Individual Pumpkin Pies without Crust (aka Pumpkin Custards)

4.7 from 26 votes
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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!

Mini Crustless Pumpkin Pie with whipped cream in a ramekin on a cloth placemat with multicolor stripes

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.

using a spoon to get a bite of crustless pumpkin pie with whipped cream

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…

I didn’t like pumpkin pie and really just wanted an ice cream cake. Heck, I might have preferred my candles to go in the Corn Pudding!

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.

closeup of the top surface if the pumpkin custard in a ramekin with a bit of whipped cream on top

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!

spoon going into the top of a a mini crustless pumpkin pie in a ramekin topped with whipped cream

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!

Ingredients

  • 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.
  • Cornstarch
  • 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.
  • Eggs
  • Evaporated milk – NOT sweetened condensed milk. 
a can of pumpkin puree, a can of evaporated milk, three eggs, a bowl of brown sugar, and measuring spoons with cornstarch , salt, and pumpkin pie spice

Equipment

  • 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.

mini crustless pumpkin pie in a ramekin topped with a small spritz of whipped cream

Tips for Success

A few simple suggestions will ensure mini pumpkin pie perfection.

Avoid Bubbles

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.

Don’t Overbake

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!

Variations

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.

Pumpkin custard in a ramekin on a striped placemat with a cloth napkin and a small spoon next to it
Tablet displaying cover of Simple Gluten Free Holiday Desserts eBook

How to Serve Pumpkin Custards

Pumpkin custard in a ramekin on a striped placemat with a cloth napkin and a small spoon next to it
4.7 from 26 votes

Individual Crustless Pumpkin Pies (aka Pumpkin Custards)

The best part of the pumpkin pie! Perfectly creamy and spiced pumpkin pie filling is baked in individual ramekins for mini custards. An easy gluten free dessert or for those who aren't crust lovers.
Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 35 mins
Total: 50 mins
Servings: 6

Ingredients

  • 15 ounces pumpkin puree
  • 3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 3 large eggs
  • 12 ounces evaporated milk

Instructions

  • 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.

Notes

See how to make mini crustless pumpkin pies in the Web Story.
Nutrition Facts
Individual Crustless Pumpkin Pies (aka Pumpkin Custards)
Amount Per Serving (1 g)
Calories 248 Calories from Fat 54
% Daily Value*
Fat 6g9%
Saturated Fat 3g15%
Cholesterol 109mg36%
Sodium 301mg13%
Potassium 388mg11%
Carbohydrates 40g13%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 34g38%
Protein 7g14%
Vitamin A 11300IU226%
Vitamin C 4.2mg5%
Calcium 208mg21%
Iron 1.9mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

More gluten free pumpkin recipes

74 Comments
  1. Elise MacEwen

    5 stars
    These were perfect. A they were a slightly softer and smoother texture than the normal pie. I used 8 oz custard cups so it took a bit longer for the bake. I liked that the recipe didn’t call for specialty ingredients.
    I made them for my mother who can’t have solid foods right now but had a craving for pumpkin pie.

    1. KB

      4 stars
      I’ve made this recipe and more recently made one with heavy cream. I actually liked the cream better. This is a great go to recipe though.

  2. Jim

    Is the cornstarch absolutely necessary? Wouldn’t reducing the amount of liquid in the overall recipe also thicken the custard? For example, pumpkin puree has a lot of water in it, so I usually spread it on paper towels to soak up the water before adding other ingredients. The pumpkin and paper don’t stick. Or, just use egg yolks? Wondering what you think. Regards.

  3. Jeanetta

    These are wonderful. I was out of eggs, so I used applesauce, instead. I wasn’t sure that would work, but they were awesome. I’ll be making these again.

    1. Barbara

      Made this about a week ago. Making a double batch for Thanksgiving. Since we’re Weight Watchers members I used a 2% evaporated milk and use Splenda brown sugar (1/4 cup of Splenda Brown sugar/ it’s sweet enough)
      Enjoy this very much. Thank you for sharing your delicious recipe.

  4. Jennifer Jones

    5 stars
    So creamy, tasty and overall amazing!

    This recipe is a keeper for sure. Whipped these up and baked them in the oven tonight while baking potatoes for dinner.

  5. Audrey Klock

    Hi. I want to try this, but I want to be sure I have it right. Is it evaporated milk or condensed milk (like Eagle brand)? Thanks.

  6. Linda M Bell

    5 stars
    Excellent recipe. Exactly what I was craving. I substituted coconut mile for the evaporated (because that is what I had) and it worked perfectly. I also put a layer of walnuts in the bottom of each dish. Perfect addition. Thanks for sharing this recipe.

    1. Brianne Cupcakes & Kale Chips

      Hi Catrina,
      I have not tried freezing these. However, I know that people have had success freezing pumpkin pie. I suggest making sure that the mini pies are well chilled first. Then, wrap the ramekins tightly in plastic wrap followed by a layer of aluminum foil to prevent any freezer burn.

  7. mel

    Thanks for the spice suggestion! I made a pie (DF and GF from scratch, starting with roasting a pumpkin!) and it’s good, but I followed the instructions to use pumpkin pie spice and it definitely needed more ginger and cloves. Wasn’t a fan of the crust, so I’ve been scraping the filling. I thought “sure some internet person has a recipe for pumpkin pie custards.” Voila!

    1. Brianne Cupcakes & Kale Chips

      I’m so happy to hear that you’ve found a pumpkin pie recipe that meets all of your needs, Mel! Thanks for your comment.

