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!

Perfect for Pumpkin Pie Crunch Cake, Pumpkin Pasta, or for delicious Pumpkin Soup, homemade oven baked pumpkin is a simple and mild tasting staple to add to your pantry.

Clear jar of Homemade Pumpkin Puree with pumpkin in the background

What Is Pumpkin Puree?

Homemade Pumpkin Puree is quite simply, cooked and mashed or blended pumpkin. 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). 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.

What Type Of Pumpkin Should I Use?

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

Is a Pumpkin a fruit or vegetable? What’s your guess?  While we often think of pumpkin as a veggie, it is actually a fruit!

How to Cook Pumpkin

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.

Cubed pumpkin on a wooden board and cooked pumpkin in a bowl with a fork

How to Make Pumpkin Puree

Pumpkin puree is really just mashed pumpkin. When roasted it has a lovely flavor, and you won’t have much water to squeeze out either, so I highly recommend baked pumpkin for both ease and taste.

  1. Wash and cut pumpkin in half.
  2. Remove all pith and seeds and cut into cubes.
  3. Bake until tender when pierced (see recipe below).

For those who prefer to boil pumpkins, there are instructions included below. When boiled, 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 before using.

How To Store It

It’s simple to store. Cooked pumpkin will last in the fridge for up to a week.

Can you freeze it? Absolutely, scoop the cooled puree into freezer bags, leaving two inches for expansion. It should keep in a deep freezer for up to one year.

Pumpkin puree is so versatile, with amazing flavor and nutritional benefits. You’ll want to keep on hand as a pantry staple for sure!

What To Do With Pumpkin Puree

We love baking it into pumpkin pie (or try a praline version for an extra crunch). Stir it into soups and stews for a delicious and healthy thickener or base! Or enjoy it in a fluffy pumpkin dip. Yum!

When autumn is in the air and the leaves are falling off the trees, I can hardly resist a homemade pumpkin spice latte or slice of pumpkin bread. There are just so many wonderful things to do with pumpkin puree!

Clear jar of Homemade Pumpkin Puree with pumpkin in the background
4.56 from 9 votes
Review Recipe

Homemade Pumpkin Puree

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 1 cup per pound
Author Holly Nilsson
It’s easy to make your own homemade pumpkin puree!


  • 1 sugar pumpkin
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil if baking

Follow Spend with Pennies on Pinterest


To Bake

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Wash pumpkin and cut in half. Remove seeds and pith.
  • Peel, cut into chunks, and toss with olive oil.  Sprinkle with salt.  (*see note)
  • Place on a baking tray, and bake 35-40 minutes or until tender when pierced.
  • Allow to cool. Pumpkin can be served cubed or pureed.

To Boil

  • Wash pumpkin and cut in half. Remove seeds and pith.
  • Peel and cut into chunks. Place in a large pot and fill with water.
  • 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.
If using smaller pumpkins they can be cut in half and baked or cubed per directions. Larger pumpkins should be cubed.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 477.36, Carbohydrates: 88.4g, Protein: 13.6g, Fat: 15.36g, Saturated Fat: 2.64g, Sodium: 13.88mg, Potassium: 4624mg, Fiber: 6.8g, Sugar: 37.54g, Vitamin A: 115776.8IU, Vitamin C: 122.4mg, Calcium: 285.6mg, Iron: 10.88mg

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

Keyword baked pumpkin, diy, homemade, pumpkin puree
Course Pantry
Cuisine American
Pumpkin puree in a clear jar with writing
Pumpkin puree in a clear jar with a title
Pumpkin puree in a jar and pieces of pumpkin on a wooden cutting board with a title
About the author


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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!

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Recipe Rating


  1. Oh my, thank you so much!! I was gifted 6 pie pumpkins and had no idea what to do with them. Thrilled to know that I will be making pumpkin stuff from scratch-scratch this year. <35 stars

  2. Thanks for the receipe, I am using it for dog to mix in with her food. No canned pumpkin in nearby store bought a small sugar pumpkin and baking it.

  3. Written directions and video do not match!
    Spent a ton of time following the written directions. Peeled the pumpkin, cut the flesh into chunks, THEN baked the flesh.
    While waiting for it to cook I watched the video and they roasted the pumpkin halves, then easily scooped out the flesh after it was cooked.1 star

    1. Apologies for the confusion Melissa. Smaller pumpkins can be prepared either way (roasted in halves or cubed) while larger pumpkins should be cubed. If boiling, both types should be cubed. I’ve updated the notes in the recipe.

      1. This should work well with any winter squash (time may vary slightly based on size and variety).

  4. Is the nutritional information based on a 5 pound pie pumpkin or a serving? How much pumpkin equals one serving? It’s showing a huge amount of vitamin a, protein and calcium and was really wondering…. Please advise. Thanks for this recipe!

  5. When boiling pumpkins to get pumpkin puree you need to strain, mash, and then put back in the pot and simmer out some of the remaining water. At least this is how my family has been processing our pumpkins. We make pumpkin cookies and bread, and freeze for winter months.

  6. Just did this for the first time ever! I used the roasting method for the most flavor and it turned out beautifully! It was sooo easy. The skin peeled off pretty easy. I did that while it was still warm. I let it sit out and cool for the next 3-4 hours after so the purée wouldn’t be too soupy. Then i threw it in a processor (half by half). After that i decided to use a sieve with slightly larger holes to run it through a little at a time to catch any large clumps. It’s nice & silky and thick. If you want to steam or boil it I highly recommend to let it dry in the fridge over night so that your purée isn’t soupy. I’m about to make some pumpkin cheesecake with it. So excited to taste it!5 stars

  7. You didn’t actually tell us how to bake the pumpkin. Please include instructions on how it is cut, temperature and time.

    1. Hi Mojo, you will find all the information on how to bake the pumpkin in the recipe below. You can scroll almost to the bottom of the page to find it or select the jump to recipe button at the top. Enjoy!

  8. i bake all the leftover pumpkins from halloween , mash them with honey and cinamon ANd flax seed and tumeric and make my dog treats with them they love them

  9. 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?

    1. I lay them cut side down as it helps keep the pumpkin from browning. I have updated the recipe to include this information. Have a great weekend!

  10. 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?

    1. 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.

      1. I usually just clean them, remove the skin and chop them into chunks in a steaming basket and steam them cooked. That way I don’t have too much water in them.

    1. I freeze mine in quart size ziplocks 1/2 cup measurements and flatten it to freeze. It defrosts in like 15 minutes or less