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Credit: Photos: Joe Lingeman, Design: Kitchn
Recipe Review

5 (5-Ingredient!) Holiday Desserts That Start with a Can of Pumpkin Pie Filling

updated Nov 19, 2020
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The leaves have fallen and baking season is officially in full swing. But in the holiday rush to gather groceries, you may have found yourself with a can of pumpkin pie filling instead of pure pumpkin purée. (Why do they make the cans look so similar?).

Whether your purchase was intentional or not, don’t leave it languishing in the back of the pantry — you’ve got your hands on the best shortcut of the season. This handy can of pumpkin purée is already spiced and sweetened, making it recipe-ready. Here’s how to make it into five of the sweetest desserts of the season.

Five (5-Ingredient) Desserts with Canned Pumpkin Pie Filling

  • Pumpkin pie filling: Four of these mini recipes call for 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin pie filling. The final recipe — the Maple-Glazed Pumpkin Pop Tarts — uses a few tablespoons of the canned pie filling, so it’s just the thing to make if you have a little left over after making pumpkin bread or muffins that only use a portion of the can.
  • Servings: Each dessert recipe makes enough to serve at least eight.
Credit: Photos: Joe Lingeman, Design: Kitchn

1. Spiced Pumpkin Trifle

Whisk 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin pie filling, 1/4 cup heavy cream, and 2 tablespoons granulated sugar together in a medium bowl. Cut 1 (16-ounce) loaf pumpkin bread or gingerbread into 1-inch cubes. Use an electric hand or stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment to whisk 2 cups cold heavy cream and 1/4 cup granulated sugar to stiff peaks.

Spoon 1/2 cup of pumpkin mixture into bottom of a trifle dish or other clear, 3-quart bowl. Arrange half the bread cubes on top of pumpkin. Top with half the remaining pumpkin mixture, half the whipped cream, and 1 cup coarsely chopped candied pecans. Repeat layering remaining ingredients once more: bread, pumpkin, whipped cream, and 1 more cup coarsely chopped candied pecans. Sprinkle top of trifle with any remaining pumpkin bread crumbs. Refrigerate 1 hour before serving.

Credit: Photos: Joe Lingeman, Design: Kitchn

2. Cream Cheese-Swirled Pumpkin Pie

Arrange a rack in lower third of oven; heat to 425oF. Unroll 1 (9-inch) refrigerated pie crust and transfer it to a 9-inch (preferably metal) pie pan. Press crust into bottom and up sides of the pan; refrigerate.

Whisk 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin pie filling, 2 large eggs, and half of a (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk (about 3/4 cup) together in a medium bowl. Stir 8 ounces softened cream cheese and remaining half can sweetened condensed milk together in a small bowl, then reserve 3/4 cup of the mixture. Whisk the remaining sweetened cream cheese mixture into the pumpkin filling, then pour into crust. Dollop reserved sweetened cream cheese onto filling; use a thin knife to swirl it into the pumpkin. Place pie pan on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350oF. Bake until center is puffed but still jiggles slightly, 20 to 25 minutes more. Cool completely on a wire rack before serving.

Credit: Photos: Joe Lingeman, Design: Kitchn

3. Pumpkin Pie Bars

Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven; heat to 350oF. Line a 9×13-inch baking dish with parchment paper so that it hangs off the two long sides to form a sling. Press 1 (16.5-ounce) package refrigerated sugar cookie dough into an even layer in baking dish. Spread 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin pie filling evenly over cookie dough. Mix 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats, 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar, and 2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter together in a medium bowl until combined. Scatter oat mixture evenly over pumpkin.

Bake until a thin knife inserted into center comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Place on a wire rack and let cool to room temperature. Grasping the parchment, lift the slab out of baking dish and place on a cutting board. Cut into 12 pieces.

Get the recipe: Pumpkin Pie Bars

Credit: Photos: Joe Lingeman, Design: Kitchn

4. Pumpkin Brownies

Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven; heat to 350oF. Coat an 8×8-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Whisk 1 (17.6-ounce) box brownie mix, 1 large egg, 1/3 cup vegetable oil, and 1/3 cup water together in a large bowl until smooth. Use a hand mixer to beat 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin pie filling and 8 ounces softened cream cheese together in a large bowl until smooth and lightened in texture.

Pour half the brownie batter into baking dish, dollop half the pumpkin mixture on top, top with 2 tablespoons semisweet chocolate chips. Top with remaining brownie batter and pumpkin mixture, then use a thin knife or skewer to swirl the two together. Top with 2 more tablespoons chocolate chips. Bake until center of brownies jiggles slightly, about 60 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack.

Credit: Photos: Joe Lingeman, Design: Kitchn

5. Mini Maple Pumpkin Tarts

Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven; heat to 400oF. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Unroll 2 (9-inch) refrigerated pie crusts; roll each into a rough 9×13-inch rectangle with a rolling pin. Cut each sheet into 8 (2 3/4-inch) squares; discard excess dough.

Spoon 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie filling onto the center of 8 of the squares. Top each with a second square of dough. Use a fork to press down and seal the edges; transfer to the prepared baking sheets. Bake until golden-brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Immediately transfer tarts to a wire rack and cool for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, stir 2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter, 1 tablespoon maple syrup, and 1/2 cup powdered sugar together in a small bowl until smooth. Spread 1/2 teaspoon glaze over each tart.

Welcome to Snapshot Cooking, the home of Kitchn’s easiest recipes. These mini recipes are so simple you can practically cook from the before-and-after snapshot itself.