Easy Pumpkin Pie Recipe From Scratch

Easy Pumpkin Pie Recipe From Scratch

This easy pumpkin pie recipe features a smooth, custardy filling and is my favorite pumpkin pie recipe from scratch for Thanksgiving or any other day of the year.

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There’s hardly a Thanksgiving dinner in America that doesn’t include pumpkin pie—and if there is, I don’t want to be a part of it. Growing up, pumpkin pie was my all-time favorite, and it still is today (right along with pecan pie and berry pie, of course). I’ve made countless pumpkin pies over the years. I’ve tried versions spiked with different spices, with booze, and ones made with evaporated milk (following the back of the Libby pumpkin can which I gotta say is not bad.) But the pumpkin pie recipe I go to most often is an easy recipe from one of my mom’s old Junior League cookbooks. Soft and creamy, this pumpkin pie tastes almost like a custard. Baked in a homemade pie crust (my no-fail, all-butter, from-scratch crust never fails), it tastes totally decadent with all the familiar fall flavors, yet it’s surprisingly simple to make. It’s the pie I grew up with and will continue to make over and over again.

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What’s in This Easy Pumpkin Pie Recipe

Pie making is a practice, and this easy pumpkin pie recipe is the perfect place to get your start. The recipe list for the custard filling is surprisingly short and is pretty hard to screw up.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • one 9-inch unbaked pie dough (this is my favorite from scratch pie crust)
  • large eggs
  • granulated sugar (you could use brown sugar if you wanted)
  • heavy cream
  • canned pumpkin (just 1 15-ounce can)
  • ground cinnamon
  • ground nutmeg
  • ground ginger
  • kosher salt

You could add ground cloves as well if you wanted, but a little goes a long way, so I wouldn’t do more than ¼ teaspoon.

pumpkin in a can | foodiecrush.com

What Kind of Pumpkin is Best for Pie?

I’ve researched this topic over the years, and I’ve made pies with pumpkin puree I’ve cooked or roasted.

The bottom line I’ve come to discover is that for pie, it’s best to use canned pumpkin. Unlike real pumpkin that you cook yourself, canned pumpkin is consistent in its moisture content so that pie cooks the same pie after pie.

What’s the Difference Between Pumpkin and Pumpkin Pie Filling

When purchasing, be sure to get the right canned pumpkin. Look for 100% pumpkin or pure pumpkin puree, which will be free of spices and sugars. Avoid using pumpkin pie filling which has already been sweetened and spiced.

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How to Make Pumpkin Pie Crust

Sure you could use a store-bought pie crust for this recipe—and I certainly have before—but considering how easy it is to make from scratch in the food processor, why wouldn’t you?

Here’s my recipe for my no-fail, all butter pie crust. 

A few pumpkin pie crust tips:

  • Use a 9-inch glass Pyrex pie dish. I’m all about making things look pretty so I’ve used all sorts of different pie dishes. Fluted, ceramic, aluminum, and the fanciest pie tins I could find at Williams Sonoma. But for the best-bronzed crust, even baking, and most pie crust bottom aka least sloped sides, I’ve found that nothing really beats a glass Pyrex dish. Plus, who’s looking at the dish when you have a gorgeous pie?
  • Chill the pie crust for 30 minutes before rolling it out. A cold pie crust will hold its shape better and won’t slump in the heat of the oven. If the crust is too hard to work with, let it sit on the counter for 5-10 minutes, and then try rolling it out again.
  • To avoid cracks in the edges of your dough, use your fingers to make indentations along the outside circle of the pie disc before rolling.
  • You don’t have to par-bake or pre-bake the pie crust. The filling cooks at the same rate as the pie crust so there’s no need to do so ahead.
  • Brush the pie crust with whisked egg white before filling. So the crust doesn’t get soggy, brush with the reserved egg white which will act as a barrier and ensure a crisp bottom crust.

How to Make This Easy Pumpkin Pie Filling

This easy pumpkin pie recipe only has a few simple steps to get that silky smooth, scratch-made pumpkin pie filling:

Beat your eggs. In a large bowl, lightly whisk 3 egg yolks and 2 egg whites. Adding an extra yolk adds more fat for a more luxe taste. Beat your eggs lightly, being careful not to over-aerate so the filling doesn’t gain too much loft and overflow. Adding too much air to the eggs will change the consistency of the filling from custardy to cakey, causing it to rise and fall in the oven.

Reserve the additional egg white in another small bowl and set aside.

Add the other ingredients and mix well. To the whisked eggs, add the cream, sugar, pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt. Whisk well just to combine.

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How to Bake Pumpkin Pie

To avoid spillage: Place your pie on a baking sheet before you pour in the filling and bake.

Bake at 425°F for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350°F for about 45 more minutes. Baking the pie in an extra hot oven sets the crust so it won’t slump or fall and gives the custard a head start in cooking too.

After baking for 30 minutes at 350°F, gently tent the crust with strips of aluminum foil or a pie crust shield. Be careful not to dent the custard filling.

When done, the center of the pie should be jiggly and not totally set. As the pie cools, the custard will set. Let it cool completely on a wire rack, for an hour or so.

Is it Better to Make Pumpkin Pie the Day Before or Day of?

I love making pumpkin pie ahead of time to make things easier, especially during Thanksgiving when there’s so much to do! You can make and bake this up to two days in advance and refrigerate. Let it come to room temp before serving.

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Does Pumpkin Pie Need to Be Refrigerated?

Because the pie is made as a custard with eggs and milk, refrigerate the pie after 2-3 hours at room temperature. The pie should stay good in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

How to Freeze Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin pie can be frozen and then thawed in the refrigerator for 12 hours before eating.

Pumpkin Pie Recipe Tips

Use canned pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling. As noted above, and because you’ll be adding your own sugar and spices, use pure canned pumpkin for this recipe.

Culinary queen Ruth Reichl has a smart tip that’s definitely a game-changer. She swears by pre-roasting your canned pumpkin before making your filling, for a deeper, richer, more pumpkin-y flavor. You spread out your filling on a baking sheet and then pop it in a 400°F oven for about 10-15 minutes. I don’t always do this, but if I have time, I’ve definitely found it to make a difference.

Skip the pumpkin pie spice. You could use store-bought pumpkin pie spice, but because they’re quite common, it’s just as simple to get the warming flavorings from your spice cabinet. This also allows you to add a bit more of one or the other if you’d like.

Mix it up. To change up the flavor a bit, try adding any of the following:

  • Chocolate chips
  • Freshly-grated ginger
  • A tablespoon or two of bourbon, rum, or All Spice Dram
  • Drizzle the top of the baked pie with salted caramel sauce and/or toasted pecans or hazelnuts
  • Top with whipped cream and some freshly grated nutmeg

If you make this recipe, please let me know! Leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating on this recipe below and leave a comment, take a photo and tag me on Instagram with #foodiecrusheats.

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