The best 5-ingredient pumpkin pie recipe

In the fight of the holiday pies, we have a hard time choosing a winner. Is it all-American apple pie, decadent chocolate cream pie, nutty and spiced pecan pie, or rich and silken pumpkin pie? After making the best 5-ingredient pumpkin pie recipe, we might have to go with the latter. It may lack the texture of other pies, but it makes up for it with its smooth flavor. After all, there's a reason companies have gone crazy with pumpkin-spiced offerings: The combination of pureed pumpkin and pumpkin pie spices tastes incredible!

Old-fashioned pumpkin pie recipes use two cups of cooked, pureed pulp from a sugar pumpkin (although you can use butternut squash and no one will be the wiser) and a laundry list of ingredients from heavy cream to sugar. Our recipe simplifies things, using a can of pumpkin puree and reaping the benefits of already-sweet sweetened condensed milk, making it is almost as easy as picking up a store-bought pie — but you will have to exercise patience and let it set before enjoying it!

Gather the ingredients for the best 5-ingredient pumpkin pie recipe

The ingredients list for the best 5-ingredient pumpkin pie recipe is short and sweet. To get started, grab a can of pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix — more on that in a minute). Mix it with a can of sweetened condensed milk, a couple of eggs, and pumpkin pie spice. Pour it into a nine-inch pie shell, bake it until it's set in the middle, and voila: Dessert is served! It's so easy to make that you can whip up a pie the afternoon you plan to serve it (or make it a day in advance and store it in the refrigerator).

You can easily make your own pumpkin pie spice mix if you don't have any on hand. Mix four teaspoons of ground cinnamon with two teaspoons ground ginger, one teaspoon of ground cloves, and half a teaspoon of ground nutmeg. It ends up making a little more than two tablespoons of pumpkin pie spice — more than you'll need for this recipe — so store the rest in an airtight container for next time.

Should you use pumpkin puree vs. pumpkin pie mix when making the best 5-ingredient pumpkin pie recipe?

Right about now, you might be wondering about the difference between pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie mix. Shouldn't the latter be used in the best 5-ingredient pumpkin pie recipe to reduce the number of ingredients? It's true that you'll need fewer ingredients to make pumpkin pie with the mix, but it doesn't significantly reduce the ingredient count or the prep time.

Libby's pumpkin pie cans come with a recipe on the back. It calls for mixing the 30-ounce can of pumpkin pie mix with a five-ounce can of evaporated milk and two eggs before baking the pie in a similar fashion to our method below. We generally stock our pantry with sweetened condensed milk and pumpkin puree, though, because they're both very versatile. That's why we chose this particular recipe. But if you stock your pantry differently, feel free to make the pie with pumpkin pie mix and evaporated milk instead. You won't need the pumpkin pie spice since the pie mix already contains it.

The best pie shell to use for making the best 5-ingredient pumpkin pie recipe

You have choices when it comes to choosing a pie shell for the best 5-ingredient pumpkin pie recipe. For starters, you can certainly make your own. Homemade pie crust is pretty easy to pull off, although it does require time and some attention to detail. We won't blame you if you do what we did and pick up a store-bought option.

Some pastry pie crusts come frozen in an aluminum tin, while others are refrigerated or frozen in a box. For the latter, make sure you have a pie pan for baking, or plan ahead and grab a disposable aluminum pie tin while you're at the store. Then, you'll need to follow the instructions for unrolling the pie crust. Some brands unroll easier than others, and some need to be brought to room temperature.

To keep things as simple as possible (and because we love graham cracker crust), we picked up a Keebler Ready Crust. We missed out on the flakey, tender texture of real pie dough, but we made up for it in shelf-stable simplicity.

Whisk the filling ingredients to make the best 5-ingredient pumpkin pie recipe

When you're ready to bake the best 5-ingredient pumpkin pie recipe, preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Arrange an oven rack in the lowest position. Real Simple explains that the bottom of the oven is the closest to the heat source. For pie, that's an important place to be. It exposes the crust to as much heat as possible, making it crisp up instead of becoming soggy.

Grab a medium bowl and combine the pumpkin puree, sweetened condensed milk, eggs, and pumpkin pie spice. Use a whisk to combine the mixture until it's completely smooth. You shouldn't need an electric hand mixer or a stand mixer here. The ingredients will come together easily. From there, pour the filling into the prepared pie shell. If you're using an aluminum pie pan, it's best to set it on a baking sheet. The weight of the filling can cause the pie crust to crack if it's accidentally folded while moving it to the oven.

