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This Pumpkin Chiffon Pie is the ultimate Thanksgiving dessert! Like a lighter, airier version of a classic pumpkin pie, the warmly-spiced pumpkin filling is paired with a rich, buttery vanilla wafer crust. Finish each slice with a dollop of whipped cream for a festive and decadent no-bake addition to your holiday table!

Close up front shot of a slice of No Bake Pumpkin Chiffon Pie

Pumpkin Chiffon Pie Recipe

This is the Pumpkin Chiffon Pie recipe that my parents have made every single Thanksgiving for my entire life. In fact, the original recipe came from the November issue of Gourmet magazine the same month that I was born (way back in 1979!). After one bite, you’ll quickly realize that it’s the only Thanksgiving pie recipe you’ll ever need!

What is Chiffon Pumpkin Pie?

The chiffon pie was invented by the “Pie King,” Monroe Boston Strausse, in Los Angeles in 1926, and refers to any pie with a special type of airy filling in a crust. Chiffon pie filling is typically made by folding meringue (stiffly beaten egg whites and sugar) into a flavored pie filling that is thickened with unflavored gelatin. A pumpkin chiffon pie tastes very similar to a traditional pumpkin pie, but the pumpkin filling has a lighter, more airy texture with a mousse-like quality.

The Crust

While the filling is decadent and perfect, the crust is what really sets this recipe apart from other pumpkin pies. Instead of a classic pastry crust or a graham cracker crust, this buttery, rich crust is made with vanilla wafer cookie crumbs. The cookies create a thick, flavorful crust that doesn’t become soggy (even after multiple days in the fridge). Since the crust is par-baked, it has a subtle, toasted, nutty taste and is incredibly sturdy. It’s the perfect counterpart to the light, airy filling.

No Bake Pumpkin Chiffon Pie

You do have to blind-bake the vanilla wafer cookie crust, but unlike most other pumpkin pies, this pumpkin chiffon filling sets up in the refrigerator and does not require baking. This pie is an ideal Thanksgiving dessert, since you can make it in advance and then just pull it out when you’re ready to serve. No need to take up any additional oven-space on an otherwise very hectic, very crowded day in the kitchen!

Bite of pumpkin chiffon pie on a fork with the slice of pie nearby

How to Make Pumpkin Chiffon Pie with Meringue

Admittedly, this pie recipe includes more steps and requires more prep time than I’m typically willing to spend on other homemade desserts. But don’t be intimidated! Each step is incredibly easy — you just need to be patient and allow plenty of time for the different components to chill. Prep it in advance and don’t stress! Plus, a special holiday like Thanksgiving deserves a little bit more time and attention than most other meals.

Ingredients for Grandma’s Pumpkin Chiffon Pie

  • Vanilla wafer cookie crumbs (I use Nilla wafers)
  • Butter
  • Sugar
  • Unflavored gelatin (I use Knox gelatin brand)
  • Drambuie or water
  • Canned pumpkin puree (I prefer Libby’s brand)
  • Heavy cream
  • Egg yolks and egg whites
  • Cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice and salt
  • Cream of tartar

Step 1: Blind Bake Crust

Prepare the vanilla wafer crust, press into a pie plate, and bake in a 400 degree F oven for 10 minutes. Allow the crust to cool before filling.

Crust for pumpkin chiffon pie recipe

Step 2: Cook Filling

While the crust is in the oven, make the filling with the gelatin, pumpkin, egg yolks, cream and spices. Transfer the cooked filling to a bowl and cool completely.

Filling for pumpkin chiffon pie

Step 3: Prepare Meringue

Make the meringue by stiffly beating the egg whites with cream of tartar, salt and sugar.

Stiff egg whites for meringue on a whisk

Step 4: Fold Meringue into Filling

Carefully fold the meringue into the cooled pie filling until completely incorporated.

Pumpkin chiffon pie filling in a large mixing bowl

Step 5: Chill

Transfer the filling to the pie crust and chill for at least 6 hours (or overnight). The pie will set as it cools.

Pumpkin chiffon pie recipe on a wooden table

How to Serve Pumpkin Chiffon Pie

Top each slice of pie with a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream. A dusting of cinnamon adds a nice touch, too!

Close up shot of a slice of pumpkin chiffon pie with whipped cream on a serving spatula

Storage

Cover the pie and store in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. The pie is best when enjoyed within the first 2 days of preparation.

You can freeze leftover pumpkin chiffon pie for up to 1 month.

