This is the BEST Pumpkin Pie recipe for Thanksgiving, hands down. I know, calling it the "best" is quite a statement, however I must not shy away from the fact that this is really the BEST Pumpkin Pie I have ever tasted and honestly the ONLY foolproof tutorial you will ever need to make Pumpkin pie. This pumpkin pie can turn any pumpkin hater to pumpkin lover!
Beside how delicious this recipe is, in this tutorial you will find all the necessary information about how to bake Pie crust like a Pro including "How to avoid soggy bottom?!" - that is every Baker's biggest nightmare.
The BEST Pumpkin Pie recipe features a flaky, buttery pie crust that is filled with silky, creamy, incredible delicious pumpkin custard flavoured with aromatic orange zest and nutmeg. It's rich, smooth, full of Fall flavours everyone loves! Whether you celebrate Thanksgiving or not, you must try this pumpkin pie recipe before the season is over.
My Top 5 Baking Tips for home bakers
- Read the recipe carefully including my tips and recommendations on how to avoid and fix typical issues during baking this Pumpkin pie recipe for Thanksgiving
- Avoid using substitutes and changing the recipe unless you are aware of how to fully reformulate the recipe in order to keep the balance in texture as well as flavour. Reducing sugar, replacing egg, using ingredients not on the right temperature etc. will all have an impact on your baking. Make sure you follow the recipe to avoid disappointment
- For consistent, happy baking experience always measure your ingredients with the help of a Digital scale. Cup measurement is provided as an indicative figure only and might be used for less complex and large batch recipes however it is not an appropriate method for more delicate, complex pastries
- Did you know that most home ovens can significantly under or oven run? Also, oven temperature hugely drops when opening the oven door therefore it is recommended to always pre-heat the oven above the required baking temperature.
- Temperature is so important when it comes to baking and accurate oven temperature is key, can make or break any recipe. Make sure you invest into an inexpensive Digital oven thermometer to avoid under baked, burnt, sad looking Pies
Some important notes regarding the ingredients of the Best Pumpkin pie recipe
For the flaky buttery Pie crust
- Flour: I am using Cotswold Premium Plain flour for this recipe that I can warmly recommend, if it is not available in your country, use AP flour with medium protein content. If you want to be a Pro when it comes to deciding what type of flour to use in your baking, please read my article in here
- Salt: An essential ingredient in most of the dessert recipes, please don´t skip it. Balances flavour and enhances other ingredients
- Sugar: I am using a tiny bit of granulated sugar in the Pie dough but it is not necessary. In general, pie crust should not be sweet, it is the filling that brings the sweetness. If you want to learn about the different types of sugar and how to use them in baking, please read my article in here
- Butter: Use always unsalted as you want to be in control of the quantity of the salt. I am using 82% fat content butter in all my recipes. While in most of the recipes butter needs to be on room temperature, this is an exception and you have to take it very seriously. Butter needs to be chilled, which means take the butter out of the fridge, cut into cubes then place it into the freezer for 10-15 minutes before using it. Working with cold butter is absolutely key to reach the right consistency of your pie dough
- Egg: This Pie crust for the Pumpkin Pie does not contain egg, good news if you are looking for an eggless pie recipe. If egg does not concern you, you can use egg white for egg washing the bottom of the pie crust and egg yolk for egg washing the edge of the pie crust. Please see details later
- Water: Water needs to be chilled similarly to butter. If you are using the flour I do (Cotswold Premium Plain flour), you will need exactly 80 g of water however if you are using a different flour, you might need to adjust the quantity paying attention to the right consistency that I will explain later in more details
For the pumpkin filling
- Pumpkin Puree: The Best Pumpkin Pie requires good quality, intense pumpkin puree for sure! I like making my own pumpkin puree by roasting pumpkin and blend it – learn how to make home made pumpkin puree from scratch in here. One key thing to remember is that for any pumpkin dessert whether it is pie, cookie or ganache, you will need a thick pumpkin puree that is not too watery so the flavours are intense enough and the consistency is not too wet. After roasting and hand blending the pumpkins, you might need to cook the puree – if the mixture is too watery – until some water evaporates. Please try making the puree at home, it will tastes 100x better and more natural than store bought
- Sugar: I am using a mixture of granulated and brown sugar in this Pumpkin Pie, you can use either of these. I actually prefer the taste profile of the brown sugar however wanted to avoid the filling being too dark so went for 50%-50%
- Egg: We are making a custard like filling so you will only need egg yolk, not the white part of the eggs. Try my macaron recipe perhaps with the leftover egg whites
- Corn starch: Use corn starch as a thickening agent, just a small amount
- Heavy cream: Gives the creaminess of the filling. Also known as whipping cream, has a fat content between 36% and 40%, in my recipes I use 36% . Avoid substitutes like vegetable based “whipping cream”
- Lemon juice: Just a small amount is enough to balance the sweetness of the rest of the ingredients
- Spices: Thanksgiving requires spices! I use freshly grated nutmeg, cinnamon stick and peeled orange zest to spice up this Pumpkin filling. Other ideas you can try: cloves, vanilla bean, ginger, pumpkin spice etc.
