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10 Pumpkin Pie Problems And How To Fix Them

by Gina Elizabeth

Having a pumpkin pie emergency?

You’ve come to the right place.

Here’s everything you need to know to fix & prevent every pumpkin pie problem.

#UltimatePumpkinPie

How To Fix 10 Common Pumpkin Pie Problems

1. Watery Filling

Place It Back In The Oven

Easy as pie!

  • Use an oven thermometer to ensure the right oven temperature (if your dial isn’t accurate).
  • Cover the pie with aluminum foil, place it back in the oven and bake it at 350 F for about 20 minutes.
  • Wait until the pie cools/sets (about 2 hours at room temperature) before cutting into it. Or, it’s almost certain that you’ll end up with a watery mess when you slice it.

Reasons For Watery Pumpkin Pie:

  • Using fresh pumpkin instead of canned
  • Not using enough eggs
  • Docking your pie crust
  • Refrigerating a hot pie
  • Overbaking

Can you blame your oven for a runny pumpkin pie? Some ovens don’t heat evenly and/or display the wrong temperature. Bad oven, bad! 

[RELATED: 10 Common Pie Problems and How To Fix Them]

2. Cracked Filling

A little whipped cream, and all is forgiven:

Here’s how to fix cracked pumpkin pie with whipped cream topping:

  1. Remove the pie from the oven and scoop out the filling.
  2. Wait for the pie to cool.
  3. Then top with a whipped cream crust.

Pumpkin filling will crack if the pie is over-baked or cools too quickly. Do not refrigerate your pie until it’s completely cooled.

3. Weepy Filling

Placing a hot pumpkin pie in the fridge may cause moisture to rise to the top. This is sometimes referred to as “weeping.” Just use a paper towel to blot excess moisture.

Droplets of water can also appear on a baked pumpkin pie from overcooking the eggs in the custard base. Set your oven to the proper temperature to prevent overcooking the eggs. An overbaked pumpkin pie filling becomes watery because moisture separates from the toughened protein in your eggs.

4. Undercooked Filling

The best way to fix undercooked pumpkin pie filling is to prevent it. Don’t use a lightweight aluminum pie pan. The thin metal doesn’t transfer heat well and can lead to soggy bottoms and undercooked sides.

Glass pie plates which conduct heat evenly, and allow you to see the color of your crust through the plate, are a better bet.

How to Fix Undercooked Pumpkin Pie Filling

Cover the pie with aluminum foil, place it back in the oven and bake it at 350 F for about 20 minutes, or until done. Then wait for the pie to cool and top with whipped cream.

Easy as pie!

Tip: Use an oven thermometer to ensure the right oven temperature (if your dial isn’t accurate).

Can you blame your oven for an undercooked pumpkin pie? Some ovens don’t heat evenly and/or display the wrong temperature. Bad oven, bad! 

Step #2. Top with Whipped Cream Once Cooled

It can be hard to achieve the perfect level of doneness for pumpkin pie. If your pumpkin filling cracks, it’s probably overcooked.

Once the pie is done, wait for the pie to cool. Then top with whipped cream.

Is it safe to eat undercooked pumpkin pie?

No. Undercooked pumpkin pie contains raw eggs and can make you sick. Raw eggs may contain a type of pathogenic bacteria called Salmonella, which can cause food poisoning. However, the risk of an egg being contaminated is quite low.

When in doubt, bake the pie a little longer rather then risk an under-baked pie.

5. Soggy Bottom Crust

Here’s how to fix soggy pumpkin pie crust:

  1. Remove the pie from the oven and scoop out the filling.
  2. Cover the edges with foil or a pie shield.
  3. Put the pie back in the oven and allow the bottom crust to cook all the way through.
  4. Simultaneously heat the pumpkin pie filling on the stove (over a low simmer) until the juice reduces.
  5. Once the bottom crust cooks, reinsert the filling.
  6. Wait for the pie to cool.
  7. Then top with a whipped cream crust.

6. Burnt Pie

If your pumpkin pie is burnt or unsalvageable make a sundae, parfait, or shake out of the unburnt sections:

Make A Festive Sundae

The best kind of mess.

Instructions: Pumpkin Pie Sundae

  1. Scoop ice cream into individual serving bowls or glasses.
  2. Top with the pumpkin pie filling and crust.
  3. Garnish with whipped cream and nuts.

BOOM!

7. Under Baked Crust

If you don’t bake your pie at a high enough temperature, the crust becomes raw and soggy. This is due to the butter in the crust melting into the dough without evaporating.

