My preferred recipe for pumpkin pie uses (approximately, to avoid going into recipe details) a pound of pumpkin, sugar (I use brown), an egg, a cup and a half (total) of evaporated milk and cream, mace and cinnamon. There's quite a bit of liquid in total, and I find that the pie comes out a bit softer than I like.

I'm wondering what the best approach would be to make it thicker. Should I reduce the amount of evaporated milk and cream, or could I do something like add another egg? Or maybe both?

  • The Cooks Illustrated folks, after much testing, came up with a method where they cook the filling (minus the eggs) to get rid of the excess water. seriouseats.com/recipes/2008/11/…
    – Marti
    Commented Nov 2, 2010 at 22:16

7 Answers 7


In the accepted answer to this question, it says that you can try wringing the pumpkin purée out in cheese cloth; or in a comment, that you can let it drain in a colander.


I've come across the same problem when I use fresh pumpkin instead of canned. (even the pumpkin farms recommend using home-canned pumpkin, but I can't plan that far ahead.) There is a huge amount of liquid in a fresh pumpkin.

After experimenting with this recipe. http://www.pumpkinnook.com/cookbook/recipe47.htm , I've found that reducing the milk from 1 1/3 to 3/4 cups seems to do the trick.


I guess a lot of water probably comes out of the pumpkin which is why it is quite soft.

I would maybe try reducing the evaporated milk and cream down to about a cup total, and see how that goes. I think trial and error might be the way to go here - at least you get to eat all the trials!


I start by cutting the pumpkin in half and roast the halves in the oven until tender. Roasting drives off some of the water, microwaving or steaming just makes it worse. Then I scoop out the now soft flesh and puree it in the food processor until smooth. The final trick is to put it a large colander set into a bowl in the cool garage for a two days to drain. There is a huge amount of liquid that comes out, I empty it every now and then. After the drainage slows way down I make a pie or two and freeze the rest in ziplock bags. I typically get a "cinderella / french" style pumpkin but butternut squash or others should work well too.



After you pureed the pumpkin you need to cook it down in a pan to concentrate the flavor and evaporate excess liquid.

  • This is true for a pureed pumpkin, certainly -- does it also help when using pre-pureed (canned) pumpkin?
    – Erica
    Commented Nov 10, 2015 at 11:51
  • Yes, it does. There is probably more water in fresh-pureed than canned, but there is still a lot of liquid in canned pumpkin puree. You can also strain the pulp and collect the liquid and cook only the liquid down if you prefer.
    – NadjaCS
    Commented Nov 10, 2015 at 17:16

When I want to drain some water out of vegetables, I use one of these techniques, depending on the outcome I prefer for the dish:

  • I cook them with a steam cooker.
  • I fry them in a pan. In this case I would use butter.

if you're looking to strictly alter your own recipe, i would do what the other suggestions have stated and reduce the milk/cream and strain the pumpkin.

if you're looking for a new recipe, i found a recipe somewhere on the interwebs that called for cream cheese and pureed cashews that made for an awesome texture and flavor. problem is i have no memory of where i got it, i think if you google "5 ingredient pumpkin pie" it should come up somewhere.

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