As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Read the full disclosure here.
My tried and true classic pumpkin pie recipe is bursting with flavor and an unbeatable creamy texture. Bake it in a simple graham cracker crust and leave the hassle of a traditional pie crust behind!
YOU WILL LOVE THIS ALTERNATIVE TO TRADITIONAL PUMPKIN PIE
Pumpkin pie is a classic dessert that I love to make during the holiday. I’ve even been known to make a pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving dinner and then sneak another one in for Christmas, but it wasn’t until I tried putting my tried and true pumpkin filling into a spiced and buttery graham cracker crust that I really realized how easy it is to get in another round of pumpkin pie eating before the holiday season comes to a close after Christmas.
But here’s the thing: sometimes, I really don’t want to go through the hassle of making a regular pie crust (which we all know is the hardest part!), even though I love it so much and YES I think that everyone should have a solid and reliable pie crust recipe in their back pocket (so much flavor! So many flakes!).
And that’s the beauty of a pumpkin pie recipe with a graham cracker crust! Because making a graham cracker crust couldn’t be easier. You’re simply blending ingredients together, packing it into a pie pan, and pre-baking it so it’s ready for the filling.
Plus, since the pumpkin filling only requires throwing simple ingredients together and pouring it into a crust, this truly is the easiest pumpkin pie recipe, second only to one that would require no baking at all.
If you are craving pumpkin pie, but you don’t want to make a full on pie crust, then this pumpkin pie recipe with graham cracker crust is for you. Plus, the texture and taste of graham crackers complements the creamy pumpkin pie filling so perfectly! I think you’re going to love the combination.
INGREDIENTS FOR THE BEST PUMPKIN PIE
The list of ingredients for this pie might look long, but don’t let it scare you! Most of the ingredients you’ll see are spices.
For the graham cracker crust, you will need:
• graham cracker crumbs
• unsalted butter
FOR THE PUMPKIN PIE FILLING
This is the exact same filling I use for my traditional pumpkin pie.
For the pumpkin pie filling, you will need:
• pumpkin purée
• light brown sugar
• granulated sugar
• ground cinnamon
• ground ginger
• ground nutmeg
• ground cloves
• ground black pepper
• grated orange zest
• heavy cream
HOW TO MAKE THIS EASY PUMPKIN PIE
When I say this is an easy recipe, I mean it. The crust is simple to put together, and if you’re really short on time or resources, you can absolutely use a store-bought graham cracker crust.
Of course, I will encourage you to make your own because it’s so much better, but this is your pie! I can promise the filling will blow you away regardless of the crust you use.
MAKE THE HOMEMADE GRAHAM CRACKER CRUST
For a full tutorial and troubleshooting tips, see my post about how to make graham cracker crust.
Use a food processor or blender to process full graham crackers into fine crumbs.
Turn the processor or blender off, add in the melted butter and sugar, and pulse a few times until everything is blended well. Alternatively, you can add the graham cracker crumbs to a bowl and mix the butter and sugar in with a large spatula. Mixture will be coarse and sandy.
Use your hands to press the mixture evenly into the bottom and slightly up the slides of a pie palte (this will work in a 9″ or 10″ pan). Once it is evenly spread into the dish, use the bottom of a flat measuring cup to make the crust tight and compact in the dish. The crust will be thick, but this is what you want.
Pre-bake the crust for 10-12 minutes until crust is set. While the crust bakes, you can prepare the filling.
MAKE THE FILLING
In a medium size bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, brown sugar, granulated sugar, salt, spices, and eggs.
Whisk in the cream until everything is incorporated.
BAKE THE PIE
Pour the filling into the baked pie crust, then place the dish on a large baking sheet and bake the pie for 60-68 minutes. The filling is done when it jiggles just a tiny bit when the baking sheet is bumped. You make also see a circle of what looks like unbaked filling in the center. This is ok.
Turn off the oven and crack the door, allowing the pie to cool inside the warm oven for about 20 minutes. The top of the pie will most likely still crack a bit, and this is fine.
After the oven has cooled down, transfer the baked pie to a wire cooling wrack to cool completely. I prefer a chilled pumpkin pie, so chilling as least 4 hours, or ideally overnight, before serving is ideal.
HOW TO PREVENT CRACKING
This pumpkin pie recipe with graham cracker crust is technically a custard recipe. Similar to other custard recipes, like cheesecake, this pumpkin pie is prone to cracking. Cracking is more common when you whip too much air into the mixture before baking it, or the pie experiences extreme temperature changes.
To prevent cracking, gently mix together the pumpkin pie filling until it is combined. Use your hand and an actual whisk as opposed to using a hand mixer or stand mixer!
Also, make sure to crack the oven after the pumpkin pie is done baking and let the oven cool down before pulling pie out of the oven into the cold air. This gradual cooling will help the pie gradually adjust to the temperature without cracking too much.
Of course, you still might get some small cracks, and that is totally ok! That’s what whipped cream is for. Duh.
GRAHAM CRACKER CRUST TIPS
Use any kind of graham crackers you like. You can choose any kind of graham crackers you want, and any brand you prefer. If you find graham cracker crumbs at the store and prefer to use those and skip a step, those will work great!
