Our Best Pumpkin Pudding Recipe on Food52 (2024)


by: Alice Medrich



18 Ratings

  • Prep time 15 minutes
  • Cook time 45 minutes
  • Makes 8 servings

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Author Notes

Do you know anyone who really likes pumpkin pie? I don't think so. See, I think people like the idea of pumpkin pie more than the pie itself. What people really like is pumpkin pie filling, because the crust on a pumpkin pie is almost always soggy. I’m not saying pumpkin pie crust can’t be done well, but it rarely is, and Thanksgiving is no time to try to perfect a new skill.

With everything we have to eat for Thanksgiving, who needs extra pastry, anyway? My mother figured this out over 50 years ago and I’ve simply picked up her torch.

My family’s Thanksgiving, instead of pie, always included a dish called "pumpkin pudding." I wish I could say that the pudding starts with a freshly baked pumpkin, lovingly mashed and blended with fresh cream, eggs, spices. In reality, it was (and still is!) canned pumpkin purée (which is actually not just pumpkin but a few types of winter squash) and evaporated milk, mixed with spices exactly as directed in the recipe on the can of Libby's pumpkin, but baked in a dish instead of a crust. I can say that we have never stooped to buying cans of that already-spiced pumpkin pie filling instead of straight pumpkin purée because we do have our standards (and our spice drawer). The pudding is served chilled, scooped from the dish, and topped with whipped cream. By the way, I'm talking real whipped cream, impossibly fluffy and light.

People always ask me for the recipe (and little do they know, it's hiding in plain sight!). So here I am to give the big reveal. It's quite a simple recipe and absolutely foolproof.

After you mix up a few ingredients, it's on to the baking. I have kept notes for the pudding's results in various baking dishes (see baking notes below), which I have relied on over the years. My notes have told me how many recipes fit in each dish and about how long the pudding takes to bake, including an emphatic note one year to not bake the stuff in that really large ceramic dish because it will crack—the pudding, not the dish, mind you—in an exceedingly unattractive way.

A good thing to know, though, is that you can fill a baking dish deeper than you can a pie crust, but it’s best not to exceed a depth of about 1½ inches. Baking times vary with depth, size, and type of baking dish, so you just have to watch and check. I used to dither each year about whether to start baking at 425°F, as directed on the can, and then turn down to 350°F for the rest of the time, or just do it all at 350°F. Ultimately, I decided that the higher temperature was meant to get a fast start and prevent a soggy (ha!) crust, so I bake the pudding at 350°F from start to finish. One year, my attempt to bake even more gently, in a water bath, resulted in the following note to self: “Your know-it-all attempt to improve on mom’s method made the pudding less wonderfully creamy and flavorful. Go figure!”

The pudding can and should be baked the day before Thanksgiving (a make-ahead win; plus, it'll free up some much-needed oven space on the big day)—both the texture and flavor are enhanced with a night in the fridge. When I make this pudding, I make a whole lot of it, as my mother always did, because my family is extremely devoted to its leftovers. We eat pumpkin pudding with a side of Bea's No-Peel Apple Crisp for as many days and meals as it lasts, starting the day after Thanksgiving. (And at 91, my mother still prefers leftover pumpkin pudding and apple crisp to all of the other turkey-sandwich components.)

On Thanksgiving itself, it would not be possible to eat so much, especially with whipped cream, if both the pumpkin and the apple had crusts. So, you see, ditching the crust it quite brilliant—it’s not just an emergency, last minute, no-time-to-make-a-crust kind of crisis thing, but a good plan to have from the start.

(I must add, though, that if you absolutely must make a crusted pie, start with this recipe and do a test run in October first.)

Helpful tools for this recipe:
- Casafina Simple Ceramic Pie Dish
- Mason Cash Cane Mixing Bowls
- Nordic Ware Copper-Plated Cooling Grids (Set of 2)

Alice Medrich

Test Kitchen Notes

Crustless Pumpkin Pudding Baking Notes:

A triple recipe for the filling (three regular 14-ounce cans or one large 28-ounce plus 1 regular can of pumpkin purée) will fill two 2- to 2½-quart baking dishes. Baking time will be somewhere between 55 and 65 minutes at 350°F—stick a knife into the pudding and see if it comes out relatively clean (and not at all liquidy) to test for doneness. Typically, this will be around 50 minutes to an hour.

