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13 Things You Didn’t Know About Costco’s $6.99 Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin pie season is upon us, and Costco has you covered.

Costco Pumpkin Pie Rachel WilkeRachel Wilke/rd.com

It’s Costco pumpkin pie season!

Can’t get enough of the Costco pumpkin pie? You’re not alone. This delicious dessert is a big-time holiday favorite, bringing joy to hungry givers of thanks since 1987. For many, it’s not Thanksgiving without it and it’s earned its place as one of America’s favorite Thanksgiving traditions. Especially if you feel that cooking Thanksgiving dinner is hard enough and you don’t want to stress about dessert, consider adding it to your list. For just $6.99 (yes, the price did go up a dollar since last year), you’ll get all the pie with none of the stress of buying, blending, and baking ingredients. 2021 will be the 34th year Costco has sold this pastry behemoth. Thankfully, it’s stuck around and is not one of the things you won’t see in Costco anymore. Plus, find out if Costco is one of the stores open on Thanksgiving this year.

close up of costco wholesale sign on exterior of buildingScott Olson/Getty Images

When can I buy Costco pumpkin pie?

You’re in luck—this year, the pie is already back in stores! It will remain in stores from now to December. While you’re shopping for Costco pumpkin pie, find out these other supermarket tricks you’ll wish you’d always known.

Costco Pumpkin Pies on shelf in storeRachel Wilke/rd.com

It’s a lot of pie

When it comes to its offerings, Costco tends to go big, and its pumpkin pie is no exception. Each pie measures a full foot in diameter and weighs in at 58 ounces—that’s more than three and a half pounds! If you’re serving a hungry crowd on Thanksgiving, this mega-pastry provides more than enough bang for your buck. Here are more things at Costco you can’t buy anywhere else.

pumpkin cubes cooking in the ovenGMVozd/Getty Images

Once just isn’t enough

Every piece of pumpkin that goes into Costco’s pies gets cooked not once, but twice. The chunks of pumpkin get cooked once before they’re pureed, and then a second time after canning. The pureed pumpkin cooks for a full five and a half hours before it’s pie-ready. And it’s a lot of pumpkin. Every gallon-sized can of puree shipped to Costco contains the contents of three pumpkins! Costco certainly doesn’t skimp on the pumpkin. Neither do these best pumpkin spice products to buy this fall!

Pumpkin growing in pumpkin patchPhotoAlto/Jerome Gorin/Getty Images

Is Costco pumpkin pie made with real pumpkin?

It sure is! Costco pumpkin pie is made from real pumpkin grown in the U.S.A.: Illinois, to be exact. The Midwestern state, which actually provides the vast majority of all of America’s pumpkin crop, has just the right soil and weather conditions to produce the perfect pumpkins for decadent fall desserts.

close up of pumpkin pieEHStock/Getty Images

The ingredients are pretty simple

Costco uses a variety called Dickinson pumpkins for all of its pies—the same type used in Libby’s pumpkin products. As for the other ingredients that combine to produce the perfect pie, the recipe is comfortingly simple. Totally free of preservatives, the pies contain eggs, water, and a dry mix of ingredients like sugar and spices in addition to the twice-cooked pumpkin puree. These are the Kirkland items you should always be buying at Costco.

costco bakeryTrong Nguyen/Shutterstock

They’ve been around a while

Costco’s bakery has been producing pumpkin pies, using the same recipe, since 1987. Back then, the pies were ten inches; today, they’re 12, but the recipe itself remains the same. That recipe comes straight from the kitchen of Sue McConnaha, the vice president of bakery operations at Costco. Did you know that your canned pumpkin might not actually be pumpkin?

slice of pumpkin pie close upmphillips007/Getty Images

Is Costco pumpkin pie healthy?

