Homemade Pumpkin Puree
Making your own homemade pumpkin puree couldn’t be simpler! We’ll walk you through the steps of how to make creamy and smooth pure mashed pumpkin for pies, bread, and more!
Table of contents
I admit, canned pumpkin is convenient! I always keep it on hand. But when fresh pumpkins are in season, I make sure to stock up on freshly made mashed pumpkin.
Fresh pumpkin is always a fave of mine in the autumn. I love to peel and dice pumpkin to add to pumpkin pilaf or to toss with spices and roast for a simple side dish. But I also like to stock up on cooking pumpkins so I can freeze homemade pureed pumpkins.
Making your own cooked pumpkin puree is very simple, inexpensive and hands-off. It is a great weekend cooking project to work on while you are around the house.
It can be used in place of canned pumpkin in recipes like my brown rice pumpkin risotto, Maple Bourbon Pumpkin Pie, Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread, Thai Curry Pumpkin Soup and even to feed to dogs and make homemade dog treats. And there are so many more ways to use it! Make a batch of it today and freeze it for later or use it immediately.
Which Variety Is Best For Mashed Pumpkin?
For the sweetest, creamiest and most smooth pumpkin puree, make sure you start with a cooking pumpkin. In the fall, these thinned-skinned small pumpkins can be found in most grocery stores in the produce department. You will also be able to find them at Farmers’ Markets in CSA shares and at your local road side pumpkin patch.
These cooking pumpkin varieties will typically be a lot smaller than the jack-o-lantern carving pumpkins. They have smooth skin, without many ridges, and are generally round.
They will be labeled as a “cooking pumpkin” or “pie pumpkin.” A common type is known as “sugar baby.” While it is possible to make pumpkin puree from any pumpkin, cooking pumpkins are less fibrous and make a smoother sweeter puree.
Tip: Try With Other Winter Squash
You can use this method of roasting and making puree with a wide variety of other winter squashes. Butternut squash, kabocha and hubbard are some favorites!
How to Make Homemade Pumpkin Puree
Step 1: Prep Pan and Preheat Oven
To roast the pumpkin, I like to line my baking sheet with parchment paper. The reason I do that is that when the pumpkin touches the baking sheet the naturally occurring sugars in the pumpkin will caramelize and that part of the pumpkin will be dark and tough when pureed. The parchment minimizes the caramelization. If you don’t have parchment, you may just want to scrape off that darkened part to make the smoothest puree.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Normally when you roast vegetables you’ll go for a hotter oven temp, like 400, but that causes the aforementioned caramelization of the sugars, and you really want to minimize that. So a 350 degree oven is better.
Step 2: Cut the Pumpkin
Cut the cooking pumpkin in half. It is safest to use a very sharp Chef’s knife to to this. Cut the pumpkin in half along the equator.
Step 3: Scoop out Seeds and Pulp
Then use a large spoon to scrape the seeds and pulp out of the center cavity. You can save the seeds and make Baked Pumpkin Seeds with them.
Step 4: Roast Cut-Side Down
Next, place the pumpkin cut side down on the parchment. This will trap the natural moisture in so the pumpkin will almost steam itself a bit, and stay very moist. Transfer to the oven and bake.
Alternative Microwave Method
Cooking the pumpkin in a microwave works really well too and is faster. You’ll need to add water to the microwave safe baking dish to help steam the pumpkin. One of the drawbacks to cooking the pumpkin in the microwave is that you can only do one at a time, and with smaller pumpkins. Since I freeze my pumpkin puree, I like to do a bigger batch of puree and cook a couple of pumpkins at once. So an oven works better for that
Step 5: Test For Doneness
Roast the pumpkin until it is soft. To tell if it is soft you can carefully flip it over with a spatula and tongs, and test the flesh with a pairing knife or fork.
Personally, I like to just press my finger into the flesh while it is still cut side down. I do it really fast since it is really hot, and if the pumpkin is soft enough it will give away slightly under the pressure of my finger. If you’re afraid of touching hot pumpkins, you can do this with a wooden spoon, or test with a fork. If the fork goes in very easily, the pumpkin is ready to mash.
Once the pumpkin is soft, just pull the baking sheet out of the oven and let the pumpkin cool on the parchment. To speed the process you can carefully flip it over cut side up and allow the steam to escape or you can leave it cut side down. The pumpkin will wrinkle and may collapse as it cools. This is normal.
Step 6: Scoop Out the Pumpkin
Once it is cool use a spoon to scoop the cooked flesh out of the skin. The skin will be softer now, so try not to get any of the skin in with the flesh.
Step 7: Puree In Food Processor
Scoop batches of it into the food processor (don’t over-fill it) and puree until it is smooth. You may have to stop the motor and scrape down the sides to ensure the smoothest puree.
FAQs and Expert Tips
I tend to do two pumpkins at once to make a large batch, and divided it up into smaller 2 cup portions to freeze. Most recipes for pumpkin call for 2 cup increments or a 14 or 15 ounce can, so I find this is the most useful portion to freeze.
Ways To Use Pureed Pumpkin
Pureed pumpkins made from scratch can be used in place of canned pumpkin. Here are some ways to use it:
- Use it to make Roasted Pumpkin Soup. Our version is vegan!
- Instead of canned pumpkin use it for Chocolate Swirl Pumpkin Pie.
- Our Whole-wheat pumpkin pancakes are the best way to start a fall morning.
