One of the most treasured Thanksgiving desserts we keep baking year after year is pumpkin pie. From the flaky crust to the creamy filling, pumpkin pie says fall like almost no other dessert. You might like your pie à la mode or with a big dollop of whipped cream on top. Whether you go traditional or get creative with flavors (white chocolate, anyone?), pumpkin pie remains a Thanksgiving classic.
Have you ever found yourself with pumpkin pie leftovers after Thanksgiving dinner? It happens often, so don't be left in the dark about how best to store them. You may not feel like calling family members to ask, "Does pumpkin pie need to be refrigerated?" Luckily, you'll have this helpful guide by your side to make things easy.
Find answers on how best to store pumpkin pie, including both refrigeration and freezing methods. We'll also share information on the differences between storing homemade pumpkin pie and store-bought pie with preservatives.
Get quick facts and helpful steps on how best to keep your delicious pumpkin pie tasting great after Thanksgiving is over. Hint — pumpkin pie makes mouths water just as much as a Christmas dessert.
Does Pumpkin Pie Need to Be Refrigerated?
The simple fact is that pumpkin pie needs to be refrigerated after being served at your Thanksgiving table. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, pumpkin pie is included with other "egg-rich pies," including pecan, custard and meringue pies. The inclusion of eggs in these pies' fillings means they should go into the refrigerator no more than two hours after cooling and/or serving.
Luckily, pumpkin pie is probably one of the only Thanksgiving pies meant to be eaten while cold. Its ingredients include not only eggs but also pumpkin puree and milk, cream or sweetened condensed milk. All of these ingredients have a limited shelf life and need to be chilled to prevent harmful bacteria from forming.
Now that you know the answer to the question, "Does pumpkin pie need to be refrigerated?" there's more. Keep reading for the best storage methods to keep your precious pumpkin pie fresh and tasty.
Why is Store-Bought Pumpkin Pie Not Refrigerated?
If you're too busy to make your own pumpkin pie, you can choose from the many wonderful store-bought options around. Depending on the bakery or grocery store brand of pie, store-bought pumpkin pie is unique. It's sometimes made using preservatives that allow the pie to keep for longer at room temperature. The answer to "Does pumpkin pie need to be refrigerated?" in this case is: maybe.
If you're not sure whether the pie was made with preservatives, play it safe and refrigerate your store-bought pie. Either way, check the sell-by date so you know when the pumpkin pie you're serving will be the most flavorful.
Keep in mind, for instance, that Costco's pumpkin pies don't use preservatives and must be refrigerated as you would a homemade pie.
Can I Leave Pumpkin Pie on the Counter Overnight to Cool?
If you bake your pumpkin pie the night before, you may be tempted to let it rest on the counter overnight. While pumpkin pie can sit at room temperature for two hours before serving, it needs to be refrigerated if out for longer than that period. Once the pie cools completely, you can wrap it in plastic and store it in the refrigerator overnight.
On Thanksgiving, you can take out the refrigerated pumpkin pie up to two hours before serving. This all depends on whether you prefer your pumpkin pie fridge-cold or at room temperature. All that's left will be to take a bite and introduce your taste buds to the best fall flavor possible.
How to Store Pumpkin Pie (With Quick & Easy Steps)
Once the pumpkin pie comes out of the oven smelling amazing, it should go on a cooling rack. After it has cooled down or two hours have passed, it's time to loosely seal the pie in plastic wrap. The wrapped pie can now be stored in the refrigerator for up to four days.
If you're one of those holiday preppers who like to bake their fall pies in advance, you can freeze it, too. There are two options here — freezing an unbaked pumpkin pie and freezing one that's been baked already.
For an unbaked pumpkin pie, seal it with a few layers of plastic wrap and heavy-duty foil. You can bake it right out of the freezer, although it may take approximately 65 to 75 minutes in total. Keep in mind pumpkin pie tastes great on Thanksgiving Day even when made in advance. Just store it correctly, and you'll be ready to serve!
If baking early, wrap the already-baked pumpkin pie the same way as stated above. Once it comes out of the freezer, thaw the uncovered pie in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours. This method prevents drops of water from forming on top of your luxurious pumpkin filling. Pumpkin pie can be frozen for two weeks before it wows everyone at the Thanksgiving table.
If you want that warm-and-fuzzy pumpkin pie feeling to continue, try making pumpkin pie moonshine, too!
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