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Classic Pumpkin Pie with Helpful Tips

A delicious homemade pumpkin pie made with premade crust and just enough spice for wonderful flavor.  Also included are 17 helpful tips when making pumpkin pie.

Whole Pumpkin Pie

Thank goodness for desserts that can be made ahead of time when having guests over for dinner.

Homemade pumpkin pie is one of those desserts.

In this pumpkin pie recipe, I use premade pie crust which makes this pie even easier to make than it already is.

This is my go-to pumpkin pie recipe and one of my favorite things about it is the amount of spice flavor that it has.

Not too much, but not too little either.  It has just enough spice in it to taste like the holidays and bring out the pumpkin flavor.

The spice in this pie is made up of ground cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and ginger.

Piece of Pumpkin Pie

Although this pie is easy to make, there are some things to consider related to the ingredients and process to make the pie taste wonderful and look nice.

Here are 17 tips on making pumpkin pie that I’ve learned over time.

Many of these tips are from learning the hard way when I made mistakes…but how else can you learn sometimes right?

TIPS – When buying the ingredients:

1. Before shopping for the ingredients, check the “use by” dates on the spice containers in your pantry (ground cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves).  If they’re out of date a replacement may be in order.

2. When buying the spices, if it’s a spice that’s not used very often, see if there’s a smaller container of spice available rather than buying the larger size.

3. When buying the canned pumpkin, make sure it’s the pumpkin puree (pure pumpkin) and not the one that is a “mix” (sweetened and flavored).

Both types of canned pumpkin are normally right next to one another on the shelf at the grocery store and this is an easy mistake to make especially if shopping in a hurry.

4. When buying the premade pie crust, check the “best if used bydate on the packages.  Try to find the package with a date that’s furthest out.  This should be the freshest option.

TIPS – Starting with the first step in this recipe, mixing the sugars and spice:

5. Use fresh brown sugar –  I had a fresh package of brown sugar in my pantry plus another package with leftover brown sugar that was much older.  I used the older brown sugar and after I mixed it with granulated sugar and the spices, there were lumps in the old brown sugar that were as hard as a rock. 

I tried smashing them with a spoon and whisk but to no avail.  Since those lumps would be evident in the pie, into the trash that mixture went and I started over using the new package of brown sugar.

Pumpkin pie ingredients

6. While the sugar and spice mixture sets aside, it gives the sugars time to take on the wonderful flavor of the spices.

TIP – For the pie filling:

7. Add the eggs to a mixing bowl first before adding other ingredientsonce I added the pie filling ingredients out of order and put the eggs in the mixing bowl after adding the sugar and pumpkin…only to see that an egg was bad.  So I had to start this step of the recipe over again.

8. Opening the can of canned milk may just be the hardest thing about making this pie – It always gives me grief.  If your can opener isn’t a great one an option may be to use a bottle opener (the kind with the pointed end).

And make 2 openings on the top edge of the can (on the opposite sides from one another).  Then pour the milk out from one of the openings.

TIPS – Filling the pie crust with pie filling:

9. Before pouring the pie filling in the pie crust, put the pie pan (with the pie crust already in it and the edges fluted) on a cookie sheet/pan with sides.

The cookie sheet/pan is helpful in two ways:

  • it gives you a little more leverage when walking with the pie from the kitchen counter to the oven (one little tilt and the pie filling will seep on, or over the edges of the crust); and
  • just in case the pie filling spills over in the oven, the mess will just be on the cookie pan and not on the inside of the oven.

Pumpkin pie filling in pie pan

10. For ease and more control when pouring the pie filling into the crust, an option is to transfer the filling into a large (4-cup) pouring-type measuring cup.

11. Don’t overfill the pie filling in the pie crust – I’ve done this more than once thinking there was just a little more pie filling and it should fit…but it didn’t.  Fill the pie filling just up to the top of the cavity in the pie pan.

Don’t let the filling seep into the edges of the crust.  Sometimes I have a little pie filling leftover and sometimes I don’t; I think it depends on the size of eggs used or perhaps the amount of moisture in the canned pumpkin.

12. Use a small diameter toothpick when testing the middle of the pie for doneness – the toothpick will leave a small hole that may show up in the middle of the pie. To minimize the size of the hole, don’t use a skewer or appetizer-type toothpick that has a large diameter .

Pumpkin pie on rack

TIPS – Cooling the pie:

13. This step is super important so that the pie “sets” (firms up).  Let the pie completely cool (at least 4 hours) before serving it so that the filling is nice and firm when cutting into the pie.

14. After the pie completely cools, an option is to gently and loosely cover the pie in plastic wrap and let it chill in the refrigerator.

