How To Fix Undercooked Pumpkin Pie

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Pumpkin spice may be the world’s most coveted seasonal flavor, but it doesn’t measure up to the sheer bliss of a freshly baked pumpkin pie.

There is an art to baking pumpkin pies to perfection. Eating undercooked pie filling can lead to uncomfortable consequences, so we’ve put together a quick guide that will help you diagnose and fix an undercooked pie.

So how do you fix undercooked pumpkin pie? If you’ve taken your pie out of the oven to find it undercooked, you can continue baking it in 5-10 minute intervals until done. However, runniness can also be a sign of having overcooked your pie, so it is best to check on it throughout the baking process.

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

How To Know When Pumpkin Pie Is Done

There are a few telling signs that can help you decide if your pumpkin pie is cooked before you cut into it. Following the directions of your recipe carefully is a good start, but you can also look for these indicators:

  • Check the color. Pumpkin pie filling deepens slightly in color when it is fully cooked, and the crust will be a nice golden brown. It’s a subtle difference, but if you have a good eye, it is telling.
  • Use a toothpick. Just like when you’re checking to see if the center of a cake or muffin is cooked, you can check your pumpkin pie filling with a toothpick. Insert it near the center of the pie and it should pull out easily and cleanly.
  • Add a Swirl. Before putting your pie in the oven, use a spatula to draw a swirl in the center, spreading outwards. When your pie is ready to be taken 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-style pies, will continue to finish cooking after it has been removed from the oven.

This makes cooking your pie touchy because you don’t want to take your pie out too early or too late. However, it will never be perfect straight out of the oven. It needs to rest before perfection sets in.

An undercooked pumpkin pie can be nearly raw or nearly done and anywhere in between, but until is perfect, it just won’t be right.

Doughy crust and runny filling are guaranteed ways to ruin your pie experience, but they don’t always mean your pie is undercooked. It might be a sign of something else 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. Custard pie filling, including pumpkin pie filling, should be watery when it goes into the oven, but it will thicken and solidify as it cooks. 

If the temperature is too high or the pie is cooked too long, the custard and curdle and break, creating a watery pie. This is why you want to be sure you remove your pie before it’s completely cooked, as it will finish setting as it cools.

Overcooking may also look liked cracked, dry pie filling.

Is Pumpkin Pie Supposed To Be Jiggly?

The jiggle of a pumpkin pie is a comically debated topic. Between pumpkin pie experts, there is an important difference between jiggly pie and wiggly pie. If those sound the same to you, here is how you can know the difference:

  • Jiggle: like jello
  • Wiggle: like a wave

You want your pumpkin pie to be jiggly, but never wiggly. It should be firm to the touch, especially around the edge of the pie, but it should have a gelatin-like movement to it. If it sloshes or runs, that is a bad sign.

Fixing Undercooked Pumpkin Pie

If you’re convinced your pumpkin pie is undercooked, there is a not-so-well-kept secret that can save it. Simply bake it some more! 

Many recipes or even store-bought pies will have instructions for different types of ovens, with different temperatures or lengths of time for conventional ovens vs convection ovens.

Some pumpkin pie recipes that substitute ingredients, like 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 set of 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 temperature the same way the person who made the recipe’s oven does. It is not uncommon to hear people say that their oven runs hot or cold, for example.

If you don’t realize your oven doesn’t get as hot as you expect it to, your pie will likely be undercooked.

If you try to adjust the temperature to meet your unique situation, there is always a bit of guessing involved and you still may have trouble.

There are many reasons your pumpkin pie might be undercooked, but there is one surefire way to fix it.

Rebaking Your Pie

This will require a bit of guesswork and close attention, but all you have to do is rebake your pumpkin pie to help it cook more.

  1. Preheat your oven to the temperature recommended for initially baking your pie, at least 350 degrees. If you suspect your oven runs cool, you can increase the temperature by 10–15 degrees to compensate.
  2. Place your pie back into the oven.
  3. If the crust is cooked nicely and it is just the filling that is undercooked, cover the edge of your pie crust with aluminum foil to protect it from overcooking.
  4. Leave it for 10 minutes and then check again.
  5. Because the pie has already cooled once, it won’t necessarily follow the signs listed above, but use a toothpick to check for firmness.
  6. Leave in the oven as long as necessary, checking every 5–10 minutes to avoid overcooking it.

Luckily, this problem has a pretty simple fix, as long as you’re paying close attention to your pie to make sure you are not overcooking it.

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

Cooling Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin pie filling thickens as it cools. Even though it may be tempting to dig in as soon as the oven timer dings, you’ll want to let it cool properly before you serve it. 

Not only will cooling your pumpkin pie allow it to finish the cooking process, but it will also make your pie infinitely easier to slice, not to mention considerably less messy.

Ideally, you should cool your freshly baked pumpkin pie for at least 4 hours. The filling will stay hot a lot longer than the crust along the outer edges, so don’t use that as a guide.

Serving Pumpkin Pie

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

If you’re determined to eat this custard pie warm, it’s best to fully bake it and let it set to room temperature and rewarm it before serving. This will ensure it’s properly cooked before you eat it.

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’ve got 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’s cooled. It does not matter if your pie is storebought, made from fresh pumpkins, or canned filling, it needs to be refrigerated for safe-keeping.

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

Vegan pumpkin pie, though it is free from both eggs and dairy, should 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 will puff up as it bakes. The moisture inside expands and increases the volume of the filling a little bit. This is one of the ways you can tell that your pie is ready to come out of the oven.

As the pie cools, it will sink back to it’s prebaked level, though it should now be firm and thick, rather than loose and runny.

How Long Will Pumpkin Pie Last?

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

Storebought pumpkin pies may last longer than homemade pumpkin pies, depending on how they were made. Some companies will use preservatives to extend their shelf life.

There should always be a “best-by” date stamped on the pie box for you to follow. 

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

Once your pie is cooled, it should immediately be covered with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and placed in your fridge. If properly cooled and stored, it can last up to 4 days safely. 

You can also freeze pumpkin pie, – or leftover canned pumpkin and pumpkin seeds – though the results will vary when it is thawed. It will keep good quality freshness for approximately 1–2 months, but it should be double-wrapped.

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

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