Pumpkin Pie {paleo & AIP}

A delicious pumpkin pie with a buttery, flaky crust just the way you remember it but without the gluten, grains, eggs, or nuts | www.vibrantlifearmywife.com #AIP #paleo #glutenfree #eggfree #nutfree
Some of my favorite memories from my childhood are of making pumpkin pie with my mama for Thanksgiving. Every year the Tuesday before Thanksgiving we would make two pumpkin pies, you know because you have to have lots of leftovers. And we always made it from scratch, including the crust. Well except for the pumpkin puree. We would used canned pumpkin, but I still say that’s pretty darn close to from scratch! In fact I had never even tried the roll out Pillsbury crust until I was at least 17 or 18. (I don’t feel like I missed out at all on that one).

Making the pie crust (and munching on the dough) was always my favorite part. I had this weird thing for dough of any kind back then: pie crust dough, pizza dough, cookie dough (duh), and my favorite of all, biscuit dough. I was kind of a weird kid. Anyway, the pie crust recipe we always used was one from when my mom was in college. She had a friend who had a cherry tree in her yard and they would bake cherry pies on their study breaks.  The recipe was handwritten on an old stained and faded 3 x 5 card and she called it “Never Fail Pie Crust.” And it never did fail us.

In making a nut, egg, and grain free pie crust recipe, I wanted to recreate the texture and taste I remembered from my mom’s pie crust. I wanted to be able to roll out the dough and crimp the edges because that was my favorite part of the process. And I wanted it to hold together when I served that first slice of pie, which is quite the tall order. This pie crust met all these requirements and more!

A delicious pumpkin pie with a buttery, flaky crust just the way you remember it but without the gluten, grains, eggs, or nuts | www.vibrantlifearmywife.com #AIP #paleo #glutenfree #eggfree #nutfree

It is flaky, buttery and delicious, it rolls out quite nicely, especially between two sheets of parchment paper and you can make a beautiful crimped crust with it. It is a little more fragile than traditional dough though so you have to be pretty gentle when placing it in the pie pan. Any cracks or holes are easily mended with a little extra dough. And you don’t have to worry about overworking it because there is no gluten to be overworked!

A little note about the process… I suggest using chilled shortening and chilling the dough before it’s rolled out for a reason. I did a little pie crust research when preparing to make this pie crust and I came across this article about how to create a flaky crust. Apparently the key is cold fat. When placed in the oven, the fat melts and steams which creates little air pockets and these pockets are what makes the crust flaky. So when you cut the shortening into the flour, you want the fat to be about the size of a pea. Don’t worry, it will all come together into a nice ball of dough still. And when you chill your dough, you want it cold but not so cold that it becomes stiff. Too cold dough will crumble when you try to roll it out. If this happens just let it sit out until it becomes more pliable. Thirty minutes of chill time in the refrigerator was just about perfect for me! I had always wondered why we used ice water when making my mom’s pie crust and now I understand. Edited to add: although this technique may work great for traditional wheat based pie crusts, I’ve found that it makes this AIP dough harder to work with and that it isn’t necessary to achieve that flaky texture in this case. For my updated technique see here.

I’ve spent all this time talking about crust, but you can’t forget about the filling! Traditionally, pumpkin pie filling includes eggs and when baked, it comes together into this delicious custard-like pie. In order to replicate this texture, I replaced the eggs with just a smidge of gelatin. This small amount of gelatin allows the pie filling to set in the fridge similar to the way that the traditional egg filled filling does in the oven, but it’s not so much gelatin that it’s like jello.

A delicious pumpkin pie with a buttery, flaky crust just the way you remember it but without the gluten, grains, eggs, or nuts | www.vibrantlifearmywife.com #AIP #paleo #glutenfree #eggfree #nutfree

5.0 from 4 reviews
Pumpkin Pie
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 6-8
  1. For the crust:
  2. Combine flour, salt and gelatin in a mixing bowl
  3. Cut shortening into flour mixture with a pastry cutter or two knives until it is the size of peas
  4. Add applesauce, water and vinegar and mix with a spoon until combined
  5. Roll out dough between two pieces of parchment
  6. To place in pie pan, remove top layer of parchment, place the pan upside down in the center of the dough and then carefully flip the pan over holding on to the dough
  7. Remove the remaining layer of parchment paper and gently press the dough into the pan, repairing any cracks as necessary
  8. Trim excess dough from around the pan and shape the edges as desired
  9. Using a fork, poke holes in the bottom of the crust
  10. Bake at 350 degrees for 18-22 minutes (note: it will not brown as much as a traditional pie crust)
  11. For the filling:
  12. Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan
  13. Turn heat to medium low and cook until gelatin dissolves completely, stirring constantly, about 5-10 minutes (if gelatin doesn't want to dissolve, pour mixture into a blender and blend until incorporated)
  14. Pour into baked pie crust and refrigerate until set (about 3 hours)

As you can see, for the photo I used my mini pie pan which I love. If you do this you should be able to get about five mini pies out of the dough and you’ll probably end up with a little extra filling. Just pour the extra filling in a ramekin and enjoy as a custard! Excuse the iPhone photo, but here is what the crust looks like in a normal pie pan. Obviously this isn’t pumpkin pie. I ran out of pumpkin so I made the Coconut Cream Pie from Brittany Angell’s site (sans whipped cream since I’m not a fan.)

