How to Make a Pumpkin Pie from Scratch with a Real Pumpkin.

I don’t know why pumpkin pie is relegated to only shine at Thanksgiving.  I could eat it every day of the year.  ESPECIALLY when it’s made with real pumpkin.  This is a pumpkin pie recipe that’s truly made from scratch.

 

Jump to Recipe

You can cook pumpkin pie made with real pumpkin. Yes. Sugar pumpkins to be precise. That realization  knocked me right on my ass about a decade ago. 

Before my pumpkin revelation it never occurred to me to do anything other than open up a can of pumpkin when it came time to make a pie. I mean that’s what you do. You go to the store, buy a can, open it and let the blob of pumpkin slip out. 

It just never occurred to me for some reason that you could make pumpkin pie by cooking a fresh pumpkin. Until one day I saw a sign. It said: Pie Pumpkins. I’d seen them before of course, but this time it actually clicked – Omgthesepumpkinsareformakingpumpkinpie.

Pie Pumpkins.

Holy crap!  I bought a pumpkin.  I made a pie. I did it again and again, then proceeded to tell EVERYONE that this was a thing you could do.  And it isn’t even much harder than opening a can of pie filling. You just have to bake a pumpkin.

Pie pumpkins are smaller and sweeter than regular old pumpkins which makes them perfect for whipping into a pie. You just need to turn them into pumpkin puree.

How Do You Make Pumpkin Puree?

First things first … like I said, you need a pie pumpkin.  These are the smaller pumpkins you see around.  About the size of a small head.  Like a toddler’s head for instance.

  1. Your first job is to crack off the stem and then cut the pumpkin in half.

Cracking stem off of pie pumpkin to the left of photograph and slicing through the centre of the pumpkin with a chef's knife to the right.

Inside it’ll look just like a squash or a Halloween pumpkin does when you split it in half.

Scoop out all of the guts and fibres … then place face down on a greased baking sheet. Bake in a 350°F oven for 45 minutes – 1 hr.

If you’re feeling particularly ambitious, save the pumpkin seeds for roasting.


*If the wall of your pie pumpkin is thin you might need 2 of them. If it’s thick it should be enough for a pie*


The pumpkins are done when they’re easily pierced with a fork.

Steaming, freshly baked pie pumpkins on a baking sheet.

 

When they’ve cooled a bit, flip the pumpkins over and grab a spoon. Scrape the flesh out of the pumpkins and put it into a bowl.

Scooping out cooked pumpkin pie flesh for making pumpkin pie.

 

One small pumpkin will yield around 3 cups. Plenty for one pie. Puree your pumpkin either in a traditional blender or with a hand blender.

Pumpkin pureed with immersion blender in an ironstone bowl.

 

Blend it until it has a very smooth consistency. Put the pumpkin puree into a swath of cheesecloth and let it drain.

Cooked pumpkin puree straining through cheesecloth and a metal sieve.

About a cup of liquid will drain out of a 2.5 pumpkin, leaving you with around 2 cups of pumpkin.

Lifted cheesecloth full of pumpkin puree, draining into bowl.

 

Now you have cooked, strained pumpkin just like they sell in cans.  YOU are fantastic. You did it.

What kind of pumpkin is used for pumpkin pie?

Like I mentioned, there are literally pumpkins named pie pumpkins. So obviously those are good for making pumpkin pie. BUT they aren’t the only ones that make a good pie.

In general any pumpkin that’s meant for eating can be made into pie. Some may be more dry and some more liquidey. Some may be sweeter than others.  But once you drain the liquid from the cooked pumpkin and add the rest of the pie ingredients you shouldn’t notice any big difference between a pie made with pie pumpkins or any other pumpkin.

Also – YOU CAN USE SQUASH.

A pumpkin is a type of squash.

A few years ago there was a worldwide Facebook-shared panic that somehow squash was making its way into canned pumpkin.  People were completely out of their minds over the thought of this.

Calm down. They’re the same thing. And some squash are so sweet (Delicata for instance) that they make better tasting pumpkin pies anyway.

So when pie pumpkins aren’t in season and you hanker for pumpkin pie, just grab a squash for the job. Incidentally, if a can of pumpkin puree contains “squash” it’ll say so.  You shouldn’t care if it does.

