Home Allergy Friendly No Bake Vegan Pumpkin Pie Filling

No Bake Vegan Pumpkin Pie Filling

November 15, 2010

Get ready for some pumpkin pie foolery. Pumpkin pie is back on the Thanksgiving table for all of you who avoid eggs and dairy thanks to this no bake pumpkin pie filling.

Dairy and egg allergy friends, pumpkin pie is back on the Thanksgiving table thanks to this no-bake gluten-free vegan pumpkin pie filling.

Got Pumpkins?

A couple of weeks ago I looked out back to find pumpkins strewn across the yard. My boys had “planted” a pumpkin patch with the dozen pie pumpkins I had bought. It looked like a pumpkin Easter out there!

I had developed a determination—bordering on obsession—to deliver a no-bake egg-free and dairy-free pumpkin pie filling. In my notebook I had recorded eight attempts before landing on this one—my most tested recipe to date.

The Best No-Bake Pumpkin Pie Filling

This pie filling blows me away! First off, it’s no-bake. Second, it’s a near dead-ringer for the back-of-the-Libby’s-can pumpkin pie.

Dairy and egg allergy peeps, get ready for some pumpkin pie foolery. It’s time to celebrate. Pumpkin pie is back on the Thanksgiving table thanks to this no bake pumpkin pie filling. Enjoy!

UPDATE! I have since developed an even SIMPLER version of this recipe that you might want to check out.

Dairy-Free, Egg-Free No-Bake Pumpkin Pie Filling

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 4 hours

Yield: Makes enough filling for one 9-inch pie crust

Dairy-Free, Egg-Free No-Bake Pumpkin Pie Filling


  • 1-1/4 cups WATER
  • 2 teaspoons AGAR AGAR POWDER (powder not flakes, sold at Asian and natural food stores)
  • 1-1/4 cups cooked PUMPKIN flesh (Easy way to cook pumpkin)
  • 3/4 cup MAPLE SYRUP (1/2 cup for less sweet)
  • 3/4 cup unsweetend APPLESAUCE
  • 3/4 cup raw CASHEWS, soaked 4-6 hours and rinsed well
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons CINNAMON
  • 1/4 teaspoon NUTMEG
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground CLOVES
  • 2 tablespoons TAPIOCA STARCH/FLOUR
  • 1 tablespoon gluten-free VANILLA EXTRACT
  • 1/2 teaspoon SEA SALT


  1. In large pot combine and gently simmer water and agar agar 2-3 minutes.
  2. In a high-powered blender (such as a Blendtec), blend remaining ingredients on high for 1-2 minutes or until super smooth.
  3. Whisk pumpkin mixture into simmering agar agar mixture. Return to boil and simmer for 1-2 minutes or until thickened.
  4. Pour into a pre-baked, gluten-free pie crust. Here's the one I use.
  5. Refrigerate 2-4 hours or until chilled through. Serve chilled or bring to room temperature (see notes).


Agar agar is a gelatin derived from seaweed. One of the qualities of agar agar is that it begins to gel at 95?F or 35?C. Unlike good old Knox® gelatin (animal derived) it will not turn back to liquid at room temperature, but rather will hold its shape and remain solid. For this reason, this pie can be served at room temperature without any worries of it losing its shape and texture.

Gelatin: I have been asked if gelatin can be used in place of the agar agar. Though I have not tried it, some have used 2 tablespoons of gelatin dissolved in 1/4 cup of the water and have said that it turned out great. So there you have it! :)



More Good Stuff


Laurel November 15, 2010 at 4:38 pm

Have you been looking in my kitchen? I just baked two small pumpkins yesterday and soaked some cashews and almonds. All I have to do to put this together today is take my agar agar flakes and pulverize them (I can't find them ground). I am so on this recipe. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Lexie November 15, 2010 at 5:08 pm

Laurel … I had a feeling, ha! good tip on the agar flakes. my mom and I had been wondering if grinding them to powder in a coffee mill would work. I would love it if you'd share how you ground/pulverized yours. And of course, please review the pie : )


Serene November 15, 2010 at 5:59 pm

Wow, that looks so amazing! James felt a big deprived of pumpkin pie because I wimped out of making gluten-free pie crust. Now I'm all energized to feed him this pie (though I may use my standard, glutenous crust.)

Alisa Cooks November 15, 2010 at 6:34 pm

You are so creative Lexie! I have to admit, agar intimidates me. This simmer method sounds much easier than most I read though.

glutenfreeforgood November 15, 2010 at 6:35 pm

This pie looks wonderful — and healthy. Plus, I have agar agar, maple syrup, all the rest of the stuff AND a couple of Grant Farm pumpkins. I need to add that GFF link onto my blog (sadly, I have no clue how to do any of that techy stuff).

