2 Easy Ways to Make Pumpkin Puree

This post is by blog team member, Kiran. To learn more about Kiran, check out our team page or check out her blog!

Pumpkin, oh pumpkin; how I love thee. Bars, soups, pie – you name it. If it’s got pumpkin in it, I’m making it. And eating it.

I’ve often wondered about pumpkin, though. As I stand in line at the grocery store, my cart full of cans of the beloved orange fall vegetable, I ponder. How easy is it to cook a pumpkin myself and make pumpkin puree? And would the outcome be any different?

I decided to test it out, and I have results to share. So grab that PSL (homemade, of course) and sit back. And let’s talk pumpkin.

2 Easy Ways to Make Pumpkin Puree on 100 Days of #RealFood

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Roasting a Pumpkin in the Oven

This is probably the most common method you’ll find. People will vary with their temps, but 400 degrees worked perfectly for me. First things first, make sure that you get a “pie” pumpkin. Yeah – the jack-o-lantern size is just not gonna do it for you. For one thing, it’ll be a royal pain to try to cut through. And next, the taste will differ from the little ones. Just trust me on this one. Here are the steps to roasting a pumpkin in the oven (which also works for acorn or butternut squash).

  1. Wash and dry pumpkin. I always use my Branch Basics for this.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Put parchment paper on a roasting pan.
  3. Slice off the top of the pumpkin, including the stem. Cut pumpkin in half.
  4. Using a large spoon or an ice cream scooper, remove the flesh and seeds.
  5. Place pumpkin (flat side) down on the parchment paper.
  6. Roast in the oven for 30-40 minutes, depending on your oven. The skin will look somewhat wrinkly when it’s ready to be removed and you’ll be able to easily pierce it with a fork.
  7. Let it cool before peeling off the skin and removing flesh.
  8. Place pumpkin flesh in a food processor or a high speed blender. Puree until smooth.

I read about others using a cheesecloth to strain the water at this point; this is optional and a step that I did not do.

Cooking a Pumpkin in an Instant Pot

Never heard of an Instant Pot? Ooooh – let me tell you about it. It’s a seven-in-one multi-cooker that works as an electric pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, yogurt maker, steamer, warmer and sauté pan . Since I’m pretty much a newbie with the Instant Pot, I joined a Facebook group. And it was in there that I saw someone mentioned cooking a squash in the pressure cooker in no time at all. So why not pumpkin, I thought?!

I popped my pie pumpkin into my Instant Pot on the rack and added a cup of water. I set the manual setting to 13 minutes, and sealed the lid. And waited. After letting it cool down and release (the air pressure) for 10 minutes, I was ready to see my creation: a beautiful soft (and still hot) pumpkin, ready to be peeled.

I let it cool for another 15 minutes before slicing into it; I couldn’t believe how easy it was. I then took a large tablespoon (from my utensils) and scooped out the seeds and the flesh. Of course I saved these for roasting later on in the afternoon. Same as above, I peeled the skin and placed the flesh into my blender to puree. Beautiful.

From pumpkin to puree
From pumpkin to puree.

My takeaway

There are pros and cons to cooking a pumpkin. I’ve listed them below:

  • The taste is way better with a “real” pumpkin vs. canned. No joke.
  • Cooking it in the Instant Pot (or any pressure cooker) is simple. Like, really simple. Roasting is really not bad, either. It’s totally doable!
  • Opening a can is simple. Like – even simpler than cooking in the Instant Pot:).
  • The cost: I bought my pie pumpkins on sale for $3.49. And they were organic. I can get organic cans of pumpkin from Trader Joes for around $1.79. So it’s definitely cheaper to get the can (unfortunately).

So there you have it. I am really glad that I tried cooking a pumpkin and hope that you do, too. My guess is that I’ll do both methods in the future. I’m sure I’ll cook pumpkins, but purchase canned in a pinch. If you’ve tried making puree, I’d love to hear about your experience. If you haven’t, please share your favorite pumpkin recipe in the comments below. Because I now have 6 cups of pumpkin to use!  Be sure to try this Pumpkin Cream Cheese Bread with your pumpkin purée!

