How to Make Pumpkin Puree

Pumpkin Puree

The farmers market has been full of pumpkins and other winter squash recently and I have been wanting to do something with them. A few of the recipes on my "to try" list called for pumpkin puree and although the canned stuff is convenient I wanted to try making my own pumpkin puree. It turns out that making your own pumpkin puree is really easy. You simply cut the pumpkin in half, scoop out the seeds and roast it in the oven until it is soft enough to mash or puree.

Note: You can also puree other winter squash such as butternut squash in the same way.

Note: Make sure you save your seeds to make toasted pumpkin seeds with.

Update: After experimenting a bit, it turns out that pumpkin puree freezes well so I will be making a lot of pumpkin puree while the pumpkins are in season and freezing it for use later on.

Pumpkin Puree

(makes a vaying amount depending on the size of your pumpkin)
Printable Recipe

1 pumpkin

1. Cut the pumpkin in half.
2. Scoop out the seeds and stringy bits.
3. Place the halves face down on a baking sheet.
4. Bake the pumpkin in a 400F oven until soft, about 30-90 minutes depending on how thick the pumpkin is.
5. Scoop the flesh from the pumpkin and mash with a fork.

Things to use pumpkin puree in:
Thai Pumpkin Soup
Pumpkin Pie Milkshake
Pumpkin Pie Cinnamon Buns with Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting
Pumpkin and Shrimp Bisque
Pumpkin White Chocolate and Macadamia Nut Cookies
Pumpkin Gnocchi
Roasted Pumpkin, Pancetta and Sage Soup
Pumpkin Greek Yogurt Banana Bread
Pumpkin Pie Quinoa Parfait with Gingersnap Pecan Streusel
Pumpkin Hummus
Pumpkin Chorizo and Black Bean Soup


Pam said...

wow, Kevin, what a great idea. I would have never thought of making my own pumpkin puree. You'll have to let us know if it does freeze well.

Kevin said...

Pam: It does freeze well. I am making some right now to freeze for later.

Sarah Bacon said...

Kevin, can you let us know how you freeze it? In plastic tupperware or ... ? Perhaps freezer-safe plastic bags.

Anonymous said...

Hi there,
Quick question - what kind of pumpkin do you recommend for cooking? Thanks!

Kevin said...

Sarah Bacon: I have been using the reusable ziplock containers with the twist on lids for freezing the pumpkin puree. I would imagine that tupperware would also work well.

Anonymous: I am not sure where you come from and as I understand it in some parts or the world all squash are called pumpkins whereas here in North America only the classic 'Halloween' squash is called a pumpkin. The Halloween style orange pumpkin comes in two types, the smaller 'pie' type and the larger 'carving' type. I am referring the the small orange 'pie' type of Halloween pumpkin.

That being said I have also had success with other squash/pumpkins including kabocha and buttercups.

MaryNeedsSleep said...

Kevin, thanks for the instructions! I bet "Anonymous" is a gardener. There are many varieties of pie pumpkins, and all have slightly different characteristics - for example, I often buy garden seeds from Johnny's (here), and they carry several types of pie pumpkin, and about 30 types of pumpkins overall, in addition to several types of kabocha-type squash. There are plenty of other seed vendors also you could also try.

Debbie said...

Hi Kevin,

I saw your advice to that person with the question of the type of pumpkins to use. But I just want to know if the larger carving type of pumpkins are edible? I want to try and purée them but not if I'm not suppose to. :)

thanks for this post :)

Lynn said...

Thanks for all the great pumpkin ideas, Kevin. We grew pumpkins this year and I'm excited to see all the nifty things I can do with them. I made roasted pumpkin kabobs the other day and they were outstanding. Can't wait to try your pumpkin puree and your pumpkin/black bean soup :)

Kevin said...

MaryNeedsSleep: Thanks for the info! I will certainly have to keep an eye out for some of those different varieties of pie pumpkins!

Debbie: Yes the larger carving pumpkins are edible, though they do not taste quite as good as the ones that are bread specifically for eating.

Anonymous said...

my experience with the carving pumpkins is that they have too much water in the flesh to work well for pie puree. as someone else said, they don't have as much flavor as pie pumpkins and that is partly due to the quantity of water.

