Crustless Pumpkin Pies

Mini Crustless Pumpkin Pies |

Among the more important kitchen lessons I have learned the hard way: never brine a turkey at 8.5 months pregnant.

My intentions were good, as intentions always are. I was hosting a crowd for Christmas dinner, and there were expectations. When you write a food blog and profess to be a half-competent home cook, let’s face it: your Christmas dinner guests arrive with some pretty serious expectations. Whipped butter, maybe, and homemade gravy, definitely. Apple pie, fresh out of the oven. And a moist and juicy bird.

The butcher down the street from me claimed that a “simple” brine would deliver the moistest and juiciest bird I (and my holiday guests) ever did taste. And I bought it—both the butcher’s claim and the $6.00 packet of spice mix that would, with the addition of a little cool water, become the brine in which my turkey was to soak overnight. How hard could it be?

Hard enough, apparently, that I managed to dump an entire pot of brine—and a 12 pound turkey—onto my kitchen floor on Christmas Eve, splashing turkey juices all over my swollen pregnant feet and sending me into a complete salmonella frenzy. Thank goodness for my dad, who swooped in to clean up the mess, and my husband who salvaged the turkey and a bit of the brine while I rested my own little Butterball on the sofa and bawled my eyes out.

Mini Crustless Pumpkin Pies |

I now know better than to over-complicate Christmas dinner. More important than a juicy bird, a lump-free gravy and a flaky pie are the people sitting around the table to share it with you. Keep things simple. Make as much as you can in advance. Don’t (ever) turn down contributions from your dinner guests. Keep a bottle of wine close at hand.

And when it comes to dessert—skip the pie crust. These Crustless Pumpkin Pies are a cinch to whip up, and you can make them a day or two before the big meal and let them chill in the fridge until shortly before you want to eat them. They’ve got all the taste and creamy texture of pumpkin pie—imagine a rich little pumpkin custard—but without the finicky pie crust.

The ingredients are basic—a tin of pumpkin, heavy cream, spices, and a few good ‘ol Canadian eggs. Whisk it all up (or recruit a kid to do it, as I often do), pour into small ramekins, bake, cool, and serve at room temperature with a dollop of whipped cream and a dusting of cinnamon. Easier, and more foolproof than brining a bird. I promise.

Disclosure: This post is presented in partnership with Egg Farmers of Canada and its #ScrambledPlan campaign. I received compensation to develop this fantastic egg-containing recipe and share it with you. Every time you reach for eggs this holiday season you’re supporting Canadian farmers. Now that’s something to celebrate!

5.0 from 2 reviews
Crustless Pumpkin Pies
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 6-8
  • 1 398 mL / 15 oz. can of pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
  • 2 large eggs and 1 egg yolk
  • 1 cup heavy (35%) cream
  • 1½ teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (see note below)
  • ¾ cup organic cane sugar (or regular white sugar will work)
  • Pinch of sea salt
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Whisk all the ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Divide the mixture between 6 to 8 small ramekins.
  3. Place the ramekins onto a large baking sheet, and bake for about 30 minutes, or until the tops of the pies are firm to the touch and beginning to crack.
  4. Let cool completely and serve at room temperature with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon.
  5. If you want to make these in advance, pop the cooled pies into the refrigerator and pull them out and let them come to room temperature a couple of hours before serving.
I like the simplicity of pumpkin pie spice, but if you don't have any in your pantry you can use the following spices instead: ¾ teaspoon cinnamon, ½ teaspoon nutmeg, ¼ teaspoon ginger, and ¼ teaspoon cloves.


22 Responses to Crustless Pumpkin Pies

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  4. Charmian @The Messy Baker December 17, 2015 at 3:17 pm #

    Aren’t dads great? So glad you didn’t suffer anything beyond shot nerves.

    Crustless pies are a great dessert. I’m not sure why they aren’t more popular given they’re a perfect option for gluten-free guests.

  5. Amanda | The Cinnamon Scrolls December 13, 2015 at 12:31 pm #

    I love your scrambled story, Sarah! Makes me feel like my kitchen failures are perfectly normal, haha! Thank you so much for sharing it and your lovely crustless pumpkin pies! We all know the filling is the best part anyway, so these sound wonderful!

  6. Teresa December 12, 2015 at 2:36 am #

    Great holiday advice, and a great story, too. It’s the disasters that become favourite holiday stories. I’m glad yours had a happy ending.

    Those crustless pies look like the wouldn’t make it to Christmas day – they sound delicious!

  7. Julia December 11, 2015 at 10:48 pm #

    I made pies for American Thanksgiving recently. I almost always have filling leftover and make something like this. That way I can sample before cutting into the pies. But skipping the crust altogether is a great way to simplify. And simple is good. People are the best part of any holiday meal.

  8. Ginni December 11, 2015 at 9:43 pm #

    I’m not a great pumpkin pie fan, but this looks really tempting and I’ve saved this recipe to try next week. What a wonderful idea!

  9. Sondi December 11, 2015 at 8:29 pm #

    Crustless desserts are the best! They make everything SO much easier – I never have the patience to roll and pre-bake and all that jazz. I’ll bet I can easily adapt this by using coconut cream. Mmm.

    • Julia December 11, 2015 at 10:46 pm #

      I would argue that pumpkin custard desserts taste better with coconut cream!

  10. Isabelle @ Crumb December 11, 2015 at 5:27 pm #

    I’m amazed you actually dared to attempt a turkey at 8.5 months pregnant, let alone go the extra step of brining. Talk about going above and beyond in the name of Thanksgiving. 🙂
    I’m actually not the biggest fan of pie crust (blasphemy, I know), so these crustless pies sound like they’d be right up my alley. The fact that they’re easier is just a handy bonus!

    • Sarah December 11, 2015 at 7:02 pm #

      Ha ha it was a risky move for sure! I had to get my husband to heft the turkey out of the oven whenever it needed basting :-). I’m not a big pie crust fan either! Convenient for us…

  11. Justine @ December 11, 2015 at 12:11 pm #

    Yum, Sarah! These look so tasty. I love the ease of the recipe, especially for Christmas. Beautiful photos, too. 🙂

    • Sarah December 11, 2015 at 4:03 pm #

      Thanks, Justine! And yes — easy is the name of the game for my Christmas dinner 🙂

  12. Trish @infinebalance December 11, 2015 at 10:34 am #

    Perfect single serve desserts and I love the idea of getting the kids to do the work.

    • Sarah December 11, 2015 at 4:04 pm #

      Put them to work at an early age I say! 🙂

  13. Kiwi December 11, 2015 at 10:06 am #

    Another lesson: NEVER leave these magical little delights unattended prior to dinner in a house containing small munchkins or ravenous spouses.

    • Sarah December 11, 2015 at 4:04 pm #

      Yes, definitely worth mentioning!

  14. Ilona @ Ilona's Passion December 11, 2015 at 9:45 am #

    I love crust less pies! Baking with pumpkin is my favorite:: They look so delicious!

    • Sarah December 11, 2015 at 4:04 pm #

      Thanks, Ilona!

  15. Marie December 11, 2015 at 9:32 am #

    I love the idea of going crustless! Let’s be honest, the holidays are all about indulging, so if no crust means I can enjoy more of the dessert’s star–the filling–I’m all for it! It’s such a simple recipe too, perfect to whip up when last minute guests show up.

    • Sarah December 11, 2015 at 4:05 pm #

      So quick to whip up at the last minute, and yet everyone will think you slaved over a hot oven all day. Win!

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