Old Fashioned Pumpkin Pie

This is the BEST pumpkin pie recipe! Make it with canned or fresh pumpkin puree up to several days ahead. Also freezes well! Try it for your next Thanksgiving, or whenever the mood for homemade pumpkin pie strikes.

Pumpkin Pie
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?

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!

roasted-pumpkin-800-1
Elise Bauer
roasted-pumpkin-800-2
Elise Bauer

How to Make Pumpkin Puree from Scratch

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 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Remove from oven, let cool, scoop out the pulp.

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.

Pumpkin Pie served with whipped cream
Elise Bauer

What is Pumpkin Pie Spice?

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 eighth of a teaspoon isn't much, but it's enough to give the pie a sparkle it wouldn't otherwise have.

Do You Need to Blind Bake the Crust?

No, you don't need to blind bake the crust for this recipe. Just pour the pumpkin pie filling into an unbaked chilled or frozen pie crust, and bake it in the oven. The crust and the pumpkin filling will cook at the same rate.

A single slice of pumpkin pie topped with whipped cream on a plate
Elise Bauer

How to Tell When Pumpkin Pie Is Done

This pie cooks for a little over an hour, first at 425°F and then at 350°F. Reducing the temperature partway though helps the pie cook evenly and with less cracking.

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.

A few cracks are inevitable, but as long as you reduced the temperature partway through cooking and don't over-bake the pie, you shouldn't have any major cracks. If you do, the pie will still taste delicious — just cover with whipped cream and no one will be the wiser.

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Pumpkin Pie

Make Ahead Steps

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, refrigerate them separately, 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 Thanksgiving Pies?

More Great Pumpkin Desserts

Bake 1 Deep Dish Pie, or 2 Shallow Pies

This recipe makes enough filling to fill one homemade deep-dish pie crust, or two storebought pie crusts. Even if your frozen pie crust is labeled "deep dish", you'll still need two crusts. The baking time for 2 shallow pies should be a little less.

Avoiding a Soggy Bottom Crust

If you have a pizza stone, you can use it to help get the bottom crust nicely baked. Preheat the stone on a rack in the lower third of the oven and place the filled pie shell directly on the stone.

If you don't have a baking stone, try baking the pie in the lower third of the oven for about half the baking time, and then moving the pie up to the center of the oven.

Substituting Pumpkin Spice

If you want to sub ready-to-use pumpkin pie spice in place of all the spices listed in this recipe, use 3 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice.

Love pumpkin spice? We have a recipe for you to make your own blend!

Pumpkin Pie Troubleshooting

Running into some trouble with your pumpkin pie? We've got expert answers to all your problems.

From the Editors Of Simply Recipes

Old Fashioned Pumpkin Pie

Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 60 mins
Total Time 70 mins
Servings 8 to 12 servings
Yield 1 deep-dish pie, or 2 shallow pies baked in pre-made crusts

This recipe makes a generous amount of filling, enough for one homemade crust or two store-bought frozen crusts.

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.

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.

Ingredients

  • 2 large eggs

  • 1 large egg yolk

  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar

  • 1/3 cup white sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon

  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

  • 1/8 teaspoon cardamom

  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

  • 2 cups pumpkin purée from a sugar pumpkin (see Recipe Note) OR 1 (15-ounce can) pumpkin purée (can also use puréed cooked butternut squash)

  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream or 1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk

  • 1 homemade pie crust, chilled or frozen (see pâte brisée recipe or our no-fail flaky pie crust recipe), or 2 pre-made pie shells

Method

  1. Preheat the oven:

    Preheat your oven to 425°F.

  2. Make the filling:

    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.

    Mix in the pumpkin purée. Stir in the cream. Beat together until everything is well mixed.

    mixing pumpkin pie ingredients
    Elise Bauer
    pumpkin pie ingredients mixed well
    Elise Bauer
    adding cream to pumpkin pie puree
    Elise Bauer
    pumpkin pie filling ready to add to pie
    Elise Bauer
  3. Fill the 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.)

    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.

    pumpkin pie in dish ready for baking
    Elise Bauer
    Baked Pumpkin Pie From Scratch
    Elise Bauer
  4. Cool the pie on a rack, then serve:

    Cool the pumpkin pie on a wire rack for 2 hours.

    Serve with whipped cream.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
314 Calories
20g Fat
31g Carbs
5g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8 to 12
Amount per serving
Calories 314
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 20g 25%
Saturated Fat 10g 49%
Cholesterol 95mg 32%
Sodium 237mg 10%
Total Carbohydrate 31g 11%
Dietary Fiber 2g 6%
Total Sugars 16g
Protein 5g
Vitamin C 2mg 11%
Calcium 51mg 4%
Iron 1mg 8%
Potassium 185mg 4%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.