How to fix an undercooked pumpkin pie

Pumpkin spice may be the world’s most coveted seasonal flavor, but it’s no match for the pure bliss of a freshly baked pumpkin pie.

Baking pumpkin pies to perfection is quite an art. Eating an undercooked pie filling can have uncomfortable consequences, so we’ve put together a quick guide to help you diagnose and fix an undercooked pie.

How do you fix an undercooked pumpkin pie? If you take the pie out of the oven and see that it’s undercooked, you can continue to bake it in 5-10 minute intervals until it’s done. However, undercooking can also be a sign that the pie is overcooked, so it’s best to check it throughout the baking process.

The following article will take you from pumpkin pie novice to master in just a few minutes, easily saving your undercooked pie.

How to tell if your pumpkin pie is done

There are a few telltale signs that can help you decide if your pumpkin pie is cooked before you cut into it. Carefully following the recipe instructions is a good start, but you can also look for these indicators:

  • Check the color. Pumpkin pie filling takes on a slightly deeper color when fully cooked, and the crust will have a nice golden color. It’s a subtle difference, but if you have a good eye, it’s telling.
  • Use a toothpick. Just like when you check to see if the center of a pie or muffin is cooked, you can check the pumpkin pie filling with a toothpick. Insert it near the center of the pie and it should come out easily and cleanly.
  • Add a swirl. Before putting the pie in the oven, use a spatula to draw a swirl in the center, spreading it outward. When your cake is ready to take out of the oven, that swirl will appear set. If it starts to crack, you’ve waited too long.

Pumpkin pie, like many other custard-type pies, will continue to finish cooking after it has been removed from the oven.

This makes baking the pie delicate, because you don’t want to take the pie out too early or too late. However, it will never be perfect right out of the oven. It needs to rest before it reaches perfection.

An underdone pumpkin pie can be almost raw or almost done and anywhere in between, but until it’s perfect, it won’t be just right.

Pasty crust and runny filling are guaranteed ways to ruin your pie experience, but they don’t always mean the pie is underdone. It can be a sign that something else has gone wrong.

Pumpkin pie, like many other custard-type pies, will continue to finish cooking after it has been removed from the oven.

This makes baking the pie delicate, because you don’t want to take the pie out too early or too late. However, it will never be perfect right out of the oven. It needs to rest before it reaches perfection.

An underdone pumpkin pie can be almost raw or almost done and anywhere in between, but until it’s perfect, it won’t be just right.

Pasty crust and runny filling are guaranteed ways to ruin your pie experience, but they don’t always mean the pie is underdone. It can be a sign that something else has gone wrong.

Why is my pumpkin pie runny?

A runny pumpkin pie may actually be a sign that it has been overcooked, rather than undercooked. Cream pie filling, including pumpkin pie filling, should be runny when it goes into the oven, but it will thicken and solidify as it cooks.

If the temperature is too high or the pie cooks too long, the custard will curdle and break, creating a watery pie. This is why you should be sure to remove the cake before it is fully cooked, as it will finish curdling as it cools.

Overcooking can also look like a cracked and dry pie filling.

Is pumpkin pie supposed to be shaken?

The jigglyness of a pumpkin pie is a comically debated topic. Among pumpkin pie experts, there is a major difference between jiggly pie and wiggly pie. If they sound the same to you, here’s how to tell the difference:

  • Jiggle: like jelly
  • Wiggle: like a wave

You want your pumpkin pie to be wiggly, but never wiggly. It should be firm to the touch, especially at the edge of the pie, but should have a jelly-like movement. If it wiggles or runs, it’s a bad sign.
How to fix an undercooked pumpkin pie.

If you’re convinced your pumpkin pie is underdone, there’s a not-so-well-kept secret that can save it. Simply bake it a little longer.

Many recipes, or even store-bought pies, have instructions for different types of ovens, with different temperatures or times for conventional and convection ovens.

Some pumpkin pie recipes that substitute ingredients, such as our pumpkin pie without evaporated milk or pumpkin pie with almond milk, may also have different cooking times and temperatures.

If you follow the wrong instructions by accident or simply have an oven that doesn’t exactly match the instructions, it may not cook perfectly.