My top 5 tips of in regards to the TECHNIQUE of making the Best Pumpkin Pie
1. How to achieve the best flaky pie crust
If you ever mistakenly baked dense, hard pie crust you know what I am talking about... Pie crust should be flaky, almost like puff pastry but without the pain of spending 3 days with lamination. How to achieve flaky pie crust without lamination? In fact it is super easy if you follow 3 simple rules.
1. Make sure all ingredients of the pie dough are very cold at all time, even your kitchen temperature should be relatively cold (18-20c). If at any point the dough gets too warm or butter starts to melt, pop it back the freezer for a minute or two. Avoid using extra flour, instead make sure ingredients are nice and cold 2. Do not use a mixer, do not over work or knead the pie dough, in fact butter chunks staying in the dough encourage the pie to achieve a lovely flaky texture 3. Avoid soggy bottom at all cost as obviously soggy pie crust can't be flaky. On that, see further tips below
2. How to avoid soggy bottom on Pies
Soggy bottom is every Baker's biggest nightmare and honestly the risk is there every time we make a Pie that has a liquid filling like this Pumpkin Pie. Yet, so many recipes fail to explain the basic rule of how to avoid soggy bottom. We are not just making a Pumpkin Pie, we are making the Best Pumpkin Pie so soggy bottom is not an option this Thanksgiving!
Rule No.1. is that the crust needs to be fully pre-baked (blind baking) before pouring the pumpkin filling in. Do not trust recipes that state to pre-bake pie crust for 10-15 minutes only. You will need to bake the pie crust all the way until it reaches a beautiful golden colour and the bottom as well as the side fully baked, as the crust won't bake further after filling is in.
There are some further tricks worth to follow eg. applying egg wash (using white only) on the bottom of of the crust that will somewhat seal the crust from getting wet. Another great tip is pouring pumpkin filling into the pre-baked crust while filling is warm. Remember, soggy bottom is your biggest enemy, so please do not try to skip these steps.
3. How to make pumpkin filling for Pumpkin pie
Fresh or Canned Pumpkin? I like making my own pumpkin puree by roasting pumpkin and blend it – it makes a huge difference and really not much of a work, try it this Thanksgiving, recipe in here.
The filling part of the Pumpkin Pie is effectively a custard like extra creamy, smooth aromatic filling with full of flavours. Many recipes state to simple mix some eggs with pumpkin and that's it... obviously it won't provide the same creaminess and quality that we are striving for to achieve the Best Pumpkin Pie!
I suggest to do some extra work - literally 10 more minutes, I promise it is worth it!
While dough is resting in the fridge, start making a cream infusion. Heat cream until simmering then place 1 cinnamon stick and the zest of 1 orange (peeled) into the hot cream, cover the saucepan and set aside for 2 hours (or even over night) for the cream to get infused with cinnamon and orange flavours. You can use this technique for many other recipes too eg. making mousse.
Then, while crust is blind baking, prepare a custard like mixture by tempering egg yolks + corn starch with warm cream. Similarly to a pastry cream recipe (check my popular pastry cream in here), we do not use egg white as it would not bring anything to this recipe, all we need is egg yolk for the creaminess.
After, in a saucepan heat pumpkin puree with two different kinds of sugar and cook the mixture for 2-3 minutes. Add lemon juice in at the end, that will balance the flavours
Fold warm pumpkin puree mixture with egg yolk cream mixture then grate nutmeg on top and fold in. Feel free to experiment with your favourite spices. I am using orange zest, cinnamon and nutmeg, other ideas can be vanilla bean, cloves, pumpkin spice, ginger etc. Easy peasy!
4. How to bake Pumpkin Pie
As partly explained above, baking this Pumpkin Pie is a step by step process that is worth following to avoid disappointment.
First of all Pie crust needs to be baked only after it is rested in the freezer for 30 minute so effectively almost frozen, in the meantime pre-heat oven to 200C / 392F. After pie dough nicely chilled, line pie crust with parchment paper and fill with pie weights (rice can work completely fine too) - this is called blind baking. Blind baking is effectively baking the crust without the filling. Blind bake pie crust for 15 minutes in 200C with the pie weights in it.
After 15 minutes, remove pie weight, apply a thin layer of egg wash (using egg white only) on the bottom of the pie crust, this will support the crust not to get wet from the filling. Bake the pie crust again now without pie weight for further 15 minutes in 200C / 392F.
