I don’t bother making my own purée from fresh pumpkin since I’ve never found it worth the effort. Canned pumpkin like Libby’s is lower in moisture and produces a perfectly smooth, flavorful pie. I also like this combination of warm spices, but if you’re missing one, can’t find them all at the store, or just don’t like certain spices, feel free to come up with your own pumpkin pie spice blend.—Claire Saffitz

david caricature

Why Our Testers Loved This

Our testers loved that this easy pumpkin pie elevated the classic with simple changes, including brown butter and honey caramel. They loved the “luxurious, creamy texture”, and not-too-sweet flavor.

What You’ll Need to Make This

  • Pie crust–We recommend using an all-butter pie crust here, but you can substitute your favorite flaky pie crust recipe or purchase a good quality pie shell from the store.
  • Honey–Use good-quality dark-colored honey here. It will add noticeable flavor to your pumpkin pie filling.
  • Pumpkin puree–Canned pumpkin puree works great here, or you can make your own. Don’t use pumpkin pie filling.
  • Spices–Feel free to make your own pumpkin pie spice blend, or purchase one from the store. You’ll need a scant 5 teaspoons.

How to Make This Recipe

  1. Heat the oven. Preheat the oven to 325°F and place your pie crust on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet.
  2. Make the caramelized honey. Melt the butter and cook until it browns, stir in the honey, and cook until it smells nutty. Remove from the heat and stir in the heavy cream.
  3. Make the pumpkin pie filling. Vigorously whisk the eggs and sugar, then mix in the pumpkin, salt, and spices until very smooth. Whisk in the honey caramel, then pour the filling into the prepared pie shell.
  4. Bake the pumpkin pie. Cook until the edges of the pie are puffed and the center has a very slight wobble.
  5. Cool the pie. Turn off the oven, crack open the oven door, and let the pie cool completely before serving.


What type of honey should I use?

For this recipe, you’ll want to use good-quality, dark-hued honey. The more strongly flavored the better, so it stands out against the pumpkin. Just don’t use buckwheat or chestnut honey, which are too intense. You want to taste it but not be overwhelmed by it.

What should I do with leftover pie filling?

You may have a little filling left over. Bake it separately in a small ramekin. This prevents ingredient waste and allows you to sample the filling before cutting into the pie.

Can I make my own pumpkin puree?

Definitely. To make homemade pumpkin puree, simply roast cubes or halves of fresh pumpkin until tender, dump into the food processor, and blitz until smooth.

Helpful Tips

  • The pie crust can be made ahead and frozen unbaked for up to 3 months, or parbaked for up to 1 month.
  • Leftover pie can be stored, covered, in the fridge for up to 3 days.
  • Use a wooden spoon to prop open your oven door while your pie is cooling.

More Great Pumpkin Pie Recipes

Write a Review

If you make this recipe, or any dish on LC, consider leaving a review, a star rating, and your best photo in the comments below. I love hearing from you.–David

Caramelized honey pumpkin pie in slices on dessert plates, each garnished with dollops of whipped cream and pumpkin pie spice.

Caramelized Honey Pumpkin Pie

5 / 4 votes
Caramelized honey pumpkin pie will make pumpkin pie lovers out of even the most pumpkin resistant. Gently spiced and with the addition of brown butter and caramelized honey, it hits all the right spots. An all-butter crust is a perfect complement to the sweet, creamy filling.
David Leite
Servings8 servings | 1 (9-inch) pie
Calories363 kcal
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time55 minutes
Total Time3 hours 25 minutes


  • 1 recipe All-Butter Pie Crust, parbaked in a 9-inch (23-cm) pie plate and cooled
  • 5 tablespoons (2 1/2 oz) unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup (4 oz) good quality dark-hued honey
  • 3/4 cup (6 oz) heavy cream, at room temperature
  • 4 large (7 oz) eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup (1.8 oz) packed dark brown sugar
  • One (15-ounce) can unsweetened pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling), preferably Libby’s
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg, preferably freshly grated, plus more for serving
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves (optional)
  • Softly whipped cream, for serving


