Sugar Cream Pie recipe is filled with a gloriously thick, creamy, vanilla custard, sprinkled with a dusting of cinnamon, and made with a handful of simple ingredients and easy steps.
There are many ways to make an old fashioned Hoosier Pie, but this is the absolute best, no-fail version!
What is Sugar Cream Pie?
Just ponder the name of this pie recipe. Are you kidding me?! How can this not be the best dessert you ever ate based on the TITLE ALONE.
Old fashioned sugar cream pie falls in the simpler-is-better category. There’s not much too it, oh my, is it good. You know why it’s so good? Because there’s sugar, and cream, and pie. What more could you need?
This pie recipe is also known as Hoosier Pie because of its popularity in Indiana. Evidently the state legislature thought it was kind of a big deal too, so Indiana Sugar Cream Pie became the official state pie in 2009.
It is also referred to as a “desperation pie.” Back in the day, when farmers ran out of apples or fruit, they could still make this pie.
So apparently the best time to make this pie is ALWAYS. I’m down with that.
Why is This recipe works
Being a native Hoosier myself, I know from first-hand experience all sugar cream pie recipes aren’t created equal because I’ve tested a lot of them out (perks of the job).
There are a few methods for making this pie. The easiest way would be mixing the all ingredients in a bowl, pouring it into an unbaked crust, and letting it bake completely in the oven.
Unfortunately, this method takes a long time to back, and there is uncertainty about when it’s actually ready to be pulled out of the oven.
Next, the custard can be cooked completely on the stove-top and poured into a baked pie crust. However, the custard didn’t consistently set and the flavor isn’t quite as developed as with baking the custard.
Which brings me to why this sugar cream pie recipe is the best. The custard partially cooks on the stove and finishes in the oven for an abbreviated amount of time. The filling sets solidly and is never runny.
- Pie crust – Use a homemade pie crust, regular or a gluten-free crust. It is partially baked first so the filling and crust finish at the same time.
- Sugar – A combination of granulated sugar and brown sugar gives structure and a caramel flavor.
- Cornstarch – Helps thicken the filling as it bakes. Although some recipes use flour, I prefer cornstarch to keep the recipe gluten-free.
- Half and half – Heavy cream would yield a thicker custard, if desired, but regular milk is not recommended because the filling may not set.
- Optional toppings – Sprinkle on ground cinnamon, nutmeg, or briefly broil on turbinado sugar after it bakes.
How To Make Sugar Cream Pie recipe
(Below shows step-by-step photos and modified instructions. For the complete recipe, along with ingredient amounts, scroll down to the recipe card.)
- Fit pie crust into a pie plate to partially bake the shell first. For this recipe I used my favorite gluten free pie crust recipe, but any homemade or store bought crust may be used. To make sure the crust holds its shape while baking, line bottom of crust with foil and fill with dried beans or pie weights before baking.
- While the pie crust is partially baking, begin to make the filling. Whisk together the sugar, brown sugar, and cornstarch in a medium saucepan. Add the half and half and whisk to combine.
- Bring the cream mixture to a boil over medium heat to thicken.
- Remove from the heat and add cubed butter and vanilla.
- Pour into a partially baked pie crust and finish baking in the the oven until golden brown.
- Allow the pie to cool completely and then refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.
See, I told you it was easy this recipe is! In no time at all you can be sinking your teeth into a slice of old fashioned Indiana cream pie!
Partially Baking Pie Crust
Since the custard first cooks on the stove it doesn’t need as long in the oven to set. In order to make sure the filling and crust are done at the same time, the crust is partially baked first.
When baking a pie crust without filling, also known as blind-baking, the shell needs to have something to hold it down so it doesn’t puff up or slide down the pie plate.
To do this, first line the bottom of the crust with a piece of foil or cut-to-size parchment paper. Fill with dried beans or my favorite pie weight and bake at 425ºF for 15 minutes.
Remove the weights and bake for 5-10 minutes longer, or until the crust starts to brown. The prepared custard is poured in and everything bakes together at this point.
