If you’re one of the people who thinks the best part about pumpkin pie is the pumpkin, this crustless pumpkin pie is for you. Silky smooth, lightly sweetened and spiced, this dessert is all pumpkin.
But it isn’t just a basic pumpkin pie recipe without the crust. For one, you bake this crustless pumpkin pie in a shallow water bath, like you would a cheesecake. The oven temperature is lower, too, because there’s no crust to bake; in general, custards bake at lower temps.
But for the most part, the mixture for the custard is similar to a classic pumpkin pie, made with canned pumpkin, milk, eggs, sugar and spices. It’s baked in a pie plate so it has the same shape—you can even cut it by the slice and serve with fresh whipped cream. With a few modifications, it’s a great option for gluten-free pie eaters, too.
What’s not to love? Here’s how to make a delicious crustless pumpkin pie.
Crustless Pumpkin Pie Ingredients
- Canned pumpkin: Like most pumpkin pie recipes, this one uses canned pumpkin. Make sure you don’t buy pumpkin pie filling, which contains added sugar and spices. You can also use fresh pumpkin puree, which is easy to make at home (but doesn’t produce as consistent results as canned pumpkin).
- Eggs: Without the crust, this pumpkin pie is in essence a pumpkin custard. Eggs are integral to getting the custard to set into a creamy, smooth pie.
- Evaporated milk: You need evaporated milk for pumpkin pie because it adds richness and makes the pie creamy. Shelf-stable evaporated milk has been cooked down to remove moisture, so it’s creamier than refrigerated milk. Heavy whipping cream is a good alternative texture-wise, but if you use thinner milks, like 2% or even half and half, the final result might be too runny.
- Flour: While there isn’t a crust, this recipe still calls for all-purpose flour. Why? Without the crust, it needs something to help bind it together so it’s not just a soupy mess in a pie plate. The gluten in flour helps with that.
- Sugar: You’ll use granulated sugar in this recipe, but you can replace some or all with light brown or dark brown sugar for molasses flavor.
- Cinnamon: A scant amount of cinnamon is required for this crustless pumpkin pie, but feel free to add more if preferred.
Do you use canned pumpkin or fresh pumpkin puree?
Any pumpkin pie, whether made with fresh pumpkin or canned pumpkin, is a great pie. Our Test Kitchen recommends using canned pumpkin for most pumpkin pie recipes because it saves time and is a consistent product. Homemade pumpkin puree can vary depending on what type of pumpkin you use, how you cook it, and how much moisture you got out. That said, if you do want to make pumpkin puree, you can substitute cooked, mashed pumpkin to replace the canned version for this recipe.
Can you use pumpkin pie filling instead of canned pumpkin?
You can’t use pumpkin pie filling instead of canned pumpkin in this crustless pumpkin pie recipe. Sugar and spice are already added to pumpkin pie filling, and it will throw off the flavor of the pie. Canned pumpkin is just pumpkin, without other ingredients.
Step 1: Make the custard
Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a bowl, combine the sugar and flour. Add the eggs and mix well. Stir in the pumpkin, milk, vanilla and cinnamon, and mix until well blended.
Editor’s Tip: Mixing the ingredients in this order helps prevent the flour from clumping in the liquids.
Step 2: Bake the pie
Pour the pumpkin mixture into a greased 9-inch pie plate. To make a water bath, which helps prevent the pie from cracking, place the pie plate in a 15x10x1-inch baking pan and add 1/2 inch of hot water to the pan. Bake the pie until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, about 50 minutes. You can also check the temperature of the pie to see if it’s done: The internal temperature of pumpkin pie should be around 150°.
Step 3: Let the pie cool
This is one of the most important steps to making any pumpkin pie: Let the pie cool on a wire rack for at least two hours. If you don’t let it cool slowly, you could risk a pie with a big crack on top. If you’re not eating it right away, store the crustless pumpkin pie, covered, in the refrigerator.
Crustless Pumpkin Pie Variations
- Add more spices: Cinnamon alone is sometimes all you need for pumpkin pie, but you can add any of your favorite warm spices to this pie. Or use a homemade pumpkin pie spice blend that has extra spices, like nutmeg and cloves.
- Use more toppings: Fresh whipped cream is a must, but you can also sprinkle the pie with candied walnuts or pecans for some texture and sweetness.
- Make it gluten-free: You can easily use a good gluten-free flour blend for this pumpkin pie mixture. Almond flour or almond meal could also work.
- Make it dairy-free: A good full-fat coconut milk is the best dairy-free alternative to evaporated milk. It adds the same silky texture you want in a pumpkin pie.
How to Store Crustless Pumpkin Pie
Crustless pumpkin pie can be made ahead of time, which lets you cross one item off your holiday to-do list! Bake the pie, let it cool completely, and then wrap it in plastic wrap. Store it in the refrigerator for up to four days.
Store leftover crustless pumpkin pie the same way: Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and keep it in the fridge.
How to Freeze Crustless Pumpkin Pie
You can freeze a fully baked crustless pumpkin pie. Allow it to cool completely, then cover with plastic wrap and a layer of aluminum foil. It’s good in the freezer for up to three months. Thaw the frozen pie in the refrigerator overnight before serving.
Crustless Pumpkin Pie Tips
Can I use condensed milk instead of evaporated milk for pumpkin pie?
Evaporated milk and condensed milk are not interchangeable. Evaporated milk iscooked to remove water, but no sugar is added. The liquid is creamier and thicker than whole milk, which is why it’s perfect for pumpkin pie. Condensed milk has also been cooked down to remove water, but a lot of sugar is added. Some pumpkin pie recipes use condensed milk, but they omit the sugar as an ingredient.
Why did my crustless pumpkin pie crack?
To prevent the pie from cracking, make sure to not overbake your pie filling. When you take it out of the oven, there should still be a slight jiggle at the center of the pie. Also, make sure to allow the pumpkin pie to rest and cool at room temperature before putting it into the refrigerator.
How can you tell when crustless pumpkin pie is done?
To know when your crustless pumpkin pie is done, use the cheesecake doneness test. Simply tap the side of the pie pan with a spoon and see if the pie filling wobbles just slightly. If it jiggles too much, it needs more time!
How do you make mini crustless pumpkin pies?
To make mini crustless pies, combine the ingredients in step one, and instead of one baking dish, transfer the pumpkin mixture to eight 6-ounce ramekins or custard cups. Place in a baking pan and add one inch of water. Bake the custards, uncovered, at 325° for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the middle of the custards comes out clean. Remove the ramekins from the water bath and cool for 10 minutes. Cover and refrigerate the mini crustless pumpkin pies for at least four hours before serving.