 

Pumpkin Pie Making Tips

  • Use a sweet squash if you can’t find pie pumpkins (kabocha, delicata, buttercup)
  • In a rush? Use a store bought crust. They’re actually pretty good.
  • Yes you can freeze pumpkin pie! So go ahead and make it in advance if you want. 
  • If your crust is browning too much, cover it with a pie crust shield (or just some tin foil)
  • Store it in the refrigerator. It’s a custard base so it needs to be kept in the fridge, not out on the counter at room temperature.

I haven’t given you a recipe for pie dough because most people have their own dough recipe that they use, but I do want to remind you to blind bake the crust.

 


I’m using my biggest, deepest, Pyrex pie dish here but my favourite pie plates are dark, old aluminum ones. They get a superior crust.

How To Blind Bake

  • Line unbaked pie with parchment paper, then fill with beans, dried peas, lentils or actual pie weights.
  • Bake at 350 for 15 minutes.
  • Remove parchment and weights, then bake for another 5 minutes.


How much pumpkin is in pumpkin pie?

2 cups

1 small pie pumpkin will produce 3 cups of undrained pumpkin, and 2.5 cups of pumpkin puree.

So you need 1 pie pumpkin per pie. But to be honest I always buy and cook 2 *just* in case. You can freeze any extra puree to use later.


Classic Pumpkin Pie

 

Top with Maple Syrup Whipped Cream and enjoy!

PUMPKIN PIE MADE WITH ... GASP ... PUMPKINS!

Here's the best thing. You can make this pumpkin puree then freeze it to use whenever you want!
4 from 23 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: pumpkin pie
Prep Time: 3 hours
Cook Time: 1 hour
Servings: 8 pieces of pie
Calories: 329.86kcal
Author: Karen

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Pumpkin Puree
  • 1 can evaporated milk 12 ounces
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar packed
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tsps. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. cloves You can also substitute with allspice
  • 1/4 tsp. lemon zest
  • 1 pie crust

Pumpkin Puree

  • 1 pie pumpkin 2.5 lbs

Instructions

Pumpkin Puree

  • Cut pie pumpkin in half and scoop out the guts. Cook face down on a greased baking sheet until fork tender. 30-45 minutes in a 350 F oven.
  • Once cool enough to handle, scoop out the flesh and puree with an immersion blender.
  • Strain the puree through cheesecloth. Around 1 cup of liquid should come out over a few hours.
  • You now have pumpkin puree!

Pumpkin Pie Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 425 F
  • Add sugar, salt, spices and lemon zest to bowl and mix.
  • Beat the eggs very well and add them to the bowl of mixed ingredients.
  • Mix in YOUR HOMEMADE pumpkin puree and evaporated milk and combine well.
  • Roll out pie crust and put in pie plate.
  •  Blind bake your pie crust.  To blind bake: line your pie crust with parchment paper, fill with pie weights, rice or dried beans. Bake for 15 minutes at 350 F. Remove parchment paper and weights, then bake for another 5 minutes.
  • Remove blind baked crust from the oven and fill it with the pumpkin mixture.
  • Bake at 425 F for 15 minutes, then turn oven down to 350 F and bake an additional 40-50 minutes.  If the crust starts to darken, cover it with tin foil for the remainder of the bake.
  • The pie is done when the centre reaches a temperature of 175 F. A knife should come out *almost* clean.  Just a speck or two of filling on it. 
  • Let it cool and set up on a wire rack.

Notes

  • Use a sweet squash if you can't find pie pumpkins (kabocha, delicata, buttercup)
  • In a rush? Use a store bought crust. They're actually pretty good.
  • Yes you can freeze pumpkin pie! So go ahead and make it in advance if you want. 
  • Pour your filling into the prebaked pie shell on the counter until almost full.  Then put the pie in your oven and pour the rest of the filling in. This lets you get the pie as full as possible without the chance of spilling.
  • If your crust is browning too much, cover it with a pie crust shield (or just some tin foil)
  • Store your pumpkin pie in the refrigerator. It's a custard base so it needs to be kept in the fridge, not out on the counter.
  • Use a Pyrex pie plate.  It might not look as good as a vintage metal one, but they work better.  You'll get a better crust with Pyrex.

