Look no further for an absolutely scrumptious vegan pumpkin pie recipe! It's perfect for Thanksgiving and holiday celebrations. Not only is it a breeze to make, but it also offers a luxuriously creamy filling with a sweet and crunchy graham cracker crust that will leave you wanting seconds. Trust me, this pie is a total crowd-pleaser!
Pumpkin pie is a fall tradition. Every good food blog has a recipe ready to go for the fall and holiday season, and nuts & twigs is no exception.
I've whipped up this incredible vegan pumpkin pie for countless folks who had no clue it was vegan. They were totally blown away and even asked me for the recipe. Give it a try—I bet you'll love it too.
Canned or Fresh Pumpkin
Both canned and fresh pumpkin have their merits for making pumpkin pie.
If you're going for the quick and easy route, grab a can of pumpkin from the store. You may think making fresh puree will produce a better pumpkin pie, but canned pumpkin offers the same delicious results. It also has a consistent texture and flavor, is convenient, and is available year-round - just ensure it says "pure pumpkin" and not the pie-filling stuff.
While canned pumpkin is perfect for those seeking ease or consistency... like me, especially during the busy holiday season, using fresh pumpkins might be fun for you to try. We gave it a shot, and it turned out great!
Here's what to do if you want to make fresh puree:
First, selecting the right kind, like sugar pumpkins, is important, and be prepared for roasting and pureeing.
Chop up your pumpkin, place those pieces on a baking sheet (lined with parchment, which makes cleanup a breeze), and roast them at 350°F for about 30 minutes. No need for oil or fancy seasonings.
Once they're soft and cool, blend them up real well. Here is the pro tip - let the purée sit in a strainer for a bit to remove any extra water before using it. The key to using fresh pumpkin is you don't want it too soggy. You want the same moisture content in the pumpkin you get from the can.
Vegan pumpkin pie is easy to make and this recipe uses ingredients you probably already have in the kitchen.
For the Crust:
- graham crackers - check ingredients for honey. See notes in the recipe card for honey-free brands.
- vegan butter - I have never met vegan butter I didn't like, so I think you're safe with any brand.
- organic sugar - most organic sugar is considered to be vegan because it is not processed using bone char.
For the Creamy Pumpkin Filling:
- pumpkin puree - get 100% pumpkin, not the pumpkin pie mix.
- vegan cream cheese - See notes in the recipe card for suggestions.
- coconut sugar serves as a good substitute for brown sugar. If you opt for regular cane sugar instead, remember it is sweeter than brown sugar and there is a moisture difference between sugars that will result in a different pie texture. If using white sugar, use a scant cup and a tablespoon of molasses or maple syrup to replace the brown sugar in this recipe.
- full-fat coconut milk/cream - use the white solid part at the top of the can for best results.
- cornstarch - arrowroot starch is a good substitute.
- cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg - classic for a pumpkin pie.
- vanilla extract - add a little vanilla for a sweet flavor.
- salt - enhances the flavor of the pie.
- pepper - sounds strange to put pepper in a sweet pie, doesn't it, but pepper provides a lovely, subtle complexity to desserts, especially when paired with traditional warm spices found in this pie.
See the recipe card for quantities.
Prepare the Crust
Feel free to use your favorite store-bought vegan graham cracker crust but this crust is really super simple to make at home and tastes delicious.
Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).
Combine the crushed graham crackers, melted butter, and sugar in a bowl until you get a wet-sand-like consistency.
Press this mixture into the base and up the sides of a 10-inch pie dish. Bake for 10 minutes, then remove from the oven and set aside.
Make the Creamy Pumpkin Filling:
Add the pumpkin puree, cream cheese, coconut milk, sugar, cornstarch, vanilla extract, spices, salt, and pepper to a blender and blend until creamy.
Pour the creamy pumpkin filling into the prepared crust.
Smooth out the top with a spatula. Place the pie in the oven and bake for about 55-65 minutes, or until the center is mostly set (it should still have a slight jiggle).
