Homemade Pumpkin Puree and 6+ Recipes to Use It

May contain affiliate links. Please see my privacy policy and affiliate disclosure.

Your favorite pumpkin dessert just got better! Homemade pumpkin puree has much more flavor than store bought and it’s EASY to make. Here’s how to make pumpkin puree at home, either in the oven or in an Instant Pot. 

Be sure to scroll down for some fresh pumpkin desserts to try!

fresh homemade pumpkin puree in a white bowl from above

Fall means pumpkin, right? Pumpkin pie, pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin everything! And it makes sense, because fall is when pumpkin is ripe. Or it used to make sense.

These days the pumpkin we use for recipes is often the canned variety and quite likely from seasons past. (Think about it: If pumpkins in the field are just ripening now, where did that big stockpile of canned pumpkin come from? Not this year’s crop, that’s for sure!)

And those cans it comes in? They’re likely lined with BPA. If that’s not a reason to learn how to make pumpkin puree, I don’t know what is. The good news is, making homemade pumpkin puree is pretty painless.

How to make pumpkin puree from fresh pumpkins

We use locally grown kabocha pumpkin, which we’ve found to be excellent in our favorite pumpkin desserts or these pumpkin muffins.

You can use pumpkins from your garden or whatever you can find locally. You can even — gasp! — use other winter squash. According to this, that’s probably what you’re getting in canned pumpkin anyway.

And incidentally, parents: You’ve just made homemade baby food! (My boys loved homemade pumpkin puree when they were babies.)

Make it in the oven

Pumpkin puree starts with cooked pumpkin. You can easily cook pumpkin in your oven, and you can even do it when you’re cooking something else in the oven, to save energy.

To do this, you’ll cut a whole pumpkin in half and scoop out the seeds. Save the seeds for roasting and snacking on, or if they’re heirloom seeds, set some aside to plant next spring.

Once cooked, you’ll scoop the pumpkin flesh out of the skin.

cooked pumkin flesh on a white cutting board

Make pumpkin puree in the Instant Pot

Cooking pumpkins whole in the Instant Pot saves you the step of cutting one in half. But only if the pumpkin you’re using is small enough to fit in the Instant Pot. If a whole pumpkin won’t quite fit into the Instant Pot, you can cut it into large chunks.

Pour one cup of water into the inner pot. Set trivet in the inner pot and place pumpkin on top of it. Remove the pumpkin stem if needed so it doesn’t touch the inside of the lid. Close the instant pot lid and lock pressure valve. Cook on manual high pressure for 13 minutes and then allow pressure to release naturally.

Remove the pumpkin from the Instant Pot — it will be hot, so use caution. Place the cooked pumpkin on a plate and cut (or tear) in half. Scoop the seeds from the cooked flesh and feed them to your chickens. Scoop the remaining flesh from the pumpkin peel.

Related: Creamy Pumpkin Soup

homemade pumpkin puree in a white bowl with an immersion blender

Mashing the pumpkin puree

Depending on what you’re making, you might be able to just mix the cooked pumpkin right into your recipe. A few chunky bits won’t be a problem for making muffins, but you’ll probably want it mashed more finely for pies and custards.

You can mash the homemade pumpkin puree in a number of ways. The simplest is to use a potato masher or fork. Alternatively, use a food processor or immersion blender to puree the pumpkin to a smooth consistency.

Store in airtight container in refrigerator and use within a couple of days or freeze.

homemade pumpkin puree in a white bowl

★ Did you make this homemade pumpkin puree recipe? Don’t forget to give it a star rating below!

Making Homemade Pumpkin Puree

Making Homemade Pumpkin Puree

Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes

No need to open a can! Learn how to make pumpkin puree and you'll never look at the canned stuff again. 

Ingredients

  • 1 pumpkin, (sugar, pie, kabocha squash, etc.)

