When planning your Thanksgiving feast, dessert doesn’t have to be a given. Nothing’s more traditional than pumpkin pie, true, but it doesn’t have to be boring. If you can’t imagine turkey day without it yet are still craving something different, we collected 13 unique pumpkin pie recipes to tempt you away from the same old, same old.
We were moved by Chowhounds who shared their favorite pumpkin pie tweaks, from alternative sweeteners to special toppings.
evaporated or condensed milk. Many others admitted to slipping a little rum, brandy, or other booze into their pumpkin pie, while some added less potent ingredients, like maple syrup, molasses, and sour cream. As for toppings, there were votes for crystallized ginger and streusel, but sometimes the foundation got switched up too: gingersnap crust, for instance.Several championed coconut milk for the filling in place of the usual
A couple inspiring iconoclasts spoke up for a pumpkin banana tart (from Ina Garten) and even placing a thin layer of green tomato jam under the traditional filling. Then again, some skipped the pumpkin entirely for sweet potatoes, which tend to have a richer flavor.
It just goes to show, there’s more than one way (more than a hundred ways, probably) to make a pumpkin pie. So check out these updated pumpkin pie recipes and maybe one of them will make its way onto your Thanksgiving table.
Unique Pumpkin Pie Recipes
This lighter, airier take on the traditional rich custard pie is transformed by the addition of whipped egg whites and gelatin. There’s also a little dark rum or nonalcoholic apple cider in both the spiced pumpkin filling and the fluffy whipped cream topping (your choice). And a buttery vanilla cookie crust ties it all together. Get our Pumpkin Chiffon Pie recipe.
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‘Tis (almost) the season for eggnog, so this makes perfect sense (and tastes amazing). In place of evaporated milk, we mix some rich, creamy nog and a dash of brandy or dark rum into the warmly spiced pumpkin filling, which is poured into an easy press-in crust. If you choose to add the alcohol, another dash goes into the whipped cream piped on top of the pie. Get our Eggnog Pumpkin Pie recipe. (And if you like this peaky look but want more textural contrast, try a crisp-chewy meringue pumpkin pie.)
Pumpkin pie spice is best mixed at home so you can control the proportions of each ingredient, but this pie takes it a step further and adds coriander, anise, juniper berries, cardamom, and Sichuan pepper to the usual cloves, ginger, and cinnamon found in the blend. Oh, and dried lemon and orange peel too. Plus a walnut-brown sugar topping. It’s also made from fresh roasted pumpkin (instead of canned pumpkin puree) for deeper flavor. If that all sounds a bit much, at least consider adding one or two new spices to your usual pumpkin pie. Get Boris Portnoy’s Pumpkin Pie recipe.
Related Reading: Why Chinese Five Spice Puts Pumpkin Spice to Shame
Another way to work the spices into your pumpkin pie is to put them in your crust instead of the filling; that means the flavor of the pumpkin custard gets a chance to really shine—but you still get those warm cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove notes from the flaky crust. There’s just a little ginger and vanilla in the filling, and half-and-half instead of condensed milk so it’s not too sweet. Get our Pumpkin Pie with Spiced Crust recipe.
This chai pumpkin pie is like a less intense version of Boris Portnoy’s pie above; there’s still an extra dose of spice (including regular black pepper) in this one, but not quite as much. And there’s maple syrup to soften it, both in the filling and in the whipped cream cloud that floats on top. Get the Chai Pumpkin Pie with Maple Whipped Cream recipe.
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Pumpkin and chocolate are an underrated pairing, so consider showcasing both in a chocolate pumpkin pie. This one doesn’t mess around; there’s a thick layer of rich chocolate ganache and a chocolate cookie crust sandwiching the smooth pumpkin pie filling you know and love (and maybe didn’t realize could be even better with the right partner). Get the Creamy Chocolate Pumpkin Pie recipe.
If you swoon for salted caramel, it’s a perfect flavor combo to bring to pumpkin pie. The salted caramel sauce gets mixed right into the filling but there’s no reason you couldn’t drizzle extra on top too! Make your own sauce for the best flavor, or if you opt for store bought, just be sure to buy a good, thick brand. Get the Salted Caramel Pumpkin Pie recipe.
Coop's Salted Caramel Sauce, $12.50 at Mouth.com
Just as delicious as their beloved small-batch hot fudge sauce.
This gluten-free pumpkin pie has a GF gingersnap crust and a filling spiked with bourbon; sour cream replaces part of the heavy cream too, so it has a little tang to go with the bourbon kick. (If gluten isn’t an issue, you can also try a speculoos cookie crust.) Get the Bourbon Pumpkin Pie recipe.
This coconut milk pumpkin pie is dairy-free but perfectly rich and creamy, with all the requisite spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and allspice). Top it with coconut whipped cream or dairy-free vanilla ice cream and you won’t miss a thing. Get the Dairy-Free Pumpkin Pie recipe.
Can’t decide between pumpkin pie and pecan pie but don’t want to bake twice? Combine them in a pumpkin pie with a brown sugar pecan streusel topping that’s sure to be MVP of the Thanksgiving dessert table. Get the Pecan Streusel Pumpkin Pie recipe. (Or skip the pumpkin entirely and make our Pecan Sweet Potato Pie recipe, pictured at the top of this page.)
Another delicious mashup: our pumpkin swirl cheesecake in a gingersnap crust. It can be made a few days ahead of time and travels well if you’re hitting the road for Thanksgiving. Get our Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake recipe.
10-Inch Thanksgiving Paper Pie Boxes, 2 for $9.99 at World Market
Perfect for bringing along your dessert in style.
Related Reading: The Best Products for Transporting Food This Thanksgiving
If you prefer to think farther outside the box—and outside the crust—our pumpkin spiced flans are a delicious option. With all the warm spices, creamy texture, and sweet pumpkin flavor you want from a pie, plus a decadent caramel sauce, this dessert is both elegant and easy (at least if you find homemade pie crust trickier than homemade caramel). Serve with whipped cream and crumbled graham crackers for a more pie-like preparation. Get our Pumpkin Pie Flan recipe.
Another way to pack all the flavor of pumpkin pie into a different format, this pumpkin spice ice cream is hard proof that the advent of colder weather is no reason to stop eating frozen treats. Top it with thick, golden caramel sauce, or even better: Layer them both with crumbled shortbread cookies and fresh whipped cream for a perfect pie-inspired parfait. Get our Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream recipe.
Related Video: How to Make the Fastest Pumpkin Pie Ever
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