Brown Sugar Pumpkin Pie

Brown Sugar Pumpkin Pie

I like my pumpkin pie with cracks. Is that weird?

I like it to look homemade, a little rustic, and I don’t know… homey? I thought about covering them up with some pie crust leaves or something, but decided to keep it real. I also want you to know its ok if your pie has cracks- I really do love it!

Anyway, this is the absolute best pumpkin pie. I know it’s a classic, and maybe you’re in the camp that just uses the recipe from the Libby’s can, but maybe I can convince you to give this great recipe a try. It’s nothing too different, but an extra step, some extra spices, and the use of brown sugar make a truly perfect pie.

My taste-testers agreed that this had a super silky texture and a truly wonderful flavor- spicy and a bit caramelized. The one thing that for me always makes pumpkin pie a little bit better is par-baking the crust. I didn’t do it this time- mostly as an experiment, but I usually do and it makes a huge difference. I still love pumpkin pie with a softer crust, but for me I prefer it with a bit of crispiness to the crust. I’ll leave instructions for that option below. 

Brown Sugar Pumpkin Pie

Ingredients needed for Brown Sugar Pumpkin Pie:

  • Pie Dough
  • Pumpkin Pureé
  • Light Brown Sugar
  • Salt
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • Heavy Cream
  • Eggs

Supplies needed for Brown Sugar Pumpkin Pie:

  • Pie Weights, or dried beans (see more info on this below.)
  • 9-inch pie plate
  • Large bowl
  • Medium sized saucepan
  • Wire Rack for cooling
  • Food Processor for making your crust (if you’d like)
  • Baking sheet

Par-baking a crust:

For custard pies l always like to par bake or blind bake my crust so we have no soggy bottoms! To do so, roll your pie dough to an 12-inch circle on a lightly floured surface. Drape the dough into your pie dish, trim, and crimp edges. Place a piece of parchment paper or aluminum foil inside the crust and fill with pie weights or dried beans. I like to pop the whole thing in the freezer while the oven preheats to give it a little extra chill and help retain it’s shape.

Bake at 375F for 10 minutes, then remove the foil/parchement and pie weights carefully and bake for another 10. The crust should be getting golden but not fully baked.

What can I use instead of pie weights?

I covered that question in a seperate blog post here!

The Pie:

When your crust has cooled, start the pumpkin pie filling. In a saucepan, stir the pumpkin with the sugar and cook until caramelized and a deeper brown. Add the salt and spices, and then remove from the heat and add the cream and eggs. Mix until smooth and then pour into your crust and bake on a cookie sheet to avoid any spills. Cool until room temperature.


Must I use homemade pie crust? Or can I use a store-bought pie crust or pie shell?

Listen, I think every home baker should give a homemade crust a try, but there is no shame in buying a store-bought crust if that isn’t in the cards for you. I do recommend par baking a store-bought pie dough according to the instructions I gave above!

For the pumpkin filling can I use fresh pumpkin purée?

I have only ever used canned pumpkin for this recipe, but I have no doubt homemade pumpkin puree would be delicious too.

Can I sub evaporated milk for heavy cream?

Yes, although I think the heavy cream makes this filling extra rich and delicious!

Brown Sugar Pumpkin Pie

How to store leftover pie:

Wrap pie in plastic wrap tightly and store in the fridge for up to a week.

Can I sub something for the brown sugar?

I think the brown sugar is the star of this pie, but you could sub white sugar or even half maple syrup if you’d like. (I’d do half white sugar, half maple syrup in that instance.) I wouldn’t sub something like coconut sugar as it may end up a bit grainy.

A few of my other favorite pies:

Rosemary Apple Pie

Brown Sugar Banana Cream Pie

Easy Key Lime Pie

Brown Sugar Pumpkin Pie

Brown Sugar Pumpkin Pie

Yield: 1 9-inch pie

Classic Pumpkin Pie with a brown sugary twist!


  • 1 sheet of pie crust
  • 1 3/4 cups pumpkin puree
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Roll out your pie crust and trim/crimp it to the pie dish, pricking with a fork a few times.

If you want to par bake your crust, line the crust with foil and fill with pie weights or beans. Bake for about 10 minutes and then remove the foil and bake for another 5-10 minutes or until just slightly golden. (You only want it to be partially baked.) Set it aside while you prepare the filling.

In a saucepan, stir the pumpkin over medium-high heat for 15 minutes or until it begins to darken and caramelize.

Add the sugar, salt, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice. Mix well for about 2 minutes.

Remove from the heat. Add the cream and finally the eggs. Mix until smooth and pour into the prepared crust.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until crust is golden brown and the filling is set. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack.


Recipe adapted from AllRecipes

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  1. If i dont have ground pumpkin spice?!

    1. Hello! You can use ginger, nutmeg, cloves & allspice for the pumpkin pie spice- you may have to google the exact proportions though :)

  2. I am a brown sugar in my pumpkin pie gal from way back. It just makes the best pumpkin pie! Thanks for sharing!
    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!

