Dulce de leche, a flaky homemade crust, and real pumpkin make this easy Pumpkin Pie from Scratch a holiday favorite! Everyone will adore this cinnamon-spiced classic.
A Warm and Festive Homemade Pumpkin Pie Recipe
Of all the yummy pumpkin-flavored treats out there, traditional pumpkin pie has got to be the most iconic. Even people who don’t really like pie are likely to line up for a slice of pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving! There’s just something about the smooth, sweet custard filling, warming spices, and flaky crust that sparks that holiday feeling.
This pumpkin pie recipe is super easy, and turns out golden-brown and scrumptious. The pumpkin filling is redolent with real vanilla, real pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice, and a touch of dulce de leche. Yum! Bake it up in a tender homemade pie crust, and you’ve got a real winner!
What You’ll Need
Here’s a rundown of the ingredients for this classic pie. It’s a simple list, because this recipe is truly easy and foolproof! Note: while you can make your own crust as directed, you can also substitute a pre-made, refrigerated pie crust. Easy peasy!
For the Pastry
- Flour: This pie crust works best with all-purpose flour, but you can also use a gluten-free 1:1 all-purpose flour blend. The texture of the crust may be more crumbly.
- Sugar: Brown sugar, confectioner’s sugar, or granulated sugar—it’s up to you! You only need a couple of teaspoons to slightly sweeten the crust.
- Butter: I use unsalted butter, but you can use salted if you prefer. Either way, make sure it’s cubed, and chilled until cold and hard.
- Cream Cheese: Adding cream cheese to pie crust makes a tender, golden-brown, and full-flavored crust with no guesswork!
For the Filling
- Pumpkin Puree: Make sure to use pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie filling, which has lots of added ingredients.
- Dulce de Leche: While you can make this at home, I prefer to use a can of dulce de leche—it’s easy and quick, and tastes heavenly!
- Eggs: Whole eggs bind the custard mixture together and give it body.
- Vanilla: Pure vanilla extract gives the best flavor, but vanilla flavoring is fine too!
- Pumpkin Pie Spice: You can make your own, using cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and cardamom; or you can use a pre-made pumpkin pie spice blend.
How to Make Pumpkin Pie from Scratch
Making pumpkin pie is basically as easy as mix, and bake. If you choose to use a store-bought crust, the whole process takes just a few minutes. But even if you make your own crust, it’s really not difficult or time-consuming at all. Plus, it’s scrumptious!
Make the Pastry
- Combine the Dry Ingredients. In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the flour and sugar until combined. Then add the cubed butter, and pulse until the mixture resembles a coarse meal or coarse crumbs. You can also do this by hand, using a pastry cutter or a fork.
- Add the Cream Cheese. Add the cream cheese to the dry mixture, and pulse (or cut with a pastry cutter) until everything is well combined.
- Roll and Chill. Shape the dough into a disk, sprinkle the working surface with some flour, and, using a rolling pin, roll the dough out into a circle, several inches larger than your pie dish. Place the dough into the pie dish, smooth it into the corners, and trim the edges. Refrigerate the crust for at least 20 minutes.
Assemble Your Pie and Bake
- Combine the Filling Ingredients. Place all of the pie ingredients in a blender (you can also use a clean food processor). Mix until well combined. You can do this by hand, too, mixing well with a whisk or large spoon.
- Bake the Pie. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Take the pie crust out of the refrigerator, and pour the filling in. Bake for 1 hour. The pie is done when it’s mostly set. The very center of the pie should jiggle slightly if you shake the pie.
- Cool. Cool the pie on a wire rack for 2 hours before serving, or moving it to the refrigerator.
Tips for Success
What else should you know about making the perfect pumpkin pie from scratch? As a matter of fact, I do have a few handy tips to share. Read on, and happy holidays!
- Cream Cheese Substitution: If you don’t have cream cheese or don’t want to use it, you can use sour cream, or substitute ice-cold water. Add a tablespoon at a time to the crust until it just comes together in a ball with some dry floury areas.
- Dulce de Leche Substitution: If you don’t have dulce de leche or don’t want to use it, a can of sweetened condensed milk will work instead!
- Keep Foil Handy: If you notice that the crust is getting too browned, lay some pieces of foil over the crust. That will allow the filling to cook without burning the delicate crust.
To serve this pumpkin pie, I recommend having a topping option or two for people to choose from. Here are a few ideas to get you started!
- Sweetened Whipped Cream
- Vanilla Ice Cream
- Caramel Sauce
- Chopped Candied Nuts
- Crumbled Heath Bars
How to Store Leftover Pumpkin Pie
- Leftover pumpkin pie should be kept in the fridge to prevent spoilage. Just place the leftovers in an airtight container, or cover the pie dish tightly with plastic wrap.
- Store for up to 3 days in the refrigerator.
Can I Freeze Pumpkin Pie?
- Yes, you can! You can freeze the unbaked pie, and bake it later directly from the freezer (be sure to freeze it in a metal pie plate, not a glass one).
- Unbaked pie will keep in the freezer for about 5 days.
- It’s also fine to freeze a baked pie, or leftover slices. Just make sure the pie is cool, and then wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and store in a freezer bag.
- Baked pumpkin pie will keep frozen for up to one month. Thaw overnight before serving.
Perfect Pumpkin Pie from Scratch
For the Pastry
- 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons brown sugar, you can also use confectioner’s sugar or granulated sugar
- 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, cut into cubes
- ½ cup cream cheese
Make the Pastry
- In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the flour and sugar until combined.
- Add the cubed butter, and pulse for at least 30 seconds, or until the mixture resembles a coarse meal.
- Add the cream cheese, and pulse everything until well combined. Transfer the dough to a working surface.
- Form the dough into a disk, sprinkle the working surface with some flour, and roll out the dough into a circle, 12 to 14 inches wide.
- Place the dough into a pie dish, trim the edges, and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes.
Make the Pie
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Place all of the pie ingredients in a blender (you can also clean and use the food processor). Mix until well combined.
- Remove the pie dough from the refrigerator. Pour the filling into the uncooked, chilled pie crust.
- Bake for 1 hour, or until the pie is mostly set, with the very center jiggling slightly when shaken.
- Cool the pie on a wire rack for 2 hours before serving.
- Serve, or refrigerate until ready to serve.