Front shot of a slice of pumpkin chiffon pie with a plaid napkin in the background

Tips for the Best Pumpkin Chiffon Pie

  • Drambuie is a golden-colored liqueur made from Scotch whisky, honey, herbs and spices. It adds a fairly strong flavor to the pie, which is perfect for adults on a holiday. If you’re serving the pie to children, or if you prefer to bake without alcohol, substitute an equal amount of water for the Drambuie. It’s delicious either way!
  • Use Libby’s canned pumpkin puree, which is 100% pure pumpkin — not pumpkin pie filling from a can.
  • Stir the filling constantly while it cooks. This keeps it nice and smooth — you don’t want to find flecks of scrambled egg yolks in your pie!
  • Use room-temperature egg whites for the meringue. Cold egg whites will not whip up as well.
  • Carefully fold the meringue into the pie filling, making sure that you don’t stir the air out of the egg whites. You want to maintain that light, fluffy texture!
  • You may have more filling than will fit in the crust. Refrigerate any extra filling — it will set up and be a delicious pumpkin chiffon mousse to eat with a spoon or scoop with cookies. The chef’s treat!
  • Garnish the chilled pie with whipped cream or bourbon whipped cream for a truly decadent touch!
Side shot of a slice of grandma's pumpkin chiffon pie on a plate with whipped cream on top

More Pie Recipes to Try

Close up front shot of a slice of No Bake Pumpkin Chiffon Pie

Pumpkin Chiffon Pie

5 from 1 vote
Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Chilling Time 8 hours
Total: 8 hours 40 minutes
Servings 8 slices
Calories 493 kcal
This Pumpkin Chiffon Pie is the ultimate Thanksgiving dessert! Like a lighter, airier version of a classic pumpkin pie, it's the perfect addition to your holiday table.

Ingredients
  

For the Crust:

  • 2 cups vanilla wafer cookie crumbs (I use 60 whole Nilla wafer cookies)
  • 6 tablespoons salted butter, melted and cooled
  • ¼ cup sugar

For the Filling:

  • 4 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
  • ¼ cup Drambuie or water
  • 1 ½ cups canned pumpkin puree (NOT sweetened pumpkin pie filling)
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 3 egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • ¾ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

For the Meringue:

  • 4 egg whites, at room temperature
  • Cream of tartar
  • Salt
  • cup sugar

For Serving:

  • Whipped Cream
  • Dusting of cinnamon

Instructions

Prepare the Crust:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  • In a bowl, combine cookie crumbs, melted butter, and sugar. Pat the mixture onto the bottom and sides of a buttered 9-inch pie plate. I use the flat bottom of a small measuring cup to press the crumbs in an even layer.
  • Bake the shell in the 400-degree oven for 10 minutes, transfer it to a rack, and let cool.

Prepare the Filling:

  • In a small bowl, sprinkle gelatin over Drambuie or water to soften for 5 minutes. Place the bowl over a double boiler (or a pot of hot water) and whisk the mixture until the gelatin dissolves. Do not boil.
  • In a heavy saucepan, combine pumpkin, heavy cream, sugar, egg yolks, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice and salt. Cook the mixture over moderately low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon for 10 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a bowl, stir in the gelatin mixture, and let the mixture cool (about 1-2 hours).

Prepare the Meringue:

  • In a large bowl, beat egg whites with a pinch of cream of tartar and a pinch of salt until they hold soft peaks. Beat in sugar, 2 tablespoons at a time, until the meringue holds stiff peaks. Fold the meringue into the pumpkin mixture.

Chill the Pie:

  • Pour the filling into the shell and chill the pie, covered, for at least 6 hours. If you can’t fit all of the filling into the pie shell, save the extra filling in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It’s like a delicious pumpkin mousse when it sets!
  • When the pie is chilled and set, slice and serve with whipped cream and a dusting of cinnamon.

Notes

  • Drambuie is a golden-colored liqueur made from Scotch whisky, honey, herbs and spices. It adds a fairly strong flavor to the pie, which is perfect for adults on a holiday. If you’re serving the pie to children, or if you prefer to bake without alcohol, substitute an equal amount of water for the Drambuie. It’s delicious each way!
  • Use Libby’s canned pumpkin puree, which is 100% pure pumpkin — not pumpkin pie filling from a can.
  • Stir the filling constantly while it cooks. This keeps it nice and smooth — you don’t want to find flecks of scrambled egg yolks in your pie!
  • Use room-temperature egg whites for the meringue. Cold egg whites will not whip up as well.
  • Carefully fold the meringue into the pie filling, making sure that you don’t stir the air out of the egg whites. You want to maintain that light, fluffy texture!
  • You may have more filling than will fit in the crust. Refrigerate any extra filling — it will set up and be a delicious pumpkin chiffon mousse to eat with a spoon or scoop with cookies. The chef’s treat!
  • Garnish the chilled pie with whipped cream or bourbon whipped cream for a truly decadent touch!

Nutrition

Serving: 1sliceCalories: 493kcalCarbohydrates: 65gProtein: 7gFat: 24gSaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 117mgSodium: 369mgPotassium: 175mgFiber: 2gSugar: 43gVitamin A: 7728IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 35mgIron: 1mg
Keyword: pumpkin chiffon pie
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Author: Blair Lonergan
blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

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Comments

  1. This sound perfect for T-day, I would like to do a traditional crust with this do have one that would be yummy for this? I am sure this is going to be great.