The Perfect Pumpkin Pie Recipe

A classic pumpkin pie recipe – smooth, creamy, and modestly spiced. The best pumpkin pie you’ll ever eat!

Overhead photo of pumpkin pie with sliced cut out and whipped cream on top.

Pumpkin pie is THE quintessential Thanksgiving dessert, am I right? It’s rare to find a house that doesn’t serve at least one, if for no other reason than “it’s Thanksgiving, you have to have pumpkin pie”. I am a huge pie person (and an even bigger pie crust person), but truth be told, pumpkin has never been one of my favorites. I will eat it, for sure (I’m not totally crazy), but it just never did much for me… until I found this recipe.

While the flavor isn’t too dramatically different than most recipes, it has some extra oomph, and the texture is far superior to any pumpkin pie I’ve ever tasted. It’s silky smooth, creamy, and has an incredibly clean, slightly spicy pumpkin flavor.

A bit of a spin on traditional pumpkin pie, and it’s most definitely a notch above. This is guaranteed to become your family’s go-to pumpkin pie recipe!

Ingredients prepped and labeled for pumpkin pie

The pan

A classic 9-inch pie plate is perfect for this quiche recipe; I prefer a simple Pyrex pie plate, as I’ve found glass pie plates perform better than metal or ceramic pie plates in terms of browning, heat conduction, and consistency. You can use the others, of course, but you may find that your crust over or under bakes.

The great news is that whatever pan you choose, no prep work is required; you do not need to grease them or line them in any way.

Cooking down pumpkin mixture in saucepan.

The crust

For this pie, I am using my “best pie crust recipe” – this has been my go-to pie crust recipe for years, using a combination of butter and shortening, along with some vodka in place of water for a perfect crust that’s easy to work with each and every time.

I also have an all-butter pie crust that you can use, as well.

How to Blind Bake the Crust

Also referred to as “par-baking” the crust, we’re going to bake the crust until it’s almost done, but not quite since it’ll go back in the oven with the filling. I’ve tried so many different methods for this, different pie weights, and the method I’ve found that is completely foolproof is the one outlined by Stella Parks.

Line the chilled pie plate with aluminum foil then fill it all up with granulated sugar (you can reuse it!) and bake it at 350 degrees F for 40 to 45 minutes.

I have never had so much success – no shrinking pie crust, no dough sticking to foil as I try to remove it halfway through baking, and a beautifully browned pie crust.

Three photo collage of straining custard mixture and pouring into pie crust.

Why this is the BEST pumpkin pie from scratch!

This recipe definitely differs from that old familiar one on the back of the can of pumpkin. While it’s a bit more involved as far as prep goes, I think the payoff is well worth the extra effort. Below are a few notes on how the different ingredients and techniques impact the pie:

  • The addition of candied yams (sweet potatoes) intensifies the pumpkin flavor.
  • Using fresh ginger adds more complex flavor than its ground counterpart.
  • Maple syrup boosts the pumpkin’s natural sweetness.
  • Simmering the pumpkin and sweet potatoes cooks off a significant amount of moisture, which thickens the filling (no runny pumpkin pie!) and concentrates the flavor.
  • Cooking the spices along with the pumpkin allows their flavors to intensify.
  • Heating the filling allows it to firm up quickly in the oven, rather than soaking into the crust and making it soggy.

Overhead photo of baked pumpkin pie.

Recipe notes and tips

Everything you need to know for making the best pumpkin pie ever!

  • Pumpkin: Make sure you use pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie filling (which includes extra sweeteners and spices).
  • Candied Yams: If you can’t find candied yams, then canned yams or sweet potatoes in syrup will work, or you can use all pumpkin.
  • Make-Ahead Pie Crust: The pie dough can be prepared ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
  • Make-Ahead Baked Pie: You can bake the pie the day before you plan to serve it. Once the pie has cooled to room temperature, refrigerate overnight, then bring to room temperature before serving. Given the custard nature of this pie, it is not a good candidate for freezing; while you CAN do it, the filling will become a bit watery and the crust a bit soggy upon thawing.
  • Serving Suggestions: I love pumpkin pie topped with fresh whipped cream, but vanilla ice cream or even cinnamon ice cream would be wonderful!
  • Storage: Store leftover pumpkin pie covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Slice of pumpkin pie on a plate with whipped cream on top.

I’ve got you covered on fall and Thanksgiving desserts!

A slice of pumpkin pie with whipped cream and a forkful taken out of it.

I would absolutely love it if you made this pumpkin pie for dessert (for the holidays or ANY day!); if you do, please stop back and leave a rating and let me know how you liked it! ENJOY! 😍

The Perfect Pumpkin Pie Recipe

Servings 8 servings (One 9-inch pie)
Prep 30 minutes
Cook 55 minutes
Resting time 1 hour 15 minutes
Total 1 hour 25 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Author: Michelle

A classic pumpkin pie recipe - smooth, creamy, and modestly spiced. The best pumpkin pie you'll ever eat!

