Tuesday, October 12, 2010

How to Make Homemade Pumpkin Puree

Making your own pumpkin puree is really very simple. But there are a few important steps to ensure a thick puree. The water content of fresh pumpkin puree and canned puree can vary widely. Cooking pumpkin with water creates a thin puree, which will then cause your breads, muffins, cookies, and pies to be overly moist. Roasting pumpkin without any added water creates a thick puree that will most likely match the consistency of canned pumpkin. Plus, freshly made pumpkin puree tastes so much better than canned. It is sweeter, smoother, and just down-right delicious! Once you have made your own pumpkin puree, you can freeze it in containers for later use or store it in the fridge for up to a week.

Homemade Pumpkin Puree

First, you'll need to begin with a fresh Sugar Pie Pumpkin. The one I used in these photos was picked today from our garden! You'll also be able to find sugar pie pumpkins at your local farmer's market or health food store.

1. To begin, place your pumpkin on a large cutting board and use a heavy-duty, sharp knife to cut it in half cross-wise.

2. Next, use a large spoon to scoop out the seeds.

3. Place the seeds into bowl to sort out later and roast if desired. Roasted pumpkin seeds with sea salt and a little coconut oil are a favorite at our house!!

4. Cut the halves into quarters and then eighths. If your pumpkin is smaller you may just need to quarter it.

5. Next, place the pumpkin pieces into a shallow baking dish, skin-side down, cover with a lid (or foil), and roast in the oven at 400 degrees F for about one hour.

6. Scoop the flesh out into a food processor fitted with the "s" blade and process until a smooth puree forms. It should take a few minutes since your pumpkin will be on the drier side.

7. Scoop the puree into glass jars or storage containers and freeze or refrigerate until ready to use!

Recipes that use Pumpkin Puree:


  1. Oh, Ali, I love that you guys grow your own sugar pumpkins. Too cool! What joy to see those grow and harvest them! :-) I bet your kids just love being involved.

    I also love making my own pumpkin puree. The canned stuff doesn't even come close in taste IMHO. I do mine a little differently though. I add water when baking for one thing, because my cut up pumpkin pieces seem to burn without it. Yours don't? And, I don't use the food processor at all. I used a colander and just push the pumpkin through. A little more labor intensive, and I should probably switch to the food processor, but there's something about the slow processing that I love.

    I have two sugar pumpkins ready to go and will probably pick up more at the store today. I also use a particular squash in place of pumpkin all the time. I'll be talking about that in my guest post over at Linda's (Gluten-Free Homemaker) Squash Fest soon.

    Missing you and Tom after getting to spend time together at BlogHer Food!


  2. I love roasted pumpkin seeds, but I've always been unclear about whether one can eat them whole, or if one should split them and eat the inside, like a whole sunflower seed. Are the raw pumpkin seeds we buy in a store shelled?

    It's funny to see this post today since I just baked a bunch of sugar pie pumpkins to make puree for pumpkin pancakes. Will that recipe with the flax seed/water substitution in lieu of the egg? (I'll find out on my own soon enough!).

    Happy Fall!

    1. Roasted seeds can be eaten with or without the shell. The green pumpkin seeds, also called pepitas, are shelled.

  3. Amazing! My husband brought me a sugar pumpkin from the store and it has been sitting on the kitchen cabinet since I didn't know what to do with it! I had been wondering how to make it into puree. A BIG thanks to you for sharing just how to do it! And thanks to Shirley, too! ;) Debbie

  4. Perfect timing. I pick up my CSA share tonight and I'm hearing we have sugar pie pumpkins in the mix. Can't wait! I had never made my own pumpkin puree until a year or two ago and now that's almost all I use. You're right, it's so much better than canned. Sweeter and more creamy. I haven't frozen it yet, but you've inspired me to make some and freeze it for later.
    Peace, love and fall bounty.
    P.S. By the way, it snowed up in Rocky Mountain National Park last night. =)

  5. Thank you so much for doing this photo tutorial Ali! I will definitely be trying this as I've never made my own puree before. Can I come and move into your house for a few months? I could learn so much for you. I would have to bring my 2 year old and my 4 year old though :)

  6. THANK YOU for posting this how-to. It makes me so sad how so many Autumn-inspired recipes call for canned pumpkin when fresh pumpkins are in abundance this season! I will only used the canned stuff if actual pumpkins are no where to be found.

  7. What a great tutorial. I just roasted up my first pumpkin the other day and I wish I would have seen this sooner. haha I used the pumpkin in some cookies and it was chunky and stringy. I know better now, and I can't wait to get another pumpkin.

  8. Ali,
    this is sooo easy and so much better tasting!! I love your Oatmeal Pumpkin cookies and will use this home-made puree in that!
    Thanks for a great tip now that Fall is upon us and I'm yearning for all those kinds of food!

  9. Great tips and photo tutorial. I was just thinking about what to do with my sugar pumpkins that I used as centerpieces at my dinner party a couple weeks ago.

  10. Hi Ali,
    This is great -- I have never made my own pumpkin puree (I can't STAND pumpkin pie, but I could see using this in other recipes -- I'm sure you have a few!)
    Had so much fun last weekend with you and loved meeting Tom! You two are great!

  11. Off topic, but I just wanted to say thanks for providing the print-friendly option with the link on the top. I wish more recipe sites did the same.

  12. I love pumpkin so much. I don't think I've ever had homemade puree before. This will probably strengthen my addiction! haha

  13. Oh I just posted a similar recipe on my own blog! \I invented mine inadvertantly when making pumpkin chocoalte chip cookies. It's great cold for breakie with some sliced fruit, cream and nuts on top! Pumpkins really are the best thing about Autumn :)
    Thanks for sharing!
    Take care,


  14. Great post! I made my own butternut puree last night!

  15. just followed this! LOVE it, now to figure out what to make. :)

  16. I have a video posted on how to do this! Such a simple thing but makes such a difference in recipes and on it's own as compared to canned versions.

  17. This worked out PERFECTLY! So much easier and more effective than all the other ways that I've tried. Thank you!

  18. What if one doesn't have a food processor? Blender? Thank you for this recipe. Would a Cinderella pumpkin work?

  19. You can actually roast the pumpkin whole in the oven directly on the oven rack. Same time & temp. After it is cooked it's super easy to cut and remove the seeds which are already precooked. We cook the seeds a bit longer on their own So they get crunchy.

  20. Thanks for the easy step-by-step directions! I followed another set of directions on my first batch of pumpkins this weekend and I think the puree may have turned out more watery than desired. It's in the freezer now but what do you suggest I do with it when I take it out? Should I just reserve this batch for soups and keep it out of baked goods?

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated!


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Thanks, and as always, Happy Cooking! Ali & Tom