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How to Make Homemade Pumpkin Puree

Homemade Pumpkin Puree can be used in many sweet and savory recipes and lets you enjoy pumpkin season year-round! In this post, I’m sharing 5 ways to make pumpkin puree from scratch as well as how to store, freeze, thaw, and use it. 

graphic with how to freeze pumpkin puree and a bowl of pumpkin puree

Why Make Homemade Pumpkin Puree? 

Making pumpkin puree from scratch may seem like it’d be a lot of effort if you’re used to buying the canned kind at the grocery store. 

However, homemade pumpkin puree takes less than an hour to prepare and a single pumpkin often yields enough puree for multiple recipes — at a fraction of the price of the canned kind! 

A few other reasons you may want to consider making pumpkin puree are: 

  • You bought too many and don’t want them to spoil. 
  • You bought extra when they were on sale but aren’t ready to eat them yet. 
  • You prefer the taste of freshly made pumpkin puree rather than canned pumpkin puree. 
  • You picked a few pumpkins at your local pumpkin patch and don’t want them to go to waste. 
  • You had a big harvest this fall. 
  • You want to enjoy the pumpkin puree after pumpkin season has passed. 

In this post, I’ll explain how to make homemade pumpkin puree as well as the best methods for storing and using it. 

What Is Pumpkin Puree? 

To put it simply, pumpkin puree is any kind of cooked pumpkin that’s been blended in a food processor until smooth. Pumpkin puree can be made by microwaving, steaming, roasting, baking, or boiling a pumpkin. 

Is pumpkin puree the same as canned pumpkin? If the canned pumpkin’s ingredient list is 100% pure pumpkin, then yes, the two are the same. 

Is pumpkin puree the same as pumpkin pie filling? No, pumpkin puree is just cooked and blended pumpkin. Pumpkin pie filling has sweeteners and spices added to it. 

What Types of Pumpkin Are Best for Pumpkin Puree? 

At the grocery store, you’ll want to look out for sugar pie pumpkins — sometimes labeled as sugar pumpkins or pie pumpkins. Smaller pumpkins work best for making puree, ideally 3 to 8 pounds maximum. 

sugar pumpkins in a bin at a farmers market

Although sugar pie pumpkins are the most common variety of baking pumpkin you’ll find at the grocery store, any small pumpkin should work. If you have a farmers market near you, ask a local farmer which pumpkins they recommend for pureeing. 

Whatever you do, do NOT use large pumpkins for making puree. For example, the pumpkins you use for carving Jack-o-Lanterns contain far too much moisture and are incredibly stringy, to boot. 

How to Make Pumpkin Puree 

Making pumpkin puree is very simple, but keep in mind that the method you use to cook the pumpkin will affect the flavor of the puree.

Below are the main ways I recommend making homemade pumpkin puree. 

1. Baked Pumpkin Puree

Baking the pumpkin prior to making puree takes the longest of all the methods shared in this list, but it also removes the most moisture. I prefer to bake rather than roast pumpkins for puree, as roasted pumpkins tend to brown in the oven and that affects the flavor of the puree. 

Here’s how you can make pumpkin puree by using a baked pumpkin: 

  1. Wash the pumpkin to remove any dirt. 
  2. Carefully cut the pumpkin in half (or into fourths if it’s larger). 
  3. Scoop out the seeds and stringy membrane. 
  4. Place the pumpkin halves cut side down on a parchment paper-lined baking tray. 
  5. Bake the pumpkin halves for roughly 45 minutes at 350ºF, or until easily pierced with a fork. 
  6. Remove from the oven and let cool until safe to handle. 
  7. Scoop the flesh out of the pumpkin and into the bowl of your food processor. Discard the skin. 
  8. Puree the cooked pumpkin in the food processor until smooth.  
white bowl with pumpkin puree on wooden table

2. Boiled Pumpkin Puree

This is one of the quicker methods for making homemade pumpkin puree, although it does result in a more watery puree. I’ll explain how to drain excess moisture from your pumpkin puree later in this post! 

  1. Wash the pumpkin to remove any dirt. 
  2. Carefully cut the pumpkin in half (or into fourths if it’s larger). 
  3. Scoop out the seeds and stringy membrane. 
  4. Place the pumpkin halves into a large saucepan or pot. 
  5. Fill the pot with water, just until the pumpkin halves are fully submerged. 
  6. Bring the water to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 10 minutes. 
  7. Once the pumpkin is tender enough to pierce with a fork, drain the water (a colander comes in handy for this!). 
  8. When cool enough to handle, scoop the flesh out of the pumpkin and into the bowl of your food processor. Discard the skin. 
  9. Puree the cooked pumpkin in the food processor until smooth.   

3. Instant Pot Pumpkin Puree

Making Instant Pot pumpkin puree requires less prep work, but the amount of puree you can make is limited to the size of your Instant Pot. To make Instant Pot pumpkin puree, use a 3- to 4-pound sugar or pie pumpkin. 

