Costco’s Pumpkin Pie Recipe Hasn’t Changed in 31 Years

updated May 24, 2019
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(Image credit: Trong Nguyen)

You know how the saying goes: If it’s not broken, don’t fix it. And that seems to be the philosophy that Costco has stuck to when it comes to its pumpkin pie. The recipe for the pie has remained unchanged since 1987. Costco’s pumpkin pie is so beloved, the big-box grocery chain sells millions of them every year.

This obsession makes a ton of sense. Why bake for the holidays when you can buy a pie for every holiday party you’re attending in one shopping trip? According to Market Insider, in 2015 Costco sold 5 million pumpkin pies, which is all the more impressive given that the pies are only available for four months, from September to December.

So what is the secret to Costco’s magical pumpkin pies? Well, understandably the chain is cagey about what exactly goes into the mixture. But here’s what we do know: Costco uses about 1 million cans of pumpkin purée to make the pies. That’s right — Costco uses the canned stuff too, so don’t feel bad if your homemade pies aren’t entirely from scratch.

The pies also include a super-mysterious dry spice blend but the company staunchly refuses to reveal which spices it uses. The only thing that’s changed about the pumpkin pie since its inception at 1987 is the size: It actually got bigger. Costco started out making them 10 inches in diameter; now they are 12.

Okay, so we may never know what goes into Costco’s pies, but I think we can make an educated guess: A simple, classic pumpkin pie always includes a dash of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves, so the Costco version probably includes the same. Want to make things even easier on yourself? You could also try a pre-mixed pumpkin pie spice blend.

Of course, there’s no shame in stocking up on Costco pumpkin pies if you can’t make your own. Clearly, it’s a crowd-pleasing dessert that makes the holiday season just a little bit easier to manage. But if you do feel like giving it a shot for the holidays this year, we have your back.