Good one, Lexie. I will try this. Applesauce is a great idea to throw into the mix. I'm definitely trying the coconut whipped cream I've been seeing around the blogosphere. I love coconut and can only imagine how tasty the whipped cream version is.

Peace, love and pumpkin pie!

Wendy @ Celiacs in the House November 15, 2010 at 9:11 pm

I love pumpkin pie, but have been avoiding it this year because it seems so heavy. Your non-dairy version sounds like a much lighter way to go. I tried a cashew-based raw cheesecake when we were in San Francisco and couldn't believe how much it tasted like the real deal. I guess I'm finally a believer.

Karen@cook4seasons.com November 15, 2010 at 10:57 pm

Great minds think alike! From pumpkin filling to the ISI whipper…isn't that just the best? I like your idea of adding applesauce to the mix.
Glad to find so many luscious contributors! I have lots of comments to write:)

judee@glutenfreeA-Z November 16, 2010 at 12:06 am

This pie looks amazing. I love that it doesn't have to be cooked, I love that it doesn't have any baking soda, I love that it is gluten free and dairy free ,and I love that it is so healthy. Thanks for explaining about the ingredients like agar too. I will definitely make this pie this Thanksgiving. Great post!

Laurel November 16, 2010 at 2:11 am

Well, I didn't make this today because my life got in the way but will definitely let you know how well it came out. Anyway, here's some interesting info on agar agar from bryannaclarkgrogan's website:

To jell about 2 c. of liquid:

1 T. animal gelatin= 2 T. agar flakes=1 tsp. agar powder =2/3 of a bar of kanten = 1 tsp. powdered carageenan or irish Moss= 0.3 oz. (10 g) packg. vegetarian kosher jel (such as Carmel or Kojel—NOT Emes), about 4 1/2 tsp..
She says you use 6, yes 6 times as much agar agar flakes as you do powder. That's definitely going to use up the entire bag I have for sure and I'm going to grind it in my coffee grinder because I don't own a mortar and pestle.

Laurel, thanks a ton for this info. VERY helpful. I will have to do an agar post in my TIPS & REVIEWS section at some point. I get small packets of the powder at my Asian grocer for $1.25

jackhonky November 16, 2010 at 9:01 am

I love the idea of a no bake pumpkin pie! I've only had one really bad experience with agar agar (I tried to get all fancy and make Johnny Iuzzuni's basil gel to plate a dessert and it just didn't work out). But the idea of using agar agar to set the pumpkin custard is brilliant!

Now I should see about planting some pumpkin vines in my backyard. How great is it that you have pumpkins growing! I love that!

Laurel November 17, 2010 at 11:11 pm

Hi again. I think I need some advice as I'm this close to pumpkin pie achievement. So today I took both my pretty little pumpkins that I'd cooked in the crock pot (brilliant idea, thank you), cut them in quarters and scooped the seeds into a strainer and the pulp into the Vitamix. I made my beautiful puree, rinsed the seeds to bake and made pumpkin milk instead, after all they'd already been plumped right? BTW I had a smoothie with some of the milk, cashew yogurt, banana, strawberry, stevia and a slice of ginger, mmm mmm good.
Then I took my flaky agar agar and put it in the coffee grinder until I smelled smoke which was just a couple of minutes. It kinda looks like coffee crystals. Was it supposed to make a true powder or is that the right consistency? If it's supposed to be a finer grind I'll probably use a little more than called for in the recipe but nowhere near six times as much as the volume did decrease dramatically. So pumpkin pie guru lady, what do you think?


Hi Laurel, GREAT smoothie! Interesting experiment with the agar flakes … not sure if I like the sounds of smoke coming from your coffee grinder though. The deal with agar vs. powder is, as you pointed out, you use a lot less in the powder form than flake. You can still use flakes, but will have to simmer it for more like 5-10 minutes … which means you'll need to add a bit more water as you don't want it to simmer off and leave sticky gel in the pan. The simmered liquid must be absolutely clear … with no specs of flakes. Undissolved flecks will give you chunks of "weird" in your pie. I hope that helps. Do you have an Asian grocer near you — I buy powdered agar agar from mine in little packets? A healthfood store? Check for the powder there. NOW brand makes it. I hope that helps and hope the pie turned out! : )

judee@glutenfreeA-Z November 18, 2010 at 4:18 am

I am all set to make the pie, but I am having difficulty finding agar powder in my area. Can I order it online?