  8. Patti Grimm

    5 stars
    My daughter-in-law is GF and this is just what I have been looking for for Thanksgiving! Is it ok to use the pumpkin pie mix and just add the eggs and evaporated milk as the recipe calls for and bake according to your instructions? Thanks so much! patti

    1. Brianne Cupcakes & Kale Chips

      Hi Patti,
      If you’re needing a gluten free recipe, be sure to check the pumpkin pie mix to make sure that it’s gluten free. I’ve never tried making the recipe with a pumpkin pie mix before, so I can’t guarantee any results one way or the other. Please let me know how it turns out for you!

  9. SD White

    What a treat, I love pumpkin desserts! I used the suggestion of adding the crushed ginger snap on top of the whip cream. So yummy!

  10. 5 stars
    Thank you for a great way to eat pumpkin pie without the crust. I am severely gluten intolerant and the thought of Thanksgiving without the traditional things like pumpkin pie, well… I know there are worse things in life but… I am just glad
    to know there are ways around those things. Thanks.

    1. Brianne Cupcakes & Kale Chips

      Amy, if you want to keep them individual sized, you could use oven safe coffee mugs instead of ramekins. If you use a pie dish, the baking time will be longer.

  11. CLYDE REED

    5 stars
    Looks similar to a recipe my mother made for my school lunches. Big differences were (1) eggs were separated and whites turned into meringue and (2) they were baked without placing in water bath. And when we had a bumper crop of cooking squash, pureed squash was substituted for pumpkin. That was plenty flavorful for a hungry schoolkid! I even learned how to make them while I was still an elementary school kid.

    1. Brianne Cupcakes & Kale Chips

      I’m happy to hear that you’ve found a recipe that brings back some great food memories for you, Clyde. I love the idea of adding meringue to the pumpkin pies, too!

    1. Brianne Cupcakes & Kale Chips

      John, I am afraid that the custards will be dry and cracked without a water bath. If you don’t have a large enough pan to use as a water bath, you can just take a cake pan or sauce pan with water in it and place it on the rack below where the custards are baking. That will at least help a little bit. Good luck!

  12. Karl

    What size ramekin dishes? There are 4 x 2.2” and 2 x 3.4” or 4.1 x 2.2” or 3.9 x 2 the. There are mini ones too in sets of 6

  13. ECS Mama Lydia

    I don’t have the ramekins and I know that if I used them, it would only be with this recipe. Is it possible to line your muffin pan with those cupcake liners to bake them? If so, would you bake them for the same amount of time and at the same temperature?

    1. Brianne Cupcakes & Kale Chips

      Lydia, I understand your concern with having to purchase something that you may only use for one recipe. However, in the case of a pumpkin custard, I’m sorry to have to say that a muffin pan would not be a suitable replacement. Custards are eaten directly from the container in which they are baked. If you have any pint sized mason jars, you may be able to use those as a replacement for the ramekins. In that case, the baking time and temperature would be the same. Good luck!

  14. First of all, advance Happy Birthday. I am not good with remembering dates, and I may miss it in future.

    As far as pumpkin is concerned, I am not a big fan of it. For me, eating pumpkin is like “it’s end of the world”. I never liked it. However, this looks different and delicious. It could be due to the magical effect of these photos ( which you have added to the post) that invites me to give this recipe a try.

  15. Spinnin Jenny

    5 stars
    Where has this recipe been all my life?! For several years I’ve been looking for this exact same recipe. My kids never liked the crust of pumpkin pies. They would eat the filling and leave the crust. I made this for Thanksgiving and everyone loved it! It’s very similar to the recipe I use for my pumpkin pies. I used the spices from my pumpkin pie recipe, instead of store bought or the one linked to this recipe.

    These spices are enough to make 2 recipes of Pumpkin Custard. I don’t use store bought pumpkin pie spices. You can divide this spice mix in half if you like.

    1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
    1/2 tsp. ground cloves
    1/2 tsp. ground allspice
    1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
    1/2 tsp. ground ginger
    1/2 tsp. salt

  16. Rebecca Ouellet

    Hi! I really want to make these for my son who loves pumpkin pie and is also gluten intolerant! Unfortunately he’s also dairy intolerant, so do you think these would work with almond milk or coconut milk? Thanks!!

    1. I asked one of my vegan bloggy friends and this is what she said “The better option is almond, soy, or coconut milk creamer. I replace 12 ounces of evaporated milk with 8 ounces of coconut milk creamer + 1 tbsp white flour.” Now I know flour is an issue, so perhaps a bit more cornstarch?

  17. Lexy

    Can’t wait to bake my Pie in a custard cup….makes sense to me.
    Question – How did you get the “pie” out of the cup and have it look so perfect.
    PS….wish you had a box to click to have “them” let me know when there is an answer.

  18. You are my new BFF!! Oh my gosh. I LOVE pumpkin pie but I hate the crust. The family always laughs at me because I eat the filling out of the pie and leave all the crust. I am definitely trying this!!! Yum! Thanks for sharing!! 🙂

  19. Margaret Grunseich

    I tried to print this recipe out several times by clicking on the button, and I keep getting “Oops! This link appears to be broken!”

      1. Margaret Grunseich

        OK, Brianne, here is where my stupidity shines through…I’m not sure what browser I’m using! I click on the blue e on my desktop which brings me to MSN. I originally found you in Facebook. So…did I answer your question? I’m sorry for my lack of knowledge!

    1. Pamela Blue

      Easy enough to copy out on a piece of paper. That’s what I did. 🙂 I personally love the crust, but hubby has now decided to eat gluten-free, so I’m scrambling for ideas. The main meals are usually no problem, as I cook from scratch most days, so I know what is going into the food, but he occasionally likes a dessert, so I thought these looked great.

      Do you have anything with apples? He loves those.

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