Once baked, remove the pie from the oven and let it cool at room temperature on a wire rack for about an hour.
Chill in the fridge: Move it to the refrigerator and let it chill for at least 4 hours. It's even better if you can chill it overnight. Place it in the freezer for a couple of hours if you're pressed for time. This cooling period is critical for the texture of the pie and will allow the pie to be fully set so the longer the better.
Serving your pie: You can serve your pie without any fancy decorations but I have a lot of ideas to step it up a notch. See below for a few ideas if you want little embellishments.
How to decorate your pumpkin pie
Making a pumpkin pie look festive is not just about taste, but also about the visual appeal. Here are some fun and festive toppings you can consider for your pumpkin pie:
- Whipped Coconut Cream: It's a classic combo with pumpkin pie. Buy vegan whipped cream or make your own using this recipe from School Night Vegan.
- Candied Pecans or Walnuts: Add crunch with maple-roasted nuts.
- Pumpkin Seeds: Toasted seeds with a maple glaze for texture.
- Fresh Berries: Cranberries add festive color and tang.
- Mint Leaves: Bright green leaves contrast pie tones and taste delicious with pie.
- Edible Gold Leaf: For some "tasteful" bling.
- Cookie Cutouts: Use pie or sugar dough for festive shapes.
- Chocolate Shavings or Drizzle: Perfect for pumpkin-chocolate fans.
- Dusting of Spices: Lightly dusting of cinnamon, nutmeg, organic sugar, or cocoa powder through a lace or stencil can create a festive pattern. Think of it as the pie equivalent of a cappuccino stencil but with spices!
- Graham Cracker Crumble: Crush the graham crackers into coarse crumbs and sprinkle them over the top of your pie, covering it entirely or just around the edges for a border.
- Pomegranate Seeds: Adds a beautiful color contrast and tartness.
The key to dressing up your pumpkin pie is to think about textures, colors, and flavors that complement the pie's creamy, spiced flavor and deep orange color. I'm hoping combining a few of these ideas will make your pie the centerpiece of the dessert table!
My number one tip has to be that the longer you can let the pie sit in the fridge, the better this pie gets. Overnight or 24-hour chilling will give you the best results.
You won't believe it, but coconut milk doesn't add coconut flavor to the pie. The spices, along with the pumpkin, really hide the flavor. However, if you want an alternative, use a thicker plant milk like oat or oat creamer. You can also substitute it with more cream cheese. If you use regular plant milk like oat or almond, make sure to set the pie as long as possible in the fridge to get it as firm as possible.
Instead of using nutmeg and ginger, you may want to substitute one teaspoon of pumpkin spice. It's important to note that pumpkin spice already includes cinnamon, but removing it from the recipe is unnecessary. Adding pumpkin spice will add a little more cinnamon flavor, but it perfectly complements the existing cinnamon in the recipe.
Storing and Freezing
- Fridge: Once baked, let your pumpkin pie cool completely at room temperature. Then, loosely cover it with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and refrigerate. It should keep well for about 3-4 days.
- Counter: Vegan pumpkin pie doesn't contain dairy or eggs, but storing it in the fridge is still best practice if you keep it for more than a day. If you're consuming it within 24 hours, it's okay on the counter.
I find that the texture changes slightly when I freeze the pie. For the best taste and texture, leave the pie in the fridge or on the counter and consume it within a few days. If you must freeze it, here are a few tips.
- Cool Completely: Ensure your pie has cooled to room temperature before freezing.
- Wrap: Wrap the pie tightly in layers of plastic wrap. For added protection against freezer burn, you can then wrap it in a layer of aluminum foil.
- Store: Place the wrapped pie in the freezer. It can be stored for up to one month without significant loss of quality.
- Thawing: When you're ready to eat the pie, transfer it from the freezer to the fridge and let it thaw overnight.
- Reheating (Optional): If you prefer warm pie, you can reheat it in a 350°F oven for about 15 minutes after thawing or use the good old microwave.
