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Posted on Nov 23, 2013 | 7 comments

The Best Pumpkin Pie

The Best Pumpkin Pie




Yep. The best.


Now, I rarely toot my own horn. But I have been making this pie for 2 years now and I’ve been told by nearly everyone who’s eaten it that it is “the BEST pumpkin pie” they’ve ever had. My picky pumpkin-hating mother now eats a slice every time it’s served; a distant cousin who’ll barely mutter hello begged me to make him one for his birthday in August; my sister the “pumpkin-pie-expert” demands I make her an extra pie to keep all to herself. I’m now relegated to pumpkin pie duty every fall and winter, and end up baking more of these things than I ever would have thought. Strangers, acquaintances, friends, and family pay good money for this delectable dessert!




You’ll notice this recipe isn’t exactly reinventing the wheel. There are no special ingredients, and the cooking method only involves the tiniest bit of your attention.

But it’s perfect. It’s the perfect texture with the perfect combination of spices. Neither too much nor too little filling. Not too sweet, but with a depth of flavor unbefitting of its simplicity. It can easily stand on its own, though it wouldn’t suffer one bit if served with a dollop of whipped cream.

It’s just… perfect.




This pie is absolutely hassle-free and once your crust is in the pan, it’s mixed up and ready to bake in less than 5 minutes. Yeah, you’ll notice above that I just mix it with a fork. It’s easy-peasy!

Go ahead and make it the night before or the morning-of. The flavors only meld evenly more perfectly once chilled.




In anticipation of the chaos next week (when my kitchen will resemble a pie factory), I ran out to the grocery store and bought a pre-made frozen pie crust (I know, le gasp!). The Gelsons by my house carries a brand called Mrs. Smith’s, which my mother has recommended, and although I like homemade better, this crust tastes pretty darn good.

And just for tonight, I truly enjoyed having only one bowl to clean. So cheers to the first pumpkin pie of the season!



My slice of pie for tonight, and the flowers my man-friend brought over this afternoon “just because.” Seriously love this man.


The Best Pumpkin Pie

Makes one 9″ or 10″ pie

A few notes:

Please make this pie a few hours in advance to let the flavors meld and at least cool to room temperature.

Take care to cover your pie crust once it starts to brown. You can use regular aluminum foil trimmed and scrunched around the edges, or one of these handy contraptions: Pie Crust Shield.

I highly recommend Nielsen-Massey vanilla extract for this recipe. It is worth the splurge.

Do not use canned “pumpkin pie filling,” use pure pumpkin puree!


  • 1 -15 oz. can pumpkin puree, such as Libby’s
  • 1-14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 2  1/2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2  1/2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1  1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • pastry for a single-crust pie (I recommend this one), frozen for at least 20 minutes

1. Preheat your oven to 425 with a rack towards the bottom of the oven. Place your pie crust on a rimmed baking sheet and set aside.

2. In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients and stir until smooth. Pour into crust and bake for 15 minutes on the lowest rack.

3. Remove pie from oven and turn heat down to 350. While the oven cools, place a ring of aluminum foil or a pie crust shield over the exposed edges of your pie crust to prevent over-browning. Return pie to oven on baking sheet and bake 35-40 minutes more.

**Pie is done when it is still jiggly in the center, but is set about 1.5″ around the perimeter. You can test by inserting a toothpick about 1-1.5″ in from the outside crust. It should come out clean.**

4. Cool pie on a wire rack. Chill for several hours before serving.




Slices of pie and fresh whipped cream, packaged and ready-to-go to the man friend and his roommates.


  1. Hi Carboholic! You gave me this link on Serious Eats yesterday, and I wanted to let you know you’re right. This is a FANTASTIC pumpkin pie. Lovely texture, great flavor, quick and easy. And–this is perhaps dorky, but oh well–I especially like that this is actually enough filling for one pie. I hate ending up with 1/3 a bowl of filling sitting around that isn’t enough to make another pie but is enough that tossing it out feels like a waste, and I don’t always feel like putting together another crust to make a smaller pie or bars or something.

    Thanks again for the recipe!

    • Hi Stacia,

      I’m so glad you liked the pie!

      And it’s not dorky to not want to waste ingredients. I totally understand :)

      Thanks for reporting back!

  2. This looks great; can’t wait to try it. Regarding the pumpkin pie spice, I have my own that I made and it includes cinnamon. Does this recipe just have extra cinnamon or does store-bought PP spice not have cinnamon in it?

    • Store-bought pumpkin pie spice does have cinnamon but I add extra!

  3. Hi, what do you mean with “pastry for a single-crust pie (I recommend this one), frozen for at least 20 minutes”

    Do you freeze the crust when it’s done?

    Thank you

    • It means a pie crust that’s rolled out and pressed into a standard pie pan.

      The freezing is to help the crust keep its shape during baking and not shrink up. So press the crust into the pan, and freeze the raw crust for 20 minutes or so. Then remove from the freezer and pour in your pie filling and bake in the preheated oven.

      Hope that helps!


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