Classic Pumpkin Pie

  • A classic pumpkin pie recipe with a creamy spiced filling and flaky crust. It’s easy to make, can be made ahead, and it’s even freezer friendly.

    Top down view of a traditional pumpkin pie with slices taken out. Garnished with whipped cream around the edge of the pie.

    *Originally published November 2016. Photos, recipe, and text updated.*

    Classic Pumpkin Pie

    There is a great tradition of serving pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving and I always remember that being the one pie that was there every year.

    While it isn’t my first pick for dessert it is my kid’s favorite and so I continue the tradition of making pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving.

    Really it isn’t Thanksgiving unless there are turkey and pumpkin pie, am I right?!

    Some more great pumpkin recipes you may like are: Easy Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting, No-Churn Pumpkin Ice Cream, and Pumpkin Bread with Cream Cheese Frosting.

    Traditional pumpkin pie that is decorated with whipped cream.

    Easy Pumpkin Pie Recipe

    Now I never realized that pumpkin pie can be a little tricky to get just right. You see most people probably don’t care that there is a crack in their pie but I am one of those perfectionists and wanted a perfect pumpkin pie.

    It’s all about not baking it too long. But as you can see from the pictures below I accidentally left it a little too long. I was busy feeding my little one and thought 2-3 more minutes won’t hurt, and I was wrong.

    Oh, well I disguised it with whipped cream and no one will ever know. It still tasted amazing and honestly, I like how it looks with that nice whipped cream decoration!

    Two pictures of traditional pumpkin pie showing how to use whipped cream to cover up cracks in the pie.

    How to make pumpkin pie ahead

    There are actually several options you have when it comes to making pumpkin pie ahead of time. It’s the perfect pie to make ahead!

    • You can mix the filling a day in advance and store it in the refrigerator until ready to bake. This will improve the flavor of the filling as well because it has time to sit and let the flavors blend.
    • The crust can also be made ahead or use a store bought pie dough.
    • You can bake the pie 3 days in advance. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator.
    • FREEZER FRIENDLY TOO! Let the pie cool completely then wrap in a couple of layers of plastic wrap. Then in a couple of layers of foil. Freeze for up to 1 month. Thaw in the refrigerator 24 hours ahead of serving.
    Close up of a slice of traditional pumpkin pie with a bite taken out to show how smooth and creamy it is.

    What can I use instead of evaporated milk in pumpkin pie?

    You can replace the evaporated milk with whole milk, half and half, or heavy cream. I like to use half and half but I have also used whole milk and heavy cream as well. I don’t recommend using anything less than whole milk to have a nice creamy filling.

    What kind of pumpkin to use? Canned pumpkin vs. homemade

    When making pumpkin pie you can either buy canned pumpkin from the store or make your own homemade pumpkin puree by cooking a sugar pumpkin or a pie pumpkin.

    To make homemade pumpkin puree cut the stem off of the pumpkin, split in half, and scrape out the seeds. Lay on a baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees F until soft (about 45 minutes). Cool and remove flesh and process in a food processor until smooth.

    Top down view of pumpkin pie slices decorated with whipped cream.

    Pumpkin pie problems and solutions:

    • Pumpkin pie filling too runny. This can happen when making homemade pumpkin puree. The solution is to roast the pumpkin and not boil it. Also, after pureeing the roasted pumpkin cook it in a saucepan until it reduces and thickens. This will help get rid of all that extra moisture.
    • Soggy crust. There are a few options here. You can partially bake your crust or cook it on a lower oven rack. Partially baking the crust is the best route if you want crispy crust. But if you like it little on the chewy side bake it on a lower oven rack.
    • Cracks in the pie. This happens a lot and it’s caused from overbaking. Pumpkin pie filling is a custard and the longer you bake it the tighter the eggs get. As the eggs get tighter cracks form. The pie will continue to cook when removed from the oven. It’s best to remove it when the center is still wobbly and the filling is set no more than 2 inches from the edge. If your pie has puffed up it, it more than likely has overbaked and it will leave cracks, especially around the edges. It will taste just fine though.
    • How to fix cracks. While you can’t fix a crack after the pie has baked you can disguise them! Just cover with some whipped cream and no one will know!
    Close up of a slice of pumpkin pie with whipped cream on top.

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    5 from 4 votes
    Close up of a slice of traditional pumpkin pie with a bite taken out to show how smooth and creamy it is.
    Traditional Pumpkin Pie
    Prep Time
    10 mins
    Cook Time
    45 mins
    Total Time
    55 mins
     

    A classic pumpkin pie recipe with a creamy spiced filling and flaky crust. It's easy to make, can be made ahead, and it's even freezer friendly.

    Course: Dessert, Pie
    Cuisine: American
    Keyword: classic pumpkin pie, easy pumpkin pie
    Servings: 8
    Calories: 240 kcal
    Author: Malinda Linnebur
    Ingredients
    • 1 unbaked 9 inch pie shell
    • 1 (15 oz)(425g) can pumpkin puree
    • ¾ cup (165g) packed brown sugar
    • teaspoons cinnamon
    • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
    • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
    • ¼ teaspoon ground clove
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • 1 cup (235ml) half and half
    • 2 large eggs
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    Instructions
    1. Preheat oven to 425°F.

    2. On a lightly floured surface roll out the pie dough until 1/8 inch thick. Place in a pie plate and crimp edges. Place in the refrigerator while you make the filling.

    3. In a large bowl combine the pumpkin, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, clove, salt, half and half, eggs, and vanilla until smooth. Carefully pour into reserved pie dish. Place on a baking sheet (to catch any drips) and bake in the lower ⅓ of your oven.

    4. Bake for 15 minutes then reduce heat to 350°F and cook for 30 minutes or until filling is set no more than 2 inches from edge. The center should still be slightly wobbly. Let cool completely then store in refrigerator.

    Recipe Notes
    1. You can replace the canned pumpkin with 2 cups of homemade puree.
    2. You can substitute the spices with 2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice. 
    3. MAKE AHEAD: You can mix the filling a day in advance and store it in the refrigerator until ready to bake. This will improve the flavor of the filling as well because it has time to sit and let the flavors blend. The crust can also be made ahead or use a store bought pie dough. You can bake the pie 3 days in advance. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator.
    4. FREEZER FRIENDLY: Let the pie cool completely then wrap in a couple of layers of plastic wrap. Then in a couple of layers of foil. Freeze for up to 1 month. Thaw in the refrigerator 24 hours ahead of serving.
    5. Use a store bought pie crust or use my All Butter Pie Crust. This recipe will make 2 crusts so either cut recipe in half or make a 1/2 batch. 
    6. Nutrition Facts: Since different brands of ingredients have different nutritional information, the information shown is just an estimate. Nutrition is for 1/8 of the pie.
    Nutrition Facts
    Traditional Pumpkin Pie
    Amount Per Serving (1 slice)
    Calories 240 Calories from Fat 90
    % Daily Value*
    Fat 10g15%
    Saturated Fat 4g25%
    Cholesterol 52mg17%
    Sodium 267mg12%
    Potassium 104mg3%
    Carbohydrates 34g11%
    Fiber 1g4%
    Sugar 22g24%
    Protein 4g8%
    Vitamin A 184IU4%
    Vitamin C 1mg1%
    Calcium 63mg6%
    Iron 1mg6%
    * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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