Instructions

Making homemade pumpkin puree in the oven

  1. Cut pumpkin in half. (Honestly, this is probably the hardest part! I recommend a sharp knife.)
  2. Scoop out seeds. Save these to make roasted pumpkin seeds for a snack.
  3. Place pumpkin halves flat side down in a baking dish or on a jelly roll pan.
  4. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30-45 minutes. This will depend on the size of your pumpkin and oven temperature is a bit flexible. Ideally, you'll bake your pumpkin when you've already got your oven on for something else to save energy.
  5. Use a knife to test for doneness. They should be quite soft. I often turn the oven off and leave the pumpkins in it to continue cooking in the residual heat.
  6. Allow pumpkin to cool.
  7. Scoop flesh out of shell with a spoon. Use immediately or store in the refrigerator. You can also freeze cooked pumpkin for future use. (It is NOT safe to can pumpkin, even if you use a pressure canner.)

Homemade pumpkin puree in the Instant Pot

  1. Pour one cup of water into the inner pot. Set trivet in the inner pot and place pumpkin on top of it. Remove the pumpkin stem if needed so it doesn’t touch the inside of the lid.  whole pumpkin in an Instant Pot from above
  2. Close the instant pot lid and lock pressure valve. Cook on manual high pressure for 13 minutes and then allow pressure to release naturally.
  3. Remove the pumpkin from the Instant Pot -- it will be hot, so use caution. Place the cooked pumpkin on a plate and cut (or tear) in half. Scoop the seeds from the cooked flesh and feed them to your chickens. Scoop the remaining flesh from the pumpkin peel. Whole cooked pumpkin cut in half, with seeds visible

Mashing the pumpkin puree

  1. Mashing the pumpkin puree
  2. You can mash the homemade pumpkin puree in a number of ways. The simplest is to use a potato masher or fork. Alternatively, use a food processor or immersion blender to puree the pumpkin to a smooth consistency.

Notes

If you're using an heirloom pumpkin variety, scoop the seeds out before cooking so you can save them for replanting.

The cooked pumpkin will be a bit more coarse than the canned variety. Mixing it into a recipe usually smooths it out sufficiently, but if you need a really fine puree you can pop it into a food processor, blender, or tackle it with a potato masher before you use it.

Store in airtight container in refrigerator and use within a couple of days or freeze.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1 grams
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 58Unsaturated Fat: 0gSodium: 2mgCarbohydrates: 14gFiber: 1gSugar: 6gProtein: 2g

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment below or share a photo on Instagram!

Fresh pumpkin desserts

When it’s in season, take advantage of fresh pumpkin to make these tasty desserts. Of course, you can use canned pumpkin, too, but there’s nothing like the flavor of pumpkin puree made from a pumpkin you grew in your garden.

starbucks pumpkin muffins on a blue plate

Pumpkin cheesecake muffins

Love pumpkin cheesecake muffins? Try this better-than-Starbucks pumpkin muffin recipe! Autumn is the time to indulge in pumpkin flavored everything, right? If you’re a fan of these seasonal favorites that Starbucks serves up in the fall, this knock-off recipe is going to make you happy.

creme brulee in white dishes

Pumpkin creme brulee

Do you remember the first time you slipped your spoon through the crispy crust of creme brulee? Divine, right? This pumpkin creme brulee recipe offers up all that and MORE. Break the crust of sugar on the top of this pumpkin creme brulee and you’ll find the flavors of fall. Pumpkin spice and everything nice!

pumpkin spice bars on a black wire rack

Pumpkin spice bars

This easy pumpkin spice bar recipe holds together well, making them a great addition to a potluck table. (They’re easy to pick up and eat without a plate.) I get a big thumbs up whenever I bake these pumpkin bars. Just don’t tell anyone how incredibly easy they are to make!

slice of pumpkin pie on a white plate (rough wood table)

Pumpkin pie

This easy pumpkin pie recipe will wow your guests! The pumpkin custard can be made with fresh pumpkin puree or canned – your choice! And of course you’ll want to use my grandma’s pie crust recipe.