A little tip: if you’re planning to freeze multiple pies or baked goods, consider placing a piece of parchment paper or a label on the pie with the date and type, so you know what's what!
I've found that the longer it's chilled in the refrigerator, the better the texture. Ideally, it should be refrigerated overnight, but a minimum of 4 hours is good. If you're in a hurry, you can speed up the chilling process by placing it in the freezer for about 2-3 hours. However, be cautious not to leave it in the freezer for too long as it could alter the texture.
The filling in this pie is gluten-free. To make the crust gluten-free, purchase an already-made, unbaked pie crust, or use this pie crust recipe from Mama Knows Gluten Free.
After baking and cooling your vegan pumpkin pie, you can store it in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days, ensuring it's loosely covered to retain its freshness. If you're digging in within a day, it's alright to let it sit at room temperature. For longer storage, the freezer's your best bet, where, if wrapped tightly, the pie will stay good for about a month.
For the Crust:
- 2 cups vegan graham crackers, crushed
- 8 tablespoons, vegan butter, melted
- ¼ cup sugar
For the Creamy Pumpkin Filling:
- 2 cups pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
- 1 cup vegan cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
- ½ cup full-fat coconut milk/cream (from a can)
- ¼ cup cornstarch (or arrowroot powder)
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon pepper
Prepare Pie Crust
- Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).
- Combine the crushed graham crackers, melted butter, and sugar in a bowl until you get a wet sand-like consistency.
- Press this mixture into the base and up the sides of a 9-inch pie dish.
- Bake for about 10 minutes, then remove from the oven and set aside.
Blend the Filling
- Blend the pumpkin puree, cream cheese, coconut milk, sugar, cornstarch, vanilla extract, spices, salt, and pepper. Continue to blend until everything is combined and the mixture is smooth.
Pour and Bake
- Pour the pumpkin-cream cheese mixture into the prepared pie crust, smoothing out the top with a spatula.
- Place the pie in the preheated oven and bake for 55-60 minutes. The pie should look set but might still have a slight jiggle in the center. It'll firm up as it cools.
Cool and Chill
- After baking, remove the pie from the oven and let it cool on a cooling rack for about 1 hour.
- Once it's at room temperature, transfer the pie to the refrigerator and let it chill for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight. This step is crucial as it allows the pie to set fully.
- Once chilled, slice and serve the pie! It pairs wonderfully with vegan whipped cream or a drizzle of maple syrup. See the post for other topping ideas.
It may sound strange, but pepper can provide a lovely, subtle complexity to desserts, especially when paired with traditional warm spices like in this pie. It's completely optional, though.
The blend of spices and pumpkin completely masks the flavor and aroma of the coconut cream. No one has ever thought there was coconut in the pie. However, if you prefer an alternative, consider using thick and creamy plant-based milk, such as oat milk or creamer, or add more cream cheese as a substitute.
Don't skip chilling the pie for as long as possible. This will set the pie and give it a firm consistency. Overnight chilling to 24 hours is best.
Vegan graham crackers are easy to find at any major grocery store. Nabisco Original Grahams as well as Keebler, Kellogs, and Kroger Original Grahams are all vegan. Look for any brand's original flavors for your best chance of finding crackers without honey or dairy.
Everyone's tastes differ, but Miyoko's and VioLife are delicious vegan cream cheese brands. Check out this post by Make It Dairy Free for a comparison of different brands.
Substitute the nutmeg and ginger for 1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice. I also add an additional ½ teaspoon of cinammon.
Nutritional profile is only an estimate.
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cooling Time: 4 hours
- Cook Time: 1 hour
- Category: Dessert
- Method: Oven
- Cuisine: American
- Diet: Vegan
- Serving Size: 1 slice
- Calories: 420
- Sugar: 38.5 g
- Sodium: 419.9 mg
- Fat: 20 g
- Carbohydrates: 58.5 g
- Protein: 4.2 g
- Cholesterol: 29.3 mg
Keywords: pumkin, Thanksgiving, holidays, cream cheese
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