It’s a fruit-based dessert (yes, a pumpkin is a fruit), but a dessert nonetheless. “A slice (1/12th of a whole pie) contains around 310 calories,” says Michelle Keldgord, co-founder of BakingHow. “Those calories include 11 grams of fat, 48 grams of carbohydrates, and 30 grams of sugars.” How does that compare with recommended amounts? Well, a healthy amount of carbs, she adds, is 200 to 300 [grams] per day, while 44 to 77 grams of fat is a reasonable daily target. It’s the sugar content, though, that’s really the eyebrow-raiser: “The daily recommended amount of sugar per day is around 30 (24 for women and 36 for men). This means that a single slice of Costco pumpkin pie will hit the maximum recommended amount,” Keldgord explains. And here’s a guide to how many calories to eat in a day. So, no, they’re not a health food. That certainly doesn’t mean you shouldn’t partake, but enjoy Costco pumpkin pie in moderation. It’s worth noting that they’re free of preservatives, though, so that’s a health thumbs-up!

close up of woman holding smartphoneWestend61/Getty Images

It gets lots of love on social media

One thing that has changed about the pie since 1987: its social media presence. Facebook has an entire page called “Costco’s Pumpkin Pie,” started by fans and unaffiliated with the Costco corporation, that’s devoted to singing (er, posting) the praises of the pie and even sharing memes about it. Check out these Costco secrets you’ll wish you knew.

Hollowed pumpkin with pumpkin seedsWestend61/Getty Images

They’re a gift that keeps on giving

Three pumpkins for every gallon of puree leaves behind a lot of seeds. Happily, though, the seeds don’t get thrown out—according to The Costco Connection, the canning facility sends the seeds to a bird feed company!

adding ingredients to pumpkin pie batterrez-art/Getty Images

Some may not be allergen-friendly

The ingredients of the Costco pumpkin pie might stay the same, but the different facilities they’re processed in can’t guarantee that they’re all allergen-free. “The allergen and cross-contamination warnings on labels can vary store to store,” says Marie Clark, Managing Editor of Food, Lifestyle & Travel at CostContessa. “Some specifically include sesame and peanuts. Check label at your store if you have allergies—don’t go by images from social media from other stores.”

Costco Pumpkin Pie Sign Rachel WilkeRachel Wilke/rd.com

Business is booming

With their deliciousness, size, and affordable price, it’s no surprise that these pies fly off the shelves. Costco sold 6.1 million pies in 2019 alone, 2.1 million of which were purchased during the three days before Thanksgiving. If you prefer to eat out on Turkey Day, these are the restaurants open on Thanksgiving this year.

close up of costco shopping carts lined upMario Tama/Getty Images

Can you order pumpkin pie from Costco?

Unfortunately, you can’t—you’ll have to buy these goodies in store. While availability will vary greatly by store, you should be good to go if you go to pick one up at the store—if it’s more than a week before Thanksgiving. Last-minute Thanksgiving shoppers, be warned: According to Taste of Home, the bakery has sold out of them before closing on the day before Turkey Day. If you want to be absolutely certain you’ll have a Costco pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving, the earlier you shop, the better. Which leads us to…

Pumpkin Pie Ready For ServingDNY59/Getty Images

Can you freeze Costco pumpkin pie?

If you go the route of buying the pie in store well in advance, you’re in luck—you absolutely can pop it in the freezer. You’re probably best off freezing it before you open it rather than freezing only part of the pie after you’ve already eaten some (which is good news if you’re buying it, say, now to eat on Thanksgiving). If you find yourself in Costco this season, consider picking one up—if only to see what all the fuss is about. Next, don’t miss these 15 more things you probably aren’t buying from Costco—but should.

Sources:

  • People: “Costco’s Famous Pumpkin Pie Is Back on Shelves — But the Price Has Gone Up”
  • Simplemost: “Costco’s 4-Pound Pumpkin Pie Is Back Just In Time For Thanksgiving”
  • The Costco Connection: “From patch to plate: Tracing Costco’s iconic pumpkin pie”
  • Michelle Keldgord, co-founder of bakinghow.com
  • Marie Clark, Managing Editor of Food, Lifestyle & Travel at CostContessa

Meghan Jones
Meghan Jones is a Staff Writer for RD.com who has been writing since before she could write. She graduated from Marist College with a Bachelor of Arts in English and has been writing for Reader's Digest since 2017. In spring 2017, her creative nonfiction piece "Anticipation" was published in Angles literary magazine. She is a proud Hufflepuff and member of Team Cap.

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