The Jaw-Dropping 1-Ingredient Upgrade for Better Pumpkin Pie (You Already Have It)

It was right under your nose the whole time.

<p>Dotdash Meredith Studios</p>

Dotdash Meredith Studios

We're always on the hunt for the best, the boldest, the most delicious recipes here at But that's particularly poignant at the holidays, when our cooking is in the spotlight (and perhaps under extra scrutiny, depending on your family). This Thanksgiving, we're working extra hard to deliver the best of the best, whether it's the classic dishes or unexpected new favorites on your Turkey Day table.

If years of working as a food writer have taught me anything it's that there's always a secret ingredient or technique hiding out there to make your food taste even better—you just have to find it. And boy do I have a shocking secret ingredient tip for your Thanksgiving dessert spread. If you plan to put a pumpkin pie on the table this Thanksgiving (and you're not getting it from Costco), listen up. Here's why you should be adding ground black pepper to your pumpkin pie to make it taste better than ever.

Why You Should Add Pepper to Pumpkin Pie

I first learned about this tip while working on a cooking show a few years back. Our culinary team was skeptical (and so was I), so we tested two pies side-by-side: one traditional, one exactly the same, but with a few pinches of ground black pepper added into the filling. After a blind taste test, the black pepper-laced pie was the unanimous winner. Here's why it works.

You've heard of adding salt to desserts to make them taste better, but what about pepper? Just as salt works as a kind of secret agent to complement and emphasize the other flavors in a dessert, pepper plays a similar role.

A little bit of pepper is imperceptible in the final product but adds great complexity to the flavor. Everyone knows pumpkin pie is really about pumpkin pie spice, and the slight kick it imbues on the pie filling. Put simply, ground pepper adds 'oomph' and highlights ginger and cinnamon's natural spiciness.

Get the recipe: Our Top-Rated Pumpkin Pie

How to Add Pepper to Your Pumpkin Pie

In this context, think of pepper as another part of your pumpkin spice blend. Add it into your favorite, go-to pumpkin pie recipe whenever you'd incorporate the other spices into the custard filling. You can add anywhere from a pinch or two to an 1/8 teaspoon to get the desired effect.

When it comes to adding pepper to pumpkin pie, the fresher the pepper the better. If your pepper is, say, not so fresh, add closer to 1/8 teaspoon. If it's super fresh (i.e. it makes you sneeze immediately upon opening) use a bit less. Just make sure you use finely ground or cracked black pepper—no one wants to bite into a bit piece of peppercorn in their pumpkin pie.

Both black and white pepper work, but will add different flavor notes. High-quality black pepper is my favorite since it has citrusy, floral notes that complement pumpkin and the other spices so well. White pepper is also a great option and will bring a more subtle, umami-rich note to the spice blend.

Whichever pepper you pick, I can guarantee it will make for a better, more delicious, and unforgettable pumpkin pie. When you sit down for dessert on Thanksgiving, and your whole family asks why the pumpkin pie tastes especially good, you can choose to keep it a secret or blow their minds with this simple tip. If you decide on the latter, just don't forget to tell them you got it from your friends at Allrecipes.

Read the original article on All Recipes.