mix in the brown sugar, white sugar, salt, spices—cinnamon, ground ginger, nutmeg, ground cloves, cardamom, and lemon zest.

3 Add pumpkin and cream: Mix in the pumpkin purée. Stir in the cream. Beat together until everything is well mixed.

4 Pour into pie shell and bake: Pour the filling into an uncooked chilled or frozen pie shell. Bake at a high temperature of 425°F for 15 minutes.

Then after 15 minutes, lower the temperature to 350°F. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes more. The pie is done when a knife tip inserted in the center comes out wet but relatively clean. The center should be just barely jiggly.

(About half-way through the baking, you may want to put foil around the edges or use a pie protector to keep the crust from getting too browned.)

5 Cool on a rack: Cool the pumpkin pie on a wire rack for 2 hours. Note that the pumpkin pie will come out of the oven all puffed up (from the leavening of the eggs), and will deflate as it cools.

Serve with whipped cream.

Hello! All photos and content are copyright protected. Please do not use our photos without prior written permission. If you wish to republish this recipe, please rewrite the recipe in your own unique words and link back to Old Fashioned Pumpkin Pie on Simply Recipes. Thank you!

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Links:

Pumpkin Pie with Toasted Marshmallow Topping from David Lebovitz

Homemade Pumpkin Pie Slice With Whipped Cream

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Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

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282 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  • Trish

    Thanks so much Elise for the delicious recipes – for the fantastic tasting pie crust (like a shortbread taste) and the pumpkin pie filling. Love the spices. Especially the cardomon and lemon zest.

    If people can be patient, here are some modifications . Added a sprinkling of pumpkin pie spice to include a bit of allspice. Sweetened with coconut sugar and a bit of Truvia blend (stevia and sugar) to taste. Also cooked a 1/2 cup or so of frozen butternut squash, strained it and pureed to make up the total amount of pumpkin squash to 16 oz. – thank you for the hint on that. Had only 3/4 cup whipping cream, so substituted almond milk and so total liquid was about 1 1/4 cups. Added 3 teaspoons arrowroot powder to ensure the filling would bake more firm. Arrowroot powder can be found at your natural health store – it is great to use as a thickener instead of cornstarch.

    Crust was fantastic – did not have sour cream, so substituted with a blend of 1/4 cup Skyr (a thick Norway-type yogurt) and a couple teaspoons whipping cream. To save some time (from pushing the butter into the flour), I put the dry ingredients in my mini Cuisinart chopper and blended the butter and coconut oil just until crumbs formed. Then emptied into a large bowl, and added a bit of whipping cream to the dough while stirring with fork so that the disc of dough formed. To save a bit of time, wrapped the disc of dough in plastic wrap and placed it for about 15 min in the freezer. Crust was perfect to roll out, and it fit so well into my large Pyrex, deep dish pie pan. Fantastic flavors !

    For the whipping cream, I usually dissolve about a 1/2 teaspoon gelatin in cold water, then heat gently to dissolve. Then whip the cream until peaks almost form. Stop the mixer, and add 1 teaspoon real maple syrup, and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla. Then while whipping the cream, slowly pour the cooled gelatin liquid over the beaters. This ensures you have a stable cream that can be stored in the fridge for future topping.

    Elise, I would give these recipes one a 10 star rating if there were extra stars ! Thank you and have a Merry Christmas !

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Kate

    I want to try this. Sounds amazingly. I’m using ready to roll pastry…. do I need to blind bake it do you think?

  • Lesa

    I couldn’t find my regular recipe this year, so I sifted through Pinterest looking for something similar. I’m so glad I found this one and I’ll be using it every year from now on! My pies always split before, which didn’t bother me, but this year they didn’t – even when my timer broke and I burned the first batch! The texture of this year’s pie was dreamy. And the recipe was so simple that when my first batch burned, I was able to make the second batch completely from memory. My guests raved about the pie! Thanks for this!

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Ann

    This recipe is very close to my grandmother’s recipe but better. I followed this recipe using fresh roasted pumpkin & evaporated milk (personal preference). This is the best pumpkin pie I’ve ever eaten. The crust was a vodka pie crust that’s rich, flaky & a perfect compliment to the filling. It baked for a total of an hour and a toothpick came out mostly dry with a couple small, moist crumbs. It was not overdone. The pie held its shape & was light and fluffy with wonderful flavors. It got rave reviews at Thanksgiving. This is the only pumpkin pie I’ll ever make. (Threw out the other recipes.)

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Megan

    I followed the instructions exactly, made sure it was the right temp before pulling it out, and when it came out and after cooling when I tried to cut it the entire thing fell apart. The crust was soggy on the sides and bottom, and there was liquid in the bottom of the pie pan. This was the only dessert my family had planned for Thanksgiving, I told everyone I’d take care of it, it’s completely inedible, and now I’m crying on Thanksgiving because I let my whole family down and it’s too late to go out and get another pie because all the stores are closed. I’m really upset.

    xxxxxyyyyy

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