This easy Homemade Pumpkin Puree recipe includes a a step-by-step photo tutorial for how to roast a pie pumpkin (also known as a sugar pumpkin) for all your Fall baking, like pies, breads, cookies & more!
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Make magic happen for your kids by showing them how you take real actual pumpkins, and turn them into delicious baked goods using this easy pumpkin puree recipe!
A couple of years ago, my oldest daughter started begging me to turn a pumpkin into something edible and when I pulled out a can of Libby's to make chocolate chip pumpkin bread, she was not impressed. So I decided I would figure out how to make a little magic happen for her by figuring out what goes into our own homemade pumpkin puree recipe and making it with her, and we've done it every year since!
There is one Halloween I can remember from when I was a kid that my mom made homemade pumpkin puree and it has always stuck with me. I'm pretty sure I had pestered her and pestered her to turn our carved jack-o-lanterns into something edible because somehow I just knew that would be the coolest, most magical thing ever.
As I recall, the process involved cutting the jack-o-lantern pumpkins apart and into chunks and then boiling them, but I don't have any memories of what was made with the resulting pumpkin puree, probably because it turns out that carving pumpkins aren't the same as pie pumpkins (aka sugar pumpkins) and you probably don't want to use them to make homemade pumpkin puree for baking. We used canned pumpkin puree every year after that.
Canned vs. Fresh Pumpkin Puree
I'm not going to knock on canned pumpkin here, although there are some noticeable differences between fresh pumpkin puree and the kind that comes in a can, most noticeably the color and the flavor.
Canned pumpkin is much darker - usually a deep orange brown color - while fresh pumpkin is much lighter - more of a yellow orange.
Although there are flavor differences between the two, if you are planning to add them to baked goods like breads or pies, by the time you add the sugar and spices, there likely won't be a hugely noticeable difference.
If you are interested in a more detailed comparison of canned vs. fresh pumpkin puree, check out this one by one of my favorite blogs, Handle the Heat where she did side-by-side taste-testing and posted about it, along with some pretty cool pictures to show the differences.
I totally still use the canned stuff sometimes because one thing you will find if you attempt to roast a pie pumpkin is that they can sometimes be hard to find. Especially AFTER Halloween (or basically any month of the year other than October).
So if you are thinking you want to make this pumpkin puree recipe, you will want to look for pie pumpkins NOW, because once November hits, they can be almost impossible to find.
The good news is that if you love fresh pumpkin puree, you can always make a bunch of it and freeze it for future use.
Sugar Pumpkins vs. Carving Pumpkins
Right now, sugar pumpkins are in most of my local grocery stores (the ones in these pictures just happen to be from Trader Joe's), farmer's market, and I also saw a bin of sugar pumpkins at our local pumpkin patch.
Just look for signs that label them as pie pumpkins or sugar pumpkins, or ask the produce manager if they carry them if you can't find them. They might even be white instead of orange!
Sugar pumpkins are smaller than the large pumpkins you typically use for carving - more like the size of a cantaloupe - and the flesh is less stringy and more flavorful than that of large carving pumpkins.
One idea for your kids is to let them paint a jack-o-lantern face on the outside, rather than carving the pumpkin, and then after Halloween is over you can roast them and use them in this homemade pumpkin puree recipe since the skin gets removed and tossed anyway.
You can use your delicious pumpkin puree in any of your favorite sweet or savory pumpkin recipes like this Chocolate Pumpkin Babka or Pumpkin Streusel Muffins with Cream Cheese Filling!
How to Make Pumpkin Puree
- Heat oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Slice the whole pumpkin (or pumpkins) in half. The stem can be tricky to cut through, so you might want to slice the top off the pumpkin so you don't have to bother with the stem.
- Scrape out all the guts and seeds using a large spoon. You can clean and save the pumpkin seeds for roasting, if you like.
