For a very long time I’ve fancied some low-carb pumpkin pie. Something comforting, rich and custardy, garnished with a dollop of whipped cream to perfect the palatability.
After numerous experiments I finally managed to create a recipe with which I’m completely satisfied. I hope you find this sugar-free pie as sweet and enjoyable as I do!
Tips for making the crustless low-carb pumpkin pie
If you use home-roasted pumpkin, make sure that you have strained and pureed it extremely well so that it has the same consistency as canned pumpkin.
One note about pie pans. I recommend 10-inch (25 cm) pie pan, however you can use also a 9-inch (23 cm) deep-dish pan. Just remember that the pie is thicker in smaller pan and requires longer time to bake. All in all, glass and ceramic pans work best.
If you choose a smaller pan anyway, the pie might develop some cracks on top. When the pie cools down, the cracks don’t look that prominent. You can prevent the cracking by placing a heatproof dish with water in the oven while baking the pie, just like when you bake a cheesecake.
Oh yes, and please try to contain yourself with the ready pie: let it cool properly, preferably in the fridge overnight. This pie is just so much better on the next day.
Otherwise no worries, this rich and custardy, crustless pumpkin pie couldn’t be easier to make! Let’s take a look:
First, grease a pie pan or other round 10-inch (25 cm) glass or ceramic baking dish generously with butter. I love to use this ages-old glass baking dish which I secretly have taken from my mom’s kitchen cupboard. Actually, she knows that but hasn’t said a thing, so I expect it wasn’t too bad of a crime. When I was kid, she always baked all the birthday cakes in this baking dish.
Set the greased pie pan (or whatever baking dish you are using) aside. Then just take all ingredients and place them in a large bowl.
Mix until well mixed. Personally I prefer electric mixer because it’s so quick, but nothing prevents from using a wire whisk and some manual labor. You don’t have to beat the ingredients vigorously, just that the mixture is smooth without a single lump.
Pour the smooth pumpkin pie mixture into the greased pie pan.
That’s it! Just put the filled pie pan in the oven for an hour or so. When 45 minutes have passed, start checking the pie every now and then. You know that the pie is done when the center of the pie is higher than the edges. You can also test the doneness with a toothpick inserted in the center of the pie: if it comes out clean, the pie is ready.
My numerous low-carb pumpkin pie experiments
What could be better time of the year to develop a pumpkin pie recipe than late fall? The pantries are packed with solid-pack pumpkin — or home-roasted pumpkin. Moreover, Thanksgiving is just around the corner. Even we are not celebrating Thanksgiving here in Finland, most of my readers are from US, so I hope you also find this recipe useful.
So, initially I was desperately fancying some pumpkin pie. There is no way I would get low-carb pumpkin pie here in Finland, so I had to make one myself and first of all, develop my own recipe. I believe there are fantastic recipes for low-carb pumpkin pies out there, but I wanted to feed my need to do some R&D (yes, I’m a researcher by nature…) by developing my own recipe from scratch.
I did some experiments in the fall last year. However, I wasn’t quite satisfied with those. I used some high-carb recipes as reference to get some ideas for my own creations. I don’t even remember which ones I checked, I just was surfing and jotting down ideas. The biggest problem was that most of the pumpkin pie recipes used condensed milk — which is sweet and high in carbs. There were a couple of recipes which used milk or a combination of milk and heavy cream. I think this was one and this the other. Well, this was also an English recipe using regular milk instead of condensed milk.
This fall I dug up my notes on the pumpkin pie experiments. After some serious pondering I was ready to make my first experiment this year. I used 2 cups (480 ml) home-roasted pumpkin, 2 cups (480 ml) full-fat milk, 2/3 cup (160 ml) erythritol crystals, 3 extra large eggs and 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice.
I just combined everything in a bowl and mixed well with an electric mixer. I poured the mixture into a greased glass baking dish. I baked the pie in the preheated oven at 350 °F (175 °C) for an hour.
Naturally, after removing the pie from the oven, I should have waited until the pie had cooled down. But, I just couldn’t resist the temptation and excitedly I cut a small slice to check how the pie had turned out.
I was disappointed how tasteless the pie was. Furthermore, the texture was mushy. The color of the surface turned white after the pie had cooled down. I wondered if I should have baked the pie for longer time. Or, maybe I simply had too much liquid compared to the amount of eggs?
My conclusion was, that since I used home-roasted pumpkin, I should have strained it better. Now it was simply too runny and watery. Moreover, milk wasn’t the best option for liquid, it gave the pie too bland and thin mouthfeel. I simply was missing richer mouthfeel and more custardy texture.
