Do I Need To Refrigerate Pumpkin Pie?
While nothing says you can't make them all year long, for some reason the months of October through December (roughly the beginning of fall through the Christmas and New Years holidays) are pumpkin pie season. Traditionally, you'll see more pumpkin pie offered as dessert during this time of the year instead of the tried and true favorites (like apple, cherry, or blueberry).
That popularity of pumpkin pie that occurs during this season also corresponds to a time of year when refrigerator and counter space is at a maximum. The holidays bring baking, cooking, big meals, company, socializing - things that tax kitchen space in general.
Invariably, one of the questions that arise with pumpkin pie is whether or not it needs to be refrigerated. I mean, you took the time to mix and roll a crust from scratch (you do make your own crust from scratch, right), mix the ingredients, bake it for an hour or more - the last thing you want is for it to spoil and have to be thrown away.
Many cooks find the refrigerate-or-not question to be a difficult one for many baked goods. I mean cookies, bars, quick breads, muffins, and most cakes don't need refrigeration in the time it takes for them to eventually be consumed (i.e. the amount of time they'll sit on the counter before they're gone). Many pies though do need refrigeration.
To answer the question - let's look at what pumpkin pie is composed of. Unlike most fruit (or vegetable) pies (apple, cherry, blueberry), pumpkin pie is really a custard pie - in that the ingredient is mixed into a custard base (using milk and eggs) and then baked. It's that custard that gives us the answer.
Because of the milk and egg ingredients for a custard, pumpkin - or any similar - pie should be refrigerated after it cools when it comes out of the oven. If you want to serve it or eat it warm, consider re-heating it in a microwave for a few seconds prior to plating. Food experts recommend that refrigerated pumpkin pie will retain their freshness and quality for about 2 to 4 days.