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54 thoughts on “2 Easy Ways to Make Pumpkin Puree”

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    1. I just did some research, and it does look like this might be true to some extent. More reason to make your own! – Nicole

  1. I grow my own sugar pie pumpkins on a trellis. Out of four hills of pumpkin plants, I get around twenty-‘five pumpkins. I grow chemical free. I love baking the pumpkins and then run them through the food processor. I do line a colander with paper towels and let the puree sit in the fridge to drain overnight. Be sure to put plastic wrap over the top of the puree so it doesn’t develop a skin on top. I package in freezer bags, weighing out 16 ounces per bag. If you flatten the bags before freezing, they store very nicely.

  2. You may be paying more for the fresh pumpkin but you get a lot more than from a can! I need to get a pumpkin to roast and make pumpkin roll and muffins… Yummy!

  3. If you do not strain the purée and you use it in pies they will be way too wet and leave your bottom crust soggy. But agree 100% fresh home made purée is superior to canned. I think I get more volume per unit cost than canned….way more work though.

  4. Funny I ran across this today while I have 8 pie pumpkins in the oven now! They were at 350 so I just bumped them up to 400, per your instructions! My friend has a pumpkin patch so I offered to work there a day to earn pumpkins so I can roast, purée and freeze! I love adding pumpkin to my chili! No one knows it’s there but it thickens it up and adds fiber and vitamins! I also peeled one, steamed it and added it to a curry dish for lunch. If you have access to good pumpkins, you can bear the fall flavor!

    1. Ha! I just realized why I shouldn’t type on my phone. I meant to say you can’t beat the fall flavor (not bear), lol.
      My chili…pretty easy. I don’t measure so it’s never the same twice (also meaning you can’t really mess it up). In a crockpot (or on the stove for an hour on low after first bringing to a boil) add: a pound of browned meat (turkey, beef, sausage, your choice). Add a can of kidney beans, baked beans and two cans of chili beans (don’t dump the juice from the cans in the sink…it all goes into the crockpot). Add a can of mini diced tomatoes (or two, depending on how well you like tomatoes I use two) and a can of tomato juice. A cup of pureed pumpkin, 3/4 c of diced sweet peppers, 1/2 c diced onion. Then season. Again, I don’t measure so I’ll guess. 2 TBL chili powder, 1 tsp oregano, 1 tsp parsley, 1 tsp basil. Sprinkle in some garlic powder and salt and pepper. Then let it sit for 4-6 hours so the flavors all heat up and mesh together! I pretty much always have the canned beans and tomatoes on hand in my pantry. I keep the pumpkin and peppers and onions in my freezer so this is a pretty easy and healthy go-to meal. I’ve not tried dried beans yet, I imagine you would just need to add more tomato juice and spices but I’m sure that could be done easily as well.

  5. My neighbor gave us a pumpkin last week. Not too sure what to do with it. Have decided to make pumpkin cheesecake. I’ve done the basic pies,but this year felt like something different. Will try your puree tips. AND PRAY everything works out.

  6. Pumpkins are VERY easy to grow and the vine is lovely. You can even incorporate it in a flower bed or it grows in your veggie garden between things. Just buy your preferred type of seeds. Cheap to grow and purée.

    1. HI Carolyn,
      I’m a newbie to gardening. Do they take up a lot of space? I was under the impression that they do, but I’d love your input.

      1. Pumpkins are super easy to grow and only take up space if you let the vines sprawl all over. We trellis ours, making them more vertical gardening and they grow very will with melons, cucumbers, and other vine crops. Sprinkle vines with diatomacious earth every so often to control squash bugs and keep them organic. So delicious and easy. More info on growing and preserving can be found at HealthyHomesteadLiving.com

  7. Ooh.. ick.. I can’t stand Trader Joe’s canned pumpkin. I’ve tried it on different occasions. I’ve always found it bitter. Fresh pumpkin is worth the bit more effort (and expense). Grow it yourself and the cost is minimal!

