How to Make the Best Pumpkin Pie

September 17, 2019

Pumpkin pie in glass baking dish
Pumpkin pie is a classic that practically everyone enjoys, especially during fall and Thanksgiving.  This post will teach you everything you need to know to make the best Pumpkin Pie, including a simple step that will give you the most flavor possible in the creamy filling and a way to achieve a fancy bakery crust using store-bought dough.  You don't have to have fancy baking skills to make a beautiful pie!

COOK + BAKE   |   Published September 17, 2019

Piece of pumpkin pie with whipped cream and dough leaves

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Because there are so many flavorful ingredients, fall is one of my favorite seasons for baking.  It doesn't hurt that the weather is cooler and more appropriate for warming up the house with the oven, either.  Recipes are filled with the iconic ingredients of apples, pumpkins, cinnamon, nuts, and more all enhancing one another for perfect autumn treats.

A few weeks ago as part of the Tastes of the Season tour hosted by Ella Claire and Co, I shared a recipe for Apple Chocolate Chip Cookies that I worked for weeks to perfect.  It was a new idea and I wanted to get the technique and flavor just right.

But this time, as we once again gather forces to share a favorite pumpkin recipe, my mind went to one of the most basic dessert recipes there is....Pumpkin Pie.  And this time there was no experimenting necessary.


Pumpkin pie with one slice on a white plate

Almost 10 years ago, there was a recipe in Better Homes and Gardens from Alan Carter that introduced a slightly new technique to preparing the filling and I've been preparing pumpkin pie this way ever since.  (This recipe actually appeared alongside the Apple Cranberry Pie I shared here a couple of falls ago....I definitely recommend you giving that one a try if you haven't already.)


In his recipe, Carter cooks the pumpkin and spices on the stove before mixing them with the other ingredients.  The heat really infuses all the flavors together and enhances the taste of the pie.  It isn't anything overwhelming, but the simple step brings out all the spices to accompany the pumpkin.  A perfect taste of fall in every creamy bite.

When the pumpkin mixture is cooling on the stove top, you can mix the eggs, cream, milk, and vanilla together in a separate bowl.  Then the two are then combined and poured into your prepared crust.  So easy!

Pumpkin pie in glass baking dish

I admit that lately I've been pretty busy working on renovations at my fixer upper.  While I enjoy baking and creating recipes for the blog, it isn't fun to do when in a rush.....especially for tasks like preparing a pie crust.  I have a pie crust recipe that I turn to again and again that isn't hard to prepare, but it still takes time to do it right.  And if we are being honest, I often have a problem with the crust shrinking when I do a single crust pie like pumpkin.  Do you ever find yourself frustrated by that problem?

So what is a girl to do to speed the process along, but still have a fancy pie crust?


You turn to a refrigerated store-bought crust.  Many of us fall into the trap of thinking everything has to be from scratch and perfect.  Making a pie crust takes a little skill, and oftentimes, that leads someone who isn't confident in preparing them to feel bad about turning to already made crusts or shy away from making a pie at all.

If you are that person, please hear me when I say that you must do what makes you happy.  If you love making homemade pie, but don't like preparing the pie crust, there is nothing wrong with picking one up at the store.  If you're running out of time to do it all, focus on making the delicious filling and getting a little help with what the filling goes into.

The part that I always hate about using the rolled-up boxed dough is that there isn't enough crust around the edges to do a "proper" fancy edge.  But I tried something different this time and really wanted to share what I did with you.  In addition to being able to nicely crimp the edges of the crust, I was also able to make some leaves and acorns out of the leftover dough to accent the slices of my pie when serving them.

There are two pie crusts inside of the box, so after allowing the crust to come to room temperature, I unrolled one and placed it into my glass pie plate as normal.  Then, I unrolled the other and folded it half and in half again, creating a triangular shape with the crust.

Using kitchen shears, I cut off about an inch around the outside of the crust.  I folded the edges of the first crust back into the center of the pie plate and opened up my cut circle to place around the edge of the dish.  The first crust was then opened back up and pressed together with the cut crust.  This provided a double layer like you get when folding under the extra made-from-scratch dough.  I was then able to do a nice crimp around the edges of my crust.

Slice of pumpkin pie with whipped cream and leaf shaped dough garnish.


