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Creamy and perfectly spiced, this Mini Crustless Pumpkin Pie recipe is the easy way to enjoy the best part of the pie. A simple but delicious pumpkin pie filling is poured into ramekins without a crust and baked into individual custards. Whether you don’t like to make or eat crust, or need an easy gluten free Thanksgiving dessert, these little pies are the perfect size.
These are definitely one of Fall’s best gluten-free pumpkin recipes and the video will show you just how simple it is to make!
Originally published in November 2014. This post has been updated over the years to add newer photos including process shots, a video, and even more tips and information about the recipe.
Easy Mini Crustless Pumpkin Pie Recipe
Who needs crust when you can enjoy the best part of the pie in your own single-serving dessert? These mini pumpkin pies are perfect to serve any time you want to satisfy your pumpkin pie craving. But you don’t want to deal with making a crust.
A sweet pumpkin pie filling with the warm spices of cinnamon and ginger is baked in ramekins for a creamy pumpkin custard. I guarantee these are going to be a hit with your friends and family.
I suppose you could just call them pumpkin custards, but Mini Crustless Pumpkin Pies sounds way more festive. And it’s always more fun to eat your own single-serving dessert.
A Different Gluten Free Thanksgiving Dessert
Being born on November 27th, my birthday usually falls on or within a day or two of Thanksgiving. As a kid, my family birthday celebration was usually done on Thanksgiving. This meant my candles went in the pumpkin pie, since apple pie is not the best support system for birthday candles. One problem…
Sometime later in life, I actually started liking it. But when I went gluten free, I didn’t know what to do. I hadn’t quite mastered my Gluten Free Pie Crust, so I started pouring it in ramekins to bake – easy peasy!
Is Crustless Pumpkin Pie gluten free?
Yes, this is a perfect option if you don’t want to make a traditional Gluten Free Pumpkin Pie recipe. Rather than trying to make a gluten free crust, there is no crust at all.
And the pumpkin custard is made with cornstarch as a thickener, which is gluten free along with all of the other ingredients.
How does Martha Stewart make pumpkin pie?
When I first started making it, I always made the Martha Stewart pumpkin pie. Her filling is always perfect, and even my husband, who claims to have never liked pumpkin pie before, actually loves it.
I don’t know if it is her use of brown sugar instead of white sugar to give it that hint of molasses flavor. It might be the perfect amount of spices. Or it is the evaporated milk and cornstarch that ensures it holds together while still staying creamy. Whatever the reason, it is the best.
And it does not involve anything more than whisking the ingredients together in a bowl.
The only thing I have done is use a full can of pumpkin and a full can of evaporated milk. Her recipe calls for exact measurements which are slightly less than a full can. But I have done it this way for years and never had a problem.
Back in the day, I followed Martha’s crust recipe, as well. But now, since I don’t really like crust, have a gluten allergy, and really don’t want to fiddle with gluten free pie crust, I stick with no crust pumpkin pie. And I make individual ones because then you can eat an entire crustless pumpkin pie yourself!
What You’ll Need
Just 7 ingredients, a few kitchen basics, and some ramekins are all you need to get started on this pumpkin treat!
- Pumpkin puree – this is not pre-made pumpkin pie filling. The only ingredient should be pumpkin.
- Light brown sugar – lightly packed. I have used dark brown sugar and it works, but I recommend sticking with the light brown as it does not overwhelm the other flavors, and dark brown sugar gives a darker pie.
- Kosher salt
- Pumpkin pie spice – you can buy it in a bottle already made, or use the spices in my pantry to make this Pumpkin Pie Spice from How Sweet It Is.
- Evaporated milk – NOT sweetened condensed milk.
- RAMEKINS: The most common question I get is what size ramekins to make these mini pumpkin pies in. I use 6 oz. ramekins. You could make them smaller or bigger, but you would have to adjust the baking time. I find that this is actually the perfect serving size.
- GLASS BAKING DISH: You’ll be baking these in a water bath so you’ll need a glass baing dish that is at lasty 9×13-inches.
- LARGE MIXING BOWL
- WHISK:Whisking ensures you get the ingredients thoroughly mixed and smooth before adding the evaporated milk.
