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Pumpkin Pie for Beginners

posted in Sweets by Kathy Maister
difficulty rating

Store-bought pie crusts are great for someone just learning how to cook. Making your own pastry can be challenging for a beginner cook. For this Pumpkin Pie recipe, you can just purchase a ready-made pastry crust from your grocer’s freezer. Do not defrost the pie crust. We are going to make the pumpkin filling and pour it right into the frozen crust.

The pumpkins shown above are part of my centerpiece arrangement. The pie is actually made with pumpkin from a can.

For the filling you will need:

Description of the Ingredients

Canned pumpkin is already cooked and pureed (mashed) so all you have to do is open the can and it is ready to use. Be sure to buy canned pumpkin and NOT pumpkin pie filling in a can. (In the USA) canned pumpkin is not found in the canned vegetable aisle. It is actually sold with all the baking products – right near the flour, sugar, and baking soda. Who knew?

There is a HUGE difference between sweetened condensed milk and evaporated milk. This recipe calls for sweetened condensed milk.

Evaporated milk has no added sugar and is slightly thicker and richer than regular milk. (I used it to make my Pumpkin Soup and my Stove Top Mac and Cheese.) Sweetened condensed milk is very thick and very sweet. They are not interchangeable ingredients.

Evaporated Milk and Sweetened Condensed Milk

Pumpkin Pie Spice is a blend of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice. It is easier and less expensive to buy one small jar of spice blend rather than four separate jars of spices. You can mix the leftover pumpkin pie spice with some sugar and sprinkle it on toast or cottage cheese. Or you could add it to Butternut Squash instead of cinnamon.

Let’s startcooking!

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Be careful — that’s a really HOT oven! It will take about 15 minutes for your oven to get that hot. You are only going to cook your pie for 15 minutes at that temperature. You’ll then turn the oven down to 350 degrees, and continue cooking the pie for about another 30 minutes.

Crack two eggs into a medium bowl. (Check to make sure there are no shells in the bowl!)

Add to the bowl the canned pumpkin, the sweetened condensed milk, the pumpkin pie spice, and the salt.

Whisk everything together. It should get really well combined and look like the picture below when it is ready to all pour into the pie shell.

Set the unbaked, frozen pie shell on a baking sheet with sides. This is going to make it much easier to lift the pie in and out of the oven.

Pour the filling into the frozen pie shell.

The filling is going to come almost to the top edge.

Immediately put the pie into the oven and set the timer for 15 minutes.

When the timer goes off, lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees and reset the timer for 30 minutes.

You will also need to cover the edges of the pie with tin foil. Otherwise they will get way too browned.

You can buy a pie ring or make your own out of tin foil. My post on Pie Crust – Ready Made will show you how.

The way you check to see if the pie is ready to come out of the oven is to stick a knife into the pie about one inch in from the edge of the crust.

If the knife comes out clean, the pie is done. Depending on your oven you may need to continue cooking for an additional 5 minutes. Let the pie cool completely before serving it. It will deflate slightly when cooled.

A great way to serve this pie is with a big dollop of fresh whipped cream, or a nice big squirt of cream from a can!


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Gnorb said:

This is by far the most delicious blog post I’ve ever read. Thanks for the recipe: I’ll be using it very soon. Maybe this year I’ll be the one making the pumpkin pies at Thanksgiving!

Kathy Maister said:

Thanks gnorb! Be sure to buy enough ingredients for two pies. Who knows this may become your signature dish!

Good Luck!

Jon said:

I’m not suer that I have ever seen canned pumpkin in the UK, but it looks like we may well ahve to be on the look out for it here, we are facing a shortage of pumpkins:,,2186019,00.html

Oh well, I just hope that it does not affect other squashes too much – I just love them and for me Autumn (fall) is signalled by the first roast squash.

Kathy Maister said:

Hi Jon! Curiously enough, in the USA, canned pumpkin is not found in the canned vegetable aisle. It is actually sold with all the baking products – right near the flour, sugar, and baking soda. Who knew?