I wondered whether half-and-half or even heavy cream would have worked better than milk. I decided to try half-and-half. This time, I used organic solid-pack pumpkin instead of home-made pumpkin puree. I added 1 15-ounce can (425 g) pumpkin, 1 cup half-and-half, 3/4 cup (180 ml) erythritol crystals, 3 extra large eggs and 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice.
In truth, since I didn’t have any half-and-half and the grocery store was already closed, I decided to make half-and-half substitution from milk and butter. For example here are great instructions how to substitute half-and-half.
The resulting pie was too spicy and too sweet. Again, I cut a slice when the pie was still quite hot. (I know, in general I’m a very impatient person). I noticed that there was fluid on the bottom of the baking dish. Not good. Later, when the pie had cooled completely, it had absorbed all the fluid. Phew.
I tried a simple pecan crust with my next experiment. I crushed some pecans and combined them with melted butter and some erythritol crystals. I pressed the crust into the greased pie pan. I prebaked the crust for 15 minutes and then poured the pumpkin pie mixture on the crust. I still used half-and-half in the pumpkin pie mixture, but I reduced the amount of erythritol back to 2/3 cup (160 ml) and pumpkin pie spice to 2 teaspoons.
First of all, the crust got too dark. It looked almost burned. Moreover, the texture was too rough, the crushed pecans simply were too coarsely crushed. I had to process them finer in a food processor. Otherwise the pie was pretty okay.
I just wasn’t completely satisfied. Maybe I simply try heavy cream? At least it’s rich and it shouldn’t give any watery touch to the pie.
I still made another crust experiment where I used more pecans and less butter than in my first crust experiment. I didn’t prebake the crust, hoping it won’t turn that dark.
For the pie itself, I used heavy cream instead of half-and-half. All the other ingredients and amounts were the same than in the experiment before.
I still wasn’t happy with the crust. Even the texture was finer, it was still too coarse. Even I thought pecans go well with pumpkin, I simply preferred the pie without crust. Somehow I didn’t want anything hard-textured ruin the smooth and velvety mouthfeel of the custard-like pumpkin filling.
I still made some experiments with half-and-half and some with heavy cream. I also tried different pan sizes. The pie was okay when prepared in deep 9-inch (23 cm) pie pan, but it was definitely the best in 10-inch (25 cm) pie pan.
The smaller the pan, the thicker the filling, the longer the baking time, the darker the surface, the more cracked the pie and the mushier the filling. Doesn’t sound tempting, eh?
However, with a bit larger pie pan — my mom’s 10-inch (25 cm) pan — the result was perfect. Yes, and both half-and-half and heavy cream work, but since I prefer healthy fats and richer flavors I use organic, heavy cream (from grass-fed cows).
- 1 can = 15 oz = 425 g organic pumpkin
- 1 cup = 240 ml organic heavy cream
- 2/3 cup = 160 ml erythritol crystals
- 3 extra large organic eggs
- 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- Preheat oven to 350 °F (175 °C).
- Grease a 10-inch (25 cm) pie pan or baking dish generously with butter. Set aside.
- Place all ingredients in a large bowl. Mix until the mixture is smooth and without a single lump.
- Pour the mixture in the greased pie pan.
- Bake for 1 hour, or until the center of the pie appears slightly higher than the edges.
- Remove from oven and let cool completely.
- Refrigerate overnight and serve on the next day with whipped cream.
This pie sounds yummy. Before I started Keto I made my pumpkin pies with Brown sugar so I’m wondering what you think of the Sukrin Gold sugar substitute? Also wondering if this can be made in a springform pan. I only have 8”&9” pie pans.
I love Sukrin Gold! It’s my favorite sweetener and I bet it would work wonderfully in this recipe. At the time I created this recipe, there was no Sukrin Gold available yet. If you make the pie with Sukrin Gold, it’s good to remember that it’s sweeter than regular erythritol so you might want to adjust the amount. Springform pan should work well. Just be sure to grease it generously.
Made your pie… soooo good. I substitute evaporated milk for the cream. this is my new favorite pie. Thank you.
Awesome! Great to hear 🙂
Thank you for your fabulous recipes! I was wondering if the pumpkin pie had to be put in the fridge over night or can it be eaten after it cools?
You’re welcome! It’s better to put the pie in the fridge overnight, the taste and the consistency are better the next day.
