Make this quick and easy homemade pumpkin puree from scratch. It’s super simple to make and you’ll have the best pumpkin puree for all your seasonal recipes! This one-ingredient recipe creates a rich and creamy pumpkin puree that will elevate all your autumn dishes. Make a big batch on the weekend and use it throughout the week or freeze it in batches and always have pumpkin puree ready to go.
Why make pumpkin puree from scratch?
Why would you make homemade pumpkin puree from scratch when you can buy canned pumpkin puree? Here are five reasons why you should make it yourself and why you’ll never go back to the canned stuff:
- This homemade pumpkin puree tastes far superior to the canned version and that flavour will shine through in all your pumpkin dishes!
- It’s super quick and easy. Making this pumpkin puree from scratch will take you less than 10 minutes of prep time.
- You’re in complete control of the ingredients (only one in this case!). There are no preservatives or other chemical additives. You’re left with a pure, wholesome and healthy base ingredient for all your fall cooking.
- Availability: Canned puree isn’t sold everywhere, but pumpkins are readily available in most supermarkets. You can use any type of edible pumpkin or squash to make this puree. Keep on reading for tips on different types of pumpkins.
- We’re not using any salt or spices so this pumpkin puree creates a neutral base that can be used for all your favourite pumpkin dishes, both sweet and savoury!
Check out our storage tips at the end of the blog post, and you’ll always have a bag of the best homemade pumpkin puree ready to go for all your favourite pumpkin recipes!
What kind of pumpkin is best for puree?
The best pumpkins to make puree are typically small to medium-sized varieties with dense, sweet flesh. These are some of the most used pumpkin varieties:
- Sugar Pumpkin (also known as Pie Pumpkin): These are the most commonly recommended pumpkins for making puree. They have a sweet and creamy flesh, perfect for pies, soups, and other recipes.
- Hokkaido Pumpkin (also known as Red Kuri Squash): This versatile squash offers a delicious, slightly nutty flavour and a smooth, creamy texture that can work well in various recipes. A Hokkaido pumpkin is the type I used to make my puree.
- Cinderella Pumpkin: This heirloom variety has deep orange flesh and a sweet, nutty flavour. It's excellent for purees and baking.
- Butternut Squash: While not technically a pumpkin, butternut squash is often used as a substitute for pumpkin puree. It has a smooth texture and a sweet, nutty taste, making it perfect for soups and pies.
- Kabocha Squash: Another squash variety, Kabocha, is known for its sweet, dense flesh. Its flavour is somewhat reminiscent of roasted chestnuts. It can be used interchangeably with pumpkin in recipes and works well in cakes, pies and desserts.
- Long Island Cheese Pumpkin: This heirloom pumpkin has a sweet, tender flesh that's great for purees, pies, and other desserts.
- Fairytale Pumpkin: These pumpkins are vibrant orange and have a sweet, creamy texture, ideal for making puree.
- Musquee de Provence: A French heirloom pumpkin with a sweet and nutty flavour, suitable for purees, soups, and baked goods.
It's important to note that larger carving pumpkins, like those used for Halloween Jack-O-Lanterns, are not ideal for making puree. They are technically edible but tend to have stringy and less flavourful flesh. When selecting a pumpkin for puree, look for ones labelled as suitable for cooking, baking, or making pies. These varieties are chosen for their flavour and texture, making them the perfect pumpkin to turn into delicious homemade pumpkin puree.
How to make pumpkin puree?
There are three ways to turn a pumpkin into pumpkin puree, but there’s a clear winning method. Read on to discover our preferred method and how to make your own pumpkin puree from scratch.
Three methods to make pumpkin puree
Roasted Pumpkin Puree
Roasting gives the most flavourful puree, because it enriches the pumpkin’s natural flavour. Roasting caramelises the natural sugars in the pumpkin that give this puree a rich and deep flavour. Roasting is also the simplest method; just cut the pumpkin in half, remove the seeds and roast it in the oven! Roasting intensifies the flavour and keeps all the nutrients inside the pumpkin flesh. Roasting a pumpkin is our favourite method.
Steamed Pumpkin Puree
Roasted pumpkin puree is our winner, but what to do if you haven’t got an oven? Steaming pumpkin to make your puree is our second choice. By steaming the pumpkin you still preserve all the nutrients so healthwise this is a great option. You will also keep all the pumpkin flavour (it just won’t be intensified and caramelised like the roasted version). You don’t need an oven or baking sheet, but you do need a steamer or steaming basket for a regular cooking pot. Steaming a pumpkin is a little more work than roasting. You’ll have to cut the pumpkin in half or quarters, remove the seeds, remove the skin and then cut the pumpkin into smaller cubes. Depending on the size of your pumpkin and steamer you might have to steam it in batches.
Boiled Pumpkin Puree
Boiling pumpkin to make a puree is our least favourite option because you’ll lose both flavour and nutrients in the cooking water. (You can save the cooking water and use it as a liquid in soups and smoothies.) To boil the pumpkin, you’ll have to do just as much work as when you want to steam the pumpkin (cut in half, remove the seeds and pulp, remove the skin and cut into smaller cubes). Then you add the cubes to a large cooking pot with boiling water. Boil until the pumpkin is soft. Be careful not to cook it too long, or the pumpkin cubes will disintegrate in the water.
Making your pumpkin puree from scratch
- Start by cutting off a bit of the top of the pumpkin (where it’s got the stem attached).
- Then cut the pumpkin in half (or in quarters if you’ve got a large pumpkin). Make sure to remove all the pumpkin seeds and stringy bits. It’s easiest to do this with either an ice cream scoop or a large spoon. You can then discard the pumpkin seeds or roast them with your favourite spices for a quick and healthy snack!
