Grandma’s Classic Pumpkin Pie

Grandma’s Classic Pumpkin Pie

Grandma’s pumpkin pie is a classic, traditional pumpkin pie. Made with canned pumpkin puree, evaporated milk and a perfect blend of fall spices, it’s the easiest pie of the season and one your family will absolutely love!

Every family has its cherished traditions, and for mine, one of the most treasured traditions is Grandma’s classic pumpkin pie.  It’s not Thanksgiving in our house without this pumpkin pie recipe, one handed down to us by my grandparents.  I’ve strayed into the realms of less-traditional pumpkin pies over the years, but I always come back to this one.  Some traditions are best left to be carried forward. 

grandma's classic pumpkin pie

Five Steps to Traditional Pumpkin Pie Perfection

This year, skip the store-bought pie and give this homemade pumpkin pie a try.  Let’s break down the 5 principles of crafting the best pumpkin pie:   

  1. Use Pumpkin Puree: The star of the show is, of course, the canned pumpkin puree. While using freshly roasted pumpkin can be delightful, canned pumpkin puree offers convenience without compromising on flavor. It’s made from ripe, flavorful pumpkins that are cooked, pureed, and packed at their peak freshness. Canned pumpkin puree ensures consistency in both flavor and texture, making it an excellent choice for a classic pumpkin pie.  Make sure to avoid the canned pumpkin pie mix, which has spices and sugar added!  If you want to give fresh pumpkin a try, this homemade pumpkin purée would be delicious!
  2. Spice it Right:  Don’t skip on the spices! The combination of ground cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, allspice and ginger is essential for that signature pumpkin pie flavor. We’re going to essentially be making our own blend of pumpkin pie spice.
  3. Homemade Pie Crust: A flaky, buttery crust is the foundation of any great pie. This fool proof all-butter pie crust is my go-to.  Whether you make your own pie crust or opt for a quality store-bought crust, ensure it’s baked to golden perfection.
  4. Creamy Filling: The key to a lusciously creamy pumpkin custard is the right balance of pumpkin puree, evaporated milk, eggs, granulated sugar and spices. Whisk these ingredients together with care. Ever notice how spices clump up and don’t blend well when added to a custard? The trick is to blend them first with the eggs (the fat helps them disperse evenly) before adding any liquid to the custard mixture.
  5. Perfect Timing: Baking time is crucial. Overbaking can lead to cracks, while underbaking results in a soggy center. Follow the recommended baking time closely.

Ingredients You’ll Need

  • 1-15 ounce can of pumpkin puree
  • 1-12 ounce can of evaporated milk – Don’t substitute whole milk but you can use heavy cream in a pinch. 
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup of granulated sugar (scant)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves (scant)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1-9 inch pie crust (homemade or store-bought)
  • Whipped cream and a pinch of cinnamon for garnish (optional)

The Recipe

Now, let’s get to the heart of the matter—how to make Grandma’s Classic Pumpkin Pie. This recipe yields one 9-inch pie, perfect for sharing with your loved ones.

Step 1: Prepare the Pumpkin Pie Filling

In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs well. Mix spices (ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, ground cloves, ground ginger and allspice) into sugar in a small bowl, and then add to eggs and mix well.  Add canned pumpkin and evaporated milk and mix until fully incorporated. Set aside. 

Step 2: Preheat and Prep

Preheat your oven to 425°F (220°C). Roll out your pie crust and gently place it in a 9-inch pie dish. Crimp the edges for a classic look or use the tines of a fork to make a zigzag pattern along the crust. Save the dough trimmings for cut-out decorations on top, if desired. Roll out and shape with leaf cookie cutters and then brush with milk and coarse sugar before baking on ungreased cookie sheet at 350 until golden brown. See this tutorial for more helpful tips on rolling out and shaping pie dough.

how to roll out pie crust for grandma's pumpkin pie
how to roll out pie dough for grandma's pumpkin pie
how to roll out pie dough for grandma's pumpkin pie

Step 3: Pour and Bake

Pour the pumpkin mixture into the prepared pie crust. Smooth the top with a spatula and place on a rimmed baking sheet. Place the pie in the preheated oven and bake pie for 15 minutes.

