21 Tips For Baking Pumpkin Pie (FAQs Answered)

Pumpkin pie is one of the easiest pies to bake from scratch at home; however, sometimes, even the most trustworthy and tested recipes can turn out less than perfect.

But don’t worry; in this post, I will cover the most frequently asked question about baking pumpkin pie. Whether it is ingredients substitution, baking tips, troubleshooting, fixes, or general instructions; hopefully, you will find your answer below.

Here Are 21 Pumpkin Pie Tips And Tricks To Help You Bake The Perfect Pie

pumpkin pie tips

1. Should I Cover My Pumpkin Pie When Baking?

If the edges of the pie are getting too dark or burnt, but the pumpkin filling in the center is still a little jiggly, covers the outer edge of the pie with the pie crust shield, or alternatively, loosely cover the top of the pie with aluminum foil to shield it from the direct heat.

2. How Many Cups Of Fresh Pumpkin Are In A 15 Oz Can?

A regular 15 oz (425 g) can of pumpkin puree is approximately 1 ¾ cups—falling short of two full cups by 2 ½ tablespoons.

If you prefer to make homemade pumpkin puree, you will have varying results on each try, since all pumpkins vary in size and water content. However, on average, a pumpkin weighing two pounds (1 kg) will usually grant around two cups of puree, the same as a can.

3. Can You Bake Pumpkin Pie Without A Crust?

Making pumpkin pie without a crust is easy and fast. All you need to do is prepare the pie filling as you usually would, and then coat the pie pan with butter, oil, or non-stick spray. It will bake similarly to a regular custard pie.

Crustless pumpkin pie is an excellent autumn dessert that is ever-growing in popularity. It is simple to make, naturally gluten-free, and can quickly turn into a sugar-free and vegan dish with minimal effort.

4. Can You Make Pumpkin Pie Without Eggs?

You can easily make pumpkin pie without eggs, as long as you modify the recipe to guarantee structure. The best way is to incorporate a thickening agent into the pumpkin pie filling mixture, usually starch. 

However, keep in mind that if you simply take the eggs out of the recipe and don’t modify it correctly, your pumpkin pie will not solidify and remain somewhat runny. 

Your chosen recipe will specify the type of starch you should aim for, but standard options include cornstarch, potato starch, or tapioca starch.

5. How Do You Thicken A Pumpkin Pie Filling?

The key to fixing a runny pumpkin pie filling is to incorporate strategic amounts of thickening agents into the mixture to change its consistency. The most common options are egg yolks, cornstarch, plain flour, and arrowroot. 

Likewise, keep in mind that using fresh pumpkins instead of canned options will add more water content, which can make the pumpkin pie filling runnier. Therefore, another option to thicken your pumpkin pie filling is to use canned pumpkin pie filling or carefully strain your fresh pumpkin puree before incorporating it into the mixture.

6. Can You Make Pumpkin Pie With Graham Cracker Crust?

Making a pumpkin pie crust with graham crackers is a simple and easy way to reduce the time it takes to prepare the dessert. Crush the graham crackers manually or with a food processor until you obtain fine crumbs, then incorporate the butter and, optionally, brown sugar.

The result of the mixture should have a texture similar to wet sand that is easy to manipulate and give shape inside the pie mold. Keep in mind there is no need to pre-bake the graham cracker crust since it will bake alongside the filling in the oven.

7. Can You Make Pumpkin Pie Without Condensed Milk?

Pumpkin pie often relies on condensed milk for sweetness and further thickening of the filling, but it is easy to replace by using other mixtures of similar consistency. 

For example, a can of evaporated milk would fulfill the same purpose, and you can adjust the sweetness to taste. Likewise, heavy cream or half and half also enhances the consistency of the recipe without including more water content.

8. Can You Make Pumpkin Pie With Almond Milk?

Almond milk is an excellent substitute for any milk derivatives used in pumpkin pies, creating a final result nearly identical to those using regular milk. There are plenty of pumpkin pie recipes asking for almond milk, but it is also possible to adapt classic recipes. 

However, if the recipe you seek to modify asks for condensed or evaporated milk, you need to thicken the almond milk to achieve the ideal consistency. One way to accomplish this consists in simmering the milk on the stove to reduce it and concentrate it until it thickens, while another method suggests mixing almond milk with some cornstarch.

9. Can You Make Pumpkin Pie With Butternut Squash?

It is possible to make pumpkin pie with almost any type of squash—and butternut squash might be one of the best options. It is not too watery, and once pureed it doesn’t show any grainy or fibrous texture, making it very similar to canned pumpkin puree. 

To prepare homemade puree, keep in mind that you need to bake the halves or quarters of the butternut squash beforehand, carefully removing the seeds and stringy segments.

10. What Else Can You Substitute For Pumpkin Puree?

Canned pumpkin puree is mostly a combination of different pumpkin and squash variations, meaning there are many substitutes you can consider. Homemade pumpkin pie made out of pie or sugar pumpkins remains ideal, but squashes can be just as good—butternut, acorn, red Kuri, and kabocha squashes are the favorites.

However, you can also discard pumpkins and squashes altogether and go instead for sweeter-tasting sweet potatoes. They have a distinctive orange color and an earthy flavor with nutty touches, making them surprisingly good substitutes for pumpkin puree.

11. Can You Bake Pumpkin Pie On A Cookie Sheet?

Although it may not yield the classic round pie shape, a cookie sheet is an excellent way to bake a pumpkin pie for a large crowd with minimal effort. Likewise, there is no need to modify the recipe or procedure in any way, except by increasing quantities if required.

That said, it is essential to use a cookie sheet with high sides that can hold the filling in its entirety without any overflowing.

