Every year around this time I try to make pumpkin pie. We don't have that many varieties around here so I use a fresh butternut squash that I bake and then puree. However, if the cooked squash is sweet and aromatic, when combined with the other ingredients for a pie, it loses that aroma and turns very bland. Or one of the spices overshadows the whole taste. I have tried a few different pumpkin pie recipes but they all turn out the same. A big disadvantage for me is that I haven't eaten a proper pumpkin pie (because where I live it's not very traditional), so I don't have anything to compare it with.

I would like to know if you had stumbled across similar issues when you made your pies and know how to correct them, or if that's just the way pumpkin pie should taste. I would expect it to taste at least as good as the cooked pumpkin, if not better.

  • Pumpkins and squashes vary year to year. I use butternuts for my pies. They usually have a pretty good squash ("pumpkin") taste, but some years are bland. For more pumpkinny goodness, try using a Hubbard squash: google.com/search?q=Hubbard+squash&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8 Round here, they get sold as "ornamental gourds" for 48 cents a pound. Actual orange pumpkins seem to have the least taste of any of the usuals used for pumpkin pie. Oct 9, 2017 at 1:13
  • Possibly worth pointing out that, from what I understand, most American pumpkin pies aren't made with "pumpkins"... thekitchn.com/… :D So don't fret too much about the flavor of "pumpkin".
    – Catija
    Oct 9, 2017 at 4:27

1 Answer 1


Pumpkin pie where I come from (USA) is made with these big round orange squashes (we call them "pumpkins", but I believe that term is used for different things in some other countries). Unlike butternut squash, or other members of the squash family, our pumpkins aren't considered to be delicious cooked by themselves, and so people here pretty much only use them mixed with other tasty ingredients to make sweet dishes -- especially pies.

So the pies pretty much taste like the custard ingredients they are made with plus cinnamon, nutmeg, and the other "pumpkin pie spices" traditionally included. The moist texture is pretty much the only thing the pumpkin contributes to the finished product. In fact the pumpkin itself is such a minor contributor to the pie, that most people (I mean regular household cooks, not famous chefs or enthusiasts) will use canned pumpkin puree in a "homemade" pumpkin pie. However pumpkin pie is so traditional here, we tend to go on and on about how wonderful it is, and at winter holidays stores try to sell stuff scented with "pumpkin spice".... What that scent really is is just "spice"- mostly cinnamon.

I wonder if your expectations for pumpkin pie are a little too high, especially since all your recipes keep coming out similar, and "one of the spices overshadows the whole taste". I suspect that that's just the way pumpkin pie is supposed to taste. Even some Americans don't really like it.

  • Interesting, seems that perhaps I did have higher expectations for pumpkin pie... That's a shame, since I really like the cooked pumpkin. Perhaps I should just eat it like that lol.Thank you for giving me confidence in my cooking skills :) Oct 9, 2017 at 6:10
  • I will eat pumpkin pie - if I'm hungry and it's the only flavor available. It's my least favorite pie flavor (without delving into the savory/horrible sort, anyway - stick to pie as dessert in considering this comment.) I'd suggest that Nini try a pie without any spice if the flavor of the squash is what's wanted, as it is indeed the case that "the spice is the flavor" in standard pumpkin pie, and will sledgehammer whatever the squash has to offer.
    – Ecnerwal
    Oct 10, 2017 at 0:52

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