Here's how long store-bought or homemade pumpkin pie lasts in the fridge, on the counter, and in the freezer, plus how to tell if your pumpkin pie has gone bad.

For many Americans, Thanksgiving is not complete until pumpkin pie is served. In the hustle and bustle of the day, you might be tempted to bake the pie early in the morning and then leave it sitting on the counter while you focus on the turkey and all those side dishes. But you might wonder-because the last thing you want is to make your guests sick!-should pumpkin pie be refrigerated or frozen, or is it okay to let it sit out?

In general, once cut, all types of pies should be wrapped and refrigerated. But if you're baking your pie ahead of time, here's how long you can store homemade pumpkin pie, how the rules change for store-bought pies, and how to tell if pumpkin pie has gone bad.

How Long Does Pumpkin Pie Last on the Counter?

Whether you've baked your pumpkin pie using filling from a can or from the actual fresh pumpkin (kudos to you for tackling that intimidating gourd!), the rules are the same. Because it's made of custard-which include milk and eggs-pumpkin pie is less forgiving than fruit-filled pies and, therefore, cannot be left on the counter for too long. So how long does pumpkin pie last at room temperature? Because bacteria grow rapidly at temperatures between 40 degrees F and 140 degrees F, pumpkin pie is only good for two hours sitting out at room temperature. After that, be sure to refrigerate your pie.

In general, store-bought pumpkin pie is more forgiving. Why? In a word: preservatives. Look to the date on the package. If the pumpkin pie was sitting at room temperature in the store, it can continue to be stored on your counter until the sell-by date. In general, store-bought pies last about 2 to 4 days after their printed date in the refrigerator and about 6 to 9 months in the freezer. Pumpkin pies purchased from bakeries likely do not contain preservatives and, therefore, should be treated like a homemade pie.

How Long Does Pumpkin Pie Last in the Fridge?

Freshly baked pumpkin pie will keep for about 3 to 4 days in the fridge. You should cover loosely with aluminum foil or plastic wrap to store. Because pumpkin pie is delicious cold, you can serve it straight from the fridge (with plenty of whipped cream, if you please). If you prefer, you could take it out of the fridge a couple hours beforehand so it comes to room temperature safely.

How to Freeze and Thaw Homemade Pumpkin Pie

Yes, you can freeze pumpkin pie! Frozen homemade pumpkin pie will stay good for up to one month if you want your bake your dessert ahead of Thanksgiving. Here's how to freeze pumpkin pie in few simple steps:

  1. If you're planning to freeze your pumpkin pie, bake the pie in a disposable aluminum pie pan to avoid ice crystals.
  2. Cool the pumpkin pie completely to avoid affecting the texture of your crust.
  3. Tightly seal the pie with multiple layers of plastic wrap then a single layer of foil for extra protection.
  4. Place on a level freezer shelf, where pumpkin pie will stay good for up to a month.
  5. The day before Thanksgiving, remove your pie from the freezer and its coverings. You should defrost frozen pumpkin pie the refrigerator for at least 12 hours, not quickly on the counter as it can result in a soggy crust.
  6. When it comes time to serve, deliciously cover up any dips or blemishes with whipped cream.

Note: If you're concerned about the freshness of your dessert, here's how to tell if your pumpkin pie is bad or spoiled: Look for any "off" smell or appearance. And it should go without saying-if mold appears, toss that pie.