Another unfortunate reality is that sometimes your oven may not interpret the temperature the same way the oven of the person who made the recipe does. It’s not uncommon to hear people say their oven is hot or cold, for example.

If you don’t realize that your oven isn’t getting as hot as you expect it to, your cake is likely to be underdone.

If you try to adjust the temperature to suit your particular situation, there is always a bit of guessing involved and you can still run into problems.

There are many reasons why your pumpkin pie may be underdone, but there is one surefire way to fix it. Remake the pie.

This will take a little bit of guesswork and a lot of attention, but all you have to do is re-bake your pumpkin pie to help it cook more.

  • Preheat your oven to the recommended temperature for the initial baking of your pie, at least 350 degrees. If you suspect your oven is getting cold, you can increase the temperature by 10 to 15 degrees to compensate.
  • Return the pie to the oven.
    If the crust is cooked through and it is just the filling that is undercooked, cover the edge of the pie crust with aluminum foil to protect it from overcooking.
  • Leave it for 10 minutes and check again.
  • Since the tart has already cooled once, it will not necessarily follow the signs above, but use a toothpick to check for firmness.
  • Leave in the oven as long as necessary, checking every 5-10 minutes to avoid overcooking.

Luckily, this problem has a fairly simple solution, as long as you pay close attention to your cake to make sure you’re not overcooking it.

But remember that half of the process of baking a pumpkin pie is also letting it set, which involves letting the pie cool.

Chilling the pumpkin pie

Pumpkin pie filling thickens as it cools. Although it may be tempting to eat it as soon as the oven timer goes off, you’ll want to let it cool thoroughly before serving.

Cooling the pumpkin pie will not only allow it to finish the baking process, but it will also make the pie infinitely easier to cut, not to mention much less messy.

Ideally, you should chill your freshly baked pumpkin pie for at least 4 hours. The filling will stay warm much longer than the crust on the outer edges, so don’t go by that.

How to serve the pumpkin pie

Pumpkin pie should be served cold or at room temperature. As mentioned, this helps the filling stay firm and is easy to serve. Many people add a little extra sweet creaminess with some whipped cream or ice cream on top.

If you are determined to eat this custard tart warm, it is best to bake it thoroughly and let it come to room temperature and reheat before serving. This will ensure that it is cooked through before eating.

Related questions

This little guide should have equipped you with all the tools you need to fix your pumpkin pie, but just in case you have more questions on your mind, we’ve gathered some of the answers below.

Does pumpkin pie need to be refrigerated?

Yes, pumpkin pie should always be refrigerated after it has cooled. It doesn’t matter if your pie is store-bought, made with fresh pumpkin or canned filling, it needs to be refrigerated for preservation.

Since pumpkin pie filling is a pastry cream, it contains both dairy and eggs, both of which attract dangerous bacteria if left exposed too long.

Vegan pumpkin pie, although it contains neither eggs nor dairy, must still be refrigerated because it needs to be cold to set properly, even more so than a conventional pumpkin pie.

Does pumpkin pie rise?

Pumpkin pie filling does not rise, but it does swell during baking. The moisture inside expands and increases the volume of the filling a bit. This is one of the ways to know that your pie is ready to come out of the oven.

When the pie cools, it will return to its pre-baked level, although it should now be firm and thick, rather than loose and runny.

How long will the pumpkin pie last?

How long the pumpkin pie will last depends on how it was made and how it is stored.

Store-bought pumpkin pies may last longer than homemade pumpkin pies, depending on how they are made. Some companies use preservatives to extend their shelf life.

There should always be an expiration date stamped on the pie box for you to follow.

Homemade pumpkin pie should not remain at room temperature for more than 2 hours once it has cooled completely. If left out accidentally, bacteria can develop quickly and unnoticeably, making it a prime suspect for food poisoning.

Once the cake has cooled, you should immediately cover it with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and place it in the refrigerator. If cooled and stored properly, it can last up to 4 days safely.

You can also freeze pumpkin pie, – or leftover canned pumpkin and pumpkin seeds – although results will vary when thawed. It will maintain a good quality of freshness for about 1-2 months, but it should be double wrapped.

Ideally, cover it directly with foil and then place the foil-wrapped pie inside a freezer-safe plastic bag or container.