To fix this, start out your pumpkin pie at a higher temperature, between 425 and 450 degrees F. Then reduce the temperature to 350 degrees F after about 20 to 30 minutes and continue baking until the pie is nicely browned and the pecan filling is bubbling.

8. Grainy Pumpkin Pie

This is the one time you’ll want to make a baking mistake.

Egg proteins in your pumpkin pie trap moisture, and can give custard pie fillings — like pumpkin — a grainy or curdled texture. To prevent this problem remove the pie from the oven when it is still slightly jiggly in the center. It will continue to set as it cools.

To remedy this, make a pumpkin pie bourbon shake.

Easy. Boozy. Beautiful.

9. Too Sweet

Pumpkin pie turn out too sweet to eat?

Make a pumpkin pie smoothie

You’ve got a festive & easy holiday shake or smoothie and your guests are none the wiser.

It’s totally healthy, its got pumpkin AND milk! ????

Here’s the recipe:

INGREDIENTS

Serves: 1 thirsty person

  • 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 cup chopped pumpkin pie
  • 1/3 cup oats
  • Handful of ice
  • Unsweetened whipped cream
  • Pinch of salt
  • Optional topping: cinnamon powder

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a blender, combine all ingredients.
  2. Blend until desired consistency. (Add more pie if too thin, or more almond milk if too thick)
  3. Pour into a tall glass.
  4. Garnish with unsweetened whipped cream, crumbled pumpkin pie, and an optional dash of cinnamon.

10. Poor Taste And Texture

The best pumpkin purée, along with the sugar and spices should be cooked on the stovetop before making the filling. This extra step, makes a big difference in taste and texture.

Follow this tip: Cooking draws out some of the moisture in the pumpkin purée but also blooms the spices making for a more aromatic pie and a thicker, more flavorful filling. No more than 10 minutes is required for this step.

11 Baking Tips To Avoid Pumpkin Pie Problems

Things That’ll Help You Bake The Best Pumpkin Pie Ever!

Making your first pumpkin pie? Want to impress everyone with your baking skills?

Here’s how:

1. Choose A Reliable Recipe

Pumpkin pie is very finicky & unforgiving. Make sure to use a good recipe and follow it exactly, for the perfect pie every time.

Tip: Read the whole recipe once or twice before getting started. You’ll be much more likely to get it right the first time!

2. Measure Ingredients Accurately

Baking is more science than art. Eyeballing ingredients or making substitutions isn’t good practice for baking!

Tip: If your recipe calls for a specific brand (like Karo Syrup), don’t use a generic brand. this may add moisture and cause runny pumpkin pie.

3. Press Down Your Pecans

Make sure pumpkin in the filling don’t poke out. Use a wooden spoon to press them down into the syrup mixture. This will prevent the pecans from burning.

Tip: Toasting pumpkin before folding them into the filling also keeps them crisp and intensifies their flavor.

4. Put a cold pie into a hot oven

“Make it cold, bake it hot.”

Putting a cold pie into a hot oven will help avoid a soggy bottom.

  • Everything should be chilled: ingredients, bowls, and materials.
  • Refrigerate the pie crust dough until your filling is ready. Warm dough causes butter to soften—which will cause a soggy instead of a flaky crust.
  • You can also chill your pie in the fridge for 15 minutes before baking.

5. Cover Your Crust Edges

Don’t use the brownness of pie crust to judge doneness.

  • Cover the crust edges with foil to avoid burning. Or purchase a pie crust shield.
  • Remove the pie crust shield during the last 15 minutes of baking.

6. Use An Oven Thermometer

Pre-heat your oven and verify the baking temperature with an oven thermometer (don’t trust your dial).

  • Pumpkin pie baked at too hot a temperature may cause the egg custard to break and weep.
  • Oven temperature that is too cool may also cause runny pumpkin pie.

7. Do Not Overfill Your Pie Plate

Stick with the amount of filling that your recipe calls for to avoid a watery mess. Extra filing can also cause a soggy crust. Stick with the amount that your recipe calls for to avoid watery pumpkin pie filling.

8. Partially Blind-Bake Your Bottom Crust.

As an alternative to blind-baking, you can also sprinkle cornstarch (or flour) on top of your bottom crust. This will soak up excess liquid. Sprinkle before adding your pie filling.

If you opt for a frozen crust, place a cookie sheet in preheated oven. Pour filling into frozen crust and bake on the preheated cookie sheet.

9. Judging Doneness

Do not shorten cooking time or lower oven temperature to avoid over-browning your crust.

Pumpkin pie is a notoriously difficult to bake because it can be difficult to tell when it is done. The crust and the pumpkin can burn easily if overcooked, but the middle can come out runny if it’s not cooked long enough.

