I went to Costco the other day, and couldn’t leave without one of their pumpkin pies. They’re affordable, tasty, and gargantuan—no wonder they have such a fan base.
When I got home, I had to do some serious rearranging to fit it in my refrigerator. After a lot of jockeying, I gave up and wondered if I could let the pumpkin pie sit on the counter instead of in the fridge.
“Not really,” says Caroline Susie, a registered dietitian and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “You should refrigerate pies with fillings containing eggs and milk, like pumpkin pie. They pose a higher risk of microbial contamination due to higher moisture and protein content.”
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) also says that homemade pies with eggs, like pumpkin, pecan, and lemon meringue pies, must be refrigerated. These pies shouldn’t sit on the counter for more than two hours.
The Best Way To Store Pumpkin Pie
Proper storage is key to keeping a pumpkin pie tasty and safe to eat.
“If the pumpkin pie is made ahead of time, cool it completely first, then loosely wrap it in plastic wrap or aluminum foil and refrigerate it until it’s time to serve,” suggests food scientist and researcher Gabriela Swamy, Ph.D., member of the refrigerated and frozen foods division at the Institute of Food Technologists. You could use a reusable pie storage container with a lid if you have one. The pumpkin pie will keep in the fridge for three to four days.
When you have a giant pumpkin pie like I do and not a ton of room in your refrigerator, you may want to look to the freezer instead. Pumpkin pie is easy to freeze and it tastes just as great after it thaws.
Cut the pie into slices. If you made the pie, allow it to cool down before you cut into it. Wrap each slice in several layers of plastic wrap and place them in a zip-top freezer bag, being sure to mark the date on the bag so that you don’t forget when they went into the freezer. For the best flavor and texture, eat the pumpkin pie within two weeks of freezing.
When you’re in the mood for pumpkin pie, let a slice (or two) thaw in the fridge for a few hours before enjoying it.
Can You Leave Store-Bought Pumpkin Pie With Preservatives On Your Kitchen Counter?
Some pumpkin pies that you pick up from the grocery store may contain preservatives—check the label or ask a bakery employee to be sure. The Costco pumpkin pie, for example, does not contain any preservatives. Though these pies may last longer, experts recommend that you refrigerate them when you bring them home.
“Store-bought pies may have preservatives and other ingredients to make them shelf stable and prevent bacteria growth,” says Susie. “The [best-by] date will be listed on the container. Note, those pies should be refrigerated for storage once home, especially once cut.”
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