how to make gluten-free pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving

Pie. Pumpkin pie. Apple pie. Cranberry-ginger pie.

Please make pie. Please eat pie.

You can’t eat gluten? Oh heavens, you have no idea how lucky you are. Made with love and patience, gluten-free pie can be better than pie made with gluten.

Let us show you how we make it.

Let me emphasize a few things you saw there.

You want everything COLD. Much more important than gluten to a pie dough is cold. Weigh out the flours you’re going to be using and put them in the freezer for 30 minutes before you start. If you’re using the food processor, put the bowl and blade of the food processor in the freezer as well. Cube up your butter into 1-inch pieces and put them in the refrigerator. You want COLD. That’s what makes a pie crust flaky.

I like using the food processor for pie dough, since it cuts the cold butter into the cold flour so fast. If you’re newish to making pie, and you have a food processor, I recommend using it. Danny prefers to make pie dough by hand, putting his hands into the flour to feel it. He also likes to grate frozen butter into the flour instead of using cubes of cold butter. I love doing this too. But if you’re not adept at making pie dough yet, making pie dough by hand means it could grow too warm too fast.

It goes fast in the video, so I want to make this clear. When you pulse the butter with the flour? Pulse until the butter is the size of lima beans. Many recipes ask you to make them the size of peas but I think this is too small.

This is my favorite pie dough recipe. I’ve used it dozens of times. Use it as a structure and make it your own. Some of you like using a little lard with your butter. Cool. Some of you like shortening. That’s good too. Sometimes I stir a little sour cream into the ice-cold water to make the pie dough richer. Sometimes I put in some cold apple cider vinegar. Sometimes I add an egg to make sure it all holds together.

You see, pie is about hands on dough, feeling and listening, intuition instead of measuring, dribbles of cold water, and the joy of crimping. There are many, many ways to make pie dough. Take a look at our video and see what makes sense to you. And then make your own pie crust.

(Just know you definitely don’t need gluten to make a pie crust.)

And if you want to make pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving? Well, take a look at this.

Yum. Pumpkin pie.

Now, we really prefer to make fresh pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving. Last year, we shared our recipe for fresh pumpkin pie. I’m making two of those tomorrow.

However, if you want to make the one we showed you in the video, it’s very simple. It’s essentially this recipe with coconut milk in place of the evaporated milk. This means that if you make this vegan pie crust, you can make a gluten-free, dairy-free pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving.

And it’s delicious.

Now, go make some pie.

p.s. There was an omission the recipe on our iPad app. The amount of coconut milk you need is one can, about 14 ounces.

20 comments on “how to make gluten-free pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving

  1. Patricia

    Have you ever tried making a pie dough with cream cheese? I’m intrigued by the idea, but I’m not sure what it would replace — the fat or the liquid?

    1. Kimberly

      I tried something different and made a Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake with Caramel Sauce for Thanksgiving. The kids who don’t like pumpkin pie loved the pumpkin pie cheesecake. They also requested it for Christmas. And best part it’s also gluten free.

  2. ALV

    Can’t wait to try this–bought the app–love having the idea of having recipes archived and of properly paying for content! Please consider doing one for holiday cooking.

  3. Dominique Glanville

    Love the videos! I can’t find the pumpkin pie recipe with the coconut milk in it on this post or on your site. I found one with roasting your own pumpkin, but couldn’t find the one you demonstrated in this video. Can you post a link? Thanks!

    1. shauna

      Thanks, Dominique! there’s a link in that paragraph to the recipe we started from (pssst! It’s the Libby’s pumpkin pie recipe). Just replace the evaporated milk with coconut milk.

  4. Ally Sublett

    Ah THANK YOU!!! I was HOPING you would post one (not your fault I don’t own an ipad!). Of course, I made my dough LAST Night and saw this when I got up this am :) LOL. I always have terrible timing!

    Can I ask one (likely stupid) question?

    Do you use the dough blade or the “regular” blade when you do it? I assume the dough blade, since it’s dough, but … well … I just wondered (mostly because I left my butter in the freezer too long when a friend texted about how to make df whip cream and I got side tracked whipping some up so I could tell her how!) and the dough blade had a hard time chunking up my too hard butter which made me question which blade I was meant to use.

    I had it the right texture based on the video, and then I stupidly added MORE water, all nervous that it wasn’t right and totally laughed at me this morning and wondered when I would learn to trust me :) THANK YOU for doing all this labor and effort for us. Every time I need a recipe the hubs says “Does Shauna have one, if she does use that one!”. You are a staple in our household! You have saved many a meals, and my sanity in the process.

    THANK YOU.

  5. maggie

    I am really confused. I remember you used to use the 40% whole grain and 60% starch mix a long time ago (around 2010) and then somewhere in the last year or two (2012–2011) you switched it to a 70% whole grain and 30% starch ratio. I could have sworn that the pie recipe linked to the 70%/30% blend. Am I remembering wrong or did you switch it back to 40% 60% recently? Could you please clarify this?

    1. shauna

      Maggie, we use both the AP mix (60/40) and the whole-grain mix (70–30). You can use either one you like.

  6. Roberta

    The recipe for the pumpkin pie you make in the video will not show up when I press the link.
    Any suggestions?

  7. Gluten Free Julia

    Thank you so much for sharing your insight on how to make great gluten-free pastry! Your video has arrived at a most opportune time, as I am embarking on learning how to make gluten-free pastry myself. My attempts (good and bad!) are documented on my new blog. I have found my gluten free pastry goes a bit crumbly — what would you recommend? Thank you and I love your blog!

  8. holly

    Hi, I bought the Thanksgiving app and am excited about trying the pie crust. Could you clarify how much coconut milk goes into the pumpkin pie? It is mentioned in the recipe, but is not listed in the ingredients list. Thanks, Holly

  9. Tara

    Hi Shauna — love your blog, book, everything! I bought your app and am looking at the pumpkin pie recipe and you reference coconut milk but its not in the list of ingredients. How much should I use?!?

    Thanks much!
    Happy Holidays from Calgary, Alberta, Canada — where Julie van Rosendaal lives!

    1. shauna

      Hey Tara, it’s 1 can! (usually about 14 ounces). The Apple store should be releasing the update any time now!

  10. Liz

    well, I thought we would get a recipe that would include my 9 yr. old celiac/dairy free daughter for Christmas, day after tomorrow. This website has made my daughter feel ‘included’ during the holiday meal at Thanksgiving, but now the recipe is not given. It was a very charitable contribution for us and so many others. Now I have to scramble to find another way to get recipes for my child. I am already so frustrated with trying to take care of her. So dissapointed. : /
    Liz