You can also make this recipe in ceramic ovenproof ramekins, to yield 8 individual servings. You'll want to reduce the baking time, too—start checking at 25 minutes and move from there.

Last, a note on making this dairy-free: Some have asked if you can use coconut milk for the filling and whip up coconut cream for the topping. While I've never tried it this way myself, I don't see why it wouldn't work—there's enough fat content, and thickness, in coconut milk to help keep up the pudding's texture. —The Editors

  • Test Kitchen-Approved

What You'll Need

Watch This Recipe

Our Best PumpkinPudding

  • 3/4 cupgranulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoonground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoonground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoonkosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoonground cloves
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin purée
  • 1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk
  • Whipped cream, for serving (optional)
  1. Heat the oven to 350°F. In a small bowl, mix the sugar, cinnamon, ginger, salt, and cloves.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the eggs to blend. Stir in the pumpkin purée and sugar-spice mixture. Gradually stir in the evaporated milk.
  3. Pour into glass or ceramic baking dish. A good thing to know is that you can fill a baking dish deeper than a pie crust, but it’s best not to exceed a depth of about 1½ inches. Baking times vary with the depth, size, and type of baking dish, so you just have to watch and check. Bake until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Let cool on wire rack, then refrigerate overnight, until ready to serve. Serve with the whipped cream, if using.


  • Pumpkin Pie
  • Pie
  • Pudding
  • American
  • Clove
  • Milk/Cream
  • Bake
  • Winter
  • Thanksgiving
  • Fall
  • Gluten-Free
  • Dessert

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Debra McCormick

  • Sarah Aline Steinberg

  • jpriddy

  • aclincol

My career was sparked by a single bite of a chocolate truffle, made by my Paris landlady in 1972. I returned home to open this country’s first chocolate bakery and dessert shop, Cocolat, and I am often “blamed” for introducing chocolate truffles to America.Today I am the James Beard Foundation and IACP award-winning author of ten cookbooks, teach a chocolate dessert class on Craftsy.com, and work with some of the world’s best chocolate companies. In 2018, I won the IACP Award for Best Food-Focused Column (this one!).

Popular on Food52

79 Reviews

aclincol December 7, 2023

This had a nice flavor… I would try it again. I used a 7x11 baking dish. Next time I will check the temperature at 40 min, and might experiment with less sugar (1/2 cup).

aclincol December 7, 2023

Oven temp 370

aclincol December 7, 2023

Sorry 350

Marie November 23, 2023

OK the instructions are terrible. It takes about an hour if you do this recipe in a standard 8x12 dish. Don’t wait until the tester comes out clean - then it’s over baked.

less T. November 22, 2022

What size dish, please?

Vavu October 30, 2022

This recipe is simple and amazing 🤩. I did swap half the sugar for maple syrup (so one half of 3/4 cup maple syrup). Also because I had something else in the oven, I started the pudding at 425 degrees for 20 minutes then lowered it to 350 until it was done. No cracking :)

Nichole October 16, 2022

This is basically Libby's Crustless Pumpkin Pie! I love this recipe. If you Google "Libby's Crustless Pumpkin Pie", you'll find their recipe which also lists the baking temps and times for whatever size and kind of baking dish/pan you have. Happy Baking!

Branham November 25, 2021

Im not finding the recommended size for the baking dish…anyone else seeing something I’m not?

Normalock November 24, 2021

The title said "NO BAKE" you have to bake it.

Gollygosh06 November 25, 2021

The title says "no-pie"

judy September 29, 2021

Started making pumpkin custard several decades ago. I have never been very good at crust--ALWAYS soggy and terrible. So one year I simply made the filling, and served it with whipped cream. Now it is a staple. I have since found a great recipe for pumpkin pie with the crust ON TOP! (here on F52) and now get to enjoy both with and without crust.