Thank you so much for your fast response! I am making the pie now and will continue to follow your blog!!!
You’re welcome! <3
I used an oblong glass pan 13” I don’t have round 10
Should I not cook it as long it looks dark around the edges at 40 minutes
Hi, the center should not be wobbly, it should actually appear slightly higher than the edges. Then you know it’s done.
Thank you so much for this well-researched recipe! Mine is in the oven now. I tasted the pumpkin mixture for sweetness since I substituted Swerve (1/2 cup) for the plain erythritol crystals and it was quite delicious! I will have a hard time waiting until tomorrow to eat some!
You’re welcome! Hope the pie turns out well!
It was delicious! I used a 9” pan, though and I was a bit nervous that it was not done in the middle, but all was well. I will definitely get a 10” pan for the next one.
Wonderful! Great to hear 🙂
Thank-you so much for writing about what you tried and why you changed certain things. You just saved me a heap of experimentation because I could do it vicariously through you. Can’t wait to try this recipe next week!
Hi Sunny, you’re welcome! Hope your pumpkin pie will be a success 🙂
This recipe is amazing, both low in carbs and calories. Pinned!!
Wonderful!! So great to hear you like it 🙂
I just made this using the above recipe (thank you!) with the following substitutions because that’s what I had on hand. It’s not cool yet, but I still sampled it and it is GREAT!! I’m sure it changes the carb count somewhat.
15- oz. can regular pumpkin
2/3 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup Stevia (store brand)
3 x-large eggs
1 tsp. ground cinnamon, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. ground ginger, 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. vanilla
Thanks, Gloria! Sounds delicious! Evaporated milk rises the carb count a little bit.
I would love to make this tonight. Do you think Truvia would work and if so how much should I use?
Hi, Truvia should work, you might want to start with 1/2 cup (120 ml) and add more if you prefer it sweeter. Hope this helps!
Has anyone tried to make this with no sweetener at all?
The only ‘pumpkin pie spice’ i can find contaibs sugar. Try the following:
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
Thank you! I’m definitely going to try that one 🙂 The pumpkin pie spice in the recipe (behind the link) doesn’t contain any sugar either.
I can’t get my numbers to match yours. Myfitnesspal and double checking all the ingredients still comes out to 7 net carbs with 12 slices. help
Hi Susan, it completely depends on the ingredients, in this case especially about pumpkin and heavy cream. My heavy cream has 3 grams net carbs per 100 grams cream, could that be the reason?
If I use Swerve, would it be the same amount as erythritol crystals?
In my understanding Swerve is slightly sweeter than pure erythritol, so you might want to reduce the amount of Swerve a little.
Hi, I like using agave and I know it’s pretty sweet. How much would you recommend for this recipe?
P.S Your recipe looks soooo yummy!
Hi Margot, I’m sorry but I don’t have experience about agave so I cannot say how much to use… hope you will find it out!
Can I use splenda instead of the crystals? And would it be the same amount?
Hi Kaela, basically yes, you need a little bit less — let’s say 3/4 of the amount — as erythritol crystals are not that sweet like Splenda. However, personally I don’t recommend Splenda as it’s not too healthy.
Thank you! I just made this for thanksgiving dinner and it was wonderful! I was so happy to have a pie I could eat and even the high carbers at the table loved it!
That’s wonderful! Thanks for trying out the recipe!
I was wondering if this recipe would work using unsweetened vanilla almond milk? It is low in carbs. Also, are you able to taste a chemical taste at all from the erythritol crystals? I have found when I used it in baking in the past it left a weird aftertaste?
Hi Heather, I haven’t tried almond milk, but I guess it would make the pie soggy and watery. As for erythritol, it tends to give a little bit of that “cooling effect”, however the spices mask that quite nicely. I would like to try this with Confectioner’s Style Swerve, as the texture is better and there is not that much aftertaste in that product.
Hi. I live in Australia and am not from an American background. Could you please give some instructions on how to make the pumpkin pure. Do you use Butternut pumkin and when you say drain do you mean in a sieve after pureing?
Hi Therese! I really feel for you, since I also have had to learn a bunch of new things since I’m from Finland and we use for example metric system here. Most of my readers are from US, though, so that’s why I use US English and give also American measures. And, learning is always fun.
The easiest way is to use ready, canned pumpkin (100 % pumpkin), but you can also prepare your own pumpkin pure. I have written instructions here: https://www.lowcarbsosimple.com/my-way-to-roast-pumpkin/. I prefer to strain (= sieve) the pumpkin before pureeing, but you can also strain it after pureeing. However, I have noticed that you might lose some pulp if you strain the puree rather than the roasted pieces.
