five slices of pumpkin pie

I Tried Our 5 Most Popular Pumpkin Pie Recipes and the Winner Is Perfection

These top-rated pumpkin pies are all deserving, but one recipe reigned supreme. 

Thanksgiving is, without question, my family's favorite holiday. My sisters and I start texting each other recipes long before it's seasonally appropriate, and we save up our vacation days so we can take the whole week off. After all, the meal doesn't make itself!

Divvying up the dishes is mostly easy: My sister claims the mashed potatoes and my mom takes care of the cranberry sauce. But assigning the desserts is a little more chaotic. Apple pie and anything chocolate get scooped up first, while the pumpkin pie is always the last one left. No one wants the "boring" one!

Now, that's not to say I don't know my way around the dessert. As a recipe developer and former bakery employee, I've made my fair share of pumpkin pies over the years. But what I didn't know until this taste test is that it can, without question, be the biggest showstopper on the dessert table. In fact, after trying five truly fabulous ones, I can't wait to claim the pumpkin pie this year.

What Makes a Perfect Pumpkin Pie?

To me, the best pumpkin pie — the one I've always dreamed of on Thanksgiving but never quite knew where to start — has a creamy, custardy filling that sets firmly enough to slice. The addition of warm spices should balance out the pumpkin's earthy flavor, and the sweetness should be present but not overpowering.

The crust, all too often a pale and soggy affair, should be flaky and golden brown, and hold its own under the thick layer of filling. And while the finished pie shouldn't need any adornments, I'll never say no to a dollop of homemade whipped cream.

Which Pumpkin Pie Recipes Did I Test?

I tested five Allrecipes reader-favorite pumpkin pie recipes, all of which have upwards of 4.6 (out of 5) stars and thousands of collective reviews. There was one that felt very classic, one baked in a deep dish crust, one that started with a real pie pumpkin, one that called for only five ingredients, and the one that ended up being my clear favorite. Here's how they all compared.

Slice of pumpkin pie
Allrecipes / Grace Elkus

The Classic Crowd Pleaser: Perfect Pumpkin Pie

  • Fast Facts: Developed by Eagle brand, has 2513 reviews with a 4.7-star rating.
  • Allstar Review: "I used a store bought crust, and this turned out to be one of the easiest pies I've ever made, ranking right up there with one of the tastiest, as well. The filling set up beautifully, no cracks on the top, creamy, and bursting with pure pumpkin flavor. What more could one want? It really was just about PERFECT. " — Stacy Rennie

This pie lived up to its name in more ways than one. Thanks to the perfectly crimped crust and glossy orange filling, it was the most picturesque of the bunch. The blend of cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg created a warm spice flavor that wasn't overpowering, and the sweetened condensed milk made each slice extra creamy. I also liked that the filling came together in just one bowl. Fewer dishes is always a win!

As the top-rated pie on the site, this recipe will be a winner at any gathering. In fact, it even won over the pumpkin pie skeptic at the table. With that said, I'd recommend blind baking the crust as suggested by many reviewers, which will ensure it's crisp and golden brown (mine was a tad bit too pale).

Get the recipe: Perfect Pumpkin Pie

Slice of pumpkin pie
Allrecipes / Grace Elkus

The Best Baking Project: Homemade Fresh Pumpkin Pie

  • Fast Facts: Developed by Randy Scott, has 624 reviews with a 4.6-star rating.

There's something immensely satisfying about making an entire pie from scratch, and this recipe was no exception. You'll start by halving a sugar pie pumpkin and scooping out the seeds (save them for roasting!), then slicing the pumpkin into chunks and simmering until tender. When a knife slides easily through each piece, it's time to drain (mine were done cooking a few minutes earlier than expected).

Because I don't have a potato masher or food mill, I pureed my pumpkin with a food processor, which worked well. The crust, a simple mix of flour, salt, shortening, and water, came together quickly and was very easy to work with. I chilled mine in the refrigerator as I finished the filling, which helped prevent it from slumping in the oven.