Bake the best 5-ingredient pumpkin pie recipe in two stages

We advised you to preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit, which sounds a bit high for baking pie. Don't worry — we won't let you accidentally burn the best 5-ingredient pumpkin pie. The high-temperature oven is useful for the first 15 minutes of baking the pie. It helps set the crust to keep it from getting soggy under the weight of the filling. For traditional pie crusts made with butter or lard, the high temperature also melts the fat in the dough and produces steam, helping the pie crust gain a flaky texture (via King Arthur Baking).

The high temperature shouldn't be too aggressive that it would burn the crust, but you can cover the edges with aluminum foil if you like. After the first 15 minutes, reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees. This gentler temperature will help set the filling, making it silky smooth. Continue baking for 35 to 40 minutes until the pie is set in the middle.

How do you know when the best 5-ingredient pumpkin pie recipe is finished?

Most pumpkin pie recipes instruct you to test for pie doneness by inserting a knife into the middle of the pie. If it comes out clean, your pie is finished. Unfortunately, this method comes with some drawbacks. Pumpkin pie filling is thick and creamy, and some filling will always stick to the knife, even if the pie is woefully overbaked. The other common method is to shake the pan to see if the filling is set on the edges and slightly wiggly in the middle. This approach is super subjective, and anyone new to baking pies will have no frame of reference to know what's the right amount of wiggling.

Thermoworks — the makers of some of our favorite thermometers — had a different approach, and we gave it a try when making the best 5-ingredient pumpkin pie recipe. Instead of the common methods for testing doneness, they advise using an instant-read thermometer. When it reads 175 degrees Fahrenheit, the pie is finished. We gave it a try, poking a small hole in the middle of the pie with the thermometer tip. Our pie turned out perfect, so we definitely recommend using a thermometer to test for doneness.

You'll need a little patience to make the best 5-ingredient pumpkin pie recipe

Tom Petty certainly nailed it with this one: The waiting is the hardest part. When the best 5-ingredient pumpkin pie recipe is finished, it will smell absolutely incredible, and you'll want to dig in right away. Sorry, but you can't! The pie needs to cool for about two hours on a wire rack to fully set the filling. If you try to cut into it earlier, the filling will spill over into other slices. The texture is an important part of pumpkin pie, so be patient and wait for it to do its thing.

If you have the time, it's really best to let the pie chill in the refrigerator overnight. The pie has eggs and milk in it, so it must be refrigerated to keep it from spoiling, but the fridge also gives the pie extra time to solidify. That allows you to cut cleaner, more attractive pieces of pie. You don't have to serve it right out of the fridge, either. Take it out and let it sit on the counter for up to two hours before serving. Put any leftovers back in the fridge, where they'll keep for about four days.

How did our best 5-ingredient pumpkin pie recipe turn out?

If you like pumpkin pie, you'll love the best 5-ingredient pumpkin pie recipe. The recipe itself couldn't have been easier to make, even considering that we had to change the oven temperature after the first 15 minutes. The pie set beautifully, and the edges of our crust were lightly browned but not burnt. It was delicious the day we made it (after waiting for it to set, of course), but it was even tastier the next day — even when served cold straight out of the fridge.

We will say that the pie itself looked kind of boring, so don't be afraid to decorate it. The easiest way is to line the edges with whipped topping and add a dollop in the middle to cover up the hole made by the temperature probe. For a slightly more complicated dressing, sprinkle the pie with a half cup of sugar and create a brulee topping with a chef's torch or the broiler. To take things to the next level, get really fancy by topping the pie with a layer of meringue or a streusel topping.

The best 5-ingredient pumpkin pie recipe directions

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 50 to 55 minutes

Serves: 1 9-inch pie (about 8 people)

Ingredients:

  • 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree
  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 unbaked 9-inch deep dish pie shell

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Arrange an oven rack in the lowest position.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the pumpkin puree, sweetened condensed milk, eggs, and pumpkin pie spice. Whisk until the mixture is well combined.
  3. Pour the filing into the pie shell and bake for 15 minutes.
  4. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees. Bake for an additional 35 to 40 minutes, until the internal temperature reaches 175 degrees. If you don't have an instant-read thermometer, insert a knife into the middle of the pie. It should come out clean when the pie is finished.
  5. Remove the pie to a wire rack and let it cool for two hours. Serve immediately, or refrigerate until ready to serve.
  6. Leftovers are good in the refrigerator for about four days.