Hi Judee! Yes, Amazon sells it — a couple different brands. You can always check your local Asian grocer (if you have one — I buy powdered agar agar from mine in little packets? Or a health food store? Call Whole Foods and inquire there … if you have one close by. Let me know how it works out : )

Laurel November 18, 2010 at 9:45 pm

Hi there. Well, I finally did it in my bass ackward way. I always think I've got everything in there until the very end. "Oh yeah, it's not as thick as I thought, oops Tapioca Starch!" ADD is such a blessing (yeah, so I'm a liar, and? I have to deal with me somehow).

So here's my report. I didn't want to throw out another pie shell so I made trifle! I had some raw cashew cheese cake set aside in a tupperware and layered that with your lovely pumpkin pie. I ended up taking a rolling pin to my agar crystals and used 2 heaping tsp thereof.

My desserts are so pretty. The only thing they're lacking is the whipped cream that would have adorned them if I'd won that "iSi" and maybe chocolate shavings/chips.

Oh and because I'm so bad at paying attention there's also an extra 1/4 tsp allspice and ginger because I got confused and failed to double check the recipe before dumping in my spices so I got all yours plus some extra. It's really quite spicy but plays off the "cheese cake" quite well.

So Lexie, thanks again for the recipe. Next time I'll paste it onto some body part or other and do it right; although you know it's gotta be a master recipe if I can mess up so many times and still have some of the best pumpkin pie I've ever eaten.

Hip hip hooray!!! I am doing a happy dance. I get so nervous when people try my recipes for the first time. I think they're good, but will everyone else? Thanks so much for taking the time to report back :). Your cheesecake and this pumpkin filling are on my to try list! Sounds divine. I can see you beating that agar to bits. HA! And I am glad you added ginger. I think I OD'd on ginger a while back and so it just did not appeal to me when creating this recipe. But my tester mom asked "where's the ginger?" Big hug and thanks for sharing your experience with us.


Victoria November 19, 2010 at 3:11 am

Hi Lexie,

I am very excited about trying this pumpkin pie recipe. Unfortunately, since we are on such a restricted diet, there are some ingredients that I would need to substitute. Can I have your advice on whether you think these changes will work?

Honey in place of the maple syrup
Pearsauce in place of applesauce
We can't have cloves–is it necessary or should I substitute something else?
We can't have tapioca/flour. The only flour we can have is made from cashews or pecans. What is the purpose for the flour and Is there something else I can use?

Thank you so much for going through the trial and error of trying to figure out this recipe. I was planning to do the same thing and am hoping that your hardwork will alleviate my efforts.

Thanks again, and Happy Thanksgiving!


Hello Victoria! Sure thing … here are my thoughts in CAPS:

Honey in place of the maple syrup SHOULD WORK FINE … PROBABLY JUST 1/2 CUP

Pearsauce in place of applesauce DEFINITELY SHOULD WORK FINE

We can't have cloves–is it necessary or should I substitute something else? OMIT,


Let me know how it turns out for you! 🙂


Tia November 19, 2010 at 4:35 am

Hi Lexie,

OK, I have no problem with eggs or dairy, but this sounds so much easier than a traditional pumpkin pie. I don't like making them because I always spill all over as I'm taking it to the oven. And you have to cook it just right.

But, if this tastes just like regular pumpkin pie, then why not? Plus, I just like the idea of using as little dairy as possible. But, like Heidi, I love cheese. That's hard to give up. Eh.

Tia 😛

Beth November 19, 2010 at 11:38 pm

Foolery, indeed! Just looking at the picture is making my mouth water — and I don't even like pumpkin pie!

Krista November 20, 2010 at 1:50 am

Voila! I just tried a test-run of what I'll serve next week at Tgiving dinner. It's in the fridge now cooling. My poor little guy has suffered from allergies since birth, and I have never been brave enough to try an egg-free, dairy free pumpkin pie (until now!). I followed the directions (without nuts), so I improvised a bit. Thank you so much for the Agar Agar tip!! Like others, I used the flakes when I couldn't find the powder. I see what you mean by the "weirdness". I'll simmer longer next time…but this stuff is GREAT, and very mild taste too.
You've helped me reach out of my comfort zone today. Thanks for the great recipe!


Hi there Krista! Glad you gave it a test run 🙂 So so tell, what did you sub the cashews with? The cashews really give this pie it's creaminess. I am curious as to what you came up with. 🙂


Medifast Coupons November 23, 2010 at 6:18 pm

I can't get over how many pumpkin pie recipes I am finding, I am going to have pumpkin pies soon everywhere. I am baking pies for our church dinner program, so I do need lots of pies, and everyone is going to be different. Thanks for your no bake pie.

