Homemade Pumpkin Puree, a simple make-ahead recipe to stock up on pumpkin puree for fall. A great recipe to make in the pressure cooker or in the oven, then freeze and eat throughout winter in pies and other sweets.

A jar of homemade pumpkin puree on a blue table with a gold spoon

Ditch the store-bought canned pumpkin and make it yourself instead! Most of us stock up on cans of pumpkin puree in the fall and before Thanksgiving, but did you know that pumpkin puree is actually really easy to make? Those pumpkins they sell at the store are for more than decoration, they actually taste delicious too.

👉 Here are three reasons why you should be making pumpkin puree from scratch:

  • It's good for the planet. Making your own sauces, dips, dressing, and other staples is a great step to take toward a zero-waste kitchen. Skip out on accumulating pumpkin puree cans, and make your own instead!
  • It's as easy as it gets. You really only need two ingredients to make your own pumpkin puree: water and pumpkin! In just a few simple steps, you'll have your own fall-themed puree that you can use in soups, oatmeal, smoothies, and all kinds of other recipes.
  • It's tasty. There's just something about fresh pumpkin puree. In our opinion, it is much more delicious than the canned version!

Ready to learn how to make pumpkin puree in the oven or Instant Pot? Let's do it!


🎃 What are the best pumpkins for pumpkin puree?

You may think that any old pumpkin will do for pumpkin puree. While all of them will make a decent puree, there are certain pumpkin varieties that work better for specific purposes. For example, if you're using your pumpkin puree for baking, then it's important to choose a sweeter variety.

👉 Here are a few recommendations for pumpkins to puree:

  • Sugar pumpkins, sometimes referred to as “pie pumpkins,” are smaller and sweeter than some of their behemoth cousins and make for a smoother and sweeter puree.
  • Cheese pumpkins, named because they are small and round like a cheese wheel, give pumpkin puree a light and delicate texture.
  • Jarrahdale pumpkins, the deeply ribbed greyish blue gourds, are great for pumpkin pies because they have a rich, velvety texture.
  • Other honorable mentions: acorn squash and butternut squash. Yes, many “pumpkin” purees are actually made from squash and not pumpkin. Who knew!
pumpkin pie filling in a blue bowl

♨️ How to make in the oven

1️⃣ Step One: Preheat oven + prep and roast pumpkins

Start by preheating the oven to 375 F.

While the oven preheats, cut the pumpkins in half and remove the seeds (set these aside to use in other recipes!). Place the pumpkins face down on a roasting pan that's lined with wax paper. Bake in the oven for 45 to 60 minutes. You'll know the pumpkins are done when the flesh is soft and can be speared easily with a fork and when it starts to separate from the skin.

Allow the pumpkin to cool before moving on to the next step.


2️⃣ Step Two: Pulse pumpkin flesh in a food processor

Next, remove the skin from the pumpkins and pulse the flesh in a food processor, blender, or with a handheld immersion blender.

If the puree has a thick, watery consistency, see instructions for removing excess water below.

sliced pumpkins on a cookie sheet
Roast pumpkins in the oven for puree

🥣 How to make pumpkin puree in the Instant Pot

1️⃣ Step One: Prep the pumpkins

Start by cutting a medium-sized pumpkin (3-4 pounds) in half and remove the seeds.


2️⃣ Step Two: Cook pumpkins in pressure cooker

Next, place the cut and seeded pumpkins inside the pressure cooker on the wire rack to allow water beneath the pumpkin to steam and to make sure the pumpkin skin does not burn.

Add 2 cups of water and cook on high pressure for 15 to 20 minutes, depending on how hard your pumpkin flesh is (longer for hard flesh).

When pressure cooker is done and pressure is released, use a fork to test the softness of the pumpkin. If it's still tough and the fork does not easily spear through, cook for five minutes more on high pressure.

Let the pumpkin cool and then scrape the flesh from the skin. Follow the instructions below to remove excess water for the puree.

pumpkins inside a pressure cooker instant pot
Cook pumpkin in pressure cooker for puree

💧 How to drain pumpkin puree

You can remove excess water from pumpkin puree in two ways:

  1. Strain with a cheesecloth: Place a large mesh strainer over a bowl with a cheesecloth under it. Place puree in the strainer and then press puree with a spoon to release water. Let sit for 30-60 minutes to allow water to drain.Optio
  2. Heat to release water: Heat puree in a pan over medium-low heat to “cook out” excess water, about 10 minutes. Then let sit for 30-60 minutes to promote even more drying.

❓ Recipe questions + quick tips

How do I substitute canned pumpkin for fresh?

It's easy to substitute canned pumpkin for fresh: simply make your own pumpkin puree and replace it using a 1:1 ratio. Fresh pumpkin puree can be made with sugar pumpkins, cheese pumpkins, and jarrahdale pumpkins. The variety you use depends on what exactly you are using the pumpkin puree for.

Is canned pumpkin and pumpkin puree the same thing?