  8. O.k…I’ve been roasting my pumpkins for a number of years now, strain the ‘flesh’ (with cheese cloth) and then freezing for pies later. I’ve used regular pumpkins, sugar pumpkins; and this year bought what was just advertised as ‘pie pumpkins’ at my farmer’s market.
    We recently bought an Instant Pot (which I LOVE) and I’m excited to use it. But here’s the thing. I know you’re suppose to use water when you pressure cook in it, but isn’t this adding more water to the pumpkins that I just have to strain out later?

    1. Actually, when using the I-Pot, the pumpkins are placed on a metal rack, or lifted up by some manner, (ex, a dish, metal strainer or frame of some sort,) so that they don’t sit in the water. Furthermore, turning them upside down, keeps the dripping moisture for falling down in to the pumpkins and collecting. Of course being inside the steaming pot, will add some, but you can let it strain. I’d still keep it and use as there surely is nutrients that will be captured in it. ; )

  9. I usually get about 2 or 3 pumpkins to puree and keep in the freezer. I’ll do them all at once and it usually lasts me all year. It may be cheaper to buy cans, but with cans you won’t get the seeds that you can roast and have as a healthy snack! These are my favorite part! Just clean them off, coat with a little olive oil, garlic salt and pepper, and roast at 400 for about 10-15 minutes.

  10. Yes! Thanks for sharing how easy it can be to roast a pumpkin or squash. And I totally agree – the flavor is FAR superior! Especially when they come from your own patch or local market.

  11. While I agree the cans appear to be cheaper I thought I got more for the fresh pumpkins that I pureed and put in the freezer. I thought I got at least the volume to two cans. I could be wrong though.

    1. you want the best price go to the farmers market — got 2 large pumpkins for $5 if i had bought it in grocery would have been more than twice that…. bought a 3rd one for $10 that was for use for a pie – the others I will carve and bake and run through my food processor use for other stuff —- thinking of using my electric knife to cut it down for the oven ;-)

  12. My two dogs Missy & Buzz get a big spoon of canned pumpkin puree twice a day with their respective meals, and I’ve been thinking about making my own. I’ll try the roasting method you shared :-) Thanks for the step-by-step description!

    1. Hi, Barbara…do you give your dogs pumpkin for nutritional value?
      I’d love to learn about this, and the benifits. Thanks!

      1. Hi Janene, yes, pumpkin is very rich in fiber and therefore beneficial for their digestive tracts (works wonders for both diarrhea AND constipation), plus both pups really like the taste of it :-) It is also rich in vitamins A & C, and overall low in fat. I first came across it when I did some research for Buzz’s gastrointestinal issue a few years ago, and it cured him of his diarrhea within a few days. Ever since then, I’ve added a little to their daily meals (I feed the pups raw now, but still add the pumpkin). Feel free to hop on over to K9sOverCoffee.com (my blog) where I write about healthy dogs :-)

      2. Pumpkin is especially good for dogs that are prone to needing their anal glands expressed. It minimizes the need to do this.

  13. I have always had trouble cutting up a pumpkin to roast. Last year I thoroughly washed and dried the pumpkin and cooked the whole pumpkin at 350 degrees for several hours till it was done (it sort of sags in on itself). I let it cool and easily cut and scraped the good stuff off the peel. This was so easy that I processed several pumpkins this way and froze the puree in bags in the amounts I use the most. I will never go back to struggling with cutting the pumpkin in half.

  14. It seems everyone has forgotten the other most important part: PUMPKIN SEEDS! Roasted with salt…. why buy pumpkin seeds for diy granola bars when you can save your own?

  15. Hi Lisa
    I love your blog. We have been talking pumpkin puree all week. The only thing I think missing is saying how cheap it is if you grow it yourself. Then you are sure of the quality and the organic status PLUS pumpkin is one of the easiest to seed save so it is truly a free food if you grow it yourself. Generally they grow very easily in good compost even directly on a compost heap. thanks for a great blog. Caro

  16. I bought a pretty large pie pumpkin for only $2.00. That is so much cheaper than a can and tastes so much better after cooking in my Instant Pot. I cooked a pretty big one in only 10 minutes on high pressure. Plus a natural release. I do all kinds of winter squashes in the IP! So good!

