As the weather turns chilly and the leaves begin to fall, nothing warms the heart quite like a slice of freshly baked pumpkin pie. However, if you or someone close to you is avoiding milk-based products, you might wonder, does pumpkin pie have dairy?
The short answer is yes, the traditional pumpkin pie recipe calls for sweetened condensed milk or cream that contains dairy. That said, you can still make this classic dessert without using any milk-based products.
Keep reading to learn about traditional pumpkin pie ingredients and how you can make this dessert without eggs and milk.
Does the Traditional Pumpkin Pie Recipe Have Dairy?
Pumpkin pie is a classic dessert usually enjoyed during the fall and winter holidays. It consists of a pumpkin-based filling poured into a flaky pie crust.
The filling typically contains dairy. You can make it by mixing pumpkin puree, eggs, sugar, spices (such as cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, or cloves), and a milk-based ingredient such as sweetened condensed milk or evaporated milk.
The milk used in the traditional recipe gives pumpkin pie its rich and creamy texture, which is one of the things that make it delicious.
Though, there’s no need to worry if dairy is off-limits for you; you can still make a delectable pumpkin pie using alternatives!
How Do You Make Pumpkin Pie Without Eggs or Milk?
Since traditional pumpkin pie recipes call for dairy, there will probably be some dairy in most store-bought pumpkin pies. The best way to avoid consuming dairy in your pie will be to make it yourself.
Here’s how to make both the crust and the filling without eggs or dairy.
How to Make the Crust
Butter is usually the only dairy ingredient in the crust. It’s used to achieve the perfect texture and add flavor.
Without it, you can still get a delicately crisp and flaky pie crust by using any of these non-dairy alternatives.
Vegan butter can work just as well as regular butter to achieve a perfectly flaky crust without changing anything else from the original recipe. It won’t taste exactly like regular butter, but it will still provide a rich flavor.
Coconut oil is another good alternative. Some bakers claim that it works a lot like regular butter.
Apart from achieving the pie crust’s signature flakiness, it also produced a crust with a beautiful, light golden color. It also adds a mildly sweet flavor to the crust, so keep that in mind when adding other ingredients.
One downside is it’s harder to handle than other alternatives. It’s also not the best choice for people who want their dough crispy.
You can find many recipes that use this alternative online. Try this recipe from The Spruce Eats; it’s guaranteed to give you a tender and flaky crust.
Some bakers prefer using vegetable oil because of its neutral flavor. That said, you can expect your crust to lack the traditional buttery flavor many people want. However, texture-wise, it can work just as well as butter in making the perfect crust.
How to Make the Filling
Milk and eggs are usually used in the filling for the rich flavor and thick, creamy texture of pumpkin pie. However, there are alternatives you can use with satisfying and delicious results.
Eggs are used in the filling to make a thick consistency and to help set the mixture. To get the same result, you can use other thickening agents, such as cornstarch, arrowroot powder, or tapioca starch.
Cornstarch is the most commonly used because of its neutral flavor. Arrowroot powder and tapioca starch can work as well, though. Just keep in mind that these two may add sweet and nutty flavors to the filling.
Instead of canned sweetened condensed milk, you can make homemade condensed milk using non-dairy alternatives. Coconut milk, soy milk, and nut milk can work well here.
Just take a non-dairy milk of your choice and simmer it with sugar until it thickens and reduces in volume.
For thicker and richer consistency, the best kinds of milk to use are coconut milk and cashew milk because of their high-fat content. Soy and almond milk may be good, too, but they won’t be as rich.
Different kinds of non-dairy milk may add distinct flavors to your pie’s filling. You might need to experiment a little to find the best milk for your desired taste.
What Are Some Tips for Making Good Dairy-Free Pumpkin Pie?
Switching out traditional ingredients sometimes means a few more adjustments to get a perfect result.
Here are some tips that might help:
Add Flavoring to the Crust
Trading in the butter in your crust can result in a lack of flavor. You can add flavoring like vanilla extract or cinnamon to compensate for this.
Chill Your Dough
Chilling your dough is the key to the perfect crust texture. Doing this before baking will help make your dough firmer and easier to work with. It will also result in a flakier crust.
Pumpkin pie filling usually has cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. Adding extra spices can help enhance the flavor and make up for any lack of richness from the eggs or dairy.
Without eggs, your filling may take longer to set. Keep a careful eye on your pie and make sure you don’t bake it too long.
It’s best to take your pie out of the oven when it still has a slight jiggle in the center.
Even if you’re avoiding eggs and dairy, making the perfect pumpkin pie is possible. There are plenty of non-dairy alternatives to achieve a rich, creamy filling and a flaky crust.
With these tips and a little bit of experimentation, you can create a delicious pumpkin pie that everyone can enjoy!
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.