Only pour pumpkin filling in if the crust is properly baked and golden brown. This will take about 30 minutes, but check your Pie crust and adjust baking time if necessary. Since we are making a custard like creamy pie, it is recommended to lower oven temperature to 175C / 347F once the filling is in. Cover the edge of the pie crust around with aluminium foil if at any point it was browning too much.
How do I know when Pumpkin Pie is ready? At the end of the baking time the edge of the crust should be beautiful golden brown, the side of the filling should be set and the middle of the filling might be still a bit wobbly. Do not over bake your Pie as it can cause the filling to dry out and start developing cracks on top. Also too high oven temp can cause the same.
Let the pumpkin pie cool on room temperature for at least 3 hours. The pie will further set as it cools, so make sure you do not attempt to serve or cut the pie straight after baking.
5. What equipment is needed to make Pumpkin Pie
Pie is one of those technical bakes that do not require any special equipment, you will only need your hands and understanding the temperature and temperament of the pie dough. Rolling pin is handy and a Pie dish but that's it.
I recommend to use a 20-23 cm pish dish, this recipe is made in a 9 inch/ 23cm Pie dish. Anything bigger can cause significantly longer baking time, anything smaller can be maybe a bit too tiny to slice. Regarding material of the tin, many favour one or the other, however I truly believe that once you master the technique, the material, whether it is glass or ceramic or something else does not matter too much. My pie dish is a rather affordable and old fashioned enamel (this one) and it works perfectly fine.
I am using an inexpensive and fun cookie stamp to make the leaves decoration however I have seen people making lovely leaves using a sharp knife only.
As always, for consistent, happy baking experience always measure your ingredients with the help of a Digital scale. And make sure you invest into an inexpensive Digital oven thermometer to avoid under baked or burnt Pumpkin Pie.
And finally, for the piping decoration I am using my favourite 104 nozzle tip. It is a super elegant way to decorate most desserts.
10 more Thanksgiving recipe ideas for you to try
Pecan brownies - This Pecan brownies recipe is thick, fudge and gooey in the middle, crinkly and crispy on top with intense chocolate taste, crunchy pecans, and a pinch of cinnamon… you can´t go wrong with Pecan brownies for Thanksgiving! Recipe in here
Pumpkin Bundt cake - This pumpkin bund cake recipe features an airy and super moist Bundt cake loaded with pumpkin and your favourite fall spices. Topped with the most delicious butterscotch sauce with a lovely buttery, brown sugar flavour profile. Easy and quick candied pecans added for some extra crunchiness. Recipe in here
Pumpkin Oreo cheesecake - This is the creamiest ever no-bake pumpkin cheesecake recipe! I love everything about this no-bake pumpkin cheesecake; the texture, the flavour, the design and most importantly that it comes together in literally no time with ZERO effort! Recipe in here
Pumpkin cookie - This is seriously the best, most delicious, easiest pumpkin cookie recipe ever, packed with pumpkin spice and pumpkin puree! Thick bakery style cookie with fudgy center, the ultimate pumpkin cookie recipe for cookie and pumpkin lovers! Recipe in here
Apple Hand pie - There is only one thing better than Apple Pie and it is Apple Hand Pie! Easier to make than full size Apple pie and no need to share! Looking for the best Apply Pie recipe that is flaky, creamy and super easy to make? This is it! Recipe in here
Apple cake - This spiced apple cake recipe is probably the easiest, simplest and most delicious apple cake to try this fall with full of deep apple flavours. Super moist brown sugar cake loaded with spices, apple pieces and topped with a super simple ginger apple compote is the ultimate easy Thanksgiving Apple cake recipe! You will love it! Recipe in here
Apple Pie cupcake - There is no better way to celebrate than with this easy Apple Pie Cupcake, a love marriage between Cupcake and Apple pie! This Easy Apple Pie cupcake recipe features a brown sugar cupcake that is enhanced with fall spices, topped with apple pie filling and decorated to perfection with creamy mascarpone frosting! Easy and utterly delicious! Recipe in here
No bake Chocolate Hazelnut tart - This No bake Chocolate Hazelnut Tart is an easy, quick and lush dessert for chocolate and hazelnut lovers! As rich as it is, this tart is also balanced in sweetness without added sugar. Enjoy! Recipe in here
Poached Pear Pound cake - Loaded with heart warming Thanksgiving flavours, made of using only a few simple ingredients really easily and quickly. Cinnamon and orange zest infused poached pears in a simply yet super delicious loaf cake that is packed with vanilla and cardamon. Recipe in here
Carrot mousse cake - Moist and tender Carrot cake packed with spices and filled with delicious, airy cream cheese mousse is the ultimate Carrot mousse cake recipe you have to try! This light Carrot cake is a great idea any other time of the year, it is certainly a family favourite over Thanksgiving. Forget dense, overly sweet Carrot cakes, try this easy, super light version that you will definitely want a second slice! Recipe in here
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The Best Pumpkin Pie
- 250 g AP eg. Cotswold Premium Plain flour
- 10 g Granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- 180 g Unsalted butter very cold
- 80 g Water very cold
- 1 Egg for egg wash
- 20 g Double cream very cold, 36% fat content
- 20 g Cream cheese
- 5 g Icing sugar
- Few Pie Leaves using leftover pie dough
- 1 Cinnamon stick
US customary cup measurement is an indicative figure only. Measure the ingredients with a digital scale by weight (gram). Baking is art but also science which requires precision and accuracy.
