Learn how to make old-fashioned pumpkin pie from my Grandma's recipe box. You can make it with canned or fresh pumpkin. It's a classic, family favorite Thanksgiving dessert!
Grandma's pumpkin pie is one of the more popular desserts, besides pumpkin roll, on my family's Thanksgiving dessert table. My grandma made pumpkin pie every Thanksgiving, and it's just always been a staple ingredient for our holiday celebrations.
Grandma's recipe card is really worn and tattered, with lots of smudges and fingerprints. That's how you know a recipe has been well used. It also bears the name of a close family friend, so Grandma actually took time to copy this recipe down after she'd likely eaten the pie; she wanted that recipe.
Why You'll Love this Recipe…
- This pumpkin pie Grandma made is creamy, thick, and delicious with loads of pumpkin flavor.
- It's easy to make from scratch, as simple as mixing up the pie filling and pouring it into the pie crust to bake.
- You can use canned pumpkin or fresh pumpkin for this American pumpkin pie recipe… We'll talk about more options below.
Ingredients and Substitutions Notes
- Pie Crust – You can make a homemade single-layer pie crust, or you can just buy a pre-made pie crust.
- All-Purpose Flour – You can use regular all-purpose flour, or if you're like me and gluten-free, you can use a good cup-for-cup gluten-free flour.
- Spices – This recipe calls for ground cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg. You can also simplify and just use pumpkin pie spice if preferred; just keep in mind pumpkin pie spice also includes allspice.
- Pumpkin – Like I mentioned above, you can use canned pumpkin or fresh pumpkin. You can also use winter squash (or butternut squash); it makes an absolutely delicious pumpkin pie, and it's a great way to use that over abundant supply of squash sitting in your root cellar. One more note about the pumpkin… When I say pumpkin purée, it means either canned pumpkin or fresh pumpkin that has been roasted, peeled, and mashed up in a blender… Here's a step-by-step recipe for how to make pumpkin purée.
- Milk – I prefer to use whole milk, and the recipe also calls for evaporated milk. The evaporated milk gives the pie a richness, and it also gives it a subtle caramelized flavor. If you don't want to use evaporated milk, easy substitutes include cream or half-and-half. Food Network has a great guide to the best evaporated milk substitutes with instructions and measurements.
How to Make Grandma's Old-Fashioned Pumpkin Pie from Scratch
First things first, make a single pie crust and have it ready to go. Note: If you want, you can reserve a small portion of the crust to create decorative pieces for the top of your finished pie, for instance, leaf or acorn shapes. You'll want to bake these separately and add them to the finished pie before serving.
Then just allow the pie time to cool completely. You can serve it with whipped cream, or chill in the refrigerator until you're ready to serve it.
Expert Tips and Recipe FAQ's
There are several ways to avoid soggy pie crust, including blind baking, brushing the crust with egg before baking, or putting your pie plate directly on a hot baking sheet already in the oven while baking.
Pumpkin pie is done when a knife or toothpick inserted in the pie comes out clean. If you gently shake it, the pie will be just a little jiggly in the middle. At this point, you want to pull it out of the oven, or you risk it splitting in the middle. I'll also say this… While overcooking your pie can lead to splitting, when in doubt, bake it some more.
Cover the pie, and place it in the refrigerator. It should keep for at least 3 to 4 days.
If you try this recipe, why not leave a star rating in the recipe card right below and/or a review in the comment section further down the page? I always appreciate your feedback. You can also follow me on Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. And subscribe to my email list too!
Grandma's Old-Fashioned Pumpkin Pie Recipe
- 1 1/4 cups light brown sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 3 large eggs slightly beaten
- 2 2/3 cups pumpkin
- 1 1/2 teaspoons whole milk
- 1/2 cup evaporated milk
- 1 single pie crust unbaked
- Pre-heat the oven to 425° F.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, salt, flour, and spices.
- Slightly beat the eggs with a whisk, and add them to the mixture.
- Add the pumpkin purée, milk, and evaporated milk, and mix everything together well.
- Pour the pie filling into your prepared and unbaked pie shell.
- Bake at 425° F for about 15 minutes; then reduce the temp to 350° F and bake for about 40 minutes, or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. You can use a pie shield to keep the crust from burning.
- Then just allow the pie time to cool completely before serving. You can serve it with whipped cream or ice cream.