Classic Pumpkin Pie Recipe

Pumpkin pie is a dessert that we typically associate with Thanksgiving: a classic American pie for a classic American holiday. It actually has an entire season, though, as these pies tend to be sold in stores and bakeries from late summer all the way up through the end of the year. (Christmas dinner, after all, is often Thanksgiving redux plus eggnog and peppermint.) The great thing about pumpkin pie, though, is that it is generally made with canned pumpkin purée. This means it's something you can make at any time of year.

Recipe developer Miriam Hahn does say that when small sugar pumpkins are in season, "you can definitely bake them until they are soft" and use the flesh for a DIY purée, but it probably wouldn't be nearly as sweet or flavorful as the canned kind (via Forbes). Sugar pumpkins, despite their name, are actually better suited for savory pumpkin dishes like soups and salads than they are for desserts. This recipe, however, does call for pumpkin purée from a can, so if you catch a glimpse of an actual pumpkin in any photos below, rest assured they're strictly for decorative purposes. The canned purée ensures the filling is "thick and creamy" while the recipe itself, Hahn tells us, is practically "foolproof."

Gather the ingredients for this pumpkin pie

To make the pie filling, you need canned pumpkin purée, eggs, sweetened condensed milk, pumpkin pie spice, and the zest from an orange. Hahn calls the zest her "secret ingredient," saying "it brightens up the traditional flavor without a drastic takeaway from what we expect when we bite into pumpkin pie."

You will, of course, also need a crust for the pie. While Hahn uses a pre-made frozen crust here, you could make one from scratch, or you could make your own crumb crust (either graham cracker and gingersnap would be nice). What you should avoid is using a store-bought crumb crust, as these have already been baked.

Make the pie filling

Start off by preheating the oven to 425 F. In the meantime, beat the eggs, then stir in the rest of the filling ingredients (everything but the crust). Once you have a homogeneous mixture, pour the pie filling into the crust.

Bake the pie

Once the oven has reached the proper temperature, put the pie in and bake it for 15 minutes. After that, turn the oven down to 350 F. Make a loose foil tent over the pie, then bake it for 45 more minutes. At that point, go ahead and stick a toothpick or skewer in the middle. If it comes out clean, the pie is done. If not, it might need up to 10 more minutes in the oven.

Let the pie cool before slicing

The pie will need to cool down completely before you cut into it, otherwise it won't be firm and would just squish all over the place once sliced. The pie will take about 2 hours or so to cool, but you could speed things up a bit by sticking it in the fridge.

If you're looking at the pictures and think the pie slices look big, you're not wrong. "I cut my slices really big and only got 6, but 8 would be typical," Hahn explains. However you slice your pie, you may wish to serve it with whipped cream (try spiking it with maple syrup for an autumnal twist!) and a sprinkling of cinnamon, nutmeg, or ginger.

Classic Pumpkin Pie Recipe
5 from 40 ratings
Pumpkin pie generally uses canned pumpkin, so why are we only making it in the fall? No matter what month you're in, we suspect you'll enjoy this treat.
Prep Time
Cook Time
pumpkin pie slice on plate
Total time: 3 hours, 10 minutes
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin purée
  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 9-inch deep dish, frozen pie crust
Optional Ingredients
  • whipped cream, for serving
  • cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, or extra pumpkin pie spice, for serving
  1. Preheat oven to 425 F.
  2. In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs, then stir in the pumpkin, sweetened condensed milk, zest, and pumpkin pie spice.
  3. Pour the filling into the pie crust.
  4. Bake the pie for 15 minutes.
  5. Turn the oven temperature down to 350 F and make a loose foil tent over the pie. Continue to bake the pie for 45 to 55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  6. Let the pie cool for at least 2 hours before slicing.
  7. Serve the pie with whipped cream and a sprinkling of additional spices, if desired.
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