This should also help with firming up the filling so that the pie is set and a knife cuts through it nicely.

Piece of pumpkin pie

TIPS – Serving the pie:

15. If the toothpick used for testing the doneness leaves too large of a hole in the middle of the pie, after the pie has completely cooled and just before serving, an option is to add a dollop of whipped cream in the middle of the pie to cover up the hole – This may be helpful if the whole pie is displayed on the table.  Otherwise, after cutting the first piece of pie you’ll hardly notice it.

16. Top each slice of pie with a dollop of whipped cream or Cool Whip Topping.  It’s also a nice touch to top the whipped cream topping with a pinch of cinnamon.

TIP – Storing the pumpkin pie:

17. After completely cooling the pie, if it’s not going to be eaten right away, the pie should be stored in the refrigerator (loosely covered with plastic wrap).

Here are more make-ahead desserts you may like “Easy Homemade Brownies with Walnuts“, “No-Bake Cherry Cheese Pie with Helpful Storing Tips” and “Biscoff Cookie Butter Blondies“.

Let’s check out the ingredients for this scrumptious pumpkin pie.

Pumpkin Pie Ingredients

Canned pumpkin (pure pumpkin, not the mix type), canned evaporated milk, brown sugar, granulated sugar, egg, ground ginger, ground nutmeg, ground cloves, ground cinnamon, salt and a premade pie crust (or homemade pie crust if preferred); also a 9-inch pie pan and cookie sheet/pan with sides (cookie pan optional).

A printable recipe with the measurements and instructions is located at the bottom of this post.

Here’s how to make it.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. (the pie will only bake at this temperature for 15 minutes and then the heat is turned down to 350 degrees F. for the remaining baking time).

Adding sugar to bowl

For the Sugar and Spice Mixture – in a medium size bowl, add granulated sugar…

Add brown sugar to bowl

…brown sugar (that’s packed in the measuring cup).

Add brown sugar to bowl

TIP – Use fresh brown sugar.  Old brown sugar may have hard lumps in it that clump together.

Add cinnamon to bowl

…ground cinnamon…

Add salt to bowl

…salt…

Add ground ginger to bowl

Add ground ginger in bowl

…ground ginger…

Add ground nutmeg to bowl

…ground nutmeg…

Add ground cloves to bowl

…and ground cloves.

Whisk dry ingredients

Whisk the ingredients together until combined and set aside.

TIP – While the sugar and spice mixture sets aside, it gives the sugars time to take on the wonderful flavor of the spices.

Empty pie pan

For the Pie Crust – bring the premade crust to room temperature according to the package instructions.

Rolled pie dough on pan

On the top edge of an ungreased 9-inch pie pan, lay the roll of premade pie crust dough.

Spread pie dough in pan

Roll out the pie crust dough…

Lay out pie dough on pan

…towards the opposite edge of the pie pan.

Adjust the pie crust dough (if needed) so that the amount hanging over the sides of the pan are as close to equal as possible all the way around the pan.

Put pie dough in pan

Press the crust firmly against the bottom and the sides of the pie pan.

Roll pie dough edges

Fold the excess edges of the crust under so that it lays on top of the edge of the pie pan (don’t let it hang over the edges).

Rolled pie dough edges

Try to fold the edges of the pie dough so that the thickness (of the dough edge) is about the same all the way around.

Pinch pie dough edges

Pinched pie dough edges

The pie crust can be sealed by pressing the back side of a fork to crimp the edges.

For this pie I sealed the crust by pinching (fluting) the edges with my index finger and thumb.

Another option for fluting the edges of pie crust is to push your thumb from one hand in between the thumb and index finger of your opposite hand.

Set the pie crust aside.

Whisk egg in bowl

For the Pie Filling – In a large mixing bowl, add beaten eggs.

Pumpkin pie ingredients

To the mixing bowl…

Add pumpkin to bowl

…add the pumpkin…

Add sugar cinnamon to bowl

…and the sugar and spice mixture.

Pumpkin pie filling

Next,

Pumpkin pie filling in bowl

…whisk together until combined.

Add canned milk in pie mix

To the pumpkin mixture add about half of the canned milk (hopefully you have better luck with getting the can open than I did).

Stir pumpkin pie filling

Whisk together…

Stir pumpkin pie filling

…until combined.

Add canned milk to bowl

Then to the pumpkin mixture, add the remaining amount of canned milk.

Stir pumpkin pie filling

And whisk together…

Stir pumpkin pie filling

…until combined.

Pumpking pie filling in pitcher

For Filling and Baking the Pie:

TIP – Optional; before filling the pie crust with filling, set the pie crust on top of a sturdy cookie pan with sides.  The cookie pan provides some leverage that’s helpful so not to tilt the pie (and the pie filling) when walking from the kitchen counter over to the oven. 

