How to Make Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin pie is a must have at most Thanksgiving tables. Make your own pie this year with this straightforward recipe requiring only 20 minutes prep.

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Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin pie-you either love it or you hate it. Maybe hate is a strong word. I have a friend who always says she doesn’t “care for it” if she doesn’t like something. I “don’t care for” pumpkin pie. Which is basically the polite way of saying I wouldn’t be sad if it fell down the garbage disposal. (It’s a squash pie, people)! I’m definitely on team chocolate pecan pie or peanut butter pie.

That being said, I love multiple people who love pumpkin pie. So I make pumpkin pie. And so, for several years, I have been on the search for the most delicious pumpkin pie that does not take a lot of effort and I have finally come up with a winner.

What kind of pumpkin is used for pie?

Pie pumpkins are not the same as the pumpkins that you carve for Halloween. Those pumpkins are bred to be large, specifically for carving, but not to taste good. You want a pumpkin that is bred to be a pie pumpkin. They are often labeled as sugar pumpkins or pie pumpkins in the store and are sweeter, with smoother insides than a carving pumpkin.

Your best bet, however, for a consistent pumpkin pie, is simply to buy canned pumpkin. Be sure to buy simply canned pumpkin and not canned pumpkin pie filling, which has the sugar and spices already added.

Why cook the pie filling on the stove?

Cooking the pumpkin with the sugar and spices on the stove for a few minutes, reduces the amount of water in pumpkin. It also dissolves the sugar granules completely into the mixture. This combination leads to a smoother finished pie.

Pie Crust Leaves

How do you keep a pumpkin pie from cracking?

You don’t overcook it. Easier said than done, I know. Pumpkin pie is a custard pie and so it needs to be baked long and slow like a cheesecake. No hotter than 375 degrees, which is hot enough to bake the crust but not so hot as to over-bake the filling. Pull the pie out of the oven when the whole thing moves together (no ripples) but before it doesn’t move at all.

If your pie does crack once it cools, simply cover the crack with pie crust leaves or lots of whipped cream. Nobody will care, I promise.

What is evaporated milk?

This recipe calls for evaporated milk, but what the heck is it? Evaporated milk is canned milk where about 60% of the water has been removed. The resulting milk is a little bit thicker and creamier with a significantly longer shelf life than regular milk.

John Meyenberg started making and selling the first unsweetened evaporated milk back in 1890 (PET Milk). The pursuit of a better product led them to develop and use homogenization-a technique used in pretty much all dairy production today.

It’s different from heavy cream because it doesn’t have as much of the milk fat as cream. It’s also far more shelf stable then cream (i.e. you don’t have to refrigerate it unless it’s been opened).

How long is pumpkin pie good for?

Your pie will be good at room temperature for up to 4 days.

How to make pumpkin pie:

  • Prepare a 9 inch pie crust. Make sure the edges of the crust are flat against the pan. Since we are baking it at a lower temperature, raised edges on the crust will fall apart before they have time to set.
  • Cook canned pumpkin, brown sugar, and spices over medium heat for a few minutes to dissolve the sugar and reduce the water in the canned pumpkin.
  • Using a mixer, mix together the warm pumpkin mixture, evaporated milk, and vanilla. Mix until the pumpkin mixture has cooled a bit
  • Mix in eggs, one at a time, until fully combined. The eggs are a very important part of our pie’s structure so we want to be sure they are fully beaten.
  • Pour mixture into prepared pie crust. Bake at 375 degrees until pie no longer has ripples when you jiggle it slightly but moves as one whole unit. Be gentle with the wiggling.
  • Allow to cool completely and enjoy!

Pumpkin Pie

Course Dessert
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Servings 8 people
Author Heather


  • Mixer
  • Pie Plate


  • 1 9 inch pie crust
  • 1 15 ounce can pumpkin
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 12 ounce can evaporated milk


  • Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
  • In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine pumpkin, brown sugar, cinnamon, and ginger. Cook until sugar is fully dissolved and mixture is thick and shiny, 3-5 minutes.
  • Place mixture into mixer bowl. If using a stand mixer, fit with paddle attachment. Beat pumpkin mixture on low speed.
  • Add in evaporated milk and vanilla. Beat until mixture has cooled slightly.
  • Add in eggs, one at a time, until fully combined.
  • Pour mixture into prepared pie crust. Bake at 375 degrees for 50-60 minutes.
  • Watch pie carefully. It is done when the pie is gently wiggled and moves all together (no ripples). If your pie crust edges are getting too dark, you may need to cover the edges with aluminum foil.
  • Remove from oven and allow to cool completely. Enjoy!


*If you are making your own pie crust or using store-bought dough, make sure the edges of your crust are flat, not raised.  We cook this pie at a lower temperature than most pie and raised edges will fall apart before they are set.  I used a fork and simply pressed the edges of the pie crust.
*If you prefer, you can substitute 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice for the cinnamon and ginger.

If you are looking for more pie recipes for this Thanksgiving (or just because you love pie) you might want to check out these mini lemon meringue pies or this easy apple tart.

Did you make this recipe? Tag me @bakincareofbusiness on Instagram so I can see what you made!

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Happy Baking!


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