Stack of three easy pumpkin pancakes on a white plate with syrup

Pumpkin Pancakes

These easy pumpkin pancakes are a tasty way to add some healthy beta carotene to your breakfast table. Pancakes are a snap to make and an inexpensive breakfast option that both kids and adults love.

pumpkin custard in white ramekin on a wire rack

Pumpkin custards

These pumpkin custard cups have been a go-to dessert for us for years. It’s a great gluten free pumpkin dessert that is loved by everyone who tries them! They’re a wonderful autumnal twist on the classic pumpkin pie.

waffles in a stack

Pumpkin spice waffles

If you love the flavor of pumpkin spice, these pumpkin waffles are for you! With a rich pumpkin flavor they’re perfect for a fall breakfast. But don’t stop there. Pumpkin purée is readily available year round — there’s no need to relegate this tasty breakfast to pumpkin spice season!

muffins on a white cutting board

Pumpkin banana muffins

These pumpkin banana muffins may become your new favorite! You can pop them into a lunchbox, enjoy them for breakfast, or easily freeze them to last weeks.

Click to save or share!

Meet the Author

Kris Bordessa

Kris Bordessa founded Attainable Sustainable as a resource for revitalizing vintage skills. Her book, Attainable Sustainable: The Lost Art of Self-Reliant Living (National Geographic) offers a collection of projects and recipes to help readers who are working their way to a more fulfilling DIY lifestyle.

12 comments… add one
  • Deb Oct 26, 2015, 12:19 am

    I’ll bet you could just use your kitchen aid mixer to mix it before you freeze it. You can also can it .

  • Flavia W Oct 27, 2015, 9:23 am

    You might want to mention that the pumpkins grown for Jack O Lanterns are generally poor for eating — unless you *enjoy* eating pulped cardboard… Tasteless watery flesh, they are bred for size, shape, and color, not for taste. Your chickens might like them later, though?

  • Sheri Nov 1, 2015, 3:58 pm

    I’m going to see if I can find a local grower of this kabocha pumpkin, the Skagit Valley here in Washington is known for it’s pumpkins. I’ve used some other ones and make a wonderful “Pumpkin Butter with Port Wine” every year for Christmas gift giving. Tried it one year without the Port Wine and it just wasn’t the same.

    • Deb Oct 22, 2016, 5:03 pm

      I like port wine…

  • Sonia (foodiesleuth) Nov 2, 2015, 7:21 am

    Hi, Kris…It was good seeing you yesterday…Mahalo for sharing the yacón…can’t wait to start playing with it and come up with some fun recipes.

    Do you mind sharing the recipe for the maple pumpkin custard your son makes? We love pumpkin desserts and that sounds lovely.

  • Grandma Joyce Nov 12, 2015, 7:28 am

    …..”you’ve already got your oven on…..” Do not slaughter the King’s English, please! You actually are saying “you have already got your oven on”, which is a double intendre. Instead write, “you already have your oven turned on.”

    We were given a huge “sweet meat” pumpkin, which after pureeing went into the freezer for future use. It REALLY is the best ever for making pies or tarts. We found it in Oregon on a farm in the Wylamette (sic?) Valley. Grown in temperate climates only. Difficult to find elsewhere.

    • Kris Bordessa Nov 12, 2015, 7:42 am

      Why, thank you for the English lesson, Grandma! It’s Willamette. And your last two sentences are fragments lacking a subject. Certainly, this may be stylistic but two in a row is a bit overdone, don’t you think? You might want to change your sentence to: Grown in temperate climates only, they are difficult to find elsewhere.

      (I couldn’t resist. 😉 Glad you enjoyed your pumpkin.)

    • Liz Nov 16, 2019, 5:34 am

      Yahoo, am hoping that is what is waiting on my kitchen table to make puree with (I know, that is butchering the Queen’s English also). Warty skin?

  • Deb Oct 22, 2016, 5:05 pm

    I have also read that cheese pumpkins make a nice pie ..

    • Kris Bordessa Oct 25, 2016, 1:32 pm

      I’m not familiar with cheese pumpkins!

  • Michelle Mar 24, 2018, 7:15 pm

    Super easy to make! Great recipe.

Leave a Comment