Step 4: Reduce Heat and Bake

After the initial 15 minutes, reduce the oven temperature to 350°F (175°C) and continue baking for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. The pie should be set, with a slightly wobbly center.  If edges of the pie are starting to get darker than golden in color, I recommend removing during the last 15 minutes of baking and placing pie shields or thin strips of aluminum foil along the edges of the crust. 

Step 6: Cool and Serve

Remove the pie from the oven and allow it to cool completely on a wire rack. Once cooled, carefully cover and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight for the best flavor and texture.

When it’s time to serve, decorate along the edges with cut-out shapes, if using. Slice a generous piece of grandma’s classic pumpkin pie, top it with a dollop of homemade whipped cream, and a sprinkle of cinnamon if desired.

Mixing Things Up

  • Crust Options: Feel free to experiment with different crusts, like a graham cracker crust or a nut crust, to add a unique twist to the classic recipe.
  • Flavor Preference: Adjust the amount of spices to suit your taste. Some prefer a more pronounced spice flavor, while others like it milder.
  • Creative Toppings: Get creative with toppings. Try a drizzle of caramel sauce, a scoop of vanilla ice cream, or a sprinkle of crushed gingersnap cookies for a delightful twist.

How to Store Leftover Pie

Keep covered, in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Can I make this Ahead?

For thanksgiving, I like to bake this pie early in the morning and serve it in the evening. Or, you can make up to one day ahead. One time saving make-ahead option is to mix the filling up and store in a glass bowl, tightly covered in the refrigerator. The day you want to bake, just pour into prepared pie crust and bake!

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grandma's classic pumpkin pie
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5 from 1 vote

Grandma’s Classic Pumpkin Pie

Grandma’s pumpkin pie is a classic, traditional pumpkin pie. Made with canned pumpkin puree, evaporated milk and a perfect blend of fall spices, it’s the easiest pie of the season and one your family will absolutely love!
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time55 minutes
Course: Dessert
Keyword: classic pumpkin pie, grandma’s pumpkin pie, traditional pumpkin pie
Servings: 8

Ingredients

  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar scant
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp allspice very scant
  • 1 15-ounce can of pumpkin puree don't use canned pumpkin pie filling!
  • 1 12-ounce can of evaporated milk or heavy whipping cream
  • 1 9-inch pie dough

Instructions

  • Prepare the Pumpkin Pie Filling
    In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs well. Mix spices (ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, ground cloves, ground ginger and allspice) into sugar in a small bowl, and then add to eggs and mix well.  Add canned pumpkin and evaporated milk and mix until fully incorporated. Set aside. 
  • Preheat and Prep
    Preheat your oven to 425°F (220°C). Roll out your pie crust and gently place it in a 9-inch pie dish. Crimp the edges for a classic look or use the tines of a fork to make a zigzag pattern along the crust. Save the dough trimmings for cut-out decorations on top, if desired. Roll out and shape with leaf cookie cutters and then brush with milk and coarse sugar before baking on ungreased cookie sheet at 350 until golden brown. See this tutorial for more helpful tips on rolling out and shaping pie dough.
  • Pour and Bake
    Pour the pumpkin mixture into the prepared pie crust. Smooth the top with a spatula and place on a rimmed baking sheet. Place the pie in the preheated oven and bake pie for 11-12 minutes.
  • Reduce Heat and Bake
    After the initial 11-12 minutes, reduce the oven temperature to 350°F (175°C) and continue baking for 40-45 minutes. The pie should be set, with a slightly wobbly center.  If edges of the pie are starting to get darker than golden in color, I recommend removing during the last 15 minutes of baking and placing pie shields or thin strips of aluminum foil along the edges of the crust. 
  • Cool and Serve
    Remove the pie from the oven and allow it to cool completely on a wire rack. Once cooled, refrigerate for a few hours or overnight for the best flavor and texture.
    Decorate along the edges with cut-out shapes, if using. Slice a generous piece of grandma's classic pumpkin pie, top it with a dollop of homemade whipped cream, and a sprinkle of cinnamon if desired.


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