PanTostado December 14, 2020

Delicious!! Couldn’t tell the difference when made dairy free with coconut milk.

Debra M. November 17, 2020

This desert was fantastic! My husband loves it 😉 and he is picky. Thank you for your recipe.

Jennc133 November 17, 2020

came to read reviews, mine is in the oven right now 🥰

[emailprotected] November 2, 2020

Made this with full fat coconut milk. It was excellent!

Mpope October 19, 2020

What is the nutritional information?

[emailprotected] February 4, 2020

Yes my dog loves this pumpkin pudding!!

[emailprotected] February 2, 2020

My dog needs pumpkin in his diet for reasons I don't want to share. I like pumpkin pie but bombed and the crust lately so I thought I would try this recipe

Jennc133 November 17, 2020

Pumpkin is great for dogs! 👍

jo M. November 30, 2019

thought to try this, using egg replacer (my daughter is allergic to eggs) turned out very tasty, maybe a little off on texture from egg replacer, but will definitely make it again (w/real eggs) served w/fresh whipped cream!

MadeleineC November 25, 2019

I was looking for just such a recipe two weeks ago! Thank you. And one suggestion - if adding crumbs for parfait I suggest gingersnaps. I have been making a crumb crust for pumpkin pie with gingersnaps for years, we like it much better than a pastry crust..

Sarah A. November 20, 2018

Has anyone done this with coconut milk instead of condensed milk? I’ve found that the condensed milk pies make my family, well, to be honest, gassy. Like not fit for company gassy.

Candy November 25, 2020

Sarah, coconut milk works great. Just sub it for same amount as the milk.

Cindy February 7, 2024

The recipe called for evaporated milk not condensed. Condensed milk is mainly sugar. It is not a substitute in this recipe. But coconut or Almond would work.

starving_artist November 3, 2017

I found the text sort of grainy. I used the whole foods 365 pumpkin purée. Anyone else have rugs issue?

starving_artist November 3, 2017

Ugh auto correct! That should read: I found the texture sort of grainy. And Does anyone else have that issue?

Ahdah November 4, 2017

America's Test Kitchen reviewed canned pumpkin puree and recommended Libby's. Some of them they said were grainy, you might want to give it one more try.

Debra M. November 17, 2020

I used Libby's and it was fine.

Jo November 20, 2023

I like Target’s brand of pumpkin - started buying it when there was a pumpkin shortage.

Ahdah November 3, 2017

I baked mine in a deep glass pie plate. I then was able to slice it like a pie and serve. Delicious! I used less sugar because I am on WW and used a can of 2% evaporated milk. I have all the ingredients ready to take with us to HHI on Sunday.

jpriddy October 9, 2017

I have been making Pumpkin Custard for my granddaughter since she was tiny. Pumpkin or Delicata or other rich squash plus a small amount of brown sugar, milk or cream or full fat coconut milk, plus spices, and eggs.

Leanna October 11, 2019

I am interested in your recipe. Please share.

Our Best Pumpkin Pudding Recipe on Food52 (2024)


What is the most popular dessert made from pumpkins? ›

The Great Pumpkin Pie Recipe

My beloved pumpkin pie recipe is one of the most popular recipes on my website every fall. It's rich, smooth, and bursting with flavor thanks to a careful combination of pumpkin puree, spices, and one very special ingredient.

What is pumpkin pudding made of? ›

Pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling) is combined with brown sugar, warm spices, vanilla extract, eggs, and half-and-half until smooth and then baked in a water bath until set. This pumpkin pudding is perfect with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkling of cinnamon sugar or chopped pecans on top.

What is the best way to cook pumpkin? ›

Place pumpkin cubes on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper (add any other spices you'd like!) Roast at 375 degrees F for 30-35 minutes or until pumpkin cubes are fork-tender, flipping halfway through.

What is canned pumpkin pie filling? ›

What Is Canned Pumpkin Pie Mix? Store-bought pumpkin pie mix (sometimes labeled "pumpkin pie filling") is a shortcut for making homemade pumpkin pie. It contains puréed pumpkin plus added spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves. It also contains sugar and other chemical additives.