A delicious pumpkin pie with a buttery, flaky crust just the way you remember it but without the gluten, grains, eggs, or nuts | www.vibrantlifearmywife.com #AIP #paleo #glutenfree #eggfree #nutfree

I truly believe this pumpkin pie would be a total winner even among your gluten, nut, and egg eating friends and family. I’ve eaten a lot of pumpkin pie in my life (because it’s my absolute favorite) and this is one of the best I’ve tasted. I hope you and your loved ones enjoy it as much as I did. I’ll definitely be making another one for Thanksgiving next week because I’ve about killed this one!

In vibrant health,


40 thoughts on “Pumpkin Pie {paleo & AIP}

  1. Megan

    Looks delish and I can’t wait to try making this for thanksgiving! If only I had packed my palm shortening (we drove out of state)… Think this would work with cold coconut oil?

    1. Kiersten Post author

      I haven’t tried it so I can’t say for certain. Coconut oil tends to melt much faster than palm shortening so you’d probably need to work pretty fast. If you have lard that may work better. Let me know how it works if you try it!

  2. Megan

    We’ll see what happens! 3 natural health food stores I’ve called upon do not carry palm shortening. Whole Foods is just a touch farther than I want to drive right now too. I’m bemoaning not grabbing it out of my pantry before we traveled as I have 2 containers there. I also have lard at home in my fridge. Such is life. Maybe I can try the coconut oil really cold or just go crustless. Either way I’ll be trying your recipe at some point when I have all the correct ingredients!

  3. Kristen Boehmer

    You mean I’m not the only one who was oddly into all types of dough as a kid?! Kiersten, you are seriously incredible! This pie looks like perfection! If only you’d been creating these recipes when I was doing my AIP 😉

  4. Dora Siah

    This was so good! As palm shortening and canned pumpkin is really tough to come by in my city, I substituted it with goose fat and baked half a winter squash and pureed it instead. I used 2 cups of winter squash puree. The goose fat made the crust really flaky and slightly delicate but held up well to cutting. Lessened the maple syrup to 7 tbsps and it was just the right amount of sweetness for me. Omitted cloves as I did not have that in the kitchen. It was my family’s first time eating pumpkin pie, ever! The family devoured half a pie in one sitting 😉

  5. Mark

    I’ve never made pie dough of any type before so am not sure what is normal, but even before refrigerating, mine was just a crumbled mess! It was like I forgot half the wet ingredients or something (I did not). I added a little more water but still could not ‘roll’ the dough and just had to press the crumbles into a pie pan. Any suggestions? Mine would have made a good cobbler topping!

    1. Kiersten Post author

      It definitely should have been able to be formed into a ball before refrigerating so I’m not sure exactly what happened. Coconut flour can differ in texture and the amount of liquid it absorbs depending on the brand and how old it is. It’s possible that your coconut flour just behaved differently than mine (I used Bob’s Red Mill) and absorbed more liquid. I think you did the right thing adding more water. You could also add a little extra applesauce or shortening too. Just be careful because you don’t want to add too much or it will turn into a melty mess in the oven. I’m sorry it didn’t work out exactly as you had hoped but I hope it still tasted good!

      1. Mark

        It tasted amazing. Best AIP pie crust out there. It still sliced well too. Just not as pretty as yours! Looking forward to trying again.

  6. Josianne

    Your link to the updated crust technique didn’t work. Can you repost?

    The photos are beautiful. I can’t get palm shortening, so I’m going to have to use coconut oil, but this is definitely a recipe I have to set aside time for, so sadly, won’t be trying it for today. Waiting on it will give you time to repost the link to the updated technique, so it works out. 😉

    1. Kiersten Post author

      Sorry about that. It should work fine now, but you can also get to the recipe here. Let me know how it works with the coconut oil. And if you can’t find palm shortening locally, but want to try using that in the future, both Amazon and Thrive Market typically carry it.

  7. Vian

    This looks amazing. I’ve been looking for a good pie crust forever. One question though, does the apple sauce make it sweet? I really want this for a quiche crust (I was AIP for a while, but have been able to reintroduce pastured eggs, grass-fed dairy, and some nuts and seeds so far) I tried an almond flour and coconut oil crust for quiche before I went AIP, but it was too sweet and was kind of terrible with the savory filling (would have been great for a dessert pie, just too sweet for quiche). If it is more on the sweet side, is there anything I can replace it with that would be more savory? I really want a nice flakey, buttery pie crust for quiche. Thanks!

    1. Kiersten Post author

      I have not found it to be sweet at all. There is such a small amount of applesauce it doesn’t really impart any flavor at all, just helps with the texture. However, you may be able to use some pumpkin puree or even replace it with additional fat. I have not tried either of these though so I can’t say for sure that they will work.

  8. Nancy

    Do I need to cool the baked crust before filling it? What about the filling, does it need to be cool as well?
    Thank you!!

    1. Kiersten Post author

      You want to pour the filling into the crust before it sets, so that should be done pretty much right away. The crust doesn’t have to be totally cooled though.

  9. Kate

    I’ve made this pie many times since becoming AIP and it truly is delicious and one of the few desserts that I don’t feel deprived of while on this diet and look forward to making in the fall. Amazing texture on the filling and crust. I served it at my sons birthday and everyone loved it!! I use lard for the crust since I can’t obtain palm shortening where I live and it works great. I’ve even used this crust recipe for other AIP pies and it’s delicious.

  10. Kerry Butler

    You peeked my interest in the Coconut Cream Pie from Brittany Angell but the link no longer works. Is there a way to still get that recipe?

    1. Kiersten Post author

      I’m not sure if she’s still blogging anymore actually so maybe not. So sorry! Maybe I can try to recreate it and come up with a recipe for you guys!

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