12. How Long To Cook Pumpkin Pie?

On average, a pumpkin pie would take from 45 minutes to an hour to bake thoroughly at 350°F (175°C) in a standard convection oven. However, each recipe calls for different cooking times, and every oven cooks at a different speed. 

Similarly, some pumpkin pie recipes call for blind baking (pre-baking) the crust before adding the filling, even though it is not the traditional approach. Such cases usually require approximately 40 minutes to bake the crust until golden brown. Afterward, they typically let the filling cook at 375°F (190°C) for at least an hour.

13. How To Know When Pumpkin Pie Is Done?

The pumpkin pie’s consistency and appearance often signal when it is done cooking. The outer edges of the pie filling should be firm, and the center should be slightly jiggly yet not watery or runny.

To be certain, you can always rely on the traditional knife test. Insert a knife or toothpick in the center of the pie, and if it comes out clean, the dish is done and ready to cool.

14. Can You Fix An Overcooked Pumpkin Pie?

Fixing an overcooked pumpkin pie depends on the severity of the burns and the level of damage. If only the edges burned, cutting them off and replacing them with whipped cream or garnish decoration can salvage the pie. However, if the pumpkin pie filling is overcooked and burnt, the dish cannot be saved anymore.

The reason is simple—a pumpkin pie is a custard pie that usually includes eggs in the recipe, and overcooked eggs are not salvageable. Regardless, it is possible to repurpose the pumpkin pie into a different dessert with the salvageable bits of the dish.

If a significant portion of the crust made it out unscathed, a popular option is to transform the burnt pumpkin pie into a parfait. All you need to do is spoon out the filling, layering it with whipped cream and unburnt bits of crust in glasses.

15. Is Pumpkin Pie Supposed To Be Jiggly?

Pumpkin pie filling is supposed to be just slightly jiggly in the center once it has completely baked, and looking for this consistency is one of the best ways to tell if the pie is done cooking. The texture should be jelly-like—firm yet bouncy. 

However, pumpkin pie sets once it cools down, and the jiggly texture turns firmer without heat. Therefore, do not worry if it changes from one day to another.

16. What To Do With Leftover Pumpkin Pie Filling?

You can store any leftover pumpkin pie filling in the fridge, and it will last up to a week unspoiled, as long as you keep them in an airtight glass or plastic container. 

Leftover pumpkin pie filling is an excellent base ingredient for many recipes. For example, you can place the pumpkin pie filling inside ramekins and bake in a water bath for 40 minutes for a quick pumpkin custard brûlée.

Since the pumpkin pie filling is already custard-like in texture, another option is to transform it into a cheesecake for another occasion. The recipe options are endless!

17. How To Eat Pumpkin Pie?

There is no rule detailing the right way to eat and serve pumpkin pie—depending on personal preferences, it is a dessert best enjoyed cold, warm, or at room temperature. Although it’s common for recipes to suggest letting the pie chill before serving, it is hardly an imperative.

Eating it warm can enhance the spices and aromas of the pie, yet it can be messy since the custard hasn’t had time to set. Likewise, plenty of toppings—such as whipped cream—can melt. On the other hand, eating it cold allows the filling to set into a pleasant texture, yet it can cause issues for individuals with sensitive teeth.

The perfect middle ground is to eat the pumpkin pie

18. Can You Bake Pumpkin Pie In A Frozen Crust?

You can bake a pumpkin pie with a frozen crust without thawing it beforehand. In fact, that is the preferred approach if you purchase the crust from the grocery store freezer—thawing can turn it soggy and, therefore, reduce the final product’s quality. 

To bake a pumpkin pie with a frozen crust, you’d proceed as normal—pour the filling into the crust and bake it at the usual temperature you use. Since pumpkin pie has a long baking period, there is usually no need for blind baking the crust.

19. How Far In Advance Can You Make Pumpkin Pie?

You can prepare and bake pumpkin pie up to two days in advance without perceiving any change in flavor or consistency. 

However, since it is a custard pie that relies on milk products and eggs to reach that consistency, you must store it in the refrigerator immediately until it is time to serve it. To preserve it, cover it entirely with plastic wrap or aluminum foil.

20. How Long Should Pumpkin Pie Cool Before Refrigerating?

Pumpkin pie should be left to cool at room temperature from 30 minutes to two hours before refrigerating. Although the time required for a pumpkin pie to cool completely varies according to weather and humidity, two hours should be more than enough.

In that regard, the Food and Drug Administration suggests refrigerating products containing milk or eggs within two hours of baking, as it prevents contamination and bacteria. [1]

21. Can You Freeze Pumpkin Pie?

Since it has a custard filling, it is possible to freeze pumpkin pie before or after baking. It won’t diminish the dessert quality, and it will be fresh whenever it is reheated.

To preserve flavors and textures, it’s best to freeze pumpkin pie before baking it. However, if you want to freeze a pumpkin pie afterward, you must let it come to room temperature beforehand. Otherwise, you risk crystal formation and a soggy crust, drastically reducing the texture quality.

In conclusion, pumpkin pie is a delicious and classic dessert that can be enjoyed during the fall season, Thanksgiving, or at any time of the year really. I hope that with these tips for baking pumpkin pie above, you can create a perfect pumpkin pie that will impress your friends and family.

Happy Baking!

Read Also: 9 Tips For Baking In Disposable Aluminum Pans.


[1] U.S. Food & Drug Administration. Are You Storing Food Safely? Retrieved from https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/are-you-storing-food-safely.

About Jen Evansy

Nutritionist, researcher, avid home cook, and writer interested in everything nutrition and food-related. Striving to inform, encourage, and inspire all the readers to make healthy and informed choices when it comes to cooking, food, diet, and nutrition.