Does Pumpkin Pie Need to Be Refrigerated? Plus, How to Store It So It Lasts

updated Oct 20, 2023
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Pumpkin pie might be your favorite way to complete your Thanksgiving feast and it’s one of the easiest pies to make, but the fall classic’s real superpower is that it’s ideal for baking in advance. As anyone who’s cooked a holiday meal can attest, make-ahead dishes are one of the keys to a successful feast. And even if you don’t want to make your pumpkin pie ahead, you’ll want to be sure to keep the leftovers in good shape so you can continue eating pie for days after the holiday.

With that in mind, we baked a few pumpkin pies and put them to the test to answer all your pie-related questions. What is the proper way to store pumpkin pie so it’s perfect on the big day? Does pumpkin pie need to be refrigerated? How long can pumpkin pie sit out? And can it be frozen? We have answers to all of those questions — and more.

Quick Overview

Does Pumpkin Pie Need to Be Refrigerated?

On most occasions, yes, pumpkin pie needs to be refrigerated. Though products like pumpkin purée and pumpkin pie spice are shelf stable, homemade pumpkin pie is typically made with eggs and some type of milk or cream, which means it must be refrigerated. The USDA advises that all “homemade egg-rich pies” be stored in the refrigerator, ideally within two hours of cooking and cooling.

How to Store Pumpkin Pie

Homemade Pumpkin Pie

Once baked, allow your pumpkin pie to cool completely. Once cooled, cover your pie loosely with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and store it in the refrigerator.

Store-Bought Pumpkin Pie

All this talk about refrigeration might have you wondering about the pumpkin pies you see sitting out at the supermarket. Store-bought pies may contain preservatives, which can affect how they should be stored. The USDA recommends contacting your bakery for storage information.

How Long Does Pumpkin Pie Last in The Fridge?

According to FoodSafety.gov, homemade pumpkin pie can be stored in the refrigerator for 3–4 days. To keep your pie as fresh as possible, be sure to wrap it loosely in plastic wrap or aluminum foil.

As with most foods, the quality gradually starts to decline over time, but even after two days in the refrigerator, a properly wrapped pie will taste just-baked. By day three, you may notice the crust starting to dry out and the filling tasting flat. Pumpkin pie is still perfectly safe to eat after four days, but the crust will very likely be a bit soggy on the bottom and dry around the edges, while the filling will get a bit bland. 

How To Tell if Your Pumpkin Pie Is Okay to Eat

While three to four days is the USDA’s recommended storage window, if you’re someone who hates to waste food, you may be tempted to keep your pie longer. Be sure to check your pie thoroughly first — these are signs it’s time to toss it:

  • Any off smells
  • A funky appearance such as excessive weeping or separation
  • Mold

Is It Okay to Leave Pumpkin Pie Out?

Yes and no. The USDA advises against leaving food out of refrigeration for more than two hours to avoid the “danger zone,” the temperature range (between 40°F and 140°F) where bacteria grows the fastest. 

If your homemade pumpkin pie has been refrigerated, it can safely sit at room temperature for up to two hours before serving. So, if fridge space is limited on the big day, or you simply prefer the taste of room-temperature pie, you can leave it out for a bit before you slice and serve.

Can I Freeze Pumpkin Pie?

Yes, pumpkin pie can be frozen. According to FoodSafety.gov, pumpkin pie can be frozen for up to 2 months after baking. This is great news if you want to get a jumpstart on holiday baking, or if you want to freeze leftover pumpkin pie to enjoy a few weeks after Thanksgiving. Here’s how to do it:

  1. For the best results, bake your pie in a disposable aluminum foil pan. The thin pan allows the pie to freeze faster, so there’s less chance of large ice crystals forming in the filling, which can affect the texture of your pie. Bonus: Using an aluminum pan frees up your glass or ceramic pie dish for making an apple or pecan pie. 
  2. Once baked, allow the pie to cool completely, then wrap it tightly in three layers of plastic wrap, followed by a layer of aluminum foil, and freeze it on a level shelf until fully frozen.
  3. Store in the freezer for up to two months, but try to enjoy it sooner for the best quality and flavor.

How to Defrost Pumpkin Pie

When it’s time to defrost your pie, slow and steady is the way to go. At least 12 hours in advance, remove all but the layer of plastic wrap that’s closest to the pie, and thaw the pie in the refrigerator (room-temperature defrosting almost always leads to a soggy crust!). If you see any liquid on the surface of the pie, gently dab it with a paper towel. See any marks or cracks? That’s what whipped cream is for.

How to Serve Pumpkin Pie After Storing It

When it comes to serving pumpkin pie that’s been refrigerated or frozen, you have a few options.

  • Serve it cold: Many people enjoy pumpkin pie cold, in which case it can go from the fridge to the table, with a pit stop for a dollop of whipped cream.
  • Serve it room-temperature: If you prefer room-temperature pie, take it out of the fridge to take the chill off before serving, keeping in mind that it shouldn’t sit out for more than two hours.
  • Warm it up: Want your pumpkin pie warm? Whether you’re reheating a slice, several slices, or a whole pie, loosely wrap the pie in foil and place in a 350°F until heated through. Slide a knife in the middle to check — the knife will be warm to the touch if the pie is toasty in the middle. How long this takes depends on how much pie you’re warming, but start checking after 10 to 15 minutes. Once pumpkin pie has been rewarmed, it can’t be refrigerated or frozen again.