Pumpkin Pie 101 for the Best Thanksgiving

Pumpkin Pie. Linda Larsen

Pumpkin pie is the traditional Thanksgiving dessert. There are lots of recipes around for this pie, and some tricks to know too! Make sure you read Pie Crusts 101 and Hot Water Pastry, Step by Step if you are making your crust from scratch. Pumpkin Pie 101 will teach you the best recipes for this iconic dessert.

Pumpkin Pie 101

  • Prebake the pie crust before you add the filling. This helps keep the crust crisp and flaky even underneath. And brush the crust with slightly beaten egg white before you prebake it.
  • Don't beat the filling too much. This type of pie is dense and creamy. If you add a lot of air by beating, the pumpkin filling may rise and fall, then crack.
  • Don't overbake the pie. This type of filling cracks when the pie is overbaked, making it 'weep' moisture too.
  • Keep the pie refrigerated after it cools.
  • You can use canned pumpkin, pumpkin pie filling, or roast a sugar pumpkin and puree it. It just depends on how much time you want to spend on the pie.
  • Top your pumpkin pie with a streusel, with whipped cream, or with meringue. Or fold crushed toffee into whipped cream for a nice twist. Ice cream is a great pumpkin pie topper too, especially Butter Pecan!

Traditional Pumpkin Pie Recipes

Easier Pumpkin Pie Recipes

You can 'fake' a crust for the Crockpot Pumpkin Pie Pudding by cutting refrigerated pie dough into fall shapes (leaves, turkeys), sprinkling with sugar, then baking at 400 degrees F until they're light brown.

Top each serving with a few crispy cutouts. Or crumble up purchased sugar cookies or shortbread, then sprinkle on top of each serving of the pudding.

  • Crockpot Pumpkin Pie Pudding
  • Impossible Pumpkin Pie

Easiest Pumpkin Pie

Order a pie from a restaurant like Baker's Square, a specialty shop or bakery in town, or a grocery store.

Whip your own cream at the last minute, flavored with some vanilla, confectioner's sugar, and cinnamon, for a homemade touch, then pipe it over the pie using a pastry bag with a rosette tip. Or make a homemade meringue and bake it on top of a frozen pie you bake yourself.

Transfer the pie to one of your pie plates (this is kind of tricky, so be careful!) before serving for a really homemade look. You can also toast some pecans and sprinkle those over the pie just before you serve it.