Jeri November 23, 2010 at 7:51 pm


I'm sitting here trying not to fret over my first gf Thanksgiving. Can I use gelatin in place of the agar?

Katrina November 24, 2010 at 2:16 am

Mmm, I made this and it was great! Everyone loved it! I left out the agar because we didn't have any and just dissolved two tablespoons of gelatin into the water.

judee@glutenfreeA-Z November 25, 2010 at 7:35 pm

I found the agar powder and made the pie for Thanksgiving. THANK YOU SO MUCH. The pie was easy to make, healthy to eat , and tasted divine. The best part was that I didn't even have to use the oven. Fabulous recipe. Happy Thanksgiving


Judee, Thank you for sharing your success. I have to agree that it's a pretty tasty pie! And easy, too. I appreciate your taking the time to share your culinary success.


Sarah March 17, 2011 at 8:44 am

Hi there! I just found your site from Finding Vegan- this looks amazing! Have yet to find a great vegan pumpkin pie recipe, so I'm thrilled to try this! It may be a silly question, but can I use canned pumpkin? And how much- the same amount? I'm a little behind and it's no longer pumpkin time around here, but I want to make this! Thank you for any advice and for posting such an awesome-looking recipe!!

Lexie March 17, 2011 at 2:55 pm

Sarah, Yep … canned pumpkin will work just fine : )


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@hilaryfleming September 27, 2011 at 11:38 pm

This looks delish! I will have to give it a try. Maybe I can trick my fam in to eating something healthy and all natural 🙂 I think I even have all those ingredients in my pantry!

Frederique October 16, 2011 at 2:32 am

OMG! I have been on the Seignalet diet for my fibromyalgia (similar but more restrictive than Paleo diet) for 6 weeks now and so not being able to have Casein, gluten, corn, refined sugar, and not being able to cook above a certain temp… I had given up on A LOT of things. Pumpkin pie is one of my all time favorite desserts and i grew almost teary eyes when i saw this no bake GFDF and refined sugar free recipe. I LOVE YOU! There are SOO many things you can do with nuts that i had NO CLUE! Cheese? yogourt? OMG. I'm happy again.
*does the happy dance*

Tracy November 22, 2011 at 11:20 pm

I couldn't find agar agar powder, just flakes at 2 natural food stores, follow your heart and whole foods. Can I just grind up the flakes in the vitamix or bullet to make a powder? If not I guess it will be "knox" for me. thanks for letting me know before the big day.

Lexie November 23, 2011 at 3:06 am

Hi Tracy,

Okay, so the reason I do not use flakes is because there is more room for error. The error being that folks do not boil them down long enough. They may appear to be dissolved, but you have to look close to be real sure. If you do not dissolve all the way, you will get hard, clear bits of agar when the pie sets. That being said, you may use the flakes you bought. The conversions I read are of 2 Tablespoons Flake = 1 Teaspoon Powder. So going by that you will use 1/4 cup flakes. And no, no need to grind them. Because you will be simmering for longer, take into consideration the liquid that evaporates off, so you may want to add an extra 1/4-1/2 cup water. I would simmer 10-15 minutes … perhaps look up the best way to prepare flake agar.

Here is a source for conversion: http://www.vegsource.com/talk/recipes/messages/51571.html

I have never tried converting flakes to powder, so I cannot guarantee it, but it seems it should work fine : )

All the best,

Sarah November 23, 2011 at 7:53 pm


I had the same problem- all the natural foods stores I went to only had the flakes! But then I found out that best place to get the powder is Asian food stores. It was much less expensive there, too. It is sometimes labeled kanten powder- that's the Japanese name. The brand I got had no English on the package. The shelf said "kanten powder", but when I looked on the back of the packet for the ingredients, it said "agar-agar." Hope that helps! -ss

Lexie November 23, 2011 at 10:42 pm

Sarah, Thank you for your comment. BINGO! That is where I get mine … so much cheaper. The one I buy comes in a white packet with blue and red. I buy 4 at a time and dump them into a jar for ease of use.

Have a GREAT day tomorrow!!


NewlyModified May 1, 2012 at 10:31 pm

Can you substitute macadamia nuts for the cashews? And if so, does this substitution always work? Thanks!

Lexie May 1, 2012 at 11:06 pm

NewlyModified, I have not tried mac nuts. Both of these nuts blend up well. May be worth a try, but cannot guarantee it will work. Feel free to play and let us know how it works. xoLexie

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