- Start the day off by stirring pureed pumpkin into overnight oats or hot oatmeal for breakfast. Pumpkin Smoothie with Ginger and Spice is another way to add it to your breakfast.
- Homemade Pumpkin Muffins with Pumpkin Seeds on Top or our Vegan Pumpkin Scones are three baking recipes to try with it.
- If you are gluten-free try it in these Gluten-free Pumpkin Muffins or these grain-free Paleo Pumpkin Scones.
- Homemade Starbucks PSL– so much cheaper and you can control how sweet they are.
- Make our fabulous Pumpkin Streusel Bread– a favorite hostess gift during the holiday season.
The thickness of homemade pumpkin puree varies depending on the pumpkin. If yours doesn’t mound or is runny it may be too watery for use in baking recipes. To fix this problem, you can strain it overnight in a strainer lined with cheesecloth or paper towels.
One can of pumpkin is 15 ounces, or just shy of 2 cups. To measure out 15 ounces, you can weigh it, or measure out 2 cups minus 2 tablespoons.
Yes you can but the texture may be stringy and watery. If your puree is watery, use the above-mentioned method of straining through cheesecloth.
Keep refrigerated in an air-tight container for up to 1 week. Freeze in 2-cup portions for 6 months.
Thanks so much for reading! If you are new here, you may want to sign up for my email newsletter to get a free weekly menu plan and the latest recipes right to your inbox. If you make this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review. I would love to hear what you thought!
Happy Cooking! ~KatiePrint
Homemade Pumpkin Puree
- Total Time: 2 hours
- Yield: 3 cups (about 1 pound 10 ounces) 1x
How to make home-made pumpkin puree. Pie pumpkins or sugar baby pumpkins make smoother sweeter puree than carving pumpkins.
- 1 medium cooking or pie pumpkin, 3 to 4 pounds
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment.
- Cut pumpkins in half along the equator.
- Scoop out the seeds and stringy pulp in the center.
- Place pumpkin halves (cut side down) on the prepared pan and roast until they are soft, about an hour to 1 hour 10 minutes. You can tell they are done if you carefully press on the outer skin and the meat gives way underneath. You can also test with a fork to see if they are tender.
- Allow the pumpkin to cool. Scoop the flesh out with a spoon and puree in a food processor or with a food mill.
To Microwave The Pumpkins
Instead of baking the pumpkin, place cut side down in a 9 by 13-inch microwave-safe baking dish with a half inch of water. Microwave on high power, until soft, 15 to 17 minutes.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 1 hour
- Category: Side dish
- Method: oven
- Cuisine: American
- Serving Size: 1/2 cup
- Calories: 40
- Sugar: 4 g
- Fat: 0 g
- Carbohydrates: 10 g
- Fiber: 3 g
- Protein: 1 g
Keywords: pumpkin puree
Easier to make than I thought it would be. Better for you too. Will definitely be making my own pumpkin puree from now on.
Glad to hear that, Andrea. Have a wonderful weekend!
Definitely the perfect recipe for the season! I love that you included a microwave option too. So easy!
I appreciate hearing that, Tara!
I love the taste of homemade pumpkin puree much more than the canned stuff! Thanks for all the tips!
So glad it worked out for you, Vanessa! Thank you for the comment and rating.
Such a great fall recipe that everyone can make. This is my go-to side dish during the pumpkin season.
That is just wonderful to hear, Sam. Thank you!
This is just top notch comfort food! I love the risotto and I had no idea how easy it was to make my own pumpkin puree. It really is a big step up from the canned purees!
It really is, Wilhelmina! Thank you for the comment!
I really love how easy this is to make!! So good!
So glad that you enjoyed my recipe, Toni!
Simply delicious! I love when I have leftovers for the next day!
This recipe is terrible. This has been cooking for 2 hours and has yet to reach the softness of risotto.
Thanks for checking back. What a bummer. Just be sure that you look for that “simmer” when you turn it down in step 2. “Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer undisturbed until most of the liquid has been absorbed, 30 to 35 minutes.” It’s possible that low on your stove may be too low to maintain an actual simmer.
I was thinking of making this tonight with leftover (cooked) short grain brown rice. Was wondering if you or anyone else has tried that already – using already cooked leftover rice and cut down on the liquids a bit. How’d it go and what changes did you make? I’ll probably give it a go, but will probably not remember to post about it. 🙂
I’d love to know if that worked. Yes I would say, go down on liquids by at least a half. Then you’re really just looking for cooking the starch out of the rice. keep in mind, the cheese at the end will make it creamy too.
Yum! I have always wanted to try and tackle risotto, but have never gotten the chance. As I do adore all things pumpkin, I think that this may be the perfect recipe to start with. The use of fresh pumpkin is a little daunting to me though- can you use canned? Or do you have any fool proof tips on how to use the real thing? Can’t wait to give this a try!
Absolutely go for it with the canned pumpkin. That would make it doable in an hour. The real thing is also great in pie or as the base for soup.
Mmmmm, pumpkin risotto is so good! I haven’t tried making risotto with brown rice before (but have subbed barley in for arborio rice). I’ll have to keep my eyes peeled for short grain brown rice and give this recipe a try!
I really like short grain brown rice by Lundberg. They have it at the Hannaford’s (which is a big grocery chain here.) It is also easy to find in the bulk section at a health food store.