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

452 Comments

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  1. This is absolutely the best pumpkin pie recipe I have ever tried and I’m 65 so I’ve tried a lot! So creamy with just the right blend of spices. I didn’t make the crust but I plan to next time. I used deep dish store bought crusts and one recipe of filling made two pies (I suspect that like cake mix the crusts may be smaller). This is second recipe I’ve tried from your site and both were over the top, thank you!!

  2. This is a such a tasty pie – my first time baking it.

    I’ve been using the leftover filling as single serving pumpkin custards that I cook in the microwave for 3 minutes.

    No complaints in my house.

  3. Made two for a get-together. Positive comments from everyone — they loved the crust, the spices. I used non-deep dish 9″ pie pans, and ended up having enough filling to probably make a 3rd. I shouldn’t have doubled the cranberries, but I’ll have snacks for weeks. Very good! I haven’t worked with butter + Crisco crust before — much easier to deal with than Crisco-only!

    1. I also have non deep pans, did you have to take them out earlier than the recipe calls?

  4. Hi Sally! Huge fan of your recipes here. I made this pumpkin pie because I often make fruit ones and wanted to try my hand at a homemade pumpkin finally. The filling came out perfect and by far is the best tasting I’ve ever had. Your crust recipe is also my go to, absolute favorite but for some reason it got a little too crispy this time? I par baked it for 10 minutes like the recipe called for and then the pie baked for approximately 50 minutes at 375. It cracked slightly on me but was still a perfect consistency. Just the crust for me seemed a bit overdone? I’m not sure if maybe my oven is running hot or not.. I double checked the recipe thought maybe it shouldn’t have cooked at 375 the entire time but that didn’t seem to be the case either. Any thoughts? I still have the other crust in the refrigerator and was thinking maybe just a shorter cooking time or possibly not par baking first?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Stacy! We’re so glad to hear this pumpkin pie was a hit for you. If all else is the same (no ingredient substitutions, etc.), it sounds like your oven may be running a bit hot. Do you have an oven thermometer? That will help give you an accurate read of the temperature. For next time, you could try just a few minutes shorter on the par-bake (don’t eliminate completely), try turning the temperature down and baking the pie for longer, moving it further away from the heat source, or covering the crust with a pie shield or foil once the edges start to brown. Hope this helps!

  5. Hi Sally! Thanks for the amazing recipes as always! For a dairy free version – what do you recommend for a cream/milk substitute (if anything)?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Nate, we’ve had readers use canned coconut milk for both the cream and the milk and they’ve had great luck! But we haven’t tried it. Let us know what you think of it!

    2. Hi! I have made this recipe vegan going on 5 years. Use coconut cream! If you can’t find coconut cream use a can of full fat coconut milk. 🙂

    3. I’ve made this recipe vegan going on 5 years now. Use coconut cream! If you can’t find coconut cream, use full fat coconut milk. Even vegan, following this recipe doesn’t disappoint. 🙂

  6. Hi Sally and team,
    I am curious if you have a recipe for pumpkin pie from scratch? This year I bought two pumpkins and the cashier told me how she does it at home. It seems pretty straight forward, but I’ve been searching the internet for something to better explain the consistency I should have once the pumpkin is baked/softened?

    Also, how do you keep your mini cookie cutters from rusting? I bought some a couple of years ago and they rusted the next day. I followed the instructions on proper washing. I was thinking about buying a new set this year and trying again.

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Kayla! We haven’t tried making a homemade pumpkin puree ourselves, but other readers have reported making fresh pumpkin puree this way: https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/pumpkin-puree-recipe-1922629 For the cookie cutters, make sure they are washed and fully dried to prevent rusting. Hope this is helpful!

  7. I’ve come back to this recipe for three years now and still love it! This year I’m actually attempting the leaves ☺️

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      We’re so glad you love this pumpkin pie recipe, Rachael! It’s a favorite. Let us know how they leaves go!

  8. Hi Sally, I’m attempting to make a pumpkin pie for the first time. I have the Trader Joe’s pumpkin spice. If I use that instead of adding the spices separately, what should be the quantity?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Liz, 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.

  9. Hi! This has been my go-to pumpkin pie recipe for a few years now. I love it! Just curious, though, if evaporated milk could be substituted for the cream/milk mixture?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Amy, unfortunately not. We’ve tried half-and-half and even evaporated milk and the two don’t compare. Use heavy cream or heavy whipping cream.

  10. Hi Sally!
    I made this pie last year and followed the recipe exactly. Turned out perfectly!! This year, I’m just comparing recipes and noticed that some others use sweetened condensed milk instead of the heavy cream. Is using heavy cream better for the taste of the pie filling?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Miranda, we prefer using heavy cream both for the taste and how it helps the pie to set. For best results, we recommend sticking with the recipe as written. So glad you enjoyed this pumpkin pie!

  11. My pie is not setting up and I can’t figure out why! Maybe my eggs are too small? It also has a tangy taste that I can’t figure out. Has anyone else had this issue?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Susie! Did you make any ingredient substitutions? Make sure to use full fat heavy whipping cream/heavy cream.

  12. Hi! I was wondering if I could make this a sugar free pie (for a diabetic) by substituting sucralose for the sugars. It’s supposed to be able to be used in place of sugar at a 1:1 ratio, but I’ve never used it before.
    Thanks!

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Andy! We’d love to help but we are not trained in baking with sugar substitutes. For best taste and texture (and so you don’t waste your time trying to adapt this recipe since it may not work properly), it may be more useful to find a recipe that is specifically formulated for sugar substitutes. Thank you!

  13. This has become my go-to pumpkin pie. I make it all: pie crust leaves, sugared cranberries, mini pies with the extra filling… and it always wows. It is delicious. The absolute best. If you are searching the internet for a pumpkin pie recipe, your search is over. You have found it. Make this one- you’ll be glad you did!

  14. Hi Sally,
    I have a tart pan and was wondering if I can make the pie dough crust or do I need to make the tart crust from your Spiced Pumpkin Tart recipe.
    Thanks!

    1. Hi Yasmeen, pie dough can definitely fit into a 9-inch tart pan. I recommend blind baking it just like you do with the pecan crust in the pumpkin tart recipe. This is too much filling for a tart, so feel free to use the tart filling recipe.

  15. Which of your recipes can I cook to use up the left over filling?

    1. Hi Alex, if you have leftover filling, it would be great for making mini pumpkin pies. Or what I’ve done in the past is add a little to pancake batter.

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