How to Make Pumpkin Puree

This fall, learn how to make pumpkin puree at home with fresh pumpkin (or squash) instead of the stuff from the can. It's easy and delicious!

Homemade Pumpkin Puree

There are plenty of great reasons to know how to make pumpkin puree at home, even if you can find it in a can.

Why make homemade pumpkin puree?

  1. You live in a country where they do not sell pumpkin puree in cans. I’m not sure exactly which countries do and don’t export America’s favorite canned pureed vegetable, but every year it comes up in the comments whenever I post fall pumpkin recipes, so I feel like there are enough of you out there!
  2. You got overzealous at the farmers market because the pumpkin was so cute and fall looking, and you didn’t realize you’d have at least 20 pounds/9 kilos of pumpkin to deal with. (pictured below)
  3. You got all of the ingredients to make this soup (yay!!), and now you have lots of pumpkin left over.
  4. Because sometimes it’s just fun to make something from scratch, like homemade tortillas or pizza dough, even though there are perfectly good versions available at the store.

So here we go, let’s get started!

Homemade Pumpkin Puree

First, scoop out the seeds and roast the pumpkin until fork tender…

Homemade Pumpkin Puree Homemade Pumpkin Puree

Once cooled, scoop the flesh from the skin and run it through a food processor until it’s smooth.

Depending on your pumpkin (or squash… this can also be done with certain squashes), the consistency of your puree may be more watery than that of a canned puree. If you’re making pie, you might want to strain the excess liquid by letting it sit in a fine mesh strainer (or cheesecloth) over a bowl for 30 minutes. In baking recipes like these cookies or this pumpkin bread, I simply used about 2 tablespoons less liquid (less oil in the cookies, less water in the bread).

Of course there are savory uses too! Make a creamy soup, or stir into risotto (I’m going to try that next!)

Note: when I used buttercup squash, my puree was much thicker. 

Store any leftovers in the fridge or freeze it for later!

Homemade Pumpkin Puree

5.0 from 2 reviews
Homemade Pumpkin Puree
An easy recipe for homemade pumpkin puree.
  • 1 pumpkin or large squash: a sugar pie pumpkin, cheese pumpkin (pictured), buttercup squash, butternut squash, or kabocha squash. Avoid the large halloween carving pumpkins because their flesh is too fibrous for a soft puree.
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with foil. Slice the pumpkin in half, scoop out the seeds and place cut side down on the baking sheet. (Note: in the pictures mine is cut into quarters because I had already cut into it when making this soup).
  2. Roast for 40 minutes or until the flesh is soft and a fork easily slides in. Let cool for about 1 hour. Use your hands to peel the flesh from the skin and place in a food processor. Puree until smooth, let your food processor run for about a minute, stopping to scrape down the sides as needed.
  3. Transfer to containers and chill until ready to use.



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  1. Rebecca

    Love your tips! I love homemade pumpkin ravioli (as an alternative to butternut squash). I squeeze the puree a bit in cheesecloth to remove more of the water. It’s a bit more work, but definitely worth it! Pumpkin everything is one of the best things about the fall months!

  2. Susan

    Interesting about not using Halloween pumpkins. For years I collected my neighbors’ jack-o-lanterns baked them, made puree and then pumpkin butter, a recipe I figured out by somehow adapting my mother’s wonderful pumpkin pie recipe. Those pumpkins actually made wonderful puree. These days I would definitely go with a pie pumpkin. I make my own tortillas and pizza dough pretty routinely, and probably should make my own pumpkin puree as well, because canned pumpkin seems to almost always taste like the can. I would definitely choose to drain the puree to make sure it is thick enough.

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      oh interesting, pumpkin butter sounds delicious 🙂

    • tamara

      I always used the Halloween pumpkins and my pumpkin pies turned out DELISH!

      • Jeanine Donofrio

        thanks for letting me know!

  3. Kathy K

    A video on P. Allen Smith’s website suggested that the type of pumpkin shown above, Jeanine’s “cheese pumpkin”, is the best type to use. The varieties that were mentioned were the “Cinderella” and “Fairy Tale”. The roasted pumpkin seeds are great too!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      yes, LOVE roasting the seeds too!

  4. tamara

    Used Halloween pumpkins and my pumpkin pies always turned out DELISH!

  5. Sarah Heaton

    I wonder if it would work to simmer the puree to get it to a more canned consistency. Might be worth it to take the guesswork out of “normal” canned pumpkin containing recipes. And then reduce a little more for that pumpkin butter! Yum!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      It roasts in the oven, so like baking, I just used the term roast.

  6. Jeanine, you don’t know how much I appreciate your awareness about the availability (or lack thereof) of American canned pumpkin in other countries. I lived in Switzerland and now Spain, and I can tell you canned pumpkin is not easy to find in Europe in general. You really have to seek it out or go to an American store, IF you’re lucky enough to be living in a big city that even has an American store. Long tangent, but thank you for this post.

  7. Sue

    I have a very LARGE pumpkin sitting on my coffee table waiting to be cooked. Thank you for this simiple recipe. I had some wonderful pumpkin soup at Panera Bread the other day and I want to make it again.

  8. Reener

    I keep pumpkin puree in the fridge all fall. One use that might seem unusual but that I love is a cold pumpkin “breakfast soup.” I put a half cup pumpkin puree, a half cup almond milk, 2 teaspoons turbinado sugar or maple syrup, and a pinch of pumpkin pie spice in a food processor for a couple of minutes. The result is delicious and healthy! It’s a great way to use up that extra little bit of pumpkin puree.

  9. Sabrina from

    thank you for breaking this down, like having puree on hand for so many other things beyond even the “cool” season for pumpkins!

  10. Tammy

    Thank you from the Australians who can’t get pumpkin in a can!! ha ha

  11. Tae

    Other reasons to make your own: almost all cans are lined with BPA! And this provides a waste-free (not to mention fresher) option! Thank you!

  12. Tae

    Oh and do you happen to know how long this would last if I canned it?

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.