And the cookie pan is also helpful for catching overflow if there is too much filling in the pie.

TIP – For ease and control when pouring the pie filling into the crust, an option is to transfer it into a large (4-cup) pouring-type measuring cup.

Pour pumpkin filling in pie pan

Then pour the pie filling into the pie crust just until…

Pumpkin pie filling in pie pan

it reaches the top of the pie cavityThere may be some pie filling leftover.

Be careful not to let the filling overflow into the edges of the pie crust.

Holding on to the cookie pan while keeping the pie completely level, put the pie (including the cookie sheet/pan) in a preheated oven.

Let the pie bake in an oven that’s preheated to 425 degrees F. for 15 minutes.

Then turn the heat down to 350 degrees F. and bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the pie comes out clean (about 45 minutes; however time may vary).

If the crust on your pie isn’t as dark as you like it, leave the pie in the oven for a slight bit longer but watch it carefully so it doesn’t get too brown.

For my taste buds, I like the crust a little more on the light side but feel free to keep it in the oven longer if needed.

Pumpkin pie on cooling rack

Cooling the Pie – Set the pie on a rack and let it completely cool before serving (for at least 4 hours).

Whole pumpkin pie

If making the pie ahead of time, after the pie has completely cooled, gently and loosely cover it with plastic wrap and chill it in the refrigerator before serving.

Whole Pumpkin Pie

Cut piece of pumpkin pie

Next, time to dig in.

Piece of pumpkin pie

Top each serving with whipped cream or Cool Whip Topping.

Piece of pumpkin pie

Add a pinch of ground cinnamon on the whipped cream topping.

Piece of pumpkin pie

And…

Piece of pumpkin pie

Piece of pumpkin pie

…enjoy…

Bite of pumpkin pie

…each and every…

Bite of pumpkin pie

…delicious bite.

Store any leftovers covered with plastic wrap in the refrigerator.

Thank you so much for stopping by CCC!

More Holiday Recipes You May Like:

Candied Yams with Pecans and Marshmallows

How to Barbecue a Turkey on a Kettle Grill

Sage Sausage Stuffing (Dressing)

How to Make Turkey Gravy from Pan Drippings

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Whole Pumpkin Pie

Classic Pumpkin Pie

A delicious homemade pumpkin pie made with premade crust and just enough spice for wonderful flavor.
Print Pin
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Plus time to completely cool: 4 hours
Total Time: 5 hours 12 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Christmas, Christmas Dessert, Holiday, Pumpkin, Pumpkin pie, Thanksgiving
Servings: 6 (6 to 8 servings)

Equipment

  • 9-inch pie pan
  • A cookie sheet/pan with sides

Ingredients

For the Pie:

  • 1 unbaked 9-inch pastry/pie shell
  • 1 can (15 ounces) 100% pure pumpkin (not the canned pumpkin "mix")
  • 1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar (packed)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 large eggs slightly beaten

For Serving:

  • Whipped cream or Cool Whip Topping
  • Ground cinnamon for garnish

Instructions

For the Pie:

  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. (the pie will only bake at this temperature for 15 minutes and then the heat is turned down to 350 degrees F. for the remaining baking time).
  • For the Sugar and Spice Mixture - in a medium size bowl, add brown sugar, granulated sugar, salt and the spices (ground; cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves). Whisk together until combined and set aside.
  • For the Pie Crust - bring the premade crust to room temperature according to the package instructions.
  • On the top edge of an ungreased 9-inch pie pan, lay the roll of premade pie crust dough. Roll out the pie crust dough towards the opposite edge of the pie pan.
    Adjust the pie crust dough (if needed) so that the amount hanging over the sides of the pan are as close to equal as possible all the way around the pan.
  • Press the crust firmly against the bottom and the sides of the pie pan. Fold the excess edges of the crust under so that it lays on top of the edge of the pie pan (don't let it hang over the edges).
  • Try to fold the edges of the pie dough so that the thickness (of the dough edge) is about the same all the way around.
  • The pie crust can be sealed by pressing the back side of a fork to crimp the edges. For this pie I sealed the crust by pinching (fluting) the edges with my index finger and thumb.
    Another option for fluting the edges of pie crust is to push your thumb from one hand in between the thumb and index finger of your opposite hand. Set the pie crust aside.
  • For the Pie Filling - In a large mixing bowl, add beaten eggs. To the mixing bowl, add the pumpkin and the sugar and spice mixture. Whisk together until combined.
  • To the pumpkin mixture add about half of the canned milk. Whisk together until combined. Then add the remaining amount of canned milk and whisk together until combined.
  • For Filling and Baking the Pie - Optional; set the pie pan (with the crust in it) onto a cookie sheet/pan.
  • For ease of pouring the pie filling into the crust, an option is to transfer the filling into a large (4-cup) pouring-type measuring cup.
  • Pour the pie filling into the crust just until it reaches the top of the pie cavity (there may or may not be pie filling left over).
    Be careful not to let the filling overflow into the edges of the pie crust.
  • Holding on to the cookie pan, while keeping the pie completely level, put the pie (including the cookie sheet/pan) in a preheated oven.
  • Let the pie bake in an oven that's preheated to 425 degrees F. for 15 minutes.
    Then turn the heat down to 350 degrees and bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the pie comes out clean (about 42 minutes; however time may vary).
  • If the crust on your pie isn't as dark as you like it, leave the pie in the oven for a slight bit longer but watch it carefully so it doesn't get too brown.
  • Cooling the Pie - Set the pie on a rack and let it completely cool before serving (for at least 4 hours).
  • If making the pie ahead of time, after the pie has completely cooled, gently and loosely cover it with plastic wrap and chill it in the refrigerator before serving.