The finished pie was paler than the rest, with a yellow-ish tint. The crust was tender and flaky, but not quite as flavorful as an all-butter one. Interestingly, the filling tasted less pumpkin-y than the ones that started with canned pumpkin, likely due to the pie pumpkin's high water content. Next time, I'll roast the pumpkin instead of boiling it and strain out any excess liquid.

Get the recipe: Homemade Fresh Pumpkin Pie

Slice of pumpkin pie
Allrecipes / Grace Elkus

The Most Flavorful: Libby's Famous Pumpkin Pie

  • Fast Facts: Developed by Nestle Toll House, has a 914 reviews with a 4.8-star rating.
  • Allstar Review: "This recipe makes the perfect pumpkin pie. I made it exactly as written and wouldn't make any adjustments. It is easy to put together and had wonderful texture and flavor. The family loved it." — Deb Crowell

This pie screamed "fall!" the second I took my first bite. In fact, my friend even referred to it as tasting "like a pumpkin patch." I attribute this quality to the addition of ground cloves, which, when combined with cinnamon and ginger, gave the pie a deeply spiced flavor and slightly darker hue. The consistency of the filling was also spot on: luscious and rich while still tasting light. It would taste incredible with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Even though this pie called for a deep dish crust, I still ended up with a little too much filling. Instead of trying to cram it all in, I'd suggest filling the shell up until it's mostly full, then using the leftovers to make mini tarts or pies. I'd also bake the pie on a baking sheet, which will help you get it into the oven with minimal splashing.

Get the recipe: Libby's Famous Pumpkin Pie

Slice of pumpkin pie
Allrecipes / Grace Elkus

The Best Last-Minute Pie: Simple Pumpkin Pie

  • Fast Facts: Developed by BobAltman, has 87 reviews with a 4.7-star rating.
  • Allstar Review: "This is certainly a simple and easy pumpkin pie! It's gorgeous too! I took the advice of other reviewers and added more spice, some vanilla, and some salt. The flavor is great—and it's very smooth. The texture is a bit softer than other pumpkin pies I've made, but not bad. I definitely recommend this recipe if you're looking for a quick and easy pumpkin pie recipe!" — Kim Shupe

This pie is perfect for anyone short on time – whether you're hosting last-minute guests or forgot about the potluck. The four-ingredient filling barely requires any measuring: Just mix together pumpkin puree, sweetened condensed milk, two eggs, and pumpkin pie spice. Using a store-bought pie crust adds to the simplicity. In fact, this would be a great project to pass off to the kids.

The best part? It tastes great, too! The crust was nicely golden brown;the filling was velvety-smooth and not too sweet. Though the recipe calls for refrigerated pie dough that you fit into the pan, you can start with a frozen pre-shaped crust if you're really in a pinch.

Get the recipe: Simple Pumpkin Pie

Slice of pumpkin pie
Allrecipes / Grace Elkus

My Favorite Pumpkin Pie Recipe: Chef John's Pumpkin Pie

  • Fast Facts: Developed by Chef John, has 719 reviews with a 4.8-star rating.

Chef John says this pie is the result of years of experimentation, and it's evident: I can't find a single flaw. The all-butter pie crust, which comes together quickly in the food processor, baked up flaky and buttery but still sturdy enough to hold the filling. Plus, the crust recipe yields enough for two pies, meaning you're one step ahead for the rest of your holiday baking.

The filling, an easy one-bowl affair, is filled with smart upgrades. Extra egg yolks add fat, which keeps the custard from overcooking, and Chinese 5-spice powder and freshly grated nutmeg give the pie that je ne sais quoi. When checking for doneness, the tip to insert a knife one inch from the crust is brilliant – after all, the slightly jiggly center will continue to cook as the pie cools.

Get the recipe: Chef John's Pumpkin Pie

Even after tasting five pies, I couldn't help but go back for bites of this one – and I have no doubt my family will swoon over it, too.

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