Pumpkin pie
Place of originCanada, United States, United Kingdom
Main ingredientsPie shell, pumpkin, eggs, condensed milk, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, allspice

Pumpkin pie is a dessert pie with a spiced, pumpkin-based custard filling. The pumpkin and pumpkin pie are both a symbol of harvest time,[1][2] and pumpkin pie is generally eaten during the fall and early winter. In the United States and Canada it is usually prepared for Thanksgiving,[3] Christmas, and other occasions when pumpkin is in season.

The pie's filling ranges in color from orange to brown and is baked in a single pie shell, usually without a top crust. The pie is generally flavored with pumpkin pie spice, a blend that includes cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves or allspice. The pie is usually prepared with canned pumpkin, but fresh-cooked pumpkin can be used.


Pumpkin pie filling being prepared

Cooked and puréed pumpkin flesh is mixed with eggs, evaporated milk, sugar, and spices.[4] The pie is then baked in a pie shell and sometimes topped with whipped cream.[5]

Pies made from fresh pumpkins typically use sugar pumpkins, also known as pie pumpkins, which measure about 6 to 8 inches (15 to 20 centimetres) in diameter, approximately the size of a large grapefruit.[6] They are considerably smaller than the typically larger varieties used to carve jack o'lanterns, contain significantly less pulp, and have a less stringy texture.[6] Other pumpkin varieties or related winter squashes, such as butternut squash, are sometimes used. The flesh is cooked until soft and puréed before being blended with the other ingredients.

Pumpkin pies are often made from canned pumpkin purée.[7] Libby's canned pumpkin, the most popular brand, uses the Dickinson pumpkin variety of Cucurbita moschata solely, though other brands can include any of a number of varieties of Cucurbita pepo or Cucurbita maxima.[8][9][10] Packaged pumpkin pie filling with sugar and spices already included is also sold. Sweet potato pie uses a similar recipe, with mashed sweet potato instead of pumpkin.[11]


A slice of homemade pumpkin pie with whipped cream

The pumpkin is native to North America. The pumpkin was an early export to France; from there it was introduced to Tudor England, and the flesh of the "pompion" was quickly accepted as pie filling. During the seventeenth century, pumpkin pie recipes could be found in English cookbooks, such as Hannah Woolley's The Gentlewoman's Companion (1675).[12][13] Pumpkin "pies" made by early American colonists were more likely to be a savory soup made and served in a pumpkin[14] than a sweet custard in a crust. Pumpkins were also stewed and made into ale by colonists.[4] An early appearance of a more modern, custard-like pumpkin pie was in American Cookery, a cookbook published in 1796.[15] It used a sweet custard filling in a pie crust, with spices similar to the ones used today.

It was not until the early nineteenth century that recipes appeared in Canadian cookbooks,[16] or that pumpkin pie became a common addition to the Thanksgiving dinner.[12] The Pilgrims brought the pumpkin pie back to New England,[17] while the English method of cooking the pumpkin took a different course. In the 19th century, the English pumpkin pie was prepared by stuffing the pumpkin with apples, spices, and sugar and then baking it whole.[18][19] In the United States after the Civil War, the pumpkin pie was resisted in Southern states as a symbol of Yankee culture imposed on the South, where there was no tradition of eating pumpkin pie.[20] Many Southern cooks instead made sweet potato pie, or added bourbon and pecans to give the pumpkin pie a Southern touch.[20]

Today, throughout much of Canada and the United States, it is traditional to serve pumpkin pie after Thanksgiving dinner.[21][22]

Pumpkin pies were discouraged from Thanksgiving dinners in the United States in 1947 as part of a voluntary egg rationing campaign promoted by the Truman Administration, mainly because of the eggs used in the recipe.[23][24] This was a part of President Truman's Citizen's Food Committee task force, designed to ration food consumption in the United States in hopes to provide more foreign food assistance to Europe post World War II.[24][23] Part of the campaign included an "Egg-less & Poultry-less Thursday", which began in October 1947, and with Thanksgiving Day always occurring on a Thursday, there was a considerable backlash among American consumers against this.[24] Truman was true to his word, and no pumpkin pie was served at the White House for Thanksgiving in 1947.[25]

In popular culture


Ah! on Thanksday, when from East and from West,

From North and from South comes the pilgrim and guest;
When the gray-haired New Englander sees round his board
The old broken links of affection restored;
When the care-wearied man seeks his mother once more,
And the worn matron smiles where the girl smiled before;
What moistens the lip and what brightens the eye,

What calls back the past, like the rich Pumpkin pie?


Farewell, O fragrant pumpkin pie!
Dyspeptic pork, adieu!
Though to the college halls I hie.
On field of battle though I die, my latest sob, my latest sigh
shall wafted be to you!
And thou, O doughnut rare and rich and fried divinely brown!
Thy form shall fill a noble niche in memory's chamber whilst I pitch
my tent beside the river which rolls on through Kingston town.
And my Love—my little Nell,
the apple of my eye to thee how can I say farewell?
I love thee more than I can tell;

I love thee more than anything—but—pie!