Canned pumpkin and pumpkin puree are the same thing. “Canned pumpkin” is technically “canned pumpkin puree.” Making your own pumpkin puree from scratch, rather than buying canned pumpkin, is a great way to reduce food waste!

orange pumpkin puree in a bowl on a Thanksgiving table

🍲 How to serve

The possibilities are endless for how you can use homemade pumpkin puree. It's one of our favorite ingredients to use in fall-inspired recipes! Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Make pumpkin soup. Is it really fall if you don't make pumpkin soup?! This is one of our favorite ways to use pumpkin puree. Try our Instant Pot Pumpkin Soup, which combines pumpkin puree with delicious spices like sage and thyme.
  • Blend into a smoothie. Make a fall-themed smoothie with pumpkin puree, frozen banana, almond milk, a little pumpkin pie spice and any of your other favorite smoothie ingredients!
  • Add to oatmeal. Spice up your breakfast by combining pumpkin puree with oats, almond milk, vanilla extract, cinnamon, nutmeg, and some chopped pecans.
  • Use in baked goods and desserts. Pumpkin pie, bread, muffins, cheesecake…the possibilities are endless when it comes to adding pumpkin to baked goods.
  • Make your own pumpkin coffee creamer. Move over, Starbucks Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew! Save your money and make your own coffee creamer using real pumpkin puree, almond milk (or other milk of your choice), pumpkin pie spice, and maple syrup. Simply mix the ingredients together in a jar, cover it and shake, and pour into your warm or cold cup of coffee!

🧊 How to store pumpkin puree

Pumpkin puree can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator, just make sure to use it within one week for best quality and taste. It can also be frozen for up to one month* and then thawed in the refrigerator and used in your favorite pies, cookies, pancakes, or oatmeal.

Note: Pumpkin puree may be stored longer, but for the freshest taste we suggest about one month. But if you do freeze it longer, let us know how it turns out and we will update this post with your feedback.


♻️ Sustainable kitchen tips

Making homemade pumpkin puree is a great way to reduce waste in and of itself. Take your environmentally-conscious lifestyle to the next level with these tips:

Use eco-friendly cookware. Every green eater needs a set of green cookware; we love Greenpan’s baking sheets for this pumpkin puree because they are non-stick but toxin-free

Opt for sustainably sourced spices. making a pumpkin pie or cookies? Food tastes extra delicious when you know ingredients are fair trade and sustainably sources. Try making pumpkin pie spices from brands like Frontier or Oakland Spice Shop's online store, two of our favorites.

Make a big batch to use in recipes all season long. Since pumpkin puree lasts in the freezer for up to one month (or longer!), it is a great idea to make several servings of it at once. That way, you can add it to recipes whenever you want, and will have enough to last you through the fall and winter.

Save the pumpkin seeds! When you clean out your pumpkins, make sure not to toss the pumpkin seeds. You can clean these off, dry them, and then roast in the oven to toss in salads, soups, or enjoy as a tasty snack.

A bowl of pumpkin puree on a white table

🧡 More pumpkin recipes

Once you've made DIY pumpkin puree, you need to cook with it! Here are our favorite pumpkin recipes:

Homemade Pumpkin Puree (Oven or Instant Pot)

Homemade Pumpkin Puree, a simple make-ahead recipe to stock up on pumpkin puree for fall. A great recipe to make in the pressure cooker or in the oven, then freeze and eat throughout winter in pies and other sweets.
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Ingredients

  • 1 medium pumpkin, see notes for varietal
  • 2 cups water, if using pressure cooker

Instructions 

Pumpkin Puree in Oven

  • Prep oven: Preheat oven to 375 F (190 C).
  • Bake pumpkin: Cut pumpkin in half and remove seeds. Place them face down on a wax paper-lined baking sheet and roast for 45 to 60 minutes, or until the flesh is soft and can be speared easily with a fork and when it starts to separate from the skin.
  • Remove pumpkin: Remove and let pumpkin cool, then remove the skin and pulse the flesh in a food processor, blender, or with a handheld immersion blender.
  • Drain excess water: If the puree has a thick, watery consistency that means the pumpkin is still holding a lot of water. Drain by pressing into a cheesecloth lined strainer and then let sit for up to 60 minutes.

Pumpkin Puree in Instant Pot or Pressure Cooker

  • Prep pumpkin in pressure cooker: Cut pumpkin in half and remove seeds. Place inside pressure cooker on the wire rack to allow water beneath the pumpkin to steam and to make sure pumpkin skin does not burn. Add 2 cups of water to pot.
  • Cook on high pressure: Cook on high pressure for 15 to 20 minutes, depending on how hard your pumpkin flesh is (longer for harder flesh). When pressure cooker is done and pressure is released, use a fork to test the softness of pumpkin. If it’s still touch and fork does not easily spear through, cook for five minutes more on high pressure.
  • Remove pumpkin + drain water: When the pumpkin is done, let cool and then scrape flesh from the skin. The flesh will hold a lot of water, drain by pressing into a cheesecloth lined strainer and then let sit for up to 60 minutes.

Notes

  • Tools needed: baking sheet (oven method); Instant Pot or Crock Pot (pressure cooker method): cheesecloth and large mesh strainer
  • Pumpkin varietal recommendations: pie pumpkins, sugar pumpkins, cheese pumpkins, jarrahdale pumpkins
  • Recipe notes: If you do not have a cheesecloth and strainer, let puree sit in bowl for up to two hours to let water evaporate.
  • Leftovers + storage: Store in airtight container in refrigerator for up to one week, or freezer for up to one month.
  • Nutrition notes: Pumpkins are a good source of potassium, vitamin E, and thiamin and are an excellent source of vitamin A. They are rich in carotenoids alpha-carotene and beta-carotene, phytonutrients that play a role in cell health and may reduce risk of heart disease.

Nutrition Information

Serving: 1cup, Calories: 59kcal, Carbohydrates: 15g, Protein: 2g, Fat: 1g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 6mg, Potassium: 771mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 6g, Vitamin A: 19296IU, Vitamin C: 20mg, Calcium: 50mg, Iron: 2mg

UPDATE: This recipe was originally posted in November 2018 and was updated for clarity in September 2021.