This fun twist on the traditional pumpkin pie uses a sweet and salty pretzel graham cracker crust and the results do not disappoint. Perfect for your Thanksgiving dessert spread!Jump to Recipe
Let me level with you. I really don’t love most traditional pie crusts; I find them to be somewhat boring and dry. So I decided to break the rules and make this beautiful pumpkin pie with a decadent sweet and salty brown butter pretzel graham cracker crust. It has the traditional pumpkin pie filling we all know and love but with a fun little twist on the crust. I’m obsessed. It will truly wow your Thanksgiving guests.
Ingredients for Pumpkin Pie
Pumpkin Purée: An entire can! That’s right, we’re using real deal pumpkin in this recipe.
Heavy Whipping Cream: Half and half works too! You will be surprised at the difference this makes when you swap it in for the more traditional sweetened condensed milk.
Eggs: To give the pie structure and bind it together.
Brown Sugar: I love the deep flavor that brown sugar provides compared with regular white sugar.
Molasses: Just a tablespoon for a deep, slightly smoky flavor. This may not be traditional, but apparently Julia Child put it in her pumpkin pie, so who am I to question the queen?
Cornstarch: Thickens our pie filling just a bit to make sure it has that decadent custard texture.
Vanilla Extract: To enhance the flavor of the pie and lend some subtle vanilla vibes.
Pumpkin Pie Spice: Widely available everywhere these days. It’s a short cut I don’t mind making. My favorite blend is from Trader Joe’s.
Cinnamon: Yes, there’s some cinnamon in pumpkin pie spice. But I wanted to up the cinnamon flavor even more.
Sea Salt: Just a bit to bring out the sweetness in our pie.
The Brown Butter Pretzel Graham Cracker Crust
This buttery sweet and salty crust comes together in just a few simple steps.
- Brown your butter! Whisk constantly in a small saucepan over medium heat until it bubbles, foams, and turns golden brown and gives off a nutty scent. Pour into a separate bowl immediately so it doesn’t burn and cool while you prepare the rest of your crust.
- Throw the pretzels and graham crackers in a food processor and pulse until it’s broken down into a powder. Alternatively, you could put them in a Ziplock or Stasher bag and use a rolling pin to crush them.
- Use a silicone spatula or clean hands to fold the butter into the pretzel and graham cracker mixture. Press the mixture evenly into a 9-inch pie dish and bake on 350° F for 10 minutes.
Pumpkin Pie Tips & Tricks
- You could certainly do all graham crackers or all pretzels for the crust if that’s what you have on hand. However, I tested pretty much every version as I was developing this recipe and found this combo to be the winner.
- You could skip browning the butter for the crust if you’re short on time. The taste would obviously be different, but subbing melted butter would work just fine.
- As I often say, everyone’s oven is a little bit different and they tend to be finicky. Your pie is done when it reaches an internal temperature of 175° F in the center of the pie. If you don’t want to poke a hole in your pie (understandable!), look for a golden brown top that’s slightly soft and wobbly in the center (but not liquid!).
- Bake the pie for 15 minutes at 425° F before lowering the oven temperature to 350° F and baking for an additional 35-45 minutes. This allows the pie to bake evenly without getting scalded and minimizes cracks.
- Make sure you allow your pie to cool for the full 4 hours in order for it to set properly. I know this takes patience but it’s worth it.
- Make sure you store this pie in the refrigerator since it’s made with fresh cream!
If you try this luscious Pumpkin Pie with a Brown Butter Pretzel Graham Cracker Crust, be sure to leave a rating, review, question, or concern! This encourages others to make it as well and helps enormously with Google rankings. You can also find me on Pinterest, Instagram, and TikTok. I always love hearing from you!
Looking for more Thanksgiving recipes?
- Brussels Sprouts Pear Salad with Wild Rice
- Roasted Squash Apple Salad with Tahini Apple Cider Vinaigrette
- Mascarpone Mashed Potatoes
- Amazing Cinnamon Pumpkin Cornbread
- Japanese-Inspired Miso Green Beans
- Crispy Parmesan Dijon Brussels Sprouts
- Garlicky Brown Butter Sugar Snap Peas
Pumpkin Pie with Brown Butter Pretzel Graham Cracker Crust
- Small Saucepan
- Food Processor (Optional)
- hand or stand mixer (optional)
- 9-inch Pie Dish
For Pretzel Graham Cracker Crust:
- 6 tbsp butter
- 1 heaping cup pretzels gluten-free if needed
- 1 heaping cup graham cracker pieces gluten-free if needed
For Pie Filling:
- 1 15 oz can pumpkin purée (not pumpkin pie filling!)
- 1½ cups heavy whipping cream or half and half
- 2 large eggs
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 1 tbsp molasses
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- 1½ tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- Preheat the oven to 350° F. Add butter to a small saucepan over medium heat. As the butter melts, it will begin to bubble and foam. Whisk or stir constantly during this process to ensure it doesn't burn. Continue to whisk until the butter turns golden brown and takes on a nutty scent, 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat immediately, transfer into a bowl, and set aside to cool slightly.
- While the butter is cooling, put the pretzels and graham crackers into the bowl of a food processor and pulse until they break down into a powder. Alternatively, you could place the pretzels and graham crackers in a large sealed Ziplock bag and crush them with a rolling pin.
- In a separate bowl, mix processed pretzels and graham crackers and browned butter with large spoon or rubber spatula until well-combined. Press the mixture into pie dish to form a crust. Bake for 10 minutes and set to the side for now.
The Rest of the Pie
- Increase the oven temperature to 425° F. Meanwhile, make your pie filling. Add all pie filling ingredients (see above list) to a large bowl and beat with a hand or stand mixer until smooth and well-combined, about 1-2 minutes. Alternatively, you could whisk by hand.
- Pour the pie filling mixture into the pie dish with the prepared crust, leaving about a quarter inch of room at the top (you don't want that precious mixture sloshing over the edge!). Carefully transfer the pie to the center rack in the oven and bake for 15 minutes at 425° F. Lower the oven temperature to 350° F and cook an additional 35-45 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and the middle is still a bit soft and wobbly (though not liquid!). You could also use a baking thermometer and remove the pie from the oven when it reaches an internal temperature of 175° F.
- Let sit and rest for at least 4 hours. This is an important step; do not skip! This gives the pie time to set and cool completely.
- Cut into 8 slices and serve! Top with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, or whatever your heart desires!
Photography by Hope Agresti