How to Tell If Your Pumpkin Pie Is Done (Without Cutting It)

Here are three easy ways to tell when pumpkin pie is done, plus how long it typically takes to bake so you'll nail it every single time.

Pumpkin pie can be a bit of a challenge to cook perfectly. Underdone and you've got raw crust and gooey filling; overdone and you've got a cracked top and a rubbery texture. Sadly, it's not so simple to tell when this holiday staple is done. Pumpkin pie doesn't darken as drastically as, say, a banana custard pie would, so the color only helps so much. And pumpkin pie doesn't like to be poked and prodded too much, either. We're sharing some quick tips from an expert on baking pumpkin pie, knowing when it's ready, and finally knowing when it's time to throw the leftovers away.

How Long to Bake Pumpkin Pie

We suggest 60 to 70 minutes as seen in our (delicious) recipe for maple pumpkin pie. To avoid a soggy crust or overdone pumpkin custard, blind baking is your friend, says Valerie Luck, founding partner and chief executive pie officer at Honeypie Cafe in Milwaukee, Wis.

"I recommend baking pumpkin pies on a lower setting than most recipes call for and for a little longer—so 300 to 325 degrees for maybe an hour or more," she says. "It will keep the pie from cracking down the center and make for a more luscious custard filling."

If you want to make sure your crust is crispy on the bottom, always blind bake your crust first at a higher temp—like 400—before pouring in your unbaked filling and finishing your pie bake."

How to Tell When It's Done

"You can tell it is done when the edges are set and the center has a little jiggle to it," says Luck. "Remember when you remove it from the oven it will continue cooking as it rests and cools down." Still not sure? Here are three telltale signs that your pumpkin pie is ready to come out of the oven.

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The middle jiggles, not wiggles.

Funny, but true! There's a famous old ditty that helps distinguish the difference: The center of the pumpkin pie should "jiggle like Jello, not wiggle like a wave." Meaning, when you nudge your pumpkin pie, the filling should be firmer around the edges, but still jiggle in the center.

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The filling is darker and the crust is brown.

Top View of Maple Pumpkin Pie on Top of Purple Fabric with Two Metal Forks Next to It
David Prince

After an hour in the oven, check the pie through the oven's glass window, looking for a darker, only slightly puffed filling and a starting-to-brown crust. Notice that the pie in the picture has a crust that is starting to brown, and the filling has darkened a bit. The swirl in the center (swooped with a rubber spatula just before going into the oven) appears to have set. There are also no cracks.

(Tip: Take a snapshot of your pie before it goes into the oven so you can compare the hue.)

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A toothpick comes out clean.

A toothpick inserted halfway between the outer edge and the center of the pie should come out mostly clean. (It doesn't have to be bone dry right out of the oven—remember, the custard continues to cook as it cools.)

If you have an instant-read thermometer, you can use that instead of a toothpick. It should read about 175 degrees. Remember to cover up any holes with plenty of whipped cream.

How Long Pumpkin Pie Lasts

Homemade pumpkin pie can sit on the counter for two hours at room temperature; it lasts for three to four days in the fridge, and pumpkin pie can be frozen for a month and still maintain its quality. Technically, pumpkin pie will last for a year or more in the freezer, but the taste starts to go downhill after about a month.

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