When assembling the graham cracker crust in the pie pan, make sure to tightly pack down the mixture to ensure that the crust stays together nicely when you cut into the pie.
CAN I USE A PRE-MADE GRAHAM CRACKER CRUST?
Absolutely! You can skip the process of making a homemade graham cracker crust and buy a pre-made graham cracker crust at the store, if you prefer.
I like the taste of the homemade crust, since it is buttery and fresh. But the pre-made crusts will work in a pinch.
For an extra bit of deliciousness, I highly recommend topping this pumpkin pie off with sugared cranberries, too!
SUBSTITUTIONS AND VARIATIONS
MAKE A CLASSIC PUMPKIN PIE: if you aren’t a fan of graham cracker crusts, you can opt for a more classic pumpkin pie instead.
USE PUMPKIN PIE SPICE: if you perhaps don’t keep ground cloves on hand or just find it easier to use pumpkin pie spice, you can substitute 1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice for the ground cinnamon, ground ginger, ground nutmeg, and ground cloves in the spices section of the ingredient list. You will still need to add salt, black pepper, and orange zest (if using).
USE YOUR FAVORITE COOKIES: graham cracker crusts can be made with many different kinds of cookies in place of the graham crackers. You can use Nilla wafers, digestive biscuits, gingersnaps, or a simple shortbread cookie for the crust if you want to change it up.
TO ORANGE ZEST OR NOT ORANGE ZEST? Personally, I think the orange zest adds a depth of flavor and tangy zing that this pumpkin pie with graham cracker crust needs, but you can totally skip it if you prefer. Use fresh or jarred orange zest, whichever is easier for you.
PUMPKIN PIE WITH GRAHAM CRACKER CRUST RECIPE FAQs
Easy Pumpkin Pie Recipe with Graham Cracker Crust
GRAHAM CRACKER CRUST
- 1 and ½ cups (150g) graham cracker crumbs1 10 or 11 full sheet graham crackers
- 5 Tablespoons (72g) unsalted butter melted
- ¼ cup (50g) sugar granulated or firmly packed brown
PUMPKIN PIE FILLING
- 1 15-ounce can (425g) pumpkin purée not pie filling
- ½ cup (100g) lightly packed light brown sugar
- ¼ cup (50g) granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
- ⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons grated orange zest2 optional
- 3 large eggs lightly beaten
- 1 cup (240mL) heavy cream
GRAHAM CRACKER CRUST
- Position a rack in the middle of the oven, then preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C).
- Use a food processor or blender to process full graham crackers3 into a fine crumb.
- Turn the processor or blender off, add the butter and sugar, then pulse a few times until everything is blended well. Alternatively, you can add the graham cracker crumbs to a bowl and mix the butter and sugar in with a large spatula. Mixture will be coarse and sandy.
- Use your hands to press the mixture evenly into the bottom and slightly up the sides of a pie dish (this will work in a 9" or 10" pan). Once it is evenly spread into the dish, use the bottom of a flat measuring cup to make the crust tight and compact in the dish. Crust will be thick.
- Pre-bake the crust for for 10-12 minutes until crust is set. While the crust bakes, prepare the filling.
PUMPKIN PIE FILLING
- In a medium size bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, brown sugar, granulated sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, black pepper, orange zest (if using), and eggs. Whisk in the cream until everything is incorporated.
- Pour the filling into the baked pie crust, place pie dish on a large baking sheet, and bake pie for 60-68 minutes. The filing is done when it jiggles just a tiny bit when the baking sheet is bumped. You may also see a circle of what looks like unbaked filling in the center. This is ok.
- Turn off the oven and crack the door, allowing the pie to cool inside the warm oven for about 20 minutes. The top of the pie will most likely still crack a bit, and this is fine.
- After the oven has cooled down, transfer baked pie to a wire cooling rack to cool completely. I prefer a chilled pumpkin pie, so chilling at least 4 hours (or ideally overnight) before serving is ideal. Serve with homemade whipped cream, pumpkin spice whipped cream, and sugared cranberries. Leftovers stay fresh covered tightly in the refrigerator up to 5 days. Pie can be frozen, up to 3 months. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and place in a plastic zip top bag. Thaw in refrigerator overnight.
- Graham crackers: use any flavor you prefer– I usually buy whatever is on sale or available. I also sometimes have pre-made graham cracker crumbs on hand and will use them. If you don’t have graham crackers where you live, use 1 and ½ cups (150g) crushed digestive biscuits instead.
- Orange zest: you may use fresh or jarred orange zest. I have used both.
- Crush the graham crackers: you can also crush graham crackers in a zip-top bag with a rolling pin or large spoon.
- Spices substitute: if you perhaps don’t keep ground cloves on hand or just find it easier to use pumpkin pie spice, you can substitute 1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice for the ground cinnamon, ground ginger, ground nutmeg, and ground cloves in the spices section of the ingredient list. You will still need to add salt, black pepper, and orange zest (if using).
All nutritional values are approximate and provided to the reader as a courtesy. Changing ingredients and/or quantities will alter the estimated nutritional calculations.