Over the years, I have made more versions of pumpkin pie than I can count.  I have made practically every recipe from every reliable cookbook and website that I love.  Most have been decent, almost all very good, but this is the version I keep coming back to.  I suppose that makes it my favorite.  Many readers have asked what my favorite is, so here you go.

I guess it’s no surprise that this is the front runner year after year.  The texture is just right – light and smooth but not at all mushy, and the thing is spiked with caramel for goodness’ sake!  You may already have a recipe you love but in case you don’t, I highly recommend this one.


1 (9-inch) partially baked pie crust*
1 cup sugar, divided
¾ cup heavy cream, warmed
1 tbsp. dark rum (optional)
2 tbsp. butter, cut into 4 pieces
1 cup pumpkin puree
1¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
¾ tsp. ground ginger
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch of ground cloves
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 large eggs


  • 01

    Preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  In a medium saucepan, spread ½ cup of the sugar out in an even layer over medium-high heat.  Once the sugar begins to melt and change color, gently mix together so that the sugar is evenly melted.  Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has turned a deep amber color (keep a careful eye on it to be sure it doesn’t burn).  Once it has reached the desired color, remove the pan from the heat.  Add in the cream in a slow steady stream down the inside edge of the saucepan, stirring or whisking constantly to incorporate evenly.  (If any lumps remain, return the pan to the burner over medium heat and cook just until melted.)  Continue mixing in the cream in this manner until it has been completely incorporated.  Stir in the butter and the rum and mix just until smooth.  Set aside the caramel and let cool for at least 15 minutes.

  • 02

    In a bowl, combine the pumpkin puree, remaining ½ cup of sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves and vanilla.  Whisk to blend.  Whisk in the eggs one at a time.  Blend in the caramel.  Pour the filling into the partially baked crust.

  • 03

    Place the pie plate on a baking sheet and transfer to the preheated oven.  Bake 45-50 minutes, or until the center is just set and the edges are puffed.  Transfer to a wire rack to let cool at least 30 minutes.  Serve with freshly whipped cream and caramel sauce as desired.

  • 04

    *To blind-bake a pie crust, preheat the oven to 400˚ F.  Roll pie dough out on a lightly floured surface to a 12-inch disc.  Place it in a 9-inch pie plate, trimming away the excess and creating decorative edges as desired.  Prick the bottom and sides of the crust with the tines of a fork.  Line the crust with a piece of aluminum foil or parchment paper and fill with baking beads.  (If you don’t have baking beads, dried beans or rice also work.)  Bake 25 minutes.  Remove the baking beads and foil and bake about 5-10 minutes more, until light golden.  Transfer to a wire rack and let cool.


  • Looks heavenly!

  • Ali @ Solano’s Kitchen

    This sounds (and looks!!) delicious! Caramel makes everything better in my opinion :)

  • Dajana

    Caramel is always a key word. Love this pie

  • Shyanne Shuck

    This looks amazing the caramel must make it to die for!

    Would the baking instructions for the pie crust work for all crust recipes or does it depend on the crust?

  • annieseats

    It works for any recipe where you need a partially baked crust, but that depends on the particular recipe and type of pie you are making.

  • Bashful_Bao

    I can never resist pumpkin & caramel together, this pie looks amazing!

  • I always love recipes that put a twist on traditional, straight up pumpkin pie – and this sounds like a good one!

  • Liz @ Tip Top Shape

    I love pumpkin pie in all its wonderful and glorious forms. Thanks for sharing.

    Also – congrats on passing the boards (I saw it on Instagram)! My dad’s a doctor and I’ve heard from him that they are pretty much the worst. So congrats on being done!!

  • Caroline L.

    Your photos have become more and more stunning over the years! This pie looks amazing… had my first bite of pumpkin pie of the season last week – so happy! :)

  • Amelia

    The recipe looks great! I think you just persuaded me to change up my go to recipe for this one this year!!

  • Warm Vanilla Sugar

    This pie seriously looks perfect! Gorgeous recipe!

  • annieseats

    Thank you so much :)

  • Seriously – if it’s spiked with caramel, how can anyone resist?!

  • I’ve yet to find a pumpkin pie that really does it for me, so I am SOO happy you posted this! Definitely trying it for this year. We need a really showstopping version on our table for once!

  • pattismith

    Sounds incredible! Will have to try it!

  • This pie is gorgeous! The finishing touches with the whipped cream and caramel make all the difference. I love the idea of a caramel-spiked pumpkin pie (really caramel-spiked anything!) so perhaps this will be the first pumpkin pie I actually do make from
    scratch. :)

  • Looks incredible!! Would you believe I’ve never tried pumpkin pie? Have definitely got to try this :)

  • Melissa Guarracino

    I have never been disappointed by one of your recipes! I just whipped this up for a get together with the neighbors tonight. The caramel is SO yummy. Can’t wait to try the pie!

  • Abbie E

    This looks too delicious! Beautiful presentation. I love it.

  • Steph in Lex

    I swear by the Libby’s recipe on the back of the can, and I’ve been known to make it in the middle of July if I’m in the mood for pumpkin pie (why limit it to Thanksgiving?!?), but this recipe definitely makes me want to stray. Anything with caramel would!!!

  • Steph in Lex

    And by the way–once I had the idea of actually whipping cream to go with pie on Thanksgiving, I only go back to the canned stuff when absolutely necessary! (And don’t even say the words “Cool Whip” in my presence. ;) )

  • Francesca @ Love.Bake.Read

    This pie sounds delightful for Thanksgiving!

  • Nancy Long

    Oh wow, I’m not making Thanksgiving dinner this year (1st time in forever), but will definitely be making this pie! Hubby will be in heaven! Thanks

  • Lyba

    I am SO making this..