- SPATULA: I prefer to gently stir or fold the evaporated milk in with a spatula to avoid too many bubbles which can lead to bubbles on the top of your pies.
How to Make Mini Pumpkin Pies
Preparations: You’ll be baking these in a water bath, so before you get started, start heating a pot or teapot of water for the water bath. Place ramekins in a large glass baking dish. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Make the pumpkin pie filling: Combine the pumpkin puree, light brown sugar, cornstarch, salt, pumpkin pie spice, and eggs together in a bowl. Then whisk make sure it is nice and smooth and there are no lumps of brown sugar. Slowly add the evaporated milk and fold it in gently to avoid making too many bubbles.
Fill and bake: Divide the mixture between the ramekins. Then pour the boiling water into the glass baking dish around them. Bake at 350°F for 30-35 minutes or until barely set and still slightly jiggly when in the middle. They will firm up as they cool. Once cooled to room temperature, refrigerate until ready to serve.
Storing Pumpkin Pie
Yes, since it is a custard with eggs and milk, you do have to store it in the refrigerator to avoid the growth of bacteria.
Can you freeze cooked pumpkin pie filling?
Yes, after baking, you can freeze these pumpkin custards. I would not recommend freezing it before baking. But after baking, they do freeze and thaw nicely if wrapped thoroughly in plastic wrap. Just remove them from the freezer and thaw them in the refrigerator.
Tips for Success
A few simple suggestions will ensure mini pumpkin pie perfection.
The can of evaporated milk will say to shake it. But since you are using all of it, I recommend just swirl it a bit and pour it all in. Then fold in gently. These two tips will help keep a bunch of small bubbles from forming. These aren’t really a problem and do not affect the taste or texture. But you could end up with a bubbly top to your pies instead of it being nice and smooth.
Use a Water Bath
Baking the pumpkin custard in a water bath will ensure it bakes evenly and thoroughly without curdling or overcooking on the outer edges. Set a pot of water on to boil while you make the filling. Then once you’ve filled the ramekins and placed them in a glass baking dish, pour the hot water into the baking dish around the ramekins. You can do this after you set it on the oven rack if you don’t want to carry a heavy dish filled with boiling water.
The crustless pumpkin pies will still be slightly jiggly when done. They will firm up as they sit in the ramekins and cool. Overbaking is not the end of the world, but they might crack in the middle. Worst case – just fill that crack with whipped cream!
You can make the recipe as-is to share with the family or even use smaller ramekins for mini desserts (they won’t need as long to bake, so check them earlier).
But if you are the only member of the family who needs a gluten free Thanksgiving dessert, you have the option of just filling one custard cup. Then pour the rest of the filling in a crust and baking like you would a regular pumpkin pie.
You can also pour the filling into a 9-inch pie plate to make a full-size crustless pumpkin pie.
How to Serve Pumpkin Custards
- Is it even pumpkin pie without whipped cream? While I love the fresh whipped cream I make for my Gluten Free Strawberries and Cream Cake, I’m a sucker for Cool Whip on my pumpkin pie. #dontjudge
- If you are missing the crust or want something crunchy with the pie, sprinkle some crushed gluten free graham crackers or gluten free gingersnaps on top.
- For those that prefer ice cream with their pie, Vanilla Cheesecake Ice Cream is an easy option for vanilla with a tangy twist.
- And if you want to know what to do with leftover pumpkin pie filling, try these Pumpkin Pie Greek Yogurt Parfaits!
Individual Crustless Pumpkin Pies (aka Pumpkin Custards)
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Place 6 ramekins or custard cups in a large baking dish. Heat a pot or teapot of water to boiling, and set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine pumpkin, brown sugar, cornstarch, salt, pumpkin pie spice, and eggs.
- Whisk to combine thoroughly.
- Add evaporated milk, and stir to combine.
- Fill the ramekins with the pumpkin mixture. Pour the hot water in the baking dish around the ramekins.
- Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until set in the middle.
- Remove from the oven, and let cool in the pan until cool enough to handle.
- Remove the ramekins from the water bath. Serve warm, at room temperature, or chilled in the refrigerator.