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For a simple pie recipe, you can’t go wrong with an old-fashioned sugar cream pie recipe! Also known as Hoosier sugar cream pie, this is a simple pie made with staple ingredients. It has a flaky pastry crust and a rich and creamy filling and is so easy to make – a custard pie without eggs!
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If you have a serious sweet tooth as I do, you need to try this sugar cream pie recipe! If you’ve never tried a sugar pie recipe, you are in for a treat.
It’s a simple pie that’s great all year but especially for Thanksgiving dinner when everyone wants a slice of pie for dessert. It’s a creamy, sweet pie with a flaky crust.
What is Sugar Cream Pie?
Sugar cream pie is an easy no egg custard pie that’s sweet and loaded with vanilla flavor. It’s also called Hoosier pie, Indiana sugar cream pie, or Amish sugar cream pie. I’ve also heard it called desperation pie which refers to a type of pie made with simple staple ingredients that is easy to make.
It’s a rich and creamy pie that reminds me a lot of crème brulee. Traditionally it’s sprinkled with cinnamon and nutmeg, but sometimes we’ll dust it with cinnamon sugar before baking.
I absolutely love this sugar cream pie recipe – I’ve made it so many times! You can use a homemade crust or store-bought one, and the filling always turns out with the best creamy texture.
Ingredients in Sugar Cream Pie
9″ pie crust: Try my all-butter crust or use refrigerated or frozen pie crust.
Granulated Sugar: Needed for sweetness
Cornstarch: This helps set the pie since we aren’t using eggs.
Half and Half: Some sugar pie recipes use milk, some use cream, but I find half an half to be the perfect middle ground, producing a thick and creamy custard that is the perfect amount of rich.
Butter: Use unsalted butter, and you’ll want to slice it so it melts quicker.
Vanilla, Cinnamon, Nutmeg: For flavoring
How to Make Sugar Cream Pie Recipe
- Partially Bake The Crust: Fit the pie dough into a 9-inch pie plate, and then chill it for at least 30 minutes. Next, line the unbaked pie shell with parchment paper and fill it with pie weights or dry beans. For a homemade crust: bake it for 15 minutes at 400°F. For a Pillsbury premade dough: Bake it for 12 minutes.
- Take the pie plate out of the oven and poke holes all over the bottom of the crust with the tines of a fork. Bake the crust again for five to eight minutes, or until the bottom of the crust is no longer opaque but not fully cooked through.
- Place the sugar, cornstarch, and half and half in a medium saucepan. Whisk to combine and warm the mixture over medium heat.
- Add the butter and stir to combine the melted butter with the other ingredients. Keep constantly stirring until the mixture thickens, bubbles, and coats the back of a spoon. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in vanilla.
- Pour hot filling into pie crust and sprinkle cinnamon and nutmeg over the top of the pie. Bake the pie at 350°F for 15 to 20 minutes or until the top is set, but the middle still slightly jiggles when you tap the pan.
- Cool the pie to room temperature, and then cover it with plastic wrap. Place it in the refrigerator and chill it for at least one hour before slicing and serving it.
How to Partially Bake a Pie Crust
Blind baking is when you completely bake a pie crust before adding the filling. This is done when you’re using a no-bake filling, like pudding or cream.
Partially Baking a crust allows it to get a head start, so once you add the filling, it will be perfectly baked when the filling is done. You won’t fully bake it at this stage, just partially.
- All you do is press the pie dough into the pie plate and then chill it. Once it’s cold, line it with parchment and place pie weights on top of the paper. They will prevent the dough from puffing up while it bakes.
- For my homemade all-butter crust, you will need to bake it for 15 minutes with the parchment and then five to eight minutes after removing the weights and paper.
- For refrigerated pie dough, the first bake is only 12 minutes and then five to eight minutes for the second bake.
- For frozen pie crusts, the first bake will be closer to my homemade pie crust.
Tips and Substitutions
- I love my homemade butter crust for this recipe, but store-bought is great when you’re short on time. You can also use a graham cracker crust for this recipe.
- For an extra-rich filling, swap the half and half for heavy cream or heavy whipping cream.
- If you notice the edges of the crust are browning too fast, you can wrap the edge with aluminum foil or use a pie shield.
- Sometimes I omit the nutmeg and dust the top of the filling with cinnamon sugar. It creates a caramelized topping that reminds me of crème brulee.
How to Serve Sugar Cream Pie
This pie is wonderful served plain, or you can add fresh fruit and whipped cream as a topping.
FAQ for making Custard Pie
Partially blind baking the crust will ensure you don’t end up with a soggy bottom pie.
Yes, you can freeze it for up to three months.
Yes, it needs to be covered and stored in the refrigerator.
They are similar in texture and flavor, but a sugar cream pie is made without eggs. The biggest difference is in the texture because chess pie is usually made with cornmeal.
If you’re looking for new pie recipes to try this holiday season, this classic Hoosier sugar cream pie recipe needs to be on your list! You will love every last creamy bite. Enjoy!
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Sugar Cream Pie Recipe
- 1 9-inch pie crust (from scratch, frozen, or a box of 2 refrigerated)
- 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
- ¼ cup (32g) cornstarch
- 2 cups (474ml) half and half
- 6 tablespoons (84g) unsalted butter, sliced
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- Pinch nutmeg
Blind Bake Crust:
- My all butter pie crust: Place crust in 9-inch pie plate and chill at least 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 400°F. Line cold crust with parchment paper and fill pie with beans or pie weights. Bake 15 minutes. Carefully remove parchment with pie weights. Poke holes all over the bottom of the crust with the tines of a fork and continue to bake for 5-8 minutes, or until the bottom of the crust is no longer opaque.
- Pillsbury refrigerated crust: Place crust in 9-inch pie plate and chill at least 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 400°F. Line cold crust with parchment paper and fill pie with beans or pie weights. Bake 12 minutes. Carefully remove parchment with pie weights. Poke holes all over the bottom of the crust with the tines of a fork and continue to bake for 5-8 minutes, or until the bottom of the crust is no longer opaque.
- Other type of crust: Follow the directions on the package or recipe for blind baking a crust for a single crust filled pie.
- The pie crust doesn’t need to be cooled before filling and baking, so once the crust goes in for the second bake, start making the filling.
Make the Filling:
- Whisk sugar, cornstarch and half and half in a medium saucepan and set over medium heat. Add the butter and stir until butter is melted, then stir constantly until mixture thickens and bubbles and coats the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
- Pour hot mixture into pie crust. Sprinkle with cinnamon and nutmeg.
- Bake pie at 350°F for 15-20 minutes, or until the top seems set and the pie just slightly jiggles when you tap it.
- Cool completely on the counter then cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour before serving.
- Store in refrigerator. Pie can also be frozen for up to 3 months.
Sugar Cream Pie is a creamy, sweet pie with a flaky pastry crust. It’s great all year around but we love it especially around the holidays.