Ingredients:

For the Pie Crust:

  • cups
    all-purpose flour
  • 1
    tablespoon
    granulated sugar
  • ½
    teaspoon
    salt
  • 6
    tablespoons
    cold unsalted butter
    (cut into ¼-inch slices)
  • ¼
    cup
    vegetable shortening
    (cold, cut into two pieces)
  • 2
    tablespoons
    vodka
    (cold)
  • 2
    tablespoons
    ice water

For the Pie Filling:

  • 1
    cup
    heavy cream
  • 1
    cup
    whole milk
  • 3
    eggs + 2 egg yolks
  • 1
    teaspoon
    vanilla extract
  • 15
    ounce
    canned pumpkin
  • 1
    cup
    drained candied yams
    (from 15-ounce can)
  • ¾
    cup
    granulated sugar
  • ¼
    cup
    maple syrup
  • 2
    teaspoons
    grated fresh ginger
  • ½
    teaspoon
    ground cinnamon
  • ¼
    teaspoon
    ground nutmeg
  • 1
    teaspoon
    salt

Directions:

  1. Make the Pie Crust: Process ¾ cup flour, sugar and salt in a food processor until combined, about two 1-second pulses. Add the butter and shortening and process until homogenous dough just starts to collect in uneven clumps, about 10 seconds; dough will resemble cottage cheese, but there should be no uncoated flour. Scrape the bowl with a rubber spatula and redistribute dough evenly around the blade. Add the remaining ½ cup flour and pulse until the mixture is evenly distributed around the bowl and the mass of dough has been broken up, 4 to 6 quick pulses. Turn the mixture into a medium bowl.

  2. Sprinkle the vodka and ice water over the mixture. With a rubber spatula, use a folding motion to mix, pressing down on the dough until the dough is slightly tacky and sticks together. Flatten the dough into a 4-inch disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 45 minutes or up to 2 days.
  3. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll it out on a generously floured work surface to a 12-inch circle. Roll the dough loosely around the rolling pin and unroll into pie plate, leaving at least 1-inch overhang on each side. Ease the dough into the plate by gently lifting the edge of dough with one hand while pressing into plate bottom with other hand. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.

  4. Trim the overhang to ½ inch beyond lip of pie plate. Fold overhang under itself; folded edge should be flush with edge of pie plate. Using thumb and forefinger, flute the edge of dough. Refrigerate the dough-lined plate for at least 2 hours.

  5. Blind Bake Crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line the chilled pie dough with aluminum foil and use granulated sugar to fill the whole pie plate. Bake for 40 minutes; remove the foil and sugar and set the crust aside while you make the filling.

  6. Adjust oven rack to lowest position, place a rimmed baking sheet on the rack, and increase the oven temperature to 400 degrees F.

  7. Prepare the Pie Filling: While the pie shell is baking, whisk cream, milk, eggs, yolks and vanilla together in a medium bowl. Combine the pumpkin, yams, sugar, maple syrup, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan; bring to a sputtering simmer over medium heat, 5 to 7 minutes. Continue to simmer pumpkin mixture, stirring constantly and mashing yams against sides of pot, until thick and shiny, 10 to 15 minutes.

  8. Remove the pan from heat and whisk in the cream mixture until fully incorporated. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer set over a medium bowl, using the back of a ladle or spatula to press solids through strainer. Rewhisk mixture and transfer to warm prebaked pie shell.
  9. Bake the Pie: Bake pie on rimmed sheet for 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees F and continue baking until edges of pie are set and the center looks firm but jiggles slightly (an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center should register 175 degrees F), 20 to 35 minutes longer. Transfer pie to wire rack and cool to room temperature, 2 to 3 hours. Serve with whipped cream. Leftovers should be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Recipe Notes:

  • Crust: Use the included crust or my all-butter pie crust.
  • Pan: 9-inch glass pie plate 
  • Pumpkin: Make sure you use pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie filling (which includes extra sweeteners and spices).
  • Candied Yams: If you can't find candied yams, then canned yams or sweet potatoes in syrup will work, or you can use all pumpkin.
  • Make-Ahead Pie Crust: The pie dough can be prepared ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
  • Make-Ahead Baked Pie: You can bake the pie the day before you plan to serve it. Once the pie has cooled to room temperature, refrigerate overnight, then bring to room temperature before serving. Given the custard nature of this pie, it is not a good candidate for freezing; while you CAN do it, the filling will become a bit watery and the crust a bit soggy upon thawing.
  • Serving Suggestions: I love pumpkin pie topped with fresh whipped cream, but vanilla ice cream or even cinnamon ice cream would be wonderful!
  • Storage: Store leftover pumpkin pie covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  • Recipe from Cook's Illustrated.
Nutritional values are based on one serving

Nutrition:

Calories: 504kcal
Fat: 28g
Saturated fat: 15g
Cholesterol: 127mg
Sodium: 491mg
Potassium: 391mg
Carbohydrates: 54g
Fiber: 2g
Sugar: 29g
Protein: 6g
Vitamin A: 9135%
Vitamin C: 5.6%
Calcium: 96%
Iron: 2%

Did you make this recipe?

Leave a review below, then snap a picture and tag @thebrowneyedbaker on Instagram so I can see it!

[Photography by Dee of One Sarcastic Baker]