Love traditional recipes for Thanksgiving but also looking to take things up a notch? This Dulce de Leche Pumpkin Pie is your answer to dessert. Smooth and decadent, with a light caramelized flavor and warm spices, this pumpkin pie is just like your favorite but leveled up just enough to make it extra-wonderful.

slice of pumpkin pie on a plate
pumpkin pie in a pie plate

Dulce de Leche Pumpkin Pie Recipe

Calling all pumpkin pie lovers! I know you’re out there, and this pie is for you. Rich, smooth, velvety, with a unique depth of flavor to the classic dessert thanks to the addition of one special ingredient: dulce de leche. I’m sold on this for pumpkin pie forevermore.

Here is what you can expect from this pumpkin pie recipe:

  • The same easy pie you know and love, but with a few added flavors
  • A caramelized flavor and custard-like texture
  • Warm spices throughout
  • Buttery pie crust base
  • Picture-perfect slices topped with whipped cream or whipped topping (’tis the season for Cool Whip!)
  • A new family favorite for the holiday season

I don’t know about you, but I am always game for a new twist on an old tradition, and this pie fits the bill 100%.

The Best Ingredients for Dulce de Leche Pumpkin Pie

The thing about pumpkin pie is that, because the ingredient list is so simple and straightforward, we want to be sure we are using the proper ingredients and the best quality we can find. Here is what you’ll need:

  • A pie crust (store-bought is fine, but if you want to go all in, here is my go-to all-butter pie crust recipe)
  • Canned dulce de leche (I used the La Lechera brand (see link in the Recipe) for this recipe, but I bet a homemade version or a different brand would work just as well here)
  • Warm spices, including cardamom, ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg
  • Canned pumpkin (or homemade, if that’s your thing! My mom loves to make homemade pumpkin puree, whereas I’m a fan of the canned stuff. See below for more info on these options)
  • Evaporated milk (for sweetness and creaminess)
  • Whipped cream or whipped topping to serve (honestly not really optional, because it makes this pie sing)

All of the above, plus some salt and eggs, will deliver you the best pumpkin pie of your pumpkin pie-filled dreams.

slice of pumpkin pie on a plate

How to Make Dulce de Leche Pumpkin Pie

You can scroll down to the bottom of this post for the full, detailed recipe with ingredients and amounts, etc., but here is the basic gist of what we’re up to here:

  • Step One: Prepare the pie crust. Press one pie crust dough into the bottom and sides of your pie plate; flute the edges as desired. Transfer the pie crust to the freezer while you make the filling, so the crust can set up slightly (this keeps it from slipping down into the pie plate as it bakes).
  • Step Two: Heat the dulce de leche. Microwave the dulce de leche in a microwave-safe bowl until it’s easy to stir and drips off the spoon. This will help the dulce de leche (which is really thick straight from the can) to incorporate into the pumpkin pie filling.
  • Step Three: Make the filling. Whisk the spices together in a small bowl. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and canned pumpkin, then whisk in the spices. Add the evaporated milk, then the dulce de leche. You should end up with a smooth, slightly thickened filling.
  • Step Four: Bake the pie. Pour the filling into the prepared pie crust, then bake the pie for 15 minutes at 425°F, followed by another 35 to 45 minutes at 350°F. If the crust gets too brown while baking, cover it loosely with foil. The filling should be set along the edges and only slightly jiggly in the center. Cool the pie completely on a cooling rack.
  • Step Five: Top and serve! Once the pie is fully cool, slice it up and serve with big dollops of whipped topping, plus a sprinkling of cinnamon if you want to get real fancy. Enjoy!
overhead shot of pumpkin pie slices on plates

Can I Make This Pie Ahead of Time?

Of course! You can prep the pie crust and leave it in the fridge, covered, up to 3 days ahead of time. You can also make the filling the night before; once mixed, just pour it into an airtight container and refrigerate overnight. Pour into the crust the next day and bake as directed.

If you’re making this pie several weeks ahead of time, you should freeze it. See Recipe Notes for freezing directions.

Can I Make Any Swaps to the Spices?

Yes, you can! If you’re not a fan of cardamom, you can leave it out. You can also swap the cardamom, ginger and nutmeg for 1 1/4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (keep the cinnamon as-is). You can also use the spices that are listed in this recipe and adjust the amounts to your taste preferences.

slice of pumpkin pie on a plate with a forkful taken out of it

Canned Pumpkin vs. Fresh Pumpkin?

As I mentioned above, I am a big fan of canned pumpkin for pie recipes — or any pumpkin desserts, for that matter. I find homemade pumpkin puree to be a little too savory for dessert recipes, and it also isn’t as flavorful. That said, if you have homemade pumpkin puree on hand or you want to make some, it does work in this pie recipe! It’s really just a matter of personal preference.

I hope you give this pie a try this Thanksgiving, or anytime you’re craving pumpkin pie with a delicious twist. This is one new-fashioned pie recipe I can feel good about adding to my holiday traditions.

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pumpkin pie slice on a plate

Dulce de Leche Pumpkin Pie

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  • Author: Stephanie
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 3 hours 15 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: American


Take the classic pumpkin pie up a notch with dulce de leche! This easy pie recipe is a perfect way to make something traditional for Thanksgiving while giving it a modern spin. It’s also extremely delicious.


Units Scale
  • 1 pie crust, store-bought or homemade
  • 1 can (13.4 oz) dulce de leche
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon, plus more for topping (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 can (15 oz) pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • Whipped cream or whipped topping, for topping (optional)


  1. Heat oven to 425°F. Press one prepared pie crust into the bottom and sides of a 9-inch pie plate; flute edges as desired. Transfer pie crust to the freezer to set slightly while you prepare the filling.
  2. Transfer dulce de leche to a small, microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on High for 45 seconds to 1 minute; stir thoroughly. The dulce de leche should be smooth and drippy; if it’s still a little stiff, microwave it on High for 10 to 15 more seconds. Set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, nutmeg and salt. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs and pumpkin until combined, then whisk in the spice mixture. Gradually whisk in evaporated milk until combined. Gradually whisk in warm dulce de leche until well-combined.
  4. Pour the filling into the prepared pie crust. Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 350°F. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes more or until the filling is set along the edges and only slightly jiggly (not loose) in the center. Cover the crust with foil halfway through baking if it’s getting too brown.
  5. Transfer fully baked pie to a cooling rack to cool completely, at least 2 hours. Slice and serve topped with whipped cream and a dusting of cinnamon, if desired.


  • Store leftovers, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  • Recipe adapted from The Washington Post.
  • Freeze: You can freeze this pie, fully baked and cooled. Once fully cooled, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and two layers of foil. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw, covered, in the refrigerator overnight before serving.

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