  3. This looks delicious!!! When it says to add ginger, is that the pumpkin pie spice? Have a great Thanksgiving with your beautiful family!

  4. oh my gosh this looks so good audra
    is it custardy?? I want to hear about your experimenting…this looks so simple maybe i’ll give it a go!!!!!! can’t wait to play with you again audra! Next time I’ll come to you..maybe we can try to make those parker house rolls together?

    1. Hey Tricia- I’m not sure if it’ as custardy as the one you remember from your childhood but the texture is really great. I’m sill working on that one for you!

  5. Really want to make this yummy piecfor our holiday meal however, please update us on the recipe where it says to add ginger, as ginger alone is not specifically listed on the ingredient list. Guessing ( is this meant to say pumpkin pie spice). Sorry to be a pest.

  6. Hi Audra,

    I am just coming off of my second failed attempt at a par baked crust for pumpkin pie. I chilled the crust, pricked the crust with a fork all over, lined with aluminum, and used pie weights. In the first 10 minute bake one of the sides slipped off the edge, and as soon as I took the foil and weights out (after an initial 10 minute bake) the entire pie crust slumped off the edge of the pie lip and down into the bottom of the pan (for the second 10 minute bake). I used both a glass and a pie tin and had the same results both times.

    Any ideas??

    1. Aw that is so frustrating. I would say keep the pie weights and foil in for longer. You may need to get it a bit firmer before letting it bake on it’s own!

    2. I am having the exact same problem! The crust just slumps right down the sides – even with the pie weights in it. I have never had this happen before……guess I will try another crust recipe.

      1. Gosh I’m so sorry- I use this recipe for every pie I’ve made for years. The only thing I can think of is that it’s not cold enough..

  7. Pumpkin pie is a classic around this time of year and, even if it’s not one of my favorite pies, I can’t avoid making it at least once every year. I really love how silky your pie looks and I think I’ll go for the par-baking version, since I too like the crust to be a little crunchy!

  8. Just made your pumpkin pie & it’s fantastic!!!!!!! I pre-cooked my crust and followed every step. It’s so flavorful and the texture is perfect. Will never ever go back to the traditional condensed milk version. My only deviation was that I used a pate brise crust because that’s what my hubs wanted however, I’ve made your crust and he loves it too! You will have a very successful pie business. Be prepared for a high demand of on line delivery for those in the know. :)

    1. I am so so glad it worked out. Happy Thanksgiving!

  9. I was reading some of the comments re: the crust slumping down the sides of the pie plate. I was listening to a podcast from America’s Test Kitchen and a woman called in complaining about the exact same problem. It was in relation to their Vodka Pie Crust recipe, but I think their answer might help… they said you need a crust recipe that contains egg and lemon juice or vinegar (some type of acid) to help prevent the edges from slumping. They had a fancy french name for this type of crust (which I can’t pronounce, much less spell) , but recipes are easy to find. I did a google search and found this one
    I actually used this recipe for my pumpkin pies on Thanksgiving. It is a generous recipe for two crusts. I parbaked the crusts without too much of a problem. The butter “leaked” at the edges of the crust and made a mess out of my oven. But, I should have known better and placed a cookie sheet underneath the pie plate. However, as advertised, it did not slump. Hope this helps.

    Your pumpkin pie sounds yummy. I’m going to give the brown sugar/heat the pumpkin a try!

  10. a happy belated thanksgiving to you – I love this, but your salted honey pie was a winner at our Friendsgiving on Firday. Thanks again!

  11. Of all the pumpkin desserts out there, pumpkin pie is honestly my least favorite…until now! Love that brown sugar twist! I’m sure it adds that perfect bit of extra oomph.

  12. Hi Audra! I just wanted to let you know that I made this pie for Thanksgiving and LOVED it! By combining two of my favorite things (pumpkin and brown sugar), I was sure this would be a winner, and it was! Thank you :)

  13. Betty Jo Hodge says:

    Hi from Texas! Your brown sugar filling sounds wonderfully delicious, but I do have a few questions. I do not have any cream (small town!), but I would like to know if I could use a full can of evaporated milk. Probably, sweetened condensed milk would make the pie extremely sweet. Also, I’m thinking that maybe an extra egg yolk or full egg would help the thickness of the filling. Any thoughts? Thank you and Happy Thanksgiving!

  14. Hi from Texas! Your brown sugar filling sounds wonderfully delicious, but I do have a few questions. I do not have any cream (small town!), but I would like to know if I could use a full can of evaporated milk. Probably, sweetened condensed milk would make the pie extremely sweet. Also, I’m thinking that maybe an extra egg yolk or full egg would help the thickness of the filling. Any thoughts? Thank you and Happy Thanksgiving!

  15. I tried this last night after finding it on Pinterest and we loved it! It’s definitely on my list to make again!

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