Nutrition

Serving: 1piece (1/8th of pie) | Calories: 329.86kcal | Carbohydrates: 53.31g | Protein: 7.74g | Fat: 10.84g | Saturated Fat: 4.46g | Cholesterol: 78.16mg | Sodium: 306.82mg | Potassium: 644.33mg | Fiber: 4.48g | Sugar: 30.28g | Vitamin A: 19695.56IU | Vitamin C: 23.1mg | Calcium: 205.94mg | Iron: 2.59mg

Tools For Successful Pie Making

 

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How to Make  a Pumpkin Pie from Scratch with a Real Pumpkin.

166 Comments

  1. Stephanie says:

    I always come back to this recipe! What a great way to use up the pumpkins the kids come home with from field trips to the pumpkin patch and they love helping with the process!

  2. Teresa says:

    I should just print this recipe and keep it in my cookbook but I just end up coming back here every year to make awesome pumpkin pie.
    REAL pumpkin pie! I’m never going back. Thanks, Karen.

  3. Cassie Clark says:

    10/10 it tastes amazing and is easy to follow.

  4. Jaclyn says:

    I made this pumpkin pie over the weekend for Thanksgiving and… hawt damn, the pie turned out amazing. Honestly, the smoothest consistency and grrreat flavour.
    This is now my go-to pumpkin pie recipe – for life.

    Thanks for sharing!

    P.S. I also used your pie crust recipe which turned out really nice. I think I’ll need more dough per pie crust next time though!

    • Karen says:

      Excellent, I’m glad you liked it Jaclyn. If you get a chance leave the recipe a starred review so other people know whether it’s a good recipe or not. ~ karen!

  5. Me says:

    Why is there so much filling? I don’t see where it says that it makes at least two pies. Why do I need sooooo much filling?

    • Heather says:

      Did you use a shallow pie dish or deep? If it was shallow that could’ve been the problem. I haven’t tried it but plan to.

  6. Sara says:

    Why preheat to 450 when you bake the crest first at 350. That’s dumb. You’re dumb.

  7. Barb says:

    I have made these pies for the last 3 years. They are delicious. So bummed that I can not find pumpkins anywhere by me. Everyone has been out since the beginning of Nov. I am being told. Can I use canned pumpkin in your recipe?

    • Karen says:

      Use squash! You’ll never ever know the difference. They’re the same thing really. I don’t know where you are or what kind of grocery stores you have but these are the ones you should use if you can; Kabocha squash, Delicata Squash (also known as sweet potato squash), or Buttercup squash (which looks similar to Kabocha). Really any squash will work fine. ~ karen!

  8. Karra Schultz says:

    Thank you! Real pumpkin pie has been in our family forever! We never use canned pumpkin bc it tastes very different from using a fresh pumpkin. I also wanted to add that our pie never looks orange like your pics. It comes out as a tan/brown so I’m not sure what makes pies look orange unless it is made with canned.

  9. Nora says:

    I love your thorough and very clear explanations and illustrations. This sure makes me want to run out and see if I can still get a pie pumpkin.

    By the way, a book I have that happens to be on losing weight with a high protein high fat diet and has lots of recipes, expresses the same kind of astonishment about making whipped cream as you do about making pie with a real pumpkin. I quote: ´You won’t believe how simple and easy it is to make your own whipped cream.´ I had to stop, back up and read that again. I couldn’t believe people had to be told that!

  10. Rose says:

    I used to make pumpkin puree in October and freeze it for Thanksgiving pies. I drained the liquid when it thawed. Before I knew about sweet pie pumpkins, I scraped out the insides of Halloween pumpkins before carving them to use for pies. There’s so much sugar and spice in the pies you can’t tell the difference. (That will probably get comments!) In a taste-off one Thanksgiving no one could tell the difference between fresh and canned so now I don’t bother.

  11. Rosiland Ball says:

    Crust question! I have made pumpkin pie for 60 years. Always used the recipe on the bake of the Libby’s Can of pumpkin. It does NOT call for the crust to be blind baked! I always wondered about that – how would the bottom crust get cooked. I don’t blind bake for apple either but pumpkin is all liquid. So when do you blind bake????

    • Karen says:

      Hi Rosiland. I blind bake for most pies. Anything that has a lot of liquid, like most pies do. Like you I haven’t always found it necessary for an apple pie but for something like a pumpkin pie or a quiche I feel like it’s essential to getting a really good crust. :) ~ karen!

  12. Lesley says:

    This is the only domestic goddess thing I do – every Hallowe’en I make about 20 cups of real pumpkin puree, and freeze it in bags of 2 cups each, all ready for pie, or muffins. I’ve also used full-sized pumpkins.

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