How can you tell when pepumpkin pie is done?

Shake it. Give it a little shake back and forth. It should jiggle a little in the middle. A wobble means it’s not done yet. Another method is to stick a fork in it. Insert a fork in the center of the pie, between the pumpkin. It should be clean when the pie is ready. The filling will continue to cook and fully set as the pie cools.

10. Adjust Recipe In High Altitude

If you live in a high altitude, adjust the recipe (ingredients and oven temperature).

11. Cool Before Slicing Or Refrigerating

  • Cutting a hot pie will cause it to collapse.
  • Do not place a hot pie into the fridge, the temperature difference is too drastic. It’s okay to place a warm pie in the fridge.
  • Cool before serving. Pumpkin pie requires at least four hours to cool completely. Because pumpkin pie is dense, the edges and bottoms may feel cool to the touch, but the center may still quite warm.

Pumpkin Pie Baking FAQs

Should I blind bake crust for pumpkin pie?

If you love a flaky, non soggy crust with your pumpkin pie then blind baking is for you. If you’ve never heard of blind baking before, its a method where you bake a crust without the pie or pastry filling in it. This method is not difficult, and you don’t need any expensive equipment.

How do I tell if pumpkin pie is done?

Pumpkin pie is a custard pie and often under- or over-baked. Pumpkin is particularly hard to nail because of its dark filling. 

Method #1: Use the Knife Test

How do you know when your pumpkin pie is done?

Insert a knife about an inch away from the center of your pumpkin pie. When the knife comes out clean, it’s an indicator that it’s done. It doesn’t need to be bone dry fresh out of the oven. The pumpkin filling will continue to cook and fully set as the pie cools.

The reason you don’t want to test the filling in the center of the pie is so you don’t overbake it. The pumpkin pie filling will still continue to cook as the pie cools and you’ll have a perfectly textured pie.

Tip: Use the amount of filling that your recipe calls for. Overfilling may cause undercooked and cracked pie (due to over baking).

Method #2: Shake It

Give it a little shake back and forth. It should jiggle a little in the middle. A wobble means it’s not done yet. The pumpkin filling will continue to cook while cooling and will no longer jiggle.

Method #3: Use a Thermometer

If you have an instant-read thermometer, it should read about 175 degrees.

Tip #1: Don’t use the brownness of pie crust to judge doneness. Use aluminum foil to prevent over-browning the crust (add foil to the crust, halfway through baking). Do not shorten cooking time or lower oven temperature to avoid over-browning your crust.

Tip #2: If you’ve over-browned your crust, you can slice the top crust off once it’s cooled and cover your mistake with some whipped cream!

Always have whipped cream or ice cream on hand any case of any holiday pumpkin pie emergencies.

How do I cool my pumpkin pie?

Always cool your pie before slicing to avoid a filling landslide. Pumpkin pie filling also contains milk and egg products. Cool at room temperature no longer than 2 hours. Then refrigerate. It is okay to place a warm pie in the fridge.

If you enjoy serving your pie warm, zap it quickly in the microwave before serving.

Can I make substitutions?

No. Substitutions can add moisture, which may cause runny pumpkin pie.

How do I cut pumpkin pie?

Wait for the pie to cool/set. Use a serrated knife to cut into the pumpkin pie. Cut through the pecan crust slowly, then push down to slice the custard.

How do I serve pumpkin pie?

  • Serve chilled, warmed, or at room temperature. Do not serve hot.
  • Plate with a fork.
  • Top with whipped cream, ice cream or hard sauce. Wikipedia

What is hard sauce?

It’s a dessert sauce made with creamed butter, sugar with rum, brandy, sherry, whiskey, vanilla or other flavorings. It is served cold.

Do I need to refrigerate pumpkin pie?

Yes! Refrigerate within two hours of baking to prevent food borne illness. Allow your pumpkin pie to cool to room temperature before refrigerating. If refrigerated, you can enjoy your pumpkin pie for up to four days after you made it.

How can I avoid soggy pumpkin pie crust?

Here are some things that can do to keep your crust crispy.

  • Blind Bake. Pre-bake the crust so that it sets and crisps up before you add any wet filling.
  • Or Hot Baking Sheet. Place a baking sheet in the oven while it preheats. Then place your pie directly on the heated baking sheet. The extra heat will get the crust to cook and set quickly.

Why does my pie puff and then fall?

  • Pumpkin pie has a tendency to soufflé and fall. To test for doneness, look for a filling that’s puffed—it should jiggle just slightly when you gently shake it.
  • Stick to 350°F—a higher oven temperature will make the custard puff up like a soufflé and fall upon cooling.
  • Do not cool it too quickly in the refrigerator, the change is too drastic. Let the pie cool gradually in a warm place.