I use whatever orange-colored pumpkin I have to happen at hand, preferably as low in carbs as possible, if I manage to find that out. The carb count varies among the pumpkin varieties. I’ve never used butternut pumpkin/squash in baking so unfortunately I cannot say how it will turn out.
Hope this helps! Just say if I can be of any further help.
Thanks so much for this!
I’m going to try it right away!
You’re welcome 🙂 Please tell me how you like it if you try it out!
Thank you for the info on freezing(not) this pie. I have made the pie in hopes of freezing it but it is keeping very well in the fridge and it is delicious. Also I like the beautiful fork shown with the pie.
Powder the erythritol in a blender before using. It makes the erythritol act more like sugar. Just put it in a blender and whir until it has powdered sugar consistency.
Theresa, thanks for a hint. I wish it was that easy! I’ve tried everything but I cannot get erythritol powdered no matter what machinery I use. That’s why my favorite sweetened is powdered Zsweet, which consists of erythritol and stevia. However, that stuff quite costly so that’s why I often use erythritol crystals. (Well, they are not cheap either if you compare to sugar…)
This looks delicious I was wondering if you thought it would be possible to freeze individual slices of the pie.
Thank you! Actually, I put some leftover pie to the freezer. If I take it now from there and tell you tomorrow how it looks?
I melted a slice of frozen pumpkin pie and I wasn’t extremely satisfied with the result. It was a bit watery. So, as a conclusion, I don’t recommend to freeze the pie. However, this pie keeps very well in the fridge. I have the rest of the pie there now for the fifth day, and it looks fine. My fridge is very cold, though.
I don’t have much luck with any of the “tols” sweeteners….too hard on the tummy. Do you use Stevia in your baking? I’ve had some mixed success with it; it can be overwhelmingly bitter when baked – not so much unbaked, as in hot coffee or a smoothie. I am grain free and trying to make some yummy legal foods for Thanksgiving. HELP! And I love that you post the nutrition facts below your recipes. You are among the very few who do! Thank you!
Hi Karla, great to hear that my blog has been helpful! I’m sorry to hear that the sugar alcohols cause troubles. I have used stevia a little bit in baking, but the main problem for me is, that stevia always gives some unpleasant aftertaste. However, I have made quite successfully for example muffins, where I have used liquid stevia as the only sweetener. I would expect that this pumpkin pie works also if sweetened only with stevia. However, I cannot say about the possible aftertaste of stevia.
I collected my recipes which I think are good for grain-free and “tol-free” Thanksgiving. Hope you find them useful!
– https://www.lowcarbsosimple.com/sugar-free-cranberry-orange-sauce/ (sweetened with stevia, I would use at least 60 drops liquid stevia (NuNaturals, my favorite brand with almost no aftertaste))
– https://www.lowcarbsosimple.com/sugar-free-pumpkin-spice-latte/ (you can omit the coffee or replace it with 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder)
– https://www.lowcarbsosimple.com/moist-low-carb-pumpkin-bars/ (sweetened with stevia)
– https://www.lowcarbsosimple.com/sauteed-apple-slices-with-whipped-cream/ (sweetened with stevia)
– https://www.lowcarbsosimple.com/easy-low-carb-pumpkin-custard/ (sweetened with stevia)
– https://www.lowcarbsosimple.com/the-best-low-carb-pumpkin-spice-muffins/ (sweetened with stevia)
– https://www.lowcarbsosimple.com/low-carb-blueberry-muffins/ (sweetened with stevia)
– https://www.lowcarbsosimple.com/sugar-free-summer-cocktails#creamy-cherry-cinnamon-drink (I think this is great for Thanksgiving and holidays, too)
I am going to make this as soon as possible. Living in Ethiopia, I can’t always get all the necessary ingredients (even for your simple 5-ingredient recipes!) but we have pumpkins in season right now, cream is easy to get, there are chickens running all over town (organic & free range eggs!) and well, I’ve imported some erythritol recently when a friend came to visit (although Ethiopian honey is some of the best in the world and renowned for antibacterial properties and can be worth the carbs sometimes!) Now I just have to hope the oven behaves itself…
Hi Joanna! Great that you have all the ingredients for this pie! Just remember that if you roast and puree the pumpkin yourself, let it strain properly so that it’s not too watery. Hope the pie turns out well and hope you like it!