  • Cooking Classy

    Beautiful pumpkin pie! I love the way you’ve decorated it. This is my kind of pumpkin pie, everything is always better with caramel!

  • Tracy

    I do not have a go-to pumpkin pie recipe but this one looks spectacular! Love the pie pan.

  • cac

    ok looks amazing, but not sure i can make the carmel part,,,is there anyway i can sub premade carmel (what amount)

  • annieseats

    I am not sure. I would recommend just making it yourself. Homemade caramel tastes much better than pre made. Enjoy!

  • annieseats

    So glad you enjoyed it!

  • Steph in Lex

    Definitely make it! Annie is right and her recipe is so awesome that I’m only a little ashamed to admit that sometimes I take “shots” of straight caramel out of the storage container… ;)

  • Beth

    Hey Annie,

    Could you make it a day or 2 or 3 in advance and refrigerate? I guess you could but, wanted to make sure whether the addition of caramel changes any of the make ahead dynamics.


  • annieseats

    This is just fine made a couple of days in advance. That’s what I always do, and what I’ll do again this year. Enjoy!

  • Kat

    Hi Annie…. I made this this weekend (and we’ll politely ignore that I burned it while tending to the screaming baby, thank you). One question that popped up. You mention that the sugar is divided, and then in step two to use the “remaining 1/2 cup”. So I assume we only spread 1/2 cup of the sugar in the saucepan in step 1? As you can tell, I had several kitchen fails in one night…..

  • annieseats

    Yes, you are correct. Thanks for catching that!

  • Sarah Zahn

    Ohhh I adore your cakes, they all looks sooo lovely. :)

  • Justeen Kim

    This pie sounds wonderful! I’ve been making the Cook’s Illustrated pumpkin pie for the past few years, but I would love to try something new. I’ve attempted making caramel using the above method a few times and it’s always burned or seized up, so I am a little scarred :)

  • Susan

    We’re having dessert at my house this year, so I’ve asked my daughter to make this pie. Can’t wait to try it – it sounds and looks delicious!

  • Nicole

    Hi Annie, if this is made a couple of days ahead of time, should it be refrigerated?

  • annieseats


  • Brookann

    How long do you “partially bake” your pie crust before adding the filling? For the full 30-35 minutes like it suggests in the blind-bake method? And then another 45-50 with the filling in? Seems like the crust would be scorched!

  • annieseats

    Yes, that’s correct. And no, the crust is fine. If it starts to brown too much, you can cover it with foil. Enjoy!

  • Brookann

    Thank you! I’ll give it a try! :)

  • Tania

    Oh em gee. So, I am not a pumpkin pie fan, but when I saw this recipe, I thought it might be the one. I love caramel. To pieces. The pie was creamy, smooth and delicious! What a wonderful recipe. Thanks for sharing and for filling the pumpkin pie void I’ve had all my life. This is now my Thanksgiving pie recipe! Happy Thanksgiving!

  • annieseats

    Woohoo! Glad you found a pumpkin pie to love. Everything is better with caramel, right?

  • Lil

    Not generally a pumpkin pie fan, but this was good. Easy to make too. It is important to have the cream WARM (as stated in the recipe). Thanks!

  • Brittany Persson

    I actually preferred this pie a few days after making it. The first day it was a bit too sweet, but on day two, three and four it was wonderful!

  • Katie Mandel

    Annie! I feel like such a spaz, but I have tried the caramel part of this recipe 3 times, and every time I am ending up with sugar rocks in a watery mess! Any clue what is happening? :) I’m about to go buy a pie:)

  • annieseats

    Hi Katie. Do you have much experience with making caramel? It can be tricky, and I used to have those kind of results a lot. One thing that helps is to have the cream warmed before adding it to the sugar mixture. Also, add it in *very* small additions, whisking each one in before you add more. Those two things have really helped me have more consistently successful results with caramel. Hope that helps if you try again!

  • Katie Mandel

    Thanks for replying!! I will have to perfect my caramel making skills on a day when I don’t have 50 other things to prep! ;)

  • Susan

    The key really is to warm the heavy cream before you stir it in the sugar. It makes all the difference! I think I neglected to do it last year and while the pie was delicious, I didn’t really have caramel “sauce” – it was much more liquid-y. This year I followed the recipe to the letter (lesson learned!) and my caramel sauce turned out beyond delicious and the perfect consistency – it was a struggle not to gobble it up straight from the pot! I had to put the pot back on the burner for just a couple of minutes to get rid of some “lumps,” but it really turned out terrifically. i can’t wait to dig into this on Thanksgiving Day!

  • Daphne Davis

    Hi Annie – I would love to make this pie this year. The thing is – I can’t make a dessert with any dairy in it. (Due to religious reasons, I can’t have dairy with a meat meal). Do you think the caramel sauce work, using a non-dairy substitute for the heavy cream?

  • Annie

    I’m sorry to say I have never tried making caramel with a non-dairy substitute so I have no helpful feedback for you one way or another. If I were you, I would give it a try and see how it goes and if it doesn’t work out, search for a vegan caramel sauce recipe. I’m sure they are out there!

  • Erin Abbamondi

    This looks amazing! I was wondering, if I do a full recipe plus a half and increase the bake time, would this be too much? Was looking to make a thicker pie, but don’t want it to be a disaster.
    Thanks either way! Happy early Thanksgiving!

  • Annie

    Hey Erin! I have never tried that myself. I think it would probably work, though you will need either a deeper pie plate or a springform pan instead. I think as long as you get the correct texture (only slightly jiggly in the center and set around the edges) you should be okay. Good luck!