My mom, my sister-in-law, and I were discussing which desserts to serve after Thanksgiving dinner. My mom and I had been confident that pumpkin pie was a given, so we were taken aback by my sister-in-law’s requested pecan pie. Maybe pumpkin wasn’t everyone’s all-star pie choice.
We bought the ingredients for both pies, though I was suspicious of the corn syrup. Pumpkin pie used familiar ingredients, and now pecan pie was bringing corn syrup into the equation. Both pies were baked, and after dinner, I had a small slice of each to remind myself which was better. Spoiler: both were incredible.
While they’re both great pies, if we’re forced to crown one monarch of the Turkey Day table, which will it be — pecan pie or pumpkin pie? Let’s compare.
If we’re choosing the best Thanksgiving pie based on personal traditions, the truth is — it’s subjective. We’ll have to call this round a tie — even though in my personal opinion, Thanksgiving without pumpkin pie is like Christmas without presents.
There are all kinds of traditions out there, and I shouldn’t decide my tradition is the best solely because it’s familiar. For example, my friend from Mississippi thinks sweet potato pie is the Thanksgiving pie. (I know, now we’re adding a third pie contender to the list — but honestly, are you drooling yet?).
If you are so inclined to include a third pie in your own personal Thanksgiving bake-off, try this sweet potato pie recipe.
But let’s bring the focus back to our two contenders: Pecan pie and pumpkin pie. Which pie is older?
Historically, when making a pumpkin pie, recipes referred to boiling pumpkin in milk, filling the pie crust with pumpkin and apple, or using a hollowed-out pumpkin instead of a crust. Today, however, it looks like pumpkin pie in its closer-to-modern form has been around since the 1700s or 1800s, depending on which source you find.
Unless we’re playing by “first is the worst” rules (rules by which I refuse to abide!), pumpkin pie wins this round.
Though we don’t advocate for major calorie counting on Thanksgiving, it never hurts to understand the nutritional value of the foods you consume, even pie. Though, I wouldn’t let it swing me too much in the pumpkin versus pecan decision when I’m standing in line with the fam.
Ah, the purely subjective category that only you can decide. If you’re looking for a dense and chewy crunch, pecan is your target. If you’re looking for a smooth and custard-y bite, pumpkin is the winner.
But if you’re looking for the most decadent and dessert-y pie of them all, pecan probably comes out on top. It’s just RICH. Grab a glass of milk with that one.
For a real show-stopper, try this chocolate paleo pecan pie recipe, which adds irresistible elements of salted caramel and chocolate to an already delicious pie.
There may be an edge for the “best” pie on Thanksgiving, and that’s which pie is endorsed by Charlie Brown?
In “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving,” when that blockhead botched his friends’ Thanksgiving dinner (what else is new?), which pie does Peppermint Patty lament missing? That’s right, pumpkin pie! According to Charlie Brown’s social circle, pumpkin pie is the quintessential Thanksgiving pie — there’s not a peep about pecan — making pumpkin pie the traditional Peanuts selection.
Try our perfect pumpkin pie recipe to avoid a misstep like Charlie Brown’s.
Using these (very standard) pie-judging categories, we have determined pumpkin pie is the winning pie of Thanksgiving. No hard feelings, though, pecan pie — you’re a stellar, stand-up pie, and anybody would be lucky to have a slice of you at the conclusion of their Thanksgiving dinner.
If you’re still not sure whether pecan pie or pumpkin pie is the best, maybe the only way to reconcile this feud is to marry these two stars and bake this pumpkin pecan streusel torte recipe for your guests. That way, everybody wins.