  17. Living in Australia, canned pumpkin is simply not on the supermarket shelves. I’ve never seen it, other than on the Internet. Just as a tip from a life-long fresh pumpkin roaster, you can chop it in to chunks and freeze the pieces (no blanching necessary) and just sling them in the oven with your desired spices and a little oil to roast from frozen, the skin peels right off when it’s done.
    I also have no idea what pumpkin spice is!

  18. Oooooh I must have an instant pot! Do you have a suggestion for best brand? Last year I made my own pumpkin puree using a Galeux d’Eysines pumpkin, that is totally worth it! All those weird peanut-looking things on the outside are formed from sugar so the pumpkin is extra delicious!

    1. I have an InstantPot! Love it:). Makes beans in a snap and spaghetti squash in 7 minutes! InsrantPot is the brand. If you search online there is $50 off coupon available.

  19. Luckily I am able to get organic pie pumpkins at my farmer’s market for $2. I used to roast and freeze, but last year I discovered whole pie pumpkins kept in my basement till February. So this year, I plan to buy 10 or so pie pumpkins and roast as needed throughout the fall/winter. I usually let my puree sit in the fridge overnight and then pour off the excess water as it helps to concentrate the flavor. I find that the cheesecloth method removes too much water sometimes.

  20. I have to admit, I puree the big ones as well. They are cheaper to buy :) The color and taste is a little different than the little pie pumpkins but still way better than canned. It is cheaper and like others have said, I enjoy pumpkin anything all year round :) Just came back from Amish country in PA and got pumpkins for $1 :)

  21. I’ve been using pumpkin in my morning smoothie/overnight oats mixture. I use Kefir milk for probiotics, walnuts for Omega 3s, pumpkin because it’s awesome, a banana for sweetness, and pumpkin pie spice and blend all that together in my Vitamix. Then I mix in either some oatmeal for overnight oats (I make my smoothies at night, so I don’t have to get up so early in the morning!) or some pumpkin spice granola to top it the next morning. :)

  22. Yes I agree the quantity from one pumpkin yields much more than one store bought can. Additionally, I don’t know about you but canned pumpkin isn’t always available year round so like others commented, I purée my own and freeze it so I can enjoy “fresh” pumpkin any recipe anytime of year!!

  23. A pumpkin, even a small one, is going to yield more the equivalent of one can, probably more like four to six, so it’s always cheaper to make your own and then you don’t have the added worry of BPA.

  24. For years I’ve been steaming my pumpkins. Never tried to pressure cook, but with steamed pumpkins there are very few strings and it purees much easier. I’ll have to try the pressure cooker this year!

    Pumpkins will grow in almost any climate and planting one seed provides me with enough pumpkins every year at about 5 cents a pumpkin. I’d suggest growing your own instead of buying them at the store.

    1. Kiran Dodeja Smith

      Growing your own is a great idea, for sure. I am a novice (if that, even) at gardening, but I hope to get there someday!

  25. I use my immersion blender after scooping out roasted pumpkin into a bowl. Works great. Then I put in jars and freeze until ready to use. Never bought the canned and now that I’ve made fresh, I never will.

  26. I always roast the pumpkin whole in the oven and cut it when it’s all nice and soft. I think the oven roast pumpkin has a sweeter taste and better texture than canned.

    You can also put a whole pumpkin into your crock pot and cook on high for several hours.

  27. Good to know! I have an Instant Pot as well and love it.

    In your cost comparison, did the pie pumpkin produce an equivalent amount of puree as the can did?

    Even though store-bought puree is cheaper, I would think making it yourself would give you a much bigger volume of puree than the canned stuff, but I really don’t know!

  28. I get a pumpkin or two when on sale, roast like you said and blend to make purée. Then I freeze in canned portions in jars. So then I “open up a can” (defrost) whenever I need it. Bc who wants to use 6 cups of pumpkin all at once? It’s perfect to get me thru the season!