Thanksgiving is without a doubt the most beloved holiday for my family. I and my sisters start texting each other recipes long before they are appropriate for the season, and we save up vacation days so we can take a week off. After all, the meal doesn’t come together on its own!
Dish distribution is mostly simple: My mother handles the cranberry sauce, while my sister gets the mashed potatoes. However, the dessert assignments are a little more muddled. Pumpkin pie is always the last one to be eaten, followed by anything chocolate and apple pie. The “boring” aone is wanted by no one!
That does not mean, however, that I do not know my way around the dessert. I’ve made a lot of pumpkin pies over the years as a former baker and recipe developer. However, until this taste test, I had no idea that it could without a doubt be the dessert table’s biggest showpiece. In fact, I can’t wait to claim the pumpkin pie this year after trying five of them.
What Makes a Pumpkin Pie Perfect?
The creamier, custardier filling that sets sufficiently to slice is what I consider to be the best pumpkin pie—the one I’ve always wanted to make for Thanksgiving but never quite knew where to begin. The pumpkin’s earthy flavor should be balanced by warm spices, and the sweetness should be present but not overpowering.
When compared to the thick layer of filling, the crust, which is often pale and soggy, should be flaky and golden brown. I’ll never turn down a dollop of homemade whipped cream, even though the finished pie shouldn’t require any garnishes.
Which Pumpkin Pie Recipes Did I Test?
I tested five pumpkin pie recipes that are popular with readers on Allrecipes. Each recipe has a rating of at least 4.6 stars out of 5 and thousands of reviews. One of them had a very traditional flavor, was baked in a deep dish, started with a real pie pumpkin, required only five ingredients, and was ultimately my clear favorite. Here is how they all compared.
The Timeless Favorite: Exceptional Pumpkin Pie
Quick Facts: 4.7-star ratings can be found in 2513 reviews for this Eagle brand product.
Review of Allstar: ” This was one of the easiest pies I’ve ever made, ranking right up there with one of the tastiest, and I used a crust from the store. The filling was creamy, had no cracks on top, and was bursting with pure pumpkin flavor. It set up beautifully. What more could you ask for? It was actually just about perfect. Stacy Rennie This pie more than lived up to its name. It was the most beautiful of the bunch with its perfectly crimped crust and glossy orange filling. Each slice was extra creamy thanks to the sweetened condensed milk and the warm spice flavor that was created by the combination of cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. I also liked that everything for the filling was in a single bowl. A win-win is fewer dishes!
This recipe, the site’s top-rated pie, will be a hit at any gathering. In fact, it even convinced the table’s pumpkin pie skeptic. Having said that, I would blind bake the crust, as many reviewers suggested, to ensure that it is crisp and golden brown (mine was a little bit too pale).
The Very Best Baking Task: Freshly Made Pumpkin Pie
Quick Facts: Developed by Randy Scott, the game has received 624 4.6-star reviews.
Making a whole pie from scratch is incredibly satisfying, and this recipe was no exception. To begin, cut a sugar pie pumpkin in half and scoop out the seeds (keep them for roasting!). then simmering the pumpkin until tender after slicing it into chunks. It’s time to drain when a knife easily cuts through each piece (mine finished cooking a few minutes earlier than expected).
I used a food processor to successfully puree my pumpkin because I do not have a potato masher or food mill. The crust was a straightforward mixture of flour, salt, water, shortening, and other ingredients. It came together quickly and was very simple to work with. As I was finishing the filling, I chilled mine in the refrigerator, which helped keep it from sinking in the oven.
The finished pie had a yellowish tint and was paler than the others. The crust was flaky and tender, but it lacked the flavor of an all-butter crust. Interestingly, due to the pie pumpkin’s high water content, the filling did not taste as much like pumpkin as those made with canned pumpkin. Instead of boiling the pumpkin the next time, I will roast it and strain out any excess liquid.
The Best-Tasting: Famous Pumpkin Pie from Libby
Quick Facts: Developed by Nestle Toll House, this product has received 914 4.8-star reviews.
Review of Allstar: ” The best pumpkin pie can be made with this recipe. I made it exactly how it was written, and I wouldn’t change anything. It was delicious and had a wonderful texture, making it simple to prepare. It was a hit with the family.” Deb Crowell This pie begged for autumn! immediately after I took my first bite. In point of fact, my friend said that it tasted “like a pumpkin patch.” This quality is due to the addition of ground cloves, which, when combined with cinnamon and ginger, gave the pie a flavor that was very spicy and a slightly darker color. The filling was also spot on in terms of consistency: luscious and full-bodied with a light flavor. Served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, it would be delicious.
Despite the fact that this pie required a deep dish crust, I still ended up with a little bit more filling than I needed. I would suggest filling the shell until it is almost full and then making mini tarts or pies with the leftovers instead of trying to fit everything in. Additionally, I recommend baking the pie on a baking sheet to minimize splashing during baking.
The Best Pie for Last-Minute: Pumpkin Pie Made Easy
Quick Facts: Developed by Bob Altman, it has received 87 4.7-star reviews.
Review of Allstar: ” This is unquestionably a straightforward pumpkin pie! It’s also stunning! I followed other reviewers’ advice and added more salt, vanilla, and spice. It has a wonderful flavor and is very smooth. Compared to other pumpkin pies I’ve made, the texture is not bad. If you’re looking for a quick and simple pumpkin pie recipe, I highly recommend this one!” Kim Shupe Whether you have last-minute guests or forgot about the potluck, this pie is perfect for you. There is virtually no need to measure the filling’s four ingredients: Simply combine two eggs, pumpkin pie spice, sweetened condensed milk, and pumpkin puree. Using a pre-made pie crust simplifies the process. In point of fact, the kids could really benefit from this project.
What’s better? It also tastes great! The filling was velvety smooth and not overly sweet, and the crust was a lovely golden brown. Even though the recipe calls for pie dough that has been refrigerated and can be pressed into the pan, you can start with a frozen pre-shaped crust if you really need to.
My favorite recipe for pumpkin pie: Pumpkin Pie by Chef John
Quick Facts: Chef John’s creation, with 719 reviews and a 4.8-star rating.
It is evident that this pie is the result of years of experimentation, as Chef John claims: I’m unable to spot a single flaw. Flaky and buttery when baked, the all-butter pie crust, which is made quickly in the food processor, is still strong enough to hold the filling. Additionally, the recipe for the crust makes enough for two pies, so you’ll be prepared for the rest of your holiday baking.
The filling, which only requires one bowl, has clever upgrades. The addition of extra egg yolks provides fat, which prevents the custard from becoming overcooked. Chinese 5-spice powder and freshly grated nutmeg also give the pie its unique flavor. The tip to insert a knife one inch from the crust is excellent for checking for doneness because the slightly jiggly center will continue to cook as the pie cools.
The recipe is here: Chef John’s Pumpkin Pie Even after trying five different pies, I couldn’t help but eat this one again, and I’m sure my family will adore it as well.