What is the most eaten dessert in the world? ›

  • Mar 31, 2023, 08:13 PM IST. 10 Most Popular Desserts in the World. ...
  • Apple Pie. This traditional American dessert is popular due to its flaky crust and sweet apple filling. ...
  • Tiramisu. ...
  • Baklava. ...
  • Crème Brûlée. ...
  • Panna Cotta. ...
  • Cheesecake. ...
  • Mochi.
Mar 31, 2023

What is the difference between Libby's pumpkin and pumpkin pie filling? ›

Yes, canned pumpkin can be labeled as 100% pure pumpkin or just as pumpkin puree. They are the same product. Both canned pumpkin puree and pie filling are useful, shelf-stable ingredients that can help speed up your kitchen prep time. Just remember that puree is unsweetened, while pie filling contains sugar and spices.

Does Jello make a pumpkin pudding? ›

From the Manufacturer. Creamy, cool, and satisfying, it's no wonder Jell-O Pudding has been an American family favorite for more than 63 years. Jell-O Pumpkin Instant Pudding and Pie Filling is not only delicious but also high in calcium. Everyone loves the flavor of this creamy pudding.

Can dogs eat pumpkin? ›

Yes, dogs can eat pumpkin and it is actually often added to dog foods. Check the label of some dog treats and you may find pumpkin on the ingredient list there too. However, if you are feeding fresh pumpkin, you will need to be careful about which part you're feeding as the stem and leaves are covered in prickly hairs.

Why is canned pumpkin better to use in baking? ›

Baking is a science and the formula for the perfect pie filling changes with the consistency of the pumpkin puree. A wetter puree yields a runny pie and a drier one a more firmly set pie. Consistency is of course another great reason to stick with canned pumpkin.

Are pumpkins healthy for dogs? ›

Due to its high soluble fiber content, pumpkin is very good for your dog's digestion. If you feed your dog some pumpkin, it will add bulk to their stool. This helps reduce issues with diarrhea. In addition, fermentation of the same fiber produces beneficial fatty acids that supply energy to cells.

Can I use canned pumpkin instead of pumpkin pie filling? ›

If you meant to purchase pumpkin pie filling but accidentally grabbed a can of plain pumpkin, it's easy to sweeten and season the puree. Follow a good pumpkin pie recipe (there's usually a recipe printed right on the label) and add sugar and spices to the puree along with other ingredients like eggs before baking.

Is Libby's pure pumpkin the same as pumpkin puree? ›

Most canned pumpkin is pureed pumpkin. It's been cooked and canned, but you'd have to cook it anyways to make it soft enough to puree. As long as you get plain canned pumpkin without added seasonings, it's the same as what you would make at home.

What is the best canned pumpkin pie filling? ›

Libby's 100% Pure Pumpkin

In this taste test, our Test Kitchen pros found that the biggest name in the pumpkin game does, in fact, make the best canned pumpkin on the market. Libby's 100% Pure Pumpkin is a favorite among our culinary crew.

What is the number one dessert? ›

1. Pie. Pie earns a spot on the top of everyone's list of popular desserts merely for its delicious versatility. From fruit pies to cream pies, from seasonal favorites like pumpkin to year-round standards like apple, what's not to love?

What is the most sweet pumpkin? ›

Kabocha. A popular Japanese variety, the Kabocha has a rough but edible peel, and a round plump shape. It can be dark green or bright orange-red, and has firm, orange flesh. One of the sweetest varieties of pumpkin, its flavour has been compared to sweet potato, while its firm flesh holds together well in the oven.

What is the most common use for pumpkins? ›

Pumpkin is popular in pancakes, pies, custards, and muffins, but it also works well in savory dishes. You can cook it into a soup or roast it with other vegetables. Canned pumpkin can be combined with coconut milk and spices to make a creamy curry base. You can also eat other parts of the pumpkin plant.

What is the most popular pumpkin? ›

Cinderella Pumpkin

Not only is it a popular pumpkin for fall decorations, but it is also superb for cooking. The rich, sweet flavor is perfect for pies, soups, and roasting.

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