Sheila said:

Hi Kathy

This recipe sounds good – and easy. I may try this on Thanksgiving.

A propos of this , do you have a good recipe for pecan pie? I tried to make one at the weekend, using an American recipe but I got confused with the cup measurements, and it was a little runny! Also, the recipe called for molasses, which is hard to find in the UK. I used golden syrup, but I’m not sure the taste was quite the same.

Best wishes

virginia said:

I like pie!!!!!!!!!!!….yeah i like pie!!!!!!!!wooooho..i love pie….if this doesnt taste good im goint to hurt someone!!!!!!…i love pie!!!

Kathy Maister said:

Hi Sheila,

Here is a perfect pecan pie recipe!

Virginia, I promise you will not be dissappointed! :)

virginia said:

sweet i cant wait!!!!!..hmm i was thinking ..should i make an apple pie to give to my sister for christmas…she loves pie too..and i think she would die over it!!!..but im not good at making stuff..hmmm!!!..i need help!!!!!!

Kathy Maister said:

Virginia, if you have never made an apple pie, start with an apple crisp-it’s much easier! (Just be sure to buy “baking apples“)

Katie g mahan said:

This pie is sooo easy and sooo delicious.. I am a newbie to the pie making but I have to say every time I make this it’s a huge hit and I tell everyone ” Oh thanks it was a cinch”!! Next I think I may try the Butternut Squash soup…

Kathy Maister said:

Katie I am thrilled to hear of your success! Well done my friend!
If you like Pecan Pie, I promise you this recipe is on the same “Level of Difficulty” as Pumpkin Pie!


Ahmad said:

I love pumpkin pie, unfortunately i can’t find here in Jakarta, Indonesia. I would like my wife to try your recipe. thanks & regards

Kathy Maister said:

Hi Ahmad, how about using roasted butternut squash or sweet potatoes? They are both a great substitute for pumpkin.

Griselda said:

Hey Kathy!!!

This recipe sounds very easy to do. I’m looking foward to trying it!!! The image of the pie looks sooo good! Can’t wait to do it for my family!

Kathy Maister said:

I just made this pie!

Don’t forget the tin foil ring or the crust will end up overcooked!

Good Luck,

Christi said:

Just made the pie-looks (except for the cut made by the knife to see if it was done) and smells good! Problem-Thanksgiving is tomorrow…what is the best way to keep this pie looking good? Does it need to be covered and put in fridge?

Kathy Maister said:

Hi Christi,
Let the pie cool completely – this will take several hours to totally get to room temperature. Then cover it with tinfoil or plastic wrap and store it in the refrigerator.
Remove the pie from the refrigerator about 1 hour before serving.

Joy said:

Hi Kathy. I am so happy that I found this site recently. I know how to make a few simple meals, but this site has given me helpful pointers on how to make those meals even better and I have learned how to make more dishes. Recently, I have decided to become a better cook and to actually learn the different items that I should always have stocked in the kitchen. It has really been an eye opener for me. I am definately going to try this recipe for pumpkin pie. This Christmas, I want to make home made baked goods, instead of having the store bought stuff. So this recipe will come in handy and it looks delicious.

Kathy Maister said:

Joy, that’s terrific!
Be sure to buy canned pumpkin and NOT canned “pumpkin pie”. They are two very different products and are often side-by-side in the grocery store. In my grocery store canned pumpkin in actually found in the aisle with all the products needed for baking.
Good Luck!

Joy said:

Thanks Kathy. After I read your reminder about canned pumpkin and canned pumpkin pie, I checked my cupboard and looked at the cans that my boyfriend recently bought for me. He mostly does the grocery shopping. Thank goodness, he bought the right ones.

Jo-ann said:

Hey….this recipe looks really good and I want to try it, but I have fresh pumkin here and would like to know how much of it I would need instead of the can…..Thanks!

startcooking said:

Hi Jo-ann,

The pumpkin measurements are:

one 15 oz can = 425 g = 1 and 3/4 cups of pumpkin.


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