A Mouthwatering Pumpkin Pie Recipe for the Whole Family! - Little Passports (2024)

Years ago, we asked Little Passports team members for their favorite Thanksgiving recipes, and one of them, Robyn Patty, shared hers for a special pumpkin pie. Since then, it’s become a well-loved standard for us.

Take it from us and try this decadent version of a holiday classic. Happy Thanksgiving!

Decadent Pumpkin Pie

A Mouthwatering Pumpkin Pie Recipe for the Whole Family! - Little Passports (2)


  • 2 pie shells, prebaked
  • 1 cup real maple syrup
  • 2 cups canned solid-pack pumpkin puree
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • ¼ teaspoon cardamom
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ⅔ cup buttermilk
  • 2 eggs


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).
  2. Prepare your pie shells. Premade pie shells make the recipe easier, but if you’re feeling ambitious, take the time to make them from scratch! Prebake the pie shells according to the instructions, and let cool before filling.
  3. Kids can pour the maple syrup into a saucepan. The adult should heat it over medium-high heat. Bring it to boil until it reaches 200°F (95°C) on a candy thermometer, and remove from heat.
  4. Once the syrup is slightly cooled, pour it into a mixing bowl. Whisk it together with the pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, cardamom, salt, vanilla, heavy cream, buttermilk, and eggs. The adult should handle whisking while the mixture is hot, but once it has cooled down to a safe temperature, kids can get in on the action too.
  5. Pour the pumpkin mixture into the prebaked pie shells. Bake for 1 hour, until filling is set but is still a bit jiggly in the center when shaken (not too hard!). Move to a rack and cool completely.
  6. Serve with whipped cream.

Let the Decorating Begin!

A Mouthwatering Pumpkin Pie Recipe for the Whole Family! - Little Passports (3)

Just baking and eating a pumpkin pie is a great Thanksgiving activity. But because so many steps in this recipe involve heat, preparing the pie requires a lot of adult supervision. Younger kids may have the most fun decorating the pie to make it something special.

Anyone can serve an ordinary pumpkin pie from the store around the holidays—but a pumpkin pie topped with whipped cream flourishes, decked with autumn leaves, or strewn with marshmallows or sugared cranberries is a memorable, one-of-a-kind treat!

Mini marshmallows: Pumpkin pie tastes delicious with the sweetness of marshmallows on top. To get that flavor combination and let your kids explore their creativity, ask them to decorate the pie with miniature marshmallows before serving. They can use the gooey little puffballs to make whatever shapes they want—turkeys, people, a house, and more! To get the best flavor, the adult should run the pie under the broiler in the oven once the decorations are complete. Watch carefully and take the pie out when the marshmallows are golden brown.

Sugared cranberries: Sugared cranberries are another fantastic complement to the flavor of a pumpkin pie. To make them, mix equal parts water and sugar together in a saucepan and heat until the sugar dissolves. Stir in cranberries and let sit for 15–30 minutes. Drain the cranberries and let them dry for an hour, then roll the cranberries in sugar. Once the sugared cranberries are finished, kids can use them to decorate the pie however they like.

Whipped cream: This family favorite is great for kids who like to share their art with relatives. Instead of serving whipped cream on the side of the pie, put it into a piping bag and ask your kids to decorate the pie with it! You may need to show them how to use the bag, but once you do, they’ll have a great time squeezing out whatever tickles their imaginations. If you’ve got extra time and want a truly dazzling centerpiece, you can color some of the whipped cream in fall tones like orange, yellow, and red using food coloring.

Crunchy leaves: If you need to trim dough from your pie crust before baking, you can repurpose it for a decoration! While the pie bakes, take your extra dough and trim it into the shape of small leaves. For added detail, use a knife or skewer to score lines that look like leaf veins into the dough. After the pie has finished baking, brush the dough leaves with egg wash and bake them at 350°F (175°C) for 10 minutes. They should be golden when done. Kids can place them around the edge of the pie like a wreath, scatter them across the top, or even build an edible leaf pile in the center!

Pecan people: Candied pecans are easy to decorate with and taste great with pumpkin pie. Ask the kids to place pecans on top of the pie and create a festive design of their choice. Feel free to embellish the designs with whipped cream as well!

A Pie with a Long Story

Pumpkin pie has been a classic American dessert for hundreds of years, and its roots go back even farther than that. Native Americans in Mexico were eating pumpkins at least 7,500 years ago. As planting of the gourd spread from there throughout North America, different peoples used pumpkins in a variety of ways—mashing them, cooking them, eating their seeds, and more. When European colonists arrived, they began cooking with pumpkins as well—making breads, ales, puddings, and pies. A recipe for pumpkin pudding (a lot like pumpkin pie as we know it now) is included in the very first American cookbook.

By the time Thanksgiving became a national holiday in the United States in the late 1800s, pumpkins were eaten less often. But they became a symbol of nostalgia, particularly in cities, where people associated them with romantic ideas about life on the farm. So as the nation developed its new holiday traditions, eating pumpkin pie became one of them.

Tips for Baking with Kids

Baking with kids can be a ton of fun, but it also adds complexity to the process! How long will the recipe really take? How do you make sure everyone knows what to do? How much mess is too much mess? Read on for some tips on making the baking experience enjoyable for both you and the kids.

Leave extra time

Like other household tasks, baking with kids takes longer than doing it without them. A job that takes you five minutes by yourself might take 15 or more for your kids to handle. But what you lose in efficiency, you more than make up for in good times. Leave lots of extra time—as much as twice as long for complex recipes—to be sure you don’t get stressed.

