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3 Secrets That Make The Costco Pumpkin Pie So Delicious

Costco Pumpkin Pie

3 Secrets That Make The Costco Pumpkin Pie So Delicious

Pumpkin Cheesecake Recipe, Cheesecake, Pumpkin, Celebration, Cinnamon, Close-up
Pumpkin Cheesecake Recipe

©PavelKant/ via Getty Images

The Costco Pumpkin pie is a staple dessert in many homes over the holiday season. Not only is it beautifully glazed, and the perfect shade of orange. It also has the loveliest crumbly crust and plenty of surface area. You can’t really beat the price of $5.99 for a whopping 12 inches. The Costco Pumpkin Pie has been around since the late 1980s. It is one of the three major discounted product deals that Costco has seemingly always had. You’ve got your $4.99 rotisserie chicken and our $1.50 Costco Hot Dog. There's a $9.95 full-sized pizza and the $5.99 Costco Pumpkin Pie. What makes the Costco Pumpkin Pie so delicious? Read on to learn the secrets of the infamous, and highly in-demand Costco Pumpkin Pie. 

In this post, we’ll talk about the major secrets that set the Costco Pumpkin Pie apart from all the rest. You’ll learn about the ingredients, and how to get the most out of your 12-inch pie. But before we go any further in explanations, let’s get to the point. What are the secrets that make the Costco Pumpkin Pie so delicious? 

There are three things, really. First, the recipe hasn’t changed since 1987 when the pies first appeared in stores. Second, they use the same pre-mixed crust ingredients and a purée of a particular type of pumpkin to make that sweet orange filling. And lastly, while this one isn’t really a secret, you can’t beat this price for a pie of this size. It weighs nearly 4 pounds. And every bite of those 4 pounds is sure to be worth every cent of the $5.99 price tag for 12 inches of pie.

The History of Costco and the First Pumpkin Pies

Costco was first a warehouse store that opened in the late 1970s. It functioned out of an old airplane hangar in San Diego, predominantly stocking wholesale merchandise from small businesses. Eventually, it switched to a membership model. Loyal customers would buy a certain membership to shop at the store for great discounts. Costco opened a warehouse in Seattle, Washington in 1983, and, according to an excerpt from an edition of “Costco Connection,” the pumpkin pie recipe that remains in use today, was first introduced in '87. So, the Costco Pumpkin Pie is almost as old as Costco itself (via Parade).

What Are Costco Pumpkin Pies Made Of?

We've covered the first thing to know about the Costco Pumpkin Pie, which is that the recipe has been around, and virtually unchanged since around 1987. As for how the company can sell these beautiful pies for a mere $5.99, it all comes down to how much can be made in-house. Costco uses pre-mixed dry ingredients to create the dough for the crust in-house. And, the gooey, sweet orange filling is made from a type of pumpkin called a Dickinson Pumpkin. Costco uses canned filling, which cuts down on the time it takes to make any one pie, but not just any pumpkin will do. They use a type called a Dickinson pumpkin. As for that perfectly glazed top, a recent social media post went viral when a user who identified themselves as a Costco employee shared that it's a thin layer of apricot jelly! (via Allrecipes).

ripe orange pumpkins on the garden bed
Dickinson pumpkins can be quite oblong in shape, and have a sweet, meaty interior that's great for pies.


Perhaps you're wondering what a Dickinson Pumpkin is. It's a type of winter squash that is the star of the pie industry. According to the Bucktown Seed Company, this light orange, very smooth type of pumpkin has been a part of the United State's agricultural scene since around 1835. The earliest seeds were brought to Eureka, Illinois by a man named Elijah Dickinson. They're so popular because they grow quite large, and their orange flesh is already quite sweet. This makes them ideal for pie filling, and some of the most common brands of filling are made from this kind of pumpkin. Dickinson pumpkins can grow up to 18 inches long by 14 inches wide. They can weigh as much as 40 pounds!

How Many Pies Does Costco Sell?

According to an excerpt from Allrecipes, there are some 6 million Costco Pumpkin Pies sold every year around the holidays. A book that was written specifically about Costco breaks down the fact that 2 million of those pies are sold in mere days before the Thursday of Thanksgiving. Reader's Digest notes that these pies can actually be frozen and simply defrosted or reheated before serving. That means, if you happen to be shopping at Costco well before the holiday season hits full force, simply clear a foot of space in your freezer. Then, you can pull out this pie right before prepping your turkey. Either way, the pie should be refrigerated, as it does contain egg, and the refrigeration will help it to remain fresh and edible.

When Can You Find This Pie In Stores?

According to The Daily Meal, most Costco warehouses release this delicious pie to its rightful place on the shelves around September 1st. That means there are around 3 months of the holiday shopping season where you can snag the delicious Costco Pumpkin Pie. Keep in mind the freezer idea. Or, maybe you just want to enjoy more than one pie during this holiday season. Either option is fully understood.

Can You Make It At Home?

Costco has yet to come out with a recipe book for its discount deals. However, there are some copycat recipes out there. If you want to simply bake the Costco version of the filling, you're in luck. You can buy cans of the Costco pie filling in stores. Apparently, alongside those 6 million pumpkin pies, Costco also sells about 1.2 million cans of pumpkin pie filling during the holiday season. Keep in mind that depending on your ingredients, it may be cheaper to just go get a pie from Costco than to recreate it at home. But, for those DIYers out there, this one's for you.

Costco Pumpkin Pie Copy Cat Recipe

This recipe from the Better Baker Club describes how to make your own filling with a Dickinson pumpkin purée. You can also purchase one of the more popular pumpkin pie fillings. Libby's Pumpkin purée happens to be made from Dickinson pumpkins and has a similar consistency to the Costco pie.

You'll need pumpkin spice, which you can either buy or make with ground cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and allspice. You'll also need heavy cream, eggs, brown sugar, and some salt. For the crust, you can either make one from scratch or buy a pre-baked pie crust at the store.

Get your deep dish pie plate ready. Be sure to modify the ingredient amounts to the size of the pie you are baking. Does anyone own a 12-inch pie dish? To start, preheat your oven to 325º Fahrenheit. In a mixing bowl, combine pumpkin purée, heavy cream, eggs, two egg yolks, pumpkin pie spice, salt, and brown sugar. Whisk until blended and creamy and pour into your pre-baked pie crust. Bake in the oven for 90 minutes, watching for the edges of the filling to set. The center should be slightly jello-y but firm. Allow the pie to cool before serving, and enjoy your homemade Costco-copy pumpkin pie.

There are all kinds of variations on the classic pumpkin pie. If you're not buying one from Costco, why not try and make your own?

©Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock.com

Check out these other recipes for variations on the classic pumpkin pie as well as a recipe card for one of our favorites. They may not produce exactly the consistency of the Costco Pumpkin Pie, but they're delicious nonetheless.

Recipe Card

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Two-Layer Pumpkin Cheesecake

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  • Author: MomsWhoThink.com


Units Scale
  • 1 graham cracker pie crust
  • 1 package (8 oz.)Philadelphia cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon milk, divided
  • 1 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tub (8 oz.) Cool Whip, thawed, divided
  • 1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin
  • 2 packages (3.4 oz. each) vanilla pudding
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves


  1. Beat cream cheese, 1 Tbsp. milk and sugar in large bowl until well blended.
  2. Fold in 1/2 of whipped topping. Spread into crust.
  3. Mix remaining milk, pumpkin, pudding mixes and spices 2 min. (Mixture will be thick.)
  4. Spread over cream cheese layer.
  5. Refrigerate 4 hours or until set. Top with remaining whipped topping just before serving.
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