For Serving:

  • Serve each piece of pie topped with whipped cream or Cool Whip Topping. Add a pinch of ground cinnamon on top of the whipped cream topping for garnish.
  • Store leftover pie covered in plastic wrap in the refrigerator.

Notes

TIPS

When buying the ingredients:

1. Before shopping for ingredients, check the "use by" dates on the spice containers in your pantry (ground cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves).  If they're out of date a replacement may be in order.
2. When buying the spices, if it's a spice that's not used very often, see if there's a smaller container of spice available rather than buying the larger size.
3. When buying the canned pumpkin, make sure it's the pumpkin puree (pure pumpkin) and not the one that is a "mix" (sweetened and flavored).
4. When buying the premade pie crust, check the "best if used by" date on the packages.  Try to find the package with a date that's furthest out.  This should be the freshest option.

Starting with the first step in this recipe, mixing the sugars and spice:

5. Use fresh brown sugar -  Old brown sugar may have lumps in it that are hard as rocks.
6. While the sugar and spice mixture sets aside, it gives the sugars time to take on the wonderful flavor of the spices.

For the pie filling:

7. Add the eggs to a mixing bowl first before adding other ingredients - just in case an egg is bad 
8. Opening the can of canned milk may just be the hardest thing about making this pie - If your can opener isn't a great one an option may be to use a bottle opener (the kind with the pointed end).
And make 2 openings on the top edge of the can (on the opposite sides from one another).  Then pour the milk out from one of the openings.

Filling the pie crust with pie filling:

9. Before pouring the pie filling in the pie crust, put the pie pan (with the pie crust already in it and the edges fluted) on a cookie sheet/pan with sides.
The cookie sheet/pan is helpful in two ways:
  • it gives you a little more leverage when walking with the pie from the kitchen counter to the oven (one little tilt and the pie filling will seep on or over the edges of the crust); and
  • just in case the pie filling spills over in the oven, the mess will just be on the cookie pan and not on the inside of the oven.
10. For ease and more control when pouring the pie filling into the crust, an option is to transfer the filling into a large (4-cup) pouring-type measuring cup.
11. Don't overfill the pie filling in the pie crust - Fill the pie filling just up to the top of the cavity in the pie pan.  Don't let the filling seep into the edges of the crust.  
12. Use a small diameter toothpick when testing the middle of the pie for doneness - the toothpick will leave a small hole that may show up in the middle of the pie. To minimize the size of the hole, don't use a skewer or appetizer-type skewer that has a larger diameter .

Cooling the pie:

13. This step is super important so that the pie "sets" (firms up).  Let the pie completely cool (at least 4 hours) before serving it so that the filling is nice and firm when cutting into the pie.
14. After the pie completely cools, an option is to gently and loosely cover the pie in plastic wrap and let it chill in the refrigerator.  This should also help with firming up the filling so that the pie is set and a knife cuts through it nicely.

Serving the pie:

15. If the toothpick used for testing the doneness leaves too large of a hole in the middle of the pie, after the pie has completely cooled and just before serving, an option is to add a dollop of whipped cream in the middle of the pie to cover up the hole - This may be helpful if the whole pie is displayed on the table.  Otherwise, after cutting the first piece of pie you'll hardly notice it.
16. Top each slice of pie with a dollop of whipped cream or Cool Whip Topping.  It's also a nice touch to top the whipped cream topping with a pinch of cinnamon.
Storing the pumpkin pie:
17. After completely cooling the pie, if it's not going to be eaten right away, the pie should be stored in the refrigerator (loosely covered with plastic wrap).
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