- Place the pumpkin halves face-down on the parchment-lined sheet pan and roast uncovered for 50-60 minutes in the preheated oven, until fork-tender. You may need more time if your pumpkins are a bit bigger. The skin will darken to a deep orange and be fork tender. You should have no trouble piercing it with a knife or fork. If in doubt, keep roasting a bit longer - it won't hurt the pumpkin.
- Let the roasted pumpkin cool for 10 minutes, then use a large spoon to scrape the pumpkin flesh off the skin of the pumpkin, or just peel the skin off with your hands.
- Place chunks of roasted pumpkin into a food processor or blender and process for 2 to 4 minutes until you have a smooth puree. You will need to tamp the pumpkin down a couple of times while pureeing in order to make sure it all gets processed.
Yes, if you don't have a food processor, a potato masher will work to make the pumpkin puree. It might not be quite as smooth, but it will still work well. A blender can also be used.
You want to look for signs that say "sugar pumpkins" which have better flavor and sugar content for using in recipes. The larger carving pumpkins are more watery.
Absolutely! It's one of our favorite ways to use it! It can be used in all kinds of pumpkin desserts or any recipe that calls for canned puree.
If you notice that there is excess liquid, you may want to transfer your pumpkin puree to a fine mesh strainer lined with a piece of cheesecloth and let some of the excess water strain out before using. This will help it have a thicker consistency more like the pumpkin you get in a can.
Yes, it freezes well for up to 1 year! Use the pure pumpkin puree within 3 days (store it in the fridge) or freeze in large freezer-safe bags, an airtight container, or even an ice cube tray to portion out smaller amounts so you can always grab just the amount you need without thawing an entire container of the puree.
Yes, you can. You just place the whole pumpkin into your instant pot on the rack or in the steamer basket and add 1 cup of water. You can slice the pumpkin into quarters if the whole thing doesn't fit down inside, but you don't need to slice it or anything if you want to just stick the whole pumpkin in there. Lock the lid in place and cook on high pressure for 13 minutes, then do a natural pressure release for at least 10 minutes. Let it cool for 15 minutes or so, then slice it in half and scoop out the seeds (if you put it in whole) and proceed like normal.
More Favorite Pumpkin Recipes
- Easy Homemade Pumpkin Pie
- Salted Caramel Pumpkin Panna Cotta
- Pumpkin Juice
- Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread
- Light & Creamy Pumpkin Chiffon Pie
- Chicken Enchiladas with Pumpkin Sauce
- Cheesy Tortellini & Chicken Pumpkin Alfredo Bake
- Twice Glazed Pumpkin Scones
- Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins
- Pumpkin Cheesecake
Did you make this recipe?
Let me know what you thought with a comment and rating below. You can also take a picture and tag me on Instagram @houseofnasheats or share it on the Pinterest pin so I can see.
How to Make Homemade Pumpkin Puree
- 2 sugar pumpkins
- large baking sheet
- Heat oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Slice the pumpkin (or pumpkins) in half. The stem can be tricky to cut through, so you might want to slice the top off the pumpkin so you don't have to bother with the stem.
- Scrape out all the guts and seeds using a large spoon. You can clean and save the seeds for roasting, if you like.
- Place the pumpkin halves face-down on the parchment-lined baking sheet and roast uncovered for 50-60 minutes in the preheated oven, until fork-tender. You may need more time if your pumpkins are a bit bigger. The skin will darken to a deep orange and you should have no trouble getting a fork in and out. If in doubt, keep roasting a bit longer - it won't hurt the pumpkin.
- Let the roasted pumpkin cool for 10 minutes, then use a large spoon to scrape the pumpkin flesh off the skin of the pumpkin, or just peel the skin off with your hands. Place chunks of roasted pumpkin into a food processor or blender and process for 2 to 4 minutes until completely smooth. You will need to tamp the pumpkin down a couple of times while pureeing in order to make sure it all gets processed. Use within 3 days or freeze in large freezer-safe bags.