- Place the pumpkin on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (this makes for an easier cleanup!). Place the pumpkin with the cut side down and skin side up.
- Roast the pumpkin until it’s fork-tender. Depending on your oven this should be between 30-45 minutes. Test if the pumpkin is ready by sticking a fork in it. It should go in easily without any resistance. If it’s still too firm, roast it a little longer.
- Let the roast pumpkin cool until it’s cold enough to handle. Use your fingers to peel back the skin, it should come off easily.
- Blend or puree the pumpkin in batches until you’ve got a smooth puree. Use a food processor, blender or even a potato masher or fork. You might have to do this in batches, depending on the size of your pumpkin.
- Your puree should be smooth, rich and creamy. If your pumpkin contained a lot of water the puree can be too watery. If your puree turns out too thin make sure to drain off the excess water using a sieve and a cheesecloth. Especially if you intend to use the pumpkin puree for baking pies and pastries.
What to do with your pumpkin puree?
This pumpkin puree creates a neutral puree that can be used for both sweet and savoury dishes. Here are some ideas to use your homemade pumpkin puree:
- Make a homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte with real pumpkin puree!
- Add it to soups for extra veggies. It’s perfect as a base for pumpkin soup, but it also adds a delicious, slightly sweet flavour to tomato soup!
- Add it to your oatmeal or overnight oats to add some sneaky veggies to your breakfast.
- Add a couple of spoonfuls to your smoothie to make it even healthier!
- Mix some pumpkin puree into a risotto for a quick pumpkin risotto.
- Add it to all kinds of bakes and cakes for a seasonal fall flavour.
More pumpkin recipes are in the works so subscribe to our newsletter to be the first to know when new recipes are published!
How to store Pumpkin Puree
Pumpkin puree is a great ingredient to have on hand whenever you plan on baking something. It’s perfect to make ahead of time and can be stored in the fridge or freezer for later use.
How to store pumpkin puree in the fridge:
Let the puree cool completely and put it in an airtight container. Use it within a week.
How to store pumpkin puree in the freezer:
Let the puree cool completely and portion it into ziplock freezer backs to freeze one-cup servings. This makes it easier to defrost exactly the right amount of puree. Freeze the bags with puree flat to optimise space in your freezer. To thaw them quickly, just run some warm (not hot) water over the frozen bags or cut away the bag and add the frozen puree directly to your pot if you’re making soup. If you’ve got time you can also defrost the bags overnight in the fridge.
Tips & Alternatives
What type of pumpkin to use?
You can use any type of pumpkin or squash you like to eat. It’s best to avoid those big Halloween Jack-O-Lantern pumpkins though. They are edible, but don’t have much flavour and are more fibrous.
What to do when your puree comes out too watery?
Depending on your type of pumpkin or squash your puree may come out too watery. This is not a problem if you’re making soup, but it can be a problem if you want to use your puree for baking a pumpkin pie.
To thicken up your watery puree all you have to do is strain the excess liquid by letting the puree sit in a fine mesh strainer lined with a cheesecloth over a bowl. Let it stand for about 30 minutes and the excess water will leak out and you’ve got a puree with a thicker consistency.
Homemade pumpkin puree is the perfect recipe to make ahead of time. Make a batch on the weekend and use the puree throughout the week in your pumpkin spice lattes, smoothies, oatmeal bowls or yoghurt!
This puree also freezes well. Make a big batch of pumpkin puree at the start of the fall season and you’ve got ready-made pumpkin puree for all your favourite autumn recipes! Once you’ve tried homemade pumpkin puree you’ll never go back to the canned version.
Flavoured Pumpkin Puree
This recipe makes a neutral pumpkin puree; no salt, herbs or spices are added. We like this because it makes the puree very versatile. However, if you know you’re only going to use the puree for a specific dish, or only use it for either sweet or savoury dishes then you can season the pumpkin before roasting!
Roasting the pumpkin with a bit of olive oil, garlic, salt, black pepper and sage creates a delicious savoury pumpkin puree. Change up the spices for different flavour profiles.
If you only plan to use the puree for sweet dishes you could also roast the pumpkin with some butter or coconut oil and pumpkin pie spices like cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg for that ultimate fall flavour. Be careful with adding any type of sugar, this might burn in the oven. You can easily add your sweetener of choice after roasting. Our favourites are maple syrup or coconut sugar, but a classic brown sugar will also give that traditional sweet pumpkin pie flavour.
Are you looking for more fall recipes?
Try these other pumpkin dishes:
- Use your freshly made pumpkin puree to create The Best Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte with real pumpkin puree, maple syrup and warming spices!
- This gorgeous Golden Glow Pumpkin Soup with warming ginger and turmeric, sweet roasted pumpkin and creamy coconut is full of health-boosting ingredients. It’s the perfect soup to boost your immune system for the colder months.
- This flavourful Roasted Maple Butternut Squash Salad with sweet zingy mandarin orange dressing has all the fall flavours.
Or try one of these autumn-inspired recipes:
- Start your day off right with this healthy and delicious Apple Pie Oatmeal with maple syrup, baked apples and pecans.
- These Apple Rose Puff Pastries are the prettiest individual apple pies you'll ever see. They look like elegant roses and are perfect for a special occasion.
- If you love creamy comforting Italian dishes then you’ll love this Classic Homemade Lasagne. It’s filled with a rich bolognese sauce and is covered in a velvety smooth béchamel sauce.
- For more cheesy deliciousness check out these Extra Cheesy Spinach and Ricotta Stuffed Pasta Shells for the ultimate hearty, comforting and crowd-pleasing veggie dinner.