Start with Pie dough
- In a large bowl whisk flour, sugar and salt until fully combined and cut butter into small cubes
- Pop butter cubes, flour mixture and water into the freezer for 10-15 minutes
- Once all ingredients are nicely chilled, add very cold butter cubes into flour and rub the mixture between your fingers until it becomes a sand like consistency. Leave some bigger butter chunks in the mixture, no need to fully incorporate butter into flour
- Add very cold water into the dough, a small amount at a time and stir with a spatula or wooden spoon after each addition
- Start working the dough with your hands. First it will look crumby but it should come together in the next minute or so. Remember, leave in some butter chunks, do not overwork the dough, do not use a mixer
- Form a disk, cover with plastic wrap and let it rest in the fridge for minimum 2 hours
- After 2 hours, take the pie dough disk out of the fridge and let it rest few minutes on the kitchen counter. The dough should stay cold but slightly warmed up to be able to roll it out without breaking it
- Transfer the disk to lightly floured surface and start rolling it out, make sure you turn the dough with your hands after each rolling so it will become even. No need to add too much flour while rolling, the pie dough should be cold enough not to stick to the kitchen counter. If at any point the dough gets too warm, pop it back to the freezer for a minute and continue
- If you are using a Pie dish 9 inch / 23 cm, roll the dough into 27 cm in diameter. Remember, do not force the dough, after rolling, it should stay smooth and cold, easy to work with
- Trim the rolled out dough into 27 cm in diameter then carefully place the dough into a Pie dish 9 inch / 23 cm. Leftover pie dough will be used later for the leaf decoration
- Fold the extra 2cm edge of the crust then flute with your fingers
- Chill pie dough again in the freezer for 30minutes
- Pre-heat oven to 200 C / 372 F
- After 30 minutes, line pie crust with parchment paper and fill with pie weights (rice can work completely fine too). Blind bake pie crust for 15 minutes
- After 15 minutes, remove pie weight, apply a thin layer of egg wash (using egg white only) on the bottom of the pie crust, this will support the crust not to get wet from the filling. Bake the pie crust again now without pie weight for further 15 minutes
For the pumpkin filling
- While dough is resting in the fridge, start making the cream infusion. Heat cream until simmering then place 1 cinnamon stick and the zest of 1 orange (peeled) into the hot cream, cover the saucepan and set aside for 2 hours for the cream to get infused with cinnamon and orange flavours
- After 2 hours, while pie crust is blind baking, remove orange zest and cinnamon stick and heat cream again until simmering. Mix egg yolk with corn starch then pour warm cream over the egg yolk mixture slowly while whisking vigorously with a hand whisk. This stage is tempering the egg yolks and the mixture should slightly thicken
- In a saucepan heat pumpkin puree with two different kinds of sugar and cook the mixture for 2-3 minutes. Add lemon juice in, that will balance the flavours
- Fold warm pumpkin puree mixture with egg yolk & cream mixture then grate nutmeg on top and fold in. The filling is now ready
- Once pumpkin filling is ready and still warm and pie crust is fully baked (should be golden brown after 30 minutes baking), carefully pour warm pumpkin filling into the pie crust
- Apply light egg wash (egg yolk + splash of cream) on the edge of the pie crust
- Lower oven temperature to 175C / 347F at this point and bake the pie for about 50 minutes. Cover the edge of the pie crust around with aluminium foil if at any point it was browning too much
- At the end of the baking time the edge of the crust should be beautiful golden brown, the side of the filling should be set and the middle of the filling might be still a bit wobbly
- Let the pumpkin pie cool on room temperature for at least 3 hours. The pie will further set as it cools, so make sure you do not attempt to serve or cut the pie straight after baking
- Using the leftover pie dough make the leaf decorations. Either cut the leaf pattern by hand using a sharp knife or use Leaf Cookie Cutter
- Bake the leaf decorations in 200C for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Place the leaves on the pie after both pie and leaves are cooled
- Whip heavy cream, cream cheese and icing sugar with an electric hand mixer for a minute until it reaches a pipeable consistency
- Pipe decoration (I am using 104 nozzle tip) on top then place one cinnamon stick on top of the piping