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Should I Refrigerate My Pumpkin Pie?

Posted by Lisa Peterson -

With Thanksgiving less than a week away, one question that keeps popping up is do I refrigerate pie? This will depend on the type of pie. Pies made with eggs, cream, sour cream, cream cheese, milk, including evaporated or condensed milk, such as pumpkin, cream, chiffon, or custard-based pies should not be out of the refrigerator for more than two hours. Keep in mind; custard and cream-based pies often do not freeze well. These types of pies have a higher moisture content and protein, giving bacteria an ideal environment to grow and could result in food poisoning.

How do I know if I need to refrigerate a pie?

  • Read the recipe. If the recipe contains eggs or dairy products, it should be refrigerated and kept at room temperature no longer than 2 hours.

Why do grocery stores display pecan and pumpkin pie at room temperature?

  • Store bought pies contain preservatives to keep safe and shelf stable. They must also follow compliance with the Food and Drug Administration. For example, pumpkin pie must reach an internal temperature of 180°F at its coolest point to destroy microorganisms, follow good manufacturer practices guidelines, undergo microbial testing, and be labeled with a use by date.

What pies can I leave out at room temperature?

  • Simply put: pies that do NOT contain eggs, evaporated milk, condensed milk, other milk products, sour cream, cream cheese, or custard. These pies are usually fruit pies. Apple, peach, blueberry, apricot, cherry, blackberry are examples of pies that should be loosely covered and kept at room temperature for up to two days. To keep a few extra days or if the pies are in a warmer climate, put fruit pies in the refrigerator.
Below is an easy no-bake pumpkin pie. Notice the milk in the recipe, indicating it should be stored in the refrigerator. Have a safe, happy, and healthy Thanksgiving!

No Bake Pumpkin Pie

1 small box instant vanilla pudding

1/3 cup sugar

1 cup low fat or fat free milk

1 ½ tsp pumpkin pie spice

2 cups canned pumpkin puree

1 prepared graham cracker crust

1. Mix instant pudding with milk in large bowl.

2. Stir until pudding is set.

3. Stir in pumpkin, sugar, and pumpkin pie spice until well blended.

4. Pour into graham cracker pie crust.

5. Refrigerate until time to serve.

Nutrition Facts: Makes 8 servings: 230 kcals, 7 g. fat, 280 mg. sodium, 40 g. carbs,3 g. dietary fiber, 3 g. protein

Recipe from Illinois Nutrition Education Program, "Let's Eat for Health, Illinois."

Looking for additional information about turkeys or side sides for Thanksgiving? Check out University of Illinois Extension "Turkey for the Holidays":

For more quick nutrition, physical activity, or wellness tips follow me ontwitter!Looking for upcoming programs? Visit our local extension website at:


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