The rest of the dough leftover from cutting out the circle was just enough to cut leaves and acorns using mini cookie cutters (The ones I use are made by Wilton).  These could be pressed down around the edges of an uncrimped pie crust and baked with the pie for a fancy fall crust.  But I chose to bake them separately and used them to accent each slice of pie as it was served.  You could tuck them into the dollop of whipped cream as I did, or place them directly on the pie.

After cutting the shapes out of the dough, I used a knife to slice in the veins of the leaves and design on the top of the acorns.  Then I baked the dough shapes on a parchment lined baking sheet at 350 degrees for about 12 minutes, just until they started turning brown.


Speaking of crust turning brown, when making any pie, you need to keep a close eye on the color of the crust because it will get done long before your pie is baked.

When you see that the crust is the golden color you're looking for, you can gently cover the edges with strips of foil.  I've always found this to be a hassle, though, as you're trying to get little pieces of foil to wrap where you need them around a hot pie without messing with the filling.

 Last year, I bought a silicone pie shield and have found it invaluable when making pie crusts.  When you're crust is brown, you simply wrap it around the edge of your pie, attach it together and continue baking.  The crust turns out perfectly every time!

I placed my shield around the crust about 15 minutes into baking when I lowered the oven temperature.

This recipe does not take an entire can of canned pumpkin, leaving you just enough to prepare Pumpkin Pie French Toast for breakfast the next day!

Pumpkin pie for fall



  • One prepared 9 inch pie crust
  • 1 1/4 cups canned pumpkin
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla


STEP 1:  Preheat your oven to 425 degrees and place your rack in the bottom third of your oven.

STEP 2:  In a small saucepan, combine the pumpkin, brown sugar, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and salt.  Cook the ingredients over medium heat for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove the pan from the heat and set it aside to cool slightly.

STEP 3:  In a large bowl, lightly beat the two eggs. Then add in the milk, whipping cream, and vanilla and stir until combined.

STEP 4:  Pour a small amount of the milk mixture into the pumpkin mixture and stir it in.  This will begin to bring the temperature of the pumpkin down so that it doesn't curdle the milk when you mix the two together.  Then spoon in all of the pumpkin mixture into the milk and stir well until fully combined.  Pour the liquid into your prepared crust.

STEP 5:  Place the pie plate onto a baking sheet and place it in the oven.  Bake the pie at 425 degrees for 15 minutes.  Then lower the temperature to 350 degrees and bake for another 40 to 45 minutes.  The pie is done when a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.  Cool the pie on a wire rack for one hour and then refrigerate to store.

Add a dollop of whipped cream with a light sprinkle of cinnamon and you've got a tasty fall dessert to enjoy and share.

I hope this simple recipe and my tips for an easy, yet fancy, crust has inspired you to dig out a pie plate and open a can of pumpkin to start baking in your own kitchen!  


My friends below are also sharing their recipes inspired by pumpkins.  I'd love for you to take a moment and visit some of the links for more ideas!

Deliciou Pumpkin Pecan Coffee Cake by Ella Claire & Co. | Pumpkin Spice Cinnamon Roll Hack by Craftberry Bush | Pumpkin Baked Oatmeal by Tidy Mom | Moist Pumpkin Bread by Happy Happy Nester


Pumpkin Cake by Julie Blanner | Pumpkin Streusel Muffins by French Country Cottage | Gluten/Dairy Free Pumpkin Thumbprint Cookies by Zevy Joy | Pumpkin Smoothie by Town and Country Living


Pumpkin Pull Apart Bread by Inspired by Charm | Pumpkin Cookie Butter S'mores by Nest of Posies | Best Pumpkin Pie by anderson + grant | Pumpkin Bruschetta by My Sweet Savannah


Baked Pumpkin Spice Donuts by Jenna Kate at Home | Pumpkin Smoothie Bowl by Tidbits | Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins by My 100 Year Old Home |Keto Pumpkin Muffins by Summer Adams


Pumpkin Cupcake Mason Jar Triffles by Home Made Lovely | Favorite pumpkin Spice Sheet Cake by Handmade Farmhouse | Healthy Pumpkin Bread with Chocolate Chips by Boxwood Avenue | Pumpkin Lasagna by The Chronicles of Home

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