What a joy to have something on the menu that nearly everyone can eat without it being a big deal. Vegan pumpkin pie is just that. It’s virtually indistinguishable from conventional pumpkin pie and will delight all of the guests at your table, whether at Thanksgiving or a family dinner.
Better yet, it’s super easy to whip up with pantry ingredients. Grab your blender—yes, blender—and get set for a pumpkin pie you’ll want to make again and again.
No Eggs? No Problem
Pumpkin pie is a custard pie, one that relies on eggs for a filling that holds its shape. There are a few options for replicating the body of an eggy custard without using eggs. For this pie, silken tofu is the secret ingredient.
Instead of the eggs and heavy cream or evaporated milk usually found in conventional pumpkin pie, just open up a package of silken tofu. Once puréed with the pumpkin, sugar, and spices, it’ll bake into a smooth filling with just the right body and texture.
The best part? It’s actually easier than making pumpkin pie the usual way.
Silken Tofu Is the Way to Go
For this recipe, look for firm silken tofu in a shelf-stable package, not the water-packed tofu that’s refrigerated. You can often find shelf-stable in what a lot of grocery stores call the Asian aisle, though I’ve also seen it kept next to the refrigerated tofu.
Canned Pumpkin Means Less Stress and Better Pie
In years past, I did the whole deal: hacked apart and roasted a pumpkin for a 100 percent from-scratch filling. It was admirable, but I ditched that habit once I realized the results I got with canned pumpkin purée were more predictable, looked and tasted better, and saved me over an hour of time.
I also appreciate how our modern pumpkin pies, which embrace convenience ingredients, are a marrying of traditions over centuries of North American holiday pie baking and pumpkin cookery. By opening a can and a block of tofu, I am strangely bound to those who, long before me, steamed pumpkins over hearths or roasted them over embers.
If you are a devotee of homemade purée, more power to you. You may use either.
Choosing a Vegan Crust
The crust is another component where you can go the homemade route or opt for convenience.
- Homemade: We have a homemade vegan pie crust recipe with plant butter that we created just for this pumpkin pie, but it’s so good you’ll find yourself trying it with other pies, too.
- Store-bought: Most people who make pumpkin pie start with a premade crust. If you are in that camp, you are in luck, because a few premade crusts are accidentally vegan. (Some major brands, like Pillsbury, contain lard and are not). Check the label to verify.
- Gluten-Free: For a gluten-free pumpkin pie, you can use your favorite vegan gluten-free crust recipe or buy Wholly Gluten-Free frozen pie shells.
No Need to Blind Bake
I love making pie, but I hate blind baking a crust. That’s when you bake the crust without filling so it’s nice and crispy, not soggy. The result can be beneficial, but the extra step is a pain.
Pumpkin pie has a dense, high-moisture filling that often leads to a doughy bottom crust in the baked pie. To get a fully baked bottom crust on my pumpkin pie without blind baking, I bake the pie on the lower rack so the bottom crust gets plenty of heat.
We also start our pie at a high temperature (425°F) to blast it with heat, then lower the temp to 350°F for the rest of the baking. This gives you the best of both worlds: a silky filling and a crisp bottom crust.
I recommend baking the pie 1 day in advance, but no further than that (the edges of the filling dry out come day 2, though it’s still perfectly scarfable).
However, you may freeze the entire baked, cooled pie for up to 1 month. Defrost it on the counter for about 4 hours and let it come to room temperature before serving.
Hello, Pumpkin! (Vegan Style)
Vegan Pumpkin Pie
For a tiny hit of unexpected flavor, take a cue from Elise Bauer’s old-fashioned pumpkin pie recipe and add 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest plus 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom to the filling.
To sub pumpkin pie spice for the spices listed in this recipe, use 3 1/2 teaspoons.
A few ready-to-use pie crusts are vegan. Look at the label to verify.
1 homemade vegan pie crust or 1 premade vegan pie shell (see recipe note)
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin purée (or 2 cups homemade pumpkin purée)
1 (12.3-ounce) shelf-stable package firm silken tofu
3/4 cup organic light brown sugar
1/4 cup plain, unsweetened nondairy milk
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
Line the pie dish:
If using a homemade crust, roll it out and line a 9-inch pie dish. Stick the dish in the freezer while you work on the filling. If using a store-bought frozen crust, just keep it in the fridge or freezer until it’s time to bake the pie.
Preheat the oven to 425°F.
Position a rack in the bottom third of the oven.
Make the filling:
Combine the pumpkin, tofu, sugar, nondairy milk, spices, and salt in a blender or food processor. Blend or process until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides as needed.
If doubling this recipe, blend one batch of filling at a time.
Fill the pie shell and bake at a high temp:
Pour the filling into the chilled pie crust. Tap the dish against the counter gently to coax out any air bubbles. Smooth the top with a metal spatula, if needed.
Set on the rack in the lower third of the oven and bake at 425°F for 15 minutes.
Lower the oven temperature and continue baking:
After 15 minutes, lower the temperature to 350°F.
Bake the pie another 45 minutes, until the top of the filling gets a matte look and the filling jiggles all as one unit (like a Jell-O mold) when you nudge the pie dish.
Turn off the oven and let the pie cool in the oven with the door cracked open for 30 minutes. This helps minimize cracking.
Cool, then serve:
Set the pie on a wire rack to continue cooling for at least 2 hours before serving. The pie may crack as it cools, but don’t worry about it.
Beads of liquid may appear on the top of the filling. If that bothers you, simply lay a paper towel over the filling to very gently blot them away.
Serve with the vegan whipped topping of your choice, such as coconut whipped cream.
I keep my pie on the counter, loosely wrapped in foil, for up to 3 days. If your kitchen is on the warm side, you may want to refrigerate your pie instead. (Some folks prefer theirs at room temperature, but I like leftovers cold from the fridge.)
You can freeze the entire baked, cooled pie, tightly wrapped, for up to 1 month. Defrost overnight in the refrigerator and let come to room temperature before serving.
Love the recipe? Leave us stars below!
|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 17g||22%|
|Saturated Fat 6g||29%|
|Total Carbohydrate 75g||27%|
|Dietary Fiber 5g||16%|
|Total Sugars 41g|
|Vitamin C 7mg||34%|
|*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.|