Homemade Pumpkin Puree (How to Cook a Pumpkin)

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How to Cook Pumpkin –  ever wondered how to cook a fresh pumpkin and make your own homemade pumpkin puree?  It’s easy!

This is perfect to enjoy in my favorite Pumpkin Pie Recipe or to add fall flavor to Pumpkin Pancakes or Easy Pumpkin Muffins!

Ahh Pumpkin….  every fall I look forward to all things pumpkin including my delicious pumpkin spice latte and all of the cinnamon-y pumpkin desserts.

Pumpkin; fruit or vegetable? What’s your guess?  While we often think of pumpkin as a veggie, it is actually a fruit! Regardless, pumpkin is perfect for baking, for pies and pumpkin cakes and more!

Homemade Pumpkin Puree

Most pumpkin desserts start with a can of pumpkin puree which is none other than cooked mashed pumpkin (not to be confused with pumpkin pie mix which is sweetened and spiced). Did you know you can quickly and easily make your own at home?  Homemade pumpkin puree is really quite simple to make and it’s very inexpensive!

The first thing you’ll notice is how beautiful the color is, more of a bright yellow than a deep rusty orange color (like a canned puree) and the flavor is wonderful.

First, How to Cook Pumpkin

When choosing your pumpkin, look for a small brightly colored pumpkin with little green or blemishes.  Be sure to choose a variety intended for cooking such as sugar pumpkins for the best flavor and texture.  A 5-pound pumpkin should give you about 2 cups of puree.

Pumpkin can be either baked or boiled but baking does produce the most flavor and the best puree for all of your recipes, sweet or savory!

When baking pumpkin, I add a little bit of olive oil and then season depending on the recipe I plan to use it in.  If you are making a dessert like Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cookies, season it with a pinch of salt and some cinnamon.  If you’re using it in a savory recipe like pumpkin soup or chili, you can use salt and pepper.

Second, How to Make Pumpkin Puree

Pumpkin puree is really just mashed pumpkin. In this recipe you’re going to cook the pumpkin (baking is preferred). If you purchase a sugar pumpkin, it should be nice and tender and easy to mash using just a fork.

Homemade pumpkin puree naturally has more water than it’s canned counterpart so I strongly suggest allowing it to drain in a colander lined with cheesecloth for a bit to remove some of the liquid.

Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote
Servings: 1 cup per pound
Homemade Pumpkin Puree
Prep Time:
10 mins
Cook Time:
35 mins
Total Time:
30 mins
Author: Holly
Course: pantry
Cuisine: American
Keyword: baked pumpkin, diy, homemade, pumpkin puree
It’s easy to make your own homemade pumpkin puree!
  • 1 sugar pumpkin
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil if baking
To Bake
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  2. Wash pumpkin and cut in half. Remove seeds and pith.
  3. Rub pumpkin with olive oil inside and out.  Sprinkled with salt. 

  4. Place on a baking tray, cut side down. Bake 35-40 minutes or until tender when pierced.

  5. Allow to cool and remove skin with a knife. Pumpkin can be cubed or pureed.
To Boil
  1. Wash pumpkin and cut in half. Remove seeds and pith.
  2. Peel and cut into chunks. Place in a large pot and fill with water.
  3. Boil until pumpkin is soft (about 20 minutes). Drain very well.

Recipe Notes

If using in savory recipes, I add pepper to the pumpkin before baking.  If using in sweet recipes, I add a pinch of cinnamon.

Homemade pumpkin puree can be watery (especially if boiled). It should be strained using cheesecloth or coffee filters in a colander before use.

Nutrition Information
Calories: 477, Fat: 15g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Sodium: 13mg, Potassium: 4624mg, Carbohydrates: 88g, Fiber: 6g, Sugar: 37g, Protein: 13g, Vitamin A: 2315.5%, Vitamin C: 148.4%, Calcium: 28.6%, Iron: 60.4%

(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.)

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Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!

11 comments on “Homemade Pumpkin Puree (How to Cook a Pumpkin)”

  1. Holly, I have a large (11 inches tall and wide), whole carving pumpkin that I want to use to make pumpkin pies and breads. Last year I boiled it in chunks. This year I want to try roasting. My question, since this is quite large, is can I cut it into sections, then place on a roasting pan (more like a broiler pan) and shall I cover it with aluminum foil before baking it?

  2. Well Told recipe and further it can be stored for 2 more days in the refrigerator that great!

  3. Hello, I just wanted to be sure before trying that I lay both halves of the pumpkin cut side up on the pan? Thank you!

  4. Last year I made pumpkin whoopie pies and a pumpkin pie from scratch. However, I could not seem to squeeze enough water out of the puree (I boiled it). This year I am making the whoopie pies again, but am also making pumpkin pie truffles and want to try to bake the pumpkin. I use a long neck pumpkin rather than the round one. Do the cooking times or steps vary between the two types of pumpkins?

    • I used only the round pumpkin so I can’t say for sure. If you puree is very watery, you may consider draining it in cheesecloth and squeezing out some of the liquid.

  5. How long can this be stored up to?

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