Read each step out loud

Kids do best when they have clear, concrete tasks to perform and understand what each one is for. Be demonstrative about referring back to the recipe for each step. Not only will it help the kids remember what to do, over time it will help them learn to check the recipe for themselves.

Give the kids a choice

It’s a surprising amount of fun for kids just to be in the kitchen helping you, but they’ll enjoy it even more if you involve them in deciding what to do. That might mean asking them which recipe to make (if you have a few to choose from), how to decorate, or whether the filling needs two or three more swirls of the whisk before it’s perfect.

Love the mess

Kids make mistakes in the kitchen, and those mistakes often make messes—but it’s all part of the fun! Plan ahead by clearing the kids’ workspace of anything that can be easily spilled or damaged, rolling up sleeves, tying on aprons, or even laying down a plastic tablecloth to make cleanup easy. And when the messes do happen, smile and keep on baking. The mess is just a reminder that your kids are there with you, learning, taking part, and being their wonderful selves.

More Baking Fun

Did you enjoy making this pumpkin pie with your family? For more great baking ideas, check out our easy pizza dough for kids or three ways to make cherry pie. Or tour the globe with the foods of Eid al-Fitr.

There’s a whole world of tastes out there just waiting to be explored. If your family wants to venture deeper into it together, check out our World Edition subscription box, which includes recipes from around the world as well as adventurous chapter books and fun souvenirs from a monthly global adventure.

A Mouthwatering Pumpkin Pie Recipe for the Whole Family! - Little Passports (2024)


What is the best pumpkin for pie? ›

Sugar Baby Pumpkin

Also known as Sugar Pie pumpkins, these thin-skinned squash are smaller (4-8 lbs.) and have a sweet, dense flesh with a fine-grained, smooth texture. The cooked flesh is a bit drier, which makes a great pie filling.

What is the recipe for pumpkin pie in Minecraft? ›

In the crafting menu, you should see a crafting area that is made up of a 3x3 crafting grid. To make pumpkin pie, place 1 pumpkin, 1 egg, and 1 sugar in the 3x3 crafting grid.

How much pumpkin pie do Americans eat every Thanksgiving? ›

Question: How much pumpkin pie do Americans eat every Thanksgiving? Answer: An estimated 50 million pumpkin pies are devoured every November.

What part of the pumpkin is used for pie? ›

To make pumpkin pie straight from a pumpkin, start by cutting a round cap out of the top of the pumpkin and then scooping out the stringy insides and seeds. Then, cut the remaining pumpkin shell into small cubes or slices and boil them over medium heat until they're soft.

What is most pumpkin pie filling made of? ›

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 kind of pie pan is best for pumpkin pie? ›

Stoneware is the poorest conductor of heat out of this lineup of pie plates, as it heats up the most slowly. However, it does distribute heat evenly and maintains heat well once it is hot. Stoneware is a good choice for more delicate pies like pumpkin or custard.

Which president refused to celebrate Thanksgiving as a national holiday? ›

While Thanksgiving technically isn't a religious holiday, the “giving thanks” part of it struck Jefferson as being far too religious for his tastes. As our nation's third president, he stirred controversy by refusing to recognize Thanksgiving.

What is the most consumed pie at Thanksgiving? ›

Pumpkin Pie Is The Must-Have Fall Dessert That Reigns Supreme.

What days do Americans eat the most food? ›

People celebrate and eat the most food in the US on Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas to be honest. They eat plenty on other holidays as well. Most people look for reasons to celebrate, drink, eat, and be merry.

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.

Can you make pumpkin pie from regular pumpkins? ›

Start with the right variety of pumpkins, sugar pumpkins. Large pumpkins that we traditionally think of as jack-o-lanterns aren't ideal for pie as they are very stringy and have a lot of seeds. There really isn't very much “meat” to the larger pumpkins. Sugar pumpkins, also known as pie pumpkins, are sweeter.

What size pumpkin is best for pie? ›

The small ones about the size of a small cantaloupe that have smooth skin and deep orange called Sugar Pie or Pie Pumpkin have the nicest smoothest flesh, sweet and flavorful. These often are used for baking and desserts.

Does it matter what kind of pumpkin you use for pumpkin pie? ›

If you attempted to make homemade pumpkin puree from a regular field pumpkin that you would use to carve a jack-o-lantern for Halloween, the result would be stringy, watery, and bland. Instead, use pie pumpkins or sugar pumpkins for the best flavor and texture in any sweet or savory recipe.

Can any pumpkin be used for pie? ›

Start with the right variety of pumpkins, sugar pumpkins. Large pumpkins that we traditionally think of as jack-o-lanterns aren't ideal for pie as they are very stringy and have a lot of seeds. There really isn't very much “meat” to the larger pumpkins. Sugar pumpkins, also known as pie pumpkins, are sweeter.

What is the best canned pumpkin to use? ›

The Best Overall: Libby's 100% Pure Canned Pumpkin

There is a reason that Libby's 100% Pure Pumpkin has been the go-to brand for so many people for so long.

What's the difference between canned pumpkin and canned pumpkin pie? ›

Ingredients - Pumpkin puree made from scratch contains only pumpkin, but canned puree may contain a preservative like salt. Pumpkin pie filling contains additional ingredients like sugar, spices, and thickeners. Flavor - Pure pumpkin puree has a slightly sweet, earthy taste.

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