Frequently asked questions
After the pie bakes let it cool completely on a wire rack, and then move it to the refrigerator.
Refrigerating cream or custard pies has two benefits. First of all, it keeps it safe to eat since the pies contain cream and eggs. Secondly, cooling the custard down helps to set and thicken it so you don’t have a liquidy pie!
Unfortunately, no. Custard pies, such as this or pumpkin, can produce a soggy crust when thawed. The cooked custard makes tiny water pockets and when it thaws that excess moisture will seep into the crust.
The main difference between sugar cream pie recipes are the type of cream used. I like to use half and half because it’s a good go between heavy whipping cream and milk. It keeps the pie lighter in calories, but still makes a rich, thick custard.
Milk may be substituted, but it will make the custard slightly thinner, but also contain less calories. I do not recommend using anything with less fat than 2%.
For the ultimate rich and creamy old fashioned pie, use heavy cream. The custard will also not take as long to thicken on the stove before pouring into the pie crust.
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Sugar Cream Pie
- 1 unbaked 9″ pie crust
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- 2 cups half and half
- ½ cup butter, cubed
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- optional cinnamon, for sprinkling
- Preheat oven to 425ºF and adjust rack to lower position. Roll out and fit the pie crust into a 9" pie pan. Line the bottom of the crust with foil or parchment and fill with dried beans or pie weights.
- Bake for 15 minutes on LOWER RACK. Remove weights and foil and bake for 5-10 minutes longer, until crust starts to brown and almost completely baked.
- Cool the crust on wire rack and reduce oven temperature to 375ºF. Begin to make custard filling.
- In a large saucepan, whisk together sugar, brown sugar, and cornstarch. Whisk in the half and half.
- Bring mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently. Once it starts to boil, reduce heat slightly to a simmer. Cook and stir for 2 minutes, or until thickened. Remove from heat and immediately stir in the butter and vanilla.
- Pour filling into par-baked crust (the crust doesn't have to be cooled completely) and sprinkle the filling with dusting of cinnamon, if desired. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and filling is set. Tip: If crust starts to brown too much before filling is set, cover the crust loosely with foil or use a pie shield.
- Remove from the oven and cool completely. Refrigerate for at least 1-2 hours before slicing and serving. Store any leftovers in the refrigerator.
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expert Tips and tricks
- Bake the crust on the lower rack so the bottom crust turns golden.
- When filling a pie shell with weights, make sure the shell is very cold first. After rolling out the dough into the pie plate, refrigerate it for 30 minutes or freeze for 10 minutes.
- While the pie shell is initially baking, you may begin making the custard filling. The shell does not have to cool completely before pouring it in.
- Every time I bake pies, I use this nifty, inexpensive pie shield to prevent the edges from becoming too browned.
- For best results with cutting and serving, cool the pie completely at room temperature then move to the refrigerator to chill for at least 1-2 hours before slicing.
You may not get in time but I’m baking pie now, its been 30 minutes and still boiling, when will it set?
Melissa Erdelac says
Hopefully this is in time! I’m not sure what you mean by boiling for 30 minutes, though? Do you mean it has been baking for 30 minutes? It is only supposed to boil for a couple minutes on the stove and then poured into the crust to bake. The filling will be a little jiggly after 20 minutes baking, but will set at it is refrigerated.
Could it be baked as a standalone without crust? My gang will tear up a good custard style dessert but will not pie for love or money
Melissa Erdelac says
I haven’t tried this, but I don’t see why not! I would love to hear if you try it!
Is it possible to double this and bake two pies at once?
Melissa Erdelac says
Yep, that shouldn’t be a problem!
This was indeed much easier than the recipe I have been making for way over 20 years. It was on point and I did not have to shake the pie 6 times to make sure it was done
So glad to hear, Robin! This makes me so happy!
The pie is really good. But, next time I make it, I will not bake it for an extra 15 -20 mins. I did that and the pie turn out spongy, and it also burned the crust. To me the baking should be, just long enough to get it a light brown top.
Other than that it is a very good tasting pie.
