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Up your pumpkin pie game this Thanksgiving holiday with a Pumpkin Chiffon Pie. It is a lighter, airier version of a traditional pumpkin pie with a silky smooth texture that is absolutely divine!
This post was originally published in September 2018, and has been updated for content.
Okay, confession time. I used to hate pumpkin pie. Like, my whole life until maybe just a few years ago when I learned it’s really actually much better than I always thought, especially when made with homemade pumpkin puree.
But there was one exception. While I didn’t like traditional pumpkin pie, I DID like pumpkin chiffon pie!
It’s a fluffier, airier version of the same thing. Turns out it was the dense texture of classic pumpkin pie that was turning me off for so many years and pumpkin chiffon pie changed all that.
Why this recipe is so good
- The filling takes on an almost mousse-like quality. It is essentially pumpkin pie filling with beaten egg whites folded in and stabilized with gelatin
- It’s practically a no-bake pumpkin pie (aside from blind-baking the crust)! This pie sets up in the fridge instead of in the oven. After a few hours chilling in the fridge, the pie is ready to be topped with whipped cream and showcased on your Thanksgiving dessert table!
- The filling is made with pumpkin spices for the best balance of warming flavors without an extra jar taking up room in your spice pantry.
- Real homemade whipped cream is used to top the pie! We swear by it, but of course you are welcome to buy the refrigerated kind to save on stress or time if you need to.
- Pumpkin puree: You can make your own pumpkin puree or just used the canned kind. Just be sure that it’s plain pumpkin puree, rather than pumpkin pie filling since we will be adding our own spices and sweeteners here.
- Spices: If you happen to have pumpkin pie spice on hand, by all means go ahead and use it. I usually just use the spices that are already in my cupboard in their individual jars because I find that easiest.
- Unflavored gelatin: I don’t know of any substitute for this ingredient. It helps stabilize and set up the pie filling, which is no-bake unlike a traditional pumpkin pie.
How to Make Pumpkin Chiffon Pie
- Blind bake a pie crust and cool completely. You could always buy a refrigerated pie crust from the store, or learn how to make pie crust, including how to blind bake a pie crust in my perfect pie crust recipe post. I have a video tutorial on my YouTube channel showing how I make it and roll it out.
- Dissolve gelatin in water. This step is super easy. Literally just sprinkle a packet of unflavored gelatin over 1/4 cup of cold water and let it sit for five minutes while you are mixing everything else up.
- Mix pumpkin puree with the spices, egg yolks, milk, and some of the sugar on the stove. Cook for just 5-7 minutes over medium heat just until the mixture thickens slightly, but don’t let it come to a boil.
- Once the pumpkin mixture is hot and slightly thickened, add the dissolved gelatin and stir to combine, then let the filling cool completely.
- Beat egg white until soft peaks form, gradually adding the remaining sugar to make a meringue, then continue beating until stiff peaks form.
- Fold the meringue into the cooled pumpkin filling, then pour into the cooled pie crust.
- Refrigerate until set, then top with whipped cream and a dusting of cinnamon.
Did you know? Libby’s is based in Illinois, which produces more canned pumpkin puree than the other top five pumpkin-producing states combined! According to the USDA Economic Research Service, almost 80% of the Illinois pumpkin crop is devoted to pie filling and Illinois produces more than 3x the amount of pumpkins as the next leading state.
Chiffon pies were created in 1926 by Monroe Boston Strause, a baker known as the “Pie King”. It is any kind of pie where the filling is made by folding meringue into a flavored base that has been stabilized with unflavored gelatin, like a lemon curd or spiced pumpkin filling. It makes for an airy, light pie filling that is truly unique!
Technically yes, you can freeze this pie, but I recommend doing so before adding the whipped cream topping. Thaw in the fridge overnight or on the counter for a couple of hours before topping and serving. The pie won’t be quite as delicious as if it’s made and eaten fresh, but it’s still pretty good.
Your pie should last about 3-4 days in the fridge, although the whipped cream might tend to deflate after a day or so. So if you know you won’t be eating the pie all at once, you might want to just hold the whipped cream in reserve to decorate individual slices before serving.
- Don’t overwhip the egg whites. You want to beat them until they reach stiff peaks that hold their shape when you lift the beater out. But if you beat them too far the egg whites can actually curdle and break.
- Use real whipped cream! It makes such a difference and it’s really not hard to make at all! Totally worth the extra 3 minutes of effort versus a canister of Redi-Whip.
- Try a different crust like a graham cracker, biscoff, gingersnap, or Oreo crust to change things up and make it your own! Or sprinkle the top of the pie with chopped pecans for a little extra crunch!
More Pie Recipes
- Kentucky Chocolate Walnut Pie
- Cranberry Apple Pie
- Classic Southern Pecan Pie
- Lemon Meringue Pie
- Coconut Cream Pie
- Banana Cream Pie
- 1 blind-baked pie crust
- 1 envelope unflavored gelatin
- 1/4 cup water
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon cloves
- 3 eggs, yolks and whites separated
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1 (14.5 ounce) can pumpkin puree (just a little under 2 cups if using fresh pumpkin puree)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Sweetened whipped cream, for topping
- Blind-bake the pie crust in a 400 degree F. oven for 15 minutes with pie weights, then another 15 minutes until fully baked. Cool completely.
- Dissolve the gelatin by sprinkling it over the water in a small bowl and let sit for 5 minutes.
- In a medium saucepan, combine 1/2 cup of the sugar with the salt, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, cloves, egg yolks, milk, and pumpkin. Whisk well and cook, stirring frequently, for 5-7 minutes, just until the mixture is hot and has thickened slightly, but hasn't come to a boil.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the dissolved gelatin and vanilla. Cool completely to room temperature but don't refrigerate yet since the gelatin will set in the fridge.
- When the filling has cooled, beat the egg whites until soft peaks start to form. Continue beating, gradually adding the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar until stiff peaks form.
- Gently fold the stiffened egg whites into the pumpkin mixture, then pour it into the cooled pie shell. Refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight until firm, then top with sweetened whipped cream and dust with cinnamon for presentation.
- Make-ahead instructions: You can make this pie a day or two in advance and just store it in the fridge wrapped in plastic wrap to prevent it from taking on odors. Wait to top it with sweetened whipped cream until shortly before serving.
- Homemade whipped cream: In a large bowl, beat 1 cup of heavy cream with 2 to 4 tablespoons powdered sugar (depending on how sweet you prefer it) and 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract. You can always add additional powdered sugar toward the end of mixing if you want to taste as you go.
- Pumpkin puree: Make sure to use plain pumpkin puree and not pumpkin pie filling which comes sweetened and seasoned already.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 166Saturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 50mgSodium: 211mgCarbohydrates: 24gSugar: 15gProtein: 3g