Up your pumpkin pie game this Thanksgiving holiday with this Pumpkin Chiffon Pie recipe. It is a lighter, airier version of a traditional pumpkin pie with a silky smooth texture that is absolutely divine!
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Okay, confession time - I used to hate pumpkin pie. Until just a few years ago, I was just not a fan! For me, my love of pumpkin pies came from the moment I learned that they're delicious when made with homemade pumpkin purée, and so I developed my very own classic Homemade Pumpkin Pie recipe.
After discovering my love for the taste of pumpkin pies, I wanted to try my hand at this Chiffon Pie version, as I have always loved chiffon pies. This pie is a fluffier, airier version of the classic pumpkin pie, which works so well for me as I am not a big fan of the denseness of traditional pumpkin pies. A special type of airy filling is made by gently folding a meringue mix into the pie filling.
Why Is It Called Chiffon Pie?
Chiffon is a lightweight sheer fabric most often used in dressmaking. It is so airy that it has a floaty appearance to it. While a Chiffon Pie does not literally float in the same way, it is supremely light and has an airy texture, which is how it has taken on the name "chiffon."
Why We Love This Recipe
- 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 of 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.
What You'll Need
Scroll down to the recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.
- Pie Crust: Use this Homemade Pie Crust recipe or a store bought one.
- 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.
- Sugar: For making the pumpkin filling. You can use a sugar substitute sweetener, but the amount needed may vary.
- Spices: Cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and cloves have some of the best aromas, and are one of my favorite things about fall! 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.
- Eggs: You will need 3 in total, with the yolks and whites separated.
- Milk: Use whole milk for a creamier taste, or coconut milk or another milk substitute to keep it lactose-free.
- Pumpkin Purée: You can make your own pumpkin purée or just use the canned kind. Just be sure that it's plain pumpkin purée, rather than pumpkin pie filling since we will be adding our own spices and sweeteners here.
- Vanilla: Pure vanilla extract adds a subtle warm sweetness to the pie.
- Whipped Cream: Homemade Whip Cream is best and only takes 5 minutes to make!
How to Make Pumpkin Chiffon Pie
- Prepare pie crust. Blind bake a pie crust and cool completely in the dish on a wire rack. You could alternatively 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 ¼ cup of cold water and let it sit at room temperature for five minutes while you are mixing everything else up.
- Make pumpkin pie filling. On the stove, mix pumpkin puree with the spices, egg yolks, milk, and some of the sugar. Cook for just 5-7 minutes over medium heat, just until the mixture thickens slightly, but don't let it come to a boil.
- Add gelatin. Once the pumpkin mixture is hot and slightly thickened, add the dissolved gelatin and stir to combine, then let the filling cool completely.
- Make meringue. In a large bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form, gradually adding the remaining sugar to make a meringue, then continue beating until stiff peaks form.
- Add meringue to pie filling. Gently fold the meringue into the cooled pumpkin filling, then pour it into the cooled pie crust.
- Set and serve. 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.
The original recipe for Chiffon Pie was developed in 1926 by bake Monroe Boston Strause, who was known as the u0022Pie King.u0022 A chiffon pie 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 lemon curd or spiced pumpkin filling. It makes for a light and airy pie filling that is truly delicious and unique!
Technically, 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 were made and eaten fresh, but it's still pretty good and can save time on the big day!
Your pie should last about 3-4 days in the fridge when stored in an airtight container. However, the whipped cream might deflate after a day or so. If you know you won't be eating the pie all at once, hold the whipped cream in reserve to decorate individual slices right before serving them.
- For best results, don't over-whip the egg whites! You want to beat the raw egg whites with an electric mixer on high speed until you see stiff peaks that hold their shape when you lift the beater out of the bowl. If you beat them too much, the egg whites will curdle and break.
- Use real homemade 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 graham cracker crust, or a crust made from another spiced biscuit like biscoff, gingersnap, or even Oreos to change things up!
- Sprinkle the top of the pie with chopped pecans for an extra special finish and a little extra crunch!
- Serve the slices of pie with heavy cream instead of whipped cream.
Substitutions and Variations
- Use brown sugar or a sweetener instead of sugar, but the amount for each may vary, depending on the type you use. You can use maple syrup or honey as a sugar substitute in the pie filling with pumpkin purée, but you will need a granulated sweet powder to make the meringue.
- You can use about 2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice to substitute the spice combination in this recipe.
- Use coconut milk instead of regular milk and coconut cream instead of whipped cream to make this recipe lactose free.
More Pie Recipes
Did you make this recipe?
Let me know what you thought with a comment and rating below. You can also take a picture and tag me on Instagram @houseofnasheats or share it on the Pinterest pin so I can see.
Pumpkin Chiffon Pie
- 1 [blind-baked pie crust] use a homemade pie crust or store bought
- 1 envelope unflavored gelatin
- ¼ cup water
- ¾ cup granulated sugar divided
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon allspice
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- ⅛ teaspoon cloves
- 3 eggs yolks and whites separated
- ½ cup whole milk
- 14.5 ounces pumpkin puree just a little under 2 cups if using fresh pumpkin puree
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- sweetened whipped cream for topping - use my homemade recipe or store bought
- 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 ½ 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 ¼ 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, or my homemade pumpkin puree, and not pumpkin pie filling which comes sweetened and seasoned already.
This post was originally published in September, 2018. The photos and content were updated in September, 2021.