Sorry to hear the extra time cost you some fantastic results. I’m glad you still were able to enjoy it, though!
This sounds/ looks delicious! Cream pie was a favorite of my dad’s…
Just FYI, custard pie has eggs, cream pies do not.
Good to know! Thanks for writing, Ann!
Carol Deal says
I’m going to make this pie for my 1 YO granddaughter. She is allergic to eggs, and this would be perfect for her. I might could make in in custard cups too.
Sounds like a great idea! The scotcheroos recipe would also be a great egg free recipe for her as well as carmelitas don’t contain eggs!
So I made this last night and apparently I done something wrong. Lol. When I took the lie out of the over, there was what I can only guess to be melted butter on top of the pie…. dont think it’s supposed to do that. So where did I go wrong?
I’m wondering if the pie ever reabsorbed it as it cooled? It sounds like the fat separated from the cream as it baked. You heated the mixture together on the stove and it thickened? I’m so sorry you had disappointing results!
Hi. Can you put this in a turnover as a filling?
Unfortunately, no. I think it will be too thin to use as turnover filling and it will seep out. 😬
Rachel Pierce says
I’ve never had Sugar Cream Pie, but it looks delicious. Can Evaporated Can Milk be substituted for the Half & Half?
Yes, Evaporated milk can be substituted. However, it doesn’t have as much fat as half and half so the consistency may be a little thinner. Hope this helps!
This is the easiest, best tasting recipe for sugar cream pie that I have tried!!
That is so sweet of you to say! Thank you so much! I do love this pie and it doesn’t hurt it’s so damn easy to make!
My view doesn’t list eggs. ?????
Yes, there are no eggs in sugar cream pie. Basically just milk, sugar, and butter. 🙂
Amy Kunkle says
Simply delicious! This can be a Tuesday night dessert or dressed up with a flavored drizzle on the plate for a Saturday evening with your company. The first time I made it- as is. Other reviewers are right, it will be jiggly when you take it out of the oven; however, it will set up beautifully in a matter of hours. I, not a huge fan of cooking with milk, but this was very easy. The second time I made this, I took an unhealthy (but ohhh so yummy) turn into paradise… I switched the 2% milk to whole dark chocolate milk (PromiseLand Midnight). For what it’s worth, I used 1/2 the sugar. It was incredible!! If I hadn’t sliced it up and shared with friends/family, I may have eaten the whole thing.
Oh my gosh I love the idea of using chocolate milk! You are a genius. I can’t wait to try it 🙂 And, I agree, this pie is horribly addicting!
I made this and poured it into dessert cups and baked. ❤
Genius idea! Did you do a graham cracker crust at bottom?
This pie is seriously delicious. I was worried because my oven takes forever to cook things and even adding a few extra minutes it still looked wobbly. Magically though after chilling in the fridge it turned out perfect. I can attest to the no-failness of this recipe. Also it’s crazy addictive I’m making another one today. This might become a habit.
Thank you so much, Kristy. I’m so happy you liked it and you’ve inspired me to make it again this week. It is a damn good pie!
Made this again today Missi.. It was gone in 2 days the first time I made it. We loved it that much!
That’s awesome. It’s a pretty easy pie to make, isn’t it?
I made this yesterday. Although, I cooked it a little longer because it didn’t look like it was going to set after refrigerated. It turned out great and very delicious!!
I made this yesterday. Although I didn’t think it was going to set so I cooked it a little longer. It turned out great though and it was delicious! 😊😊
Glad you liked it! Thanks so much for taking the time to let me know.
Melissa Griffiths says
Cheers to a fellow Hoosier! Love this classic pie. (P.S. try it with some strawberries on top. SO GOOD!)
I didn’t know you were from Indiana! I will definitely try out that idea. Sounds fantastic!
I’ve made quite a few custard pies and they usually contain the same basic ingredients and turn out quite similar. This pie has the best flavor and texture of them all.
Thank you for posting this recipe.
Thanks so much for taking the time to drop a line. This is wonderful to hear, and I’m so glad it’s deemed the best! 🙂