  • Arrange an oven rack in the center position and preheat the oven to 325°F (163°C). Place the parbaked pie crust on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet.
  • In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, cook the butter, stirring and scraping the bottom and sides constantly with a heatproof spatula. The mixture will sputter as the water boils off. Continue to cook, stirring and scraping, until the sputtering subsides, the butter is foaming, and the solid bits turn a dark brown, 3 to 7 minutes.
  • Remove the saucepan from the heat and immediately add the honey (to prevent the butter from burning), stir to combine.
  • Return the saucepan to medium heat and bring to a boil. Continue to cook, swirling often, until the mixture is darkened slightly and has a savory, nutty smell, 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Remove the saucepan from the heat and slowly stream in the heavy cream, stirring constantly (be careful—the mixture may sputter) until it’s smooth.
  • In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, then add the brown sugar and whisk vigorously until the mixture has lightened in color by a shade or two, about 1 1/2 minutes.
  • Whisk in the pumpkin, cinnamon, ginger, vanilla, salt, allspice, nutmeg, and cloves, if using, until smooth. Slowly stream in the warm honey mixture, whisking constantly, until the filling is completely homogenous, about 2 minutes.
  • Pour the filling into the parbaked crust all the way to the top.
  • Ever so carefully, slide the pie onto the center rack and bake until the filling is set and puffed around the edges and the center wobbles gently, 45 to 60 minutes.
  • Turn off the oven and prop the door open with a wooden spoon. Let the pie cool completely in the oven. Doing so will allow it to cool gradually, which will prevent cracking on the surface.
  • Slice the pie into wedges and top each piece with softly whipped cream. Grate a bit of fresh nutmeg over the cream and serve. The pie, covered and refrigerated, will keep up to 3 days but is best served on the first or second day (the crust will soften over time).


  1. Shortcuts–Use a store-bought pie shell and/or store-bought pumpkin pie spice blend.
  2. Get ahead–Pie crust can be made and frozen, unbaked for up to 3 months, or parbaked for up to 1 month.
Dessert Person Cookbook

Adapted From

Dessert Person

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Serving: 1 servingCalories: 363 kcalCarbohydrates: 34 gProtein: 6 gFat: 23 gSaturated Fat: 12 gMonounsaturated Fat: 8 gTrans Fat: 1 gCholesterol: 141 mgSodium: 427 mgFiber: 2 gSugar: 20 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2020 Claire Saffitz. Photo © 2020 Alex Lau. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

This caramelized honey pumpkin pie is perfectly spiced and has just the right amount of sweetness. I love the nutty, rich taste of browned butter, and using honey for the caramel seemed like a nice touch.

The custard is creamy and compliments a good crust. (I used the included All-Butter Pie Dough for my par-baked crust and it was buttery and flaky and so delicious!)

This caramelized honey pumpkin pie is hands down the best pumpkin pie I have ever made. I was drawn to the idea of the brown butter and then caramelizing the honey. I’ve never heard of that before, now I wonder why.

The recipe suggests using dark and flavorful honey, mine was slightly darker than medium wildflower honey. I loved the combination of spices, just the right complement to the other ingredients.

This is a pie for that friend of yours who says he doesn’t like pumpkin pie. It has a lovely, luxurious, creamy texture, deep toffee flavors of butter and honey, and spice. It makes for an excellent variation on the classic pumpkin pie for the holiday. Honestly, I prefer my pumpkin pie more “pumpkin forward” so I can taste it but this is a really good variation and my wife loved it. I guess we are having 2 versions this year next to our turkey.

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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Recipe Rating


  1. This looks amazing! As per usual, as expected from this lovely site.

    Question – would you recommend Buckwheat honey here?

    1. J’enay, buckwheat honey will likely be too intense for this pie. You want the honey flavor to come through in the filling but not overpower it.

  2. 5 stars
    We made this for Thanksgiving and it was delicious. The flavor is deeper and richer than a typical pumpkin pie and will now be on our holiday rotation.

    1. So wonderful to hear you enjoyed this pie, Kai. Here’s to many more slices of it! Thank you for writing!