No Thanksgiving dessert menu is complete without a Classic Pumpkin Pie. This easy pumpkin pie recipe results in a perfectly spiced filling that is prepared in one bowl and ready for the oven in minutes!
I believe I’ve baked at least one pumpkin pie every holiday season for my entire adult life and I’ve discovered some important things along the way. The recipe on the Libby’s can is solid, but in my opinion it is bland and under-spiced. With some simple changes, you can really amp up the flavor factor and create the perfect pumpkin pie.
What makes this Classic Pumpkin Pie recipe different? I’ve enhanced the cozy fall flavors we all love with additional cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and cloves. The result is a richer, deeper color and incredible flavor.
Homemade pumpkin pie is one of the easiest pie recipes in existence. This is a fabulous thing when you have a list of other Thanksgiving menu items to deal with.
- Pie crust – I use my Easy Food Processor Pie Crust Recipe for all of my pies. If you don’t have time or don’t want to bother with a homemade pie crust, you can use a store-bought refrigerated or frozen pie crust. Use what works best for you! Both of these options are great timesavers.
- Granulated white sugar
- Cinnamon – You can use up to 2 teaspoons of cinnamon for robust flavor.
- Pumpkin pie spice – The Libby’s recipe calls for just cinnamon (and not enough) and a little ginger. In addition to increasing the amount of cinnamon, I also include pumpkin pie spice. Most brands contain a combination of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice but ingredients can vary.
- Ground ginger – Although included in pumpkin pie spice, I’ve found that adding a little additional ginger is a good thing.
- Ground cloves – Ground cloves are a warm spice with intense flavor. I love the way they punch up the flavor of pumpkin pie. Check the ingredients in your pumpkin pie spice to see if it contains cloves (McCormick brand doesn’t). If it does, feel free to reduce or eliminate the amount of cloves to suit your taste.
- Pumpkin puree – Canned pumpkin puree is pure pumpkin with no added sweeteners or spices. It’s easy to make the mistake of buying pre-sweetened and spiced pumpkin pie filling because the labels are nearly identical.
- Evaporated Milk – You want full fat canned evaporated milk. See tips and substitutions in the FAQ section below.
How to Make Classic Pumpkin Pie
- Combine the sugar, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, salt, ginger, cloves and salt in a small bowl.
- Whisk the eggs in separate large bowl. Add the canned pumpkin and the sugar and spice mixture, stirring until smooth.
- Stir in the evaporated milk. The consistency of the pie filling will be very thin.
- Pour the pie filling into an unbaked 9-inch pie crust. Bake the pie in a preheated 425 degree F oven for 15 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 350 degree F and continue to bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until a wooden skewer or knife inserted near center comes out clean. Allow the pie to cool to room temperature on a wire rack and then refrigerate it until ready to serve.
I recommend baking pumpkin pie a day in advance so it has time to chill in the fridge overnight. It is delicious served cold with a dollop of freshly whipped cream.
FAQ and Valerie’s Tips
If you’ve had issues with a soggy bottom crust on your pies, place a pizza stone on a lower rack in your oven while it preheats and bake the pie on top of it. The pizza stone will radiate heat through the bottom of the pie dish and helps ensure the crust will cook through.
Absolutely. There is no need to thaw the crust in advance of baking, just follow the directions as written, baking at the same temperature and for the same amount of time or just a bit longer. I have to admit that I have never baked a pumpkin pie using a frozen crust but word on the street is that it works great.
Evaporated milk is canned, shelf-stable cow’s milk with less water content than regular milk. As a result, it has a richer, thicker consistency and more intense flavor. If you were to substitute it with regular milk it would throw off both the texture and flavor of the pie so I don’t recommend it. You can substitute an equal amount of half and half or heavy cream for a better result than whole or reduced fat milk.
For a lighter, lower calorie pumpkin pie, you can use either low-fat or nonfat evaporated milk. To ensure the filling will thicken properly just add 1 tablespoon cornstarch to the sugar and spice mixture. The filling will not be quite as rich but it is a nice option.
Like all custard-based pies, pumpkin pie should not be allowed to sit out at room temperature for longer than 2 hours for food safety concerns. After cooling, it should be promptly transferred to the refrigerator. I like to drape a sheet of wax paper over the top to help prevent condensation and keep it refrigerated until ready to serve. The pie will stay fresh and delicious for up to 3 to 4 days in the refrigerator.
Freezing Pumpkin Pie
Make the Classic Pumpkin Pie as directed in a disposable metal pie tin. Allow the pie to cool completely then refrigerate until well chilled. Wrap it with several layers of plastic wrap and a final layer of foil. Freeze for up to 1 month at the most. Defrost and serve the pie within 2 weeks for best quality.
Since there can be issues with extreme temperature changes with Pyrex or glass dishes, be sure to use a metal pie tin when freezing pies. Disposable metal pie tins are thin which allows the pie to freeze more quickly which helps prevent ice crystals from forming. If you do use Pyrex or glass dishes, never transfer them directly from the freezer to the oven or they may shatter.
A good alternative to freezing a whole pumpkin pie is to make and freeze just the unbaked pie crust weeks or even months in advance. You can whip up the quick and easy filling and bake the pie the day before or even early in the morning on the day you intend to serve it.
Defrosting Frozen Pumpkin Pie
Pumpkin pie filling has the tendency to “weep” moisture which can cause a soggy crust if not thawed properly. Avoid a soggy pie crust by allowing your baked pumpkin pie to defrost completely in the refrigerator overnight. Remove the foil and plastic wrap and lay a sheet of wax paper or foil lightly over the pie and refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours. Blot any droplets of moisture with a paper towel before serving.
More Thanksgiving Pie Recipes
Classic Pumpkin Pie
- 9-inch unbaked single crust pie pastry, (homemade or store-bought)
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 1 ½ to 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, (see Notes section below)
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- 15 ounce can pumpkin puree, not pie filling
- 12 ounce can evaporated milk
- whipped cream, for serving
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
- Combine the sugar, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, ginger, cloves and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Whisk the eggs in separate large bowl. Stir in pumpkin and sugar-spice mixture. Stir in the evaporated milk. The mixture will be very thin. Pour it into the unbaked pie crust.
- Bake in preheated 425 degree F oven for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F and continue to bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until wooden skewer or knife inserted near center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for no more than 2 hours. Serve immediately or refrigerate.
- Serve at room temperature or chilled with whipped cream.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated using generic ingredients, and is an estimate not a guarantee. For more accurate results, please refer to the labels on your ingredients at home.