Homemade Pumpkin Pie from Scratch
This classic Homemade Pumpkin Pie from Scratch deserves a spot on your Thanksgiving menu! It has a buttery, flaky pie crust filled with a spiced pumpkin filling that is rich and creamy. This family favorite is bound to have everyone lining up for seconds.
Pie season is officially here and this easy pumpkin pie dessert is a popular choice for good reason! The holiday treat is a true crowd-pleaser as it is sweet, smooth and filled with aromatic fall flavors.
Why this recipe works
This recipe works because it has everything you’d want in a pumpkin pie. It is easy to follow, includes simple ingredients and is quick to make. It calls for canned pumpkin purée which means you don’t have to spend time puréeing a whole pumpkin from scratch. Oh, and did I mention that the pumpkin filling in this pie is unbelievably good? It is thick and creamy, but sturdy enough to hold a bite.
You can also skip the store-bought pie crust and impress your family and friends with this show-stopping homemade pie crust!
- Butter: Cut the butter into equal-sized cubes before combining it with the dry ingredients. The butter should also be cold to achieve the perfect flaky pie crust texture.
- Shortening: This helps to keep the pie crust together while making it extra flaky.
- Ice water: Cold water helps prevent the butter and shortening from melting before the pie is baked. This will also help to make the perfect pie crust.
- Pure pumpkin purée: This is the main ingredient in the recipe! Use 100% pure canned pumpkin purée for the best results.
- Heavy whipping cream: Combining heavy whipping cream with pumpkin purée gives the pie filling a luxurious, silky creamy texture. Full-fat heavy whipping cream works best in this recipe.
If you have a fresh pumpkin lying around during the holiday season then feel free to make homemade pumpkin purée. Bake the pumpkin and remove the seeds and skin. Then, pulse the baked pumpkin flesh in a food processor until smooth. I suggest patting the purée dry before using it in my recipe since homemade purée tends to have more moisture than canned.
Another fun variation is crustless pumpkin pie! If you are short on time or don’t have any pie crust ingredients then this variation is a winner. Be sure to grease your pie dish with butter. Bake at 350 F for 50 to 60 minutes.
How to make pumpkin pie from scratch
- Make the pie dough: Whisk flour, sugar and salt together in a bowl. Next, use a pastry cutter to add chilled shortening. Then, cut in the chilled butter until the mixture has pea-sized crumbs. Add just enough ice-cold water and mix until large lumps form. Finally, shape the dough into a disc and chill for 30 minutes.
- Pre-bake the crust: Once the pie crust has been chilled, roll it into a 13-inch circle and place it on a greased pie plate. Add parchment paper and pie weights on top of the pie crust. Then, bake at 400 F for 15 minutes.
- Prepare the filling: In a medium saucepan, mix pumpkin purée, brown sugar, sugar, salt and spices. Then, cook the ingredients over medium heat for 5 minutes, bring to a simmer and remove from the heat. Stir in heavy whipping cream and vanilla, followed by the eggs one at a time. Finally, stir in cornstarch to thicken the filling.
- Bake the pie: Scoop the pie filling into the pre-baked pie crust. Bake at 400 F for the first 15 minutes then lower the temperature to 350 F and bake for 40 minutes. Once the pie has been baked leave it to cool completely and chill for an hour before serving. Serve this pie plain or with a dollop of whipped cream.
We all want our pie to be perfect, right? Well, there are a few tricks to achieve the best pumpkin pie. The first question is whether to use fresh or canned pumpkin. I prefer to use canned pumpkin as it is sturdier than fresh pumpkin and holds shape better. I use Libby’s pure pumpkin purée. Make sure it’s not pumpkin pie filling as they are two different things.
Make it ahead of time. If you are not ready to use the pie dough straight away then it can be made ahead of time. Refrigerate it for up to 3 days. Then, ensure you allow the dough to come sit at room temperature until it is malleable enough to roll, but is still cool to the touch.
Cracks in the pie filling. Another pitfall you can encounter when making pumpkin pies is cracks forming in the filling which all boils down to timing. To prevent cracks, do not overcook it. When the pie is baked for too long, the center will crack so make sure you stick to the recommended baking time in the recipe. My pie usually takes exactly 55 minutes, but when I made it at a high altitude in Denver, CO, it only took 45 minutes.
Frequently asked questions
Yes. It will stay fresh for longer and hold its shape better when refrigerated. Leave the pie out and allow it to come to room temperature before serving.
Once you remove the pie from the oven, the top should be puffed slightly and the filling should jiggle in the center. It will eventually solidify as it cools down.
Yes, it freezes well! After chilling the baked pie in the refrigerator for an hour, cover the entire pie with or without the pan in plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Then, add it to a freezer-safe bag and freeze it for up to one month. Defrost in the refrigerator then allow it to come to room temperature before serving.
It will last in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or in the freezer for one month.
Give these recipes a try if you are looking for more fall desserts.
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Get the Recipe: Homemade Pumpkin Pie from Scratch
Homemade Pie Crust
- 1 ½ cups (187 g) all purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon (15 g) granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 4 Tablespoons (56 g) shortening, chilled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 4 Tablespoons (56 g) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 2-4 Tablespoons ice cold water
Pumpkin Pie Filling
- 2 cups (one 15 ounce can or 425 g) pure pumpkin purée, (not pumpkin pie filling)
- ¾ cup (150 g) packed light brown sugar
- ¼ cup (50 g) granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 ¼ cup (300 ml) heavy whipping cream
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 Tablespoon cornstarch, sifted
Homemade Pie Crust
- Make sure all your ingredients are cold. In a bowl, whisk flour, sugar and salt. Use a pastry cutter (or two forks) to cut shortening into dry ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse sand. Cut in cold butter pieces until mixture resembles coarse crumbs with bits the size of small peas. One tablespoon at a time, sprinkle cold water over the mixture, stirring with a wooden spoon after each addition until until large clumps form.
- Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface and use your hands to form the dough into an 8-inch disc. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes and up to 24 hours. When ready to bake the crust, preheat the oven to 400° F and lightly grease a 9-inch ceramic or glass pie plate with butter.
- When ready to roll the pie crust, remove dough from the refrigerator and place it on a lightly floured surface. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough out into a circle that is 13-inches in diameter. Be mindful to add more flour underneath the dough (especially in the center) if it starts sticking to the work surface.
- Transfer pie dough to the pie dish and gently press it into the bottom and sides of the dish. Use your fingers to tuck the edges of the dough under itself and crimp the edges (refer to video for visual). Place parchment paper on the dough and fill with pie weights so there is an even layer on the bottom. Bake at 400°F for 15 minutes. When crust is done baking, remove it from the oven. Remove the parchment paper and pie weights. Keep oven on and prepare the filling.
Pumpkin Pie Filling
- In a pot over medium heat, use a silicone spatula or whisk to combine pumpkin puree, brown sugar, sugar, salt and spices (cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves). Bring mixture to a simmer (reduce heat if necessary) and simmer for 5 minutes. The mixture will turn glossy and fragrant.
- Remove pot from the heat and stir in the heavy whipping cream and vanilla. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Finally stir in cornstarch until combined. Transfer filling to partially cooked crust (it's okay if it's still warm).
- Bake the pie at 400° F for 15 minutes, then reduce temperature to 350° F and bake for 40 minutes. Pie is done when the center jiggles slightly when gently shaken. Allow pie to cool completely to room temperature, then chill the pie for an hour before serving with homemade whipped cream.