Pumpkin pie is a Christmas and Thanksgiving tradition in many families and is often the dessert of choice for holiday gatherings. While pumpkin pie is delicious, it is also perishable. Which leaves us with the question, does pumpkin pie need to be refrigerated?
Yes, homemade and store-bought pumpkin pie should be kept refrigerated or on the counter at room temperature for no longer than 2 hours. Bacteria can multiply quickly on pumpkin pie and make you sick, so it’s important to take care when storing and serving it.
Should You Refrigerate A Pumpkin Pie?
In general, you should refrigerate pumpkin pie, whether it’s homemade or store-bought. The reason is that pumpkin pies generally have a high dairy content (milk, cream, and eggs), and dairy products are best kept cold. So refrigerating your pie will help to keep the dairy fresh and prevent it from going bad.
When you’re ready to serve, simply take it out of the fridge and set it on the counter for about 1 hour at room temperature.
I will often set it on the counter just before we start dinner for desserts like pumpkin pie.
Although, there is always a debate about whether pumpkin pie is better served warm or cold.
How Long Should Pumpkin Pie Cool Before Refrigerating?
A freshly baked homemade pumpkin pie should be put on a cooling rack for about 2 hours before refrigerating. The pie will still be warm, so it’s important not to cover it until it has completely cooled. Covering a warm pumpkin pie will cause it to sweat and reduce its shelf life.
Why Is Store-Bought Pumpkin Pie Not Refrigerated?
Store-bought pumpkin pie is usually found in the bakery section of the grocery store on a rack and doesn’t need to be kept cold because of its commercial ingredients. The high sugar content, acidity, and preservatives in store-bought pumpkin pie allow it to be stored at room temperature safely.
On the other hand, homemade pumpkin pie should be refrigerated because it doesn’t contain the same preservatives and has a higher risk for foodborne illness. If you’re not sure if your pumpkin pie is homemade or store-bought, it’s always better to put it in the fridge.
Pumpkin pie is typically made with a lot of sugar. Sugar can act as a preservative, but it’s always best to err on the side of caution and refrigerate your pie no matter how you acquire it.
As I mentioned above, you can always take it out ahead of time before serving.
How Long Can Pumpkin Pie Sit Out At Room Temperature?
You can have your pumpkin pie can sit out at room temperature for up to two hours. After that, pumpkin pie should be refrigerated to prevent bacterial growth, according to the FDA. If your pumpkin pie is sitting in a hot kitchen, that time should be reduced further to prevent your guests from getting sick.
Can You Leave Pumpkin Pie Out Overnight?
Pumpkin pie left on the counter overnight, without whipped cream, may still be good to eat the next day. But if you want to be on the safe side, refrigerate your pumpkin pie and only take a slice when you need it. And don’t forget to add the whipped cream after.
One of the reasons you can leave store-bought pumpkin pie out overnight is that pumpkins are naturally high in water content.
This means that even after being baked, there’s still a lot of moisture left in the filling. That moisture helps to keep the pie from drying out and becoming too hard to eat.
However, there is a risk of food poisoning if you leave pumpkin pie out for too long. Bacteria can start to grow on the pumpkin filling, making it unsafe to eat.
There aren’t any ways for us at home to test the bacterial content, so it’s best to refrigerate your pumpkin pie if you’re not going to be eating it right away.
If you’re not sure, learn here about how to tell if pumpkin pie is bad and all the signs of spoilage.
Tips On How To Store Store-Bought Pumpkin Pie
Here are a few tips for storing your store-bought pumpkin pie:
- If you’re not serving your pie right away, store it in the fridge in the box that you purchased it in. But remember to take it out of the fridge about an hour before you plan to serve it so that it has time to come to room temperature.
- To keep leftover pumpkin pie from drying out prematurely, you can cover it with plastic wrap. Don’t be afraid to press the wrap against the cut edges of the pie to help seal the pie filling’s moisture.
- If you want to keep the pie for more than a few days, you can freeze it. Try putting it into the freezer until it’s no longer sticky, then wrap it tightly in plastic wrap before freezing. Thaw your pie overnight in the fridge when you’re ready to eat it.
Store-Bought Pumpkin Pie FAQs
Does Mrs. Smith’s Pumpkin Pie Need To Be Refrigerated?
Yes, the directions for MRS. SMITH’S® Original Flaky Crust Pumpkin Pie requires leftovers to be covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days.
Does Costco Pumpkin Pie Need To Be Refrigerated?
Yes, Costco pumpkin pies need to be refrigerated because they don’t contain any preservatives that would allow them to stay at room temperature. You will find their pumpkin pies chilled in the cooler section, so make sure to get them home to your refrigerator as soon as possible.