Susan said...

Would you make Kabocha puree the same way? Would the skin crumble?

Kevin said...

Susan: Yes I have made kabocha puree in the same way and it works beautifully.

Rookie Bebe said...

I'm am making this on Monday as I found some pie pumpkins at a large farmers market in ATL. When you say face down, do you mean the inside of the pumpkin faces down?

Thanks. Can't wait to try this. I got so excited at finding the pumpkins.

Kevin said...

Rookie Bebe: Yes with the inside facing down and the skin on top. Enjoy!

Rookie Bebe said...

Pumpkin cooked beautifully. Peeled easily. I'll let you know how the pie comes out.

Lynn said...

Hope you don't mind, Kevin. I posted today about some soup I made with some of your (frozen) pumpkin puree and linked to you. The soup was outstanding! Can't wait to grow more pumpkins next year and freeze the excess. Thanks for your wonderful, informative blog.

Sophie said...

What a great idea!!Thanks for this too because we can't buy canned pumpkin in Belgium!!

Looks so tasty too!

Valshaena said...

As far as the larger pumpkins with a large water content causing problems I have found that draining the puree overnight in a colander lined with cheesecloth in the fridge helps with this. The pumpkin pie I made from the large pumpkin didn't last more than 30 min.

Anonymous said...

I'll have to try baking the pumpkins. I always boil them but it's hard to peel the skin off a boiling hot piece of pumpkin.

Sandi said...

Hi Kevin,

I have 2 small-med sized pumpkins...would that yield enough puree to make your pumpkin and chorizo soup?

Sandi said...

Kevin have you ever just tried roasting the pumpkin without cutting it first and just poking a couple holes in and then roasting?

Kevin said...

Sandi: You will probably only need one of them for the pumpkin and chorizo soup. I have not tried roasting a pumpkin whole. It might be more difficult to get the seeds out after.

Annika said...

I just wanted to say how incredible grateful I am for discovering this simple method on here! I really like pumpkins but in the past the preparation always put me off (and I don't live in the US or Canada, so canned pumpkin puree isn't really an alternative for me). I tried this yesterday and made your pumpkin cheesecake with it. Both turned out wonderfully, I'll definitely try many more pumpkin recipes this season!

Azirkah said...

Rather than mashing with a fork, try giving the cooked pumpkin a whirl with an electric mixer. That makes puree out of it QUICK.

Like Valshaena said, draining in a sieve lined with cheesecloth helps a lot. After 30 - 60 minutes or so of draining, then I gather up the corners of the cheesecloth and twist until it's tight enough to give the pumpkin a gentle squeeze (kinda like you'd do with thawed spinach, except you don't have to WRING cooked pumpkin the way you do thawed spinach).

Kevin said...

Azirkah: Using a mixer or a food processor will definitely give you a smoother finish and removing the excess liquid with give the pumpkin puree a consistency much more similar to the canned pumpkin puree.

Stephanie said...

This is SO SO SO helpful. I had always thought pumpkin puree was super hard to make or time consuming. LOL I feel silly now. Super excited for fall and will be doing this. I hate that the store only sells canned pumpkin puree 3 months a year. I always had bought extra but I run out and have to wait such a long time. I love the idea of throwing it in the freezer to make pumpkin-y stuff in the spring or summer. Very healthy :)

Anonymous said...

I started making my own puree several years ago and a quick tip to make the process easier is that if you have a food processor that works great and faster than hand mashing. jw

Nala said...

I'm so glad I found this recipe. I've been eager to try pumpkin recipes but not so keen on using storebought puree. Now I know I can easily make my own and I look forward to baking. Thanks Kevin!

Jacqueline Frances said...

Hey there Kevin!
I have been making puree out of large 'carver' pumpkins for years and years. When I bake them, I pour a bit of water into the baking pan. Once removed from the skin, I drain the unmashed flesh in a simple plastic sieve(to drain) and have never had a problem! While mashing with a potato masher, I add a bit of pumpkin pie seasoning. I freeze my mashed pumpkin in heavy duty freezer bags(have to go down to the US to get the good quality ones).
Thanks for all your great recipes!
Jacqueline in Pitt Meadows

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