How to Make Pumpkin Puree

This fall, skip the canned pumpkin and learn how to make pumpkin puree at home with fresh pumpkin (or squash)! It's delicious, easy, and fun to make.

How to make 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 pumpkin puree is not available in cans but you still want to partake in all of the yummy fall pumpkin recipes that are all around the internet and Instagram.
  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 squash to deal with. (pictured below)
  3. You got all of the ingredients to make this soup (yay!!), and now you have lots of squash left over.
  4. Because sometimes it’s just fun to make something from scratch, like homemade hummus or pizza dough, even though there are perfectly good versions available at the store.

So here we go, let’s bake!

Pumpkin

How to Make Pumpkin Puree

First, scoop out the pumpkin seeds and roast the squash on a baking sheet until fork tender.

Roasted squash on a baking sheet How to make pumpkin puree

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

Depending on the variety of squash you use, the consistency of your puree may be more watery than that of a canned puree. If you’re making pumpkin 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 my favorite pumpkin bread, I simply use about 2 tablespoons less liquid (less oil in the cookies, less almond milk in the bread).

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

How to Use Pumpkin Puree

Once you’ve made your puree, there are tons of ways to use it! Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Refrigerate any leftovers for later. They can also be stored in the freezer for up to a month!

Homemade Pumpkin Puree

If you loved making pumpkin puree….

Make more vegetable basics like roasted spaghetti squash, baked sweet potatoes, easy zucchini noodles or cauliflower rice next!


5.0 from 3 reviews

Homemade Pumpkin Puree

 
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Learn how to make delicious pumpkin puree at home! Stir it into oatmeal or risotto, or use it for all your fall baking recipes.
Author:
Recipe type: Cooking component
Serves: varies per squash
Ingredients
  • 1 pumpkin or large squash: a sugar pumpkin, cheese pumpkin (pictured), buttercup squash, butternut squash, or kabocha squash. Avoid large Halloween carving pumpkins because their flesh is too fibrous for a soft puree.
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Slice the squash 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, letting 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.

24 comments

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  1. Rebecca
    10.27.2017

    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
    10.27.2017

    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
      10.27.2017

      oh interesting, pumpkin butter sounds delicious 🙂

    • tamara
      10.27.2017

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

      • Jeanine Donofrio
        10.27.2017

        thanks for letting me know!

  3. Kathy K
    10.27.2017

    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
      10.27.2017

      yes, LOVE roasting the seeds too!

  4. tamara
    10.27.2017

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

  5. Sarah Heaton
    10.27.2017

    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
      10.28.2017

      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
    10.28.2017

    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
    10.29.2017

    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 newkitchenlife.com
    10.29.2017

    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
    10.31.2017

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

  11. Tae
    11.05.2017

    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
    11.05.2017

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

  13. Hélène
    10.08.2019

    Looks delicious! I’ll definitely try this!

    Though one little thing, I think you were intending to use butternut squash, not ‘buttercup squash’ 😀

  14. April
    10.08.2019

    Hi 🙂
    I LOVE this idea! So incredibly lovely to use the beautiful squash available this time of year. I am a routine visitor to your beautiful website and have made many recipes with great happiness! I do, however, notice that this post was already posted a couple years ago and I’m now seeing it as the new post for today. I’m just making sure this was on purpose!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      10.08.2019

      Hi April, I thought people would enjoy it at this time of year since it’s been awhile! I’m so glad you’ve been loving the recipes!!

  15. Pat
    10.12.2019

    I love roasting squash and pumpkin. Before putting the pumpkin in the processor you can drain it for a bit in a colander to get rid of the excedd liquid. The it can be processed.

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.