Does Pumpkin Pie Need to Be Refrigerated?
ERIN MCDOWELL

Pumpkin pie hits all the right marks—not too sweet, not too rich, just right. Which is why come Thanksgiving, we look forward to tucking into this seasonal dessert after the big meal...and then again for breakfast the following day. If you’re lucky enough to get sent home with pumpkin pie leftovers, you might be wondering what to do with them. This festive treat is undeniably yummy when served warm or at room temperature with a heaping dollop of cold whipped cream—but can you let that tasty slice of pie rest on the countertop, or does pumpkin pie need to be refrigerated? Read on, friends—we’re serving up knowledge.

Does Pumpkin Pie Need to Be Refrigerated?

Here’s the short (and only) answer to this question: It does indeed. A standard (i.e., non-vegan) pumpkin pie filling reliably contains dairy and egg—two ingredients that, per the FDA, require cool, refrigerator temperatures of 40ºF or below to prevent the proliferation of pathogenic bacteria. Unlike spoilage bacteria, pathogenic bacteria can cause food poisoning without transforming the smell, taste or appearance of food. In other words, it’s like a sneak attack.

Bottom line: It doesn’t matter if the pie filling was made from scratch or came from a can—your best bet is to promptly stick that pie in the fridge. There, it will stay fresh for up to four days. 

How Long Does Pumpkin Pie Last Outside of the Fridge?

Let us answer that question with another question: Is your pie homemade or store-bought? According to the FDA, a homemade pumpkin pie should not stay out at room temperature any longer than two hours after it has thoroughly cooled (a prerequisite for safe refrigerator storage). A ready-made, store-bought pie—provided it did not come from the refrigerated or frozen section but was purchased at room temperature—can hang out and continue to tempt you on the countertop until the sell-by date and then survive an additional two to four days once transferred to the fridge. (Preservatives, how we hate to love you.) 

Can You Freeze Pumpkin Pie?

Excellent news for anyone who hosted a feast but was unsuccessful at foisting dessert leftovers on the guests: You can freeze pumpkin pie to great effect, and even get up to two months out of this prized pastry by doing so. Just be sure to check out this pumpkin pie freezing tutorial before you put your dessert in a deep freeze for some expert tips.

How to Reheat Pumpkin Pie

Many people prefer to eat pumpkin pie either cold or at room temperature, but for some there’s no comfort quite like the kind that comes from digging into a warm slice of pie. If you’re in that camp, you are probably wondering how to take the chill off your leftovers. Good news: Reheating pumpkin pie is a cinch. To proceed, simply preheat your oven to 350 F. When the preheat is done, cover the pie loosely with tin foil and pop it in the oven. After roughly 15 minutes (or less for a single serving), the pumpkin pie should be done but to check that it’s warmed all the way through, slide a knife in the middle of the pie and see if it’s warm to the touch once removed. Let the pie stand for a couple of minutes before serving. Note: Once the pie’s been reheated, don’t freeze it again.

All geared up to start baking up some festive, seasonal sweets? Get a head start with some of our favorite pumpkin-flavored desserts for a dose of holiday spirit: 

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