The world's largest pumpkin pie was made in New Bremen, Ohio, at the New Bremen Pumpkinfest on September 25, 2010.[28][29] The pie consisted of 1,212 pounds (550 kilograms) of canned pumpkin, 109 US gallons (410 litres) of evaporated milk, 2,796 eggs, 7 lb (3.2 kg) of salt, 14+12 lb (6.6 kg) of cinnamon, and 525 lb (238 kg) of sugar.[28] The final pie weighed 3,699 lb (1,678 kg) and measured 20 ft (6 m) in diameter.[28]

Image gallery

See also


  1. ^ Damerow, G. (2012). The Perfect Pumpkin: Growing/Cooking/Carving. Storey Publishing, LLC. p. 9. ISBN 978-1-60342-741-8. Retrieved March 31, 2022.
  2. ^ Ott, C.; Cronon, W. (2012). Pumpkin: The Curious History of an American Icon. Weyerhaeuser Environmental Books. University of Washington Press. p. 11. ISBN 978-0-295-80444-6. Retrieved March 31, 2022.
  3. ^ Rombauer, I. S and M.R. Becker. 1980. The Joy of Cooking. Bobbs-Merrill Company, New York City.
  4. ^ a b Terrell, Ellen (2017-11-20). "A Brief History of Pumpkin Pie in America | Inside Adams: Science, Technology & Business". blogs.loc.gov. Archived from the original on 2022-03-24. Retrieved 2022-04-05.
  5. ^ Galarza, Daniela (November 9, 2021). "These mini pumpkin pies taste like fall, thanks to a trio of spices" Archived 2021-11-16 at the Wayback Machine. The Washington Post. Retrieved March 28, 2022.
  6. ^ a b Daley, R. (2001). In the Sweet Kitchen: The Definitive Baker's Companion. Artisan. p. 331. ISBN 978-1-57965-208-1. Retrieved March 31, 2022.
  7. ^ Denenberg, Zoe (November 7, 2019). "We Tasted 5 Grocery Store Pumpkin Purees, But Libby's Still Captured Our Hearts". Southern Living. Archived from the original on May 17, 2022. Retrieved March 31, 2022.
  8. ^ "CPG Sec 585.725 "Pumpkin"". U.S. Food and Drug Administration. February 10, 2020. Archived from the original on March 31, 2022. Retrieved March 31, 2022.
  9. ^ Gonzalez, Ana (September 10, 2021). "Does canned pumpkin contain real pumpkin? We went to the grocery store to find out". KPRC. Archived from the original on April 7, 2022. Retrieved March 31, 2022.
  10. ^ Richardson, R. W. "Squash and Pumpkin" (PDF). United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, National Plant Germplasm System. Archived from the original (PDF) on September 24, 2015. Retrieved November 23, 2014.
  11. ^ [1][dead link]
  12. ^ a b Andrew F. Smith, "Pumpkins" Archived 2024-06-04 at the Wayback Machine, The Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America. Ed. Gordon Campbell. Oxford University Press, 2003. Saint Mary's College of California. December 21, 2011.
  13. ^ Woolley, Hannah, The Gentlewoman's Companion ..., 3rd ed. (London, England: Edward Thomas, 1682), "Pumpion pye", pp. 220–221. Archived 2024-06-04 at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ "American Classic IX: Pumpkin Pie". Good Eats. Archived from the original on 2016-10-14. Retrieved 2016-09-22.
  15. ^ Amelia Simmons (2011-05-16), American Cookery, retrieved 2022-04-05
  16. ^ Traill, C.P. (1855). The Canadian Settler's Guide. Toronto: The Old Countryman Office. p. 128. Retrieved August 1, 2019.
  17. ^ Colquhoun, Kate (December 24, 2007). "A Dessert With a Past". The New York Times. Archived from the original on December 1, 2017. Retrieved December 4, 2010.
  18. ^ Dewey, Chester; Emmons, Ebenezer (1840), Reports on the herbaceous plants and on the quadrupeds of Massachusetts
  19. ^ "How did the squash get its name?". Library of Congress. Retrieved September 15, 2013.
  20. ^ a b Knoebel, Ariel (November 21, 2017). "How Pumpkin Pie Sparked a 19th-Century Culture War". Atlas Obscura. Archived from the original on November 23, 2017. Retrieved November 22, 2017.
  21. ^ Snell, Rachel (October 7, 2014). "As North American as Pumpkin Pie: Cookbooks and the Development of National Cuisine in North America, 1796-1854 – Cuizine". Cuizine: The Journal of Canadian Food Cultures / Cuizine: Revue des cultures culinaires au Canada. 5 (2). doi:10.7202/1026771ar. ISSN 1918-5480. Archived from the original on March 28, 2022. Retrieved March 28, 2022.
  22. ^ Ott, C.; Cronon, W. (2012). Pumpkin: The Curious History of an American Icon. Weyerhaeuser Environmental Books. University of Washington Press. p. 5. ISBN 978-0-295-80444-6. Retrieved March 28, 2022.
  23. ^ a b Humes, Michele (November 23, 2009). "The Way We Ate: The Year Harry Truman Passed on Pumpkin Pie". Diner's Journal. The New York Times. Archived from the original on May 7, 2019. Retrieved November 17, 2017.
  24. ^ a b c "Thanksgiving, Truman and turkey: Here's how Americans almost had a turkey-free holiday". fox61.com. November 28, 2019. Archived from the original on April 7, 2023. Retrieved March 31, 2022.
  25. ^ "Turkey became the Thanksgiving tradition". HHJ Online. 22 November 2017. Archived from the original on April 7, 2023. Retrieved March 31, 2022.
  26. ^ The Boston "Chronotype," Oct. 1, 1846 edition
  27. ^ "Leo, the Royal cadet [microform]: Cameron, George Frederick, 1854-1885: Free Download & Streaming: Internet Archive". Kingston, Ontario: s.n. March 10, 2001. Retrieved August 19, 2010.
  28. ^ a b c "2010 World Record Pumpkin Pie". Pumpkin Nook. Archived from the original on October 9, 2020. Retrieved January 5, 2011.
  29. ^ "Largest pie, pumpkin". Guinness World Records. Archived from the original on 2022-03-08. Retrieved 2022-04-02.