How do I keep pumpkin pie from getting soggy?

All you need to do is toast the pumpkin before folding them into the filling. This boosts their flavor and keeps them crisp.

How do you fix a burnt pie?

Use a handheld grater to scrape off the burnt parts. Cut or break off burnt edges and garnish the pumpkin pie with a ring or topping of whipped cream instead. Or re-purpose sections that aren’t burned to make an ice cream parfait or bourbon shake.

Do I use light or dark corn syrup for pumpkin pie?

You can use either. Light gives a more delicate vanilla flavor. And dark has a more robust flavor.

Can I make pumpkin pie with alcohol?

I never met a pumpkin pie that couldn’t be improved by bourbon or whiskey.

Tips

  • Soak pumpkin in liquor while preparing the pie and layer them on top. Then sprinkle them lightly with a sanding sugar.
  • Don’t forget to finish off the liquor to eliminate waste.

How do I serve pumpkin pie?

  • Serve chilled, warmed, or at room temperature. Do not serve hot.
  • Plate with a fork.
  • Top with whipped cream, ice cream or hard sauce for a traditional American flair.

What is hard sauce? It’s a dessert sauce made with creamed butter, sugar with rum, brandy, sherry, whiskey, vanilla or other flavorings. It is served cold.

Do I need to refrigerate pumpkin pie?

Yes! Refrigerate within two hours of baking to prevent food borne illness. A warm pie is okay to place in the fridge.

Can I warm up pumpkin pie?

Warm in a 200 degree oven for approx 10 minutes.

Can I make pumpkin pie without eggs or sugar?

Yes, there are a lot of vegan pumpkin pie and keto pumpkin pie recipes online. And they are just as gooey and delicious.

What causes pumpkin pie to crack?

Pumpkin pie filling will crack if the pie is over-baked or cools too quickly.

What is blind-baking?

Blind-baking is pre-baking the crust without the filling. This step ensures a crispy crust. For extra crispy pumpkin pie crust – partially blind bake the crust before adding filling.

How do I partially blind-bake a crust for pumpkin pie?

To partially blind bake, pierce the pie dough in the pie plate with a fork. Chill for an hour. Then line with foil or parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake at a moderate temperature (350 degrees F) for about 5 minutes, or until the crust is lightly browned, removing the pie weights halfway through.

How do I fix burnt pumpkin pie?

5 Steps to Fix Burnt Pie

Here’s how to rescue burnt pie fast:

1. Stop The Cooking

First, stop the heat. Take the pie out of the oven as soon as you smell burning. Then plunge the pie pan into cool water. It’s like shocking vegetables in iced water. It stops the cooking.

Quickly assess the damage: does the char go beyond the surface of the pie crust? If so, skip to step number five. But if the burn is only skin deep, so to speak, your pie could still be saved.

Absorb The Burnt Flavors

  • Next, remove the burnt top crust and spoon out the filling into a bowl.
  • Place the bowl in a large container and pop a slice of white bread in. Keep the lid on for 5-10 mins. This should  absorb the burnt flavors.
  • Then throw out the bread.

Get Rid Of Burnt Odors

The smell of burned food lingers. If people smell the burn they will subliminally taste it too!

So, you will have to still get rid of the lingering odors in your home.

Here’s how:

Freshly baked smell

  • Microwave an oatmeal, peanut butter, or your favorite cookie for about 3 minutes. Essentially you are pretending to bake yummy cookies.
  • If you don’t have cookies handy, put some foil or parchment paper on your baking tray and sprinkle brown sugar and cinnamon. Put a tablespoon of butter in the middle and bake slowly for a few hours. This is trick estate agents use to make a house feel nice and inviting for potential buyers!

Fresh coffee smell

Also a trick that real estate agents use. Put the coffee on! Percolate coffee to create that fresh coffee smell.

How do I prevent burnt pie?

Set A Timer

This is a common and known method to keep any foods from over-cooking or baking when making them. If you know you’ll be away or get distracted, set a timer for the amount prescribed by the recipe. Make sure the timer is loud enough to hear if you’re far away from the kitchen.

Check The Pie Every Now And Then

While the pie bakes, check it every 10-15 minutes to ensure it isn’t burning and that it is baking correctly. But it’s best not keep opening the oven door, since the heat leaves every time you open it. Instead, use the oven light that’s placed in your oven so you can watch the cake, but also avoid it from under-baking.

Can I make recipe substitutions?

No. Substitutions can add moisture, which may cause runny pumpkin pie.

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