  1. Wash the pumpkin to remove any dirt. 
  2. Carefully cut a hole in the very top of the pumpkin (like you do with Jack-o-Lanterns). 
  3. Scoop out the flesh and stringy membranes. Discard along with the lid you cut out. 
  4. Set a wire rack into a 6-quart (or larger) Instant Pot. 
  5. Add 1 ½ cups water to the Instant Pot. 
  6. Place the pumpkin onto the wire rack, with the hole you cut on top.
  7. Lock on the lid and set the pressure valve to seal.
  8. Cook the pumpkin on high pressure for 15 minutes. 
  9. Naturally release the pressure for 5 minutes, then quick release any remaining pressure. 
  10. Once the pumpkin is cool enough to handle, scoop the flesh out of the pumpkin and into the bowl of your food processor. Discard the skin. 
  11. Puree the cooked pumpkin in the food processor until smooth. 
jars of homemade pumpkin puree

4. Microwave Pumpkin Puree

Microwave pumpkin puree may sound like it’d be the quickest method on this list, but it actually takes a long time. Pumpkins are very hearty vegetables, and cooking them in the microwave requires some patience. 

  1. Wash the pumpkin to remove any dirt. 
  2. Cut the pumpkin into 1-inch pieces. You’ll want to cut off the skin for this method. 
  3. Place the pumpkin pieces into a large microwave-safe bowl. 
  4. Add a little water to the bowl. Cover loosely with a lid. 
  5. Cook the pumpkin pieces on full power for 20 to 30 minutes. 
  6. Once fork tender, drain any excess water before adding the pumpkin to a food processor. 
  7. Blend until smooth. 

If your pumpkin is larger, you’ll need to microwave the pumpkin pieces in batches. If you try to microwave them all at once, they’ll take much longer to cook through. 

5. Steamed Pumpkin Puree

Steaming the pumpkin prior to pureeing it introduces less moisture than boiling does, but it does take a little longer to cook through. To steam the pumpkin, you’ll need a wire steaming basket. 

  1. Wash the pumpkin to remove any dirt. 
  2. Carefully cut the pumpkin in half (or into fourths if it’s larger). 
  3. Scoop out the seeds and stringy membrane. 
  4. Place the pumpkin halves into a steaming basket. 
  5. Place the steaming basket into a large pot and add 1 cup water. (Make sure the pumpkin is NOT touching the water directly!).  
  6. Cook the pumpkin, covered, for 10 to 15 minutes until fork tender. 
  7. When cool enough to handle, scoop the flesh out of the pumpkin and into the bowl of your food processor. Discard the skin. 
  8. Puree the cooked pumpkin in the food processor until smooth.   

The above is simply a quick summary of this recipe. Check out the free printable card at the bottom of this post for all the detailed instructions.

person mashing pumpkin puree in a pot

How to make Pumpkin Puree without a Food Processor

If you don’t have a food processor, you can also use these tools to puree cooked pumpkin:

The alternative tool you use will depend on what you are using the pumpkin puree for because some tools will result in a smoother puree while others will yield more of a chunky puree.

How to Remove Excess Moisture From Pumpkin Puree 

Homemade pumpkin puree often contains more moisture than regular canned pumpkin puree.

If your puree contains extra moisture, the easiest way to get rid of it is to place a piece of cheesecloth in a metal sieve, then scoop the puree into the sieve and set it over a bowl for about an hour. 

After 1 hour, the excess moisture should have drained into the bowl. At this point, the puree should be ready to store. 

How to Store Pumpkin Puree 

Pumpkin puree can be refrigerated or frozen for later.

I recommend storing 1 cup of puree per bag or container so that you can thaw the exact amount you need for future recipes.

To store pumpkin puree in the fridge: Transfer to an airtight container or bag, label, date, and then refrigerate for up to three days. 

To store pumpkin puree in the freezer: Transfer the puree to freezer-safe containers, freezer bags, ice cube trays, or vacuum bags.

I prefer using freezer bags that I’ve pressed the excess air out of and then flattened. Once frozen solid, I can store the flattened bags of puree upright in my freezer to save space! 

Frozen pumpkin puree will last up to three months. Be sure to label and date the puree so you know what’s in each freezer bag. I also recommend putting the amount of puree on the label so you can thaw the exact amount you need.   

white bowl with pumpkin puree on wooden table

How Long Is Pumpkin Puree Good For in the Fridge? 

If stored in an airtight container, fresh pumpkin puree will last up to three days in the fridge. After three days, it needs to be frozen or thrown out. 

How to Thaw Frozen Pumpkin Puree 

If you froze homemade pumpkin puree, you’ll likely need to thaw it before using it in a recipe. Here are four ways to thaw frozen pumpkin puree: 

  • In the fridge: Simply transfer the frozen puree to the fridge and let it thaw overnight. 
  • On the counter: Place the frozen puree on the counter and let sit until thawed (2 or more hours, depending on the amount of puree in the container). 
  • In a bowl of water: If the frozen puree isn’t already in an airtight container, transfer it to one. Then, submerge the frozen puree in a bowl of warm water. The puree should thaw in about an hour (or less, if you froze the puree in 1-cup increments as I suggested). 
  • In the microwave: You can also thaw pumpkin puree quickly using the defrost setting on your microwave. Check the puree every 2 to 3 minutes and stir to ensure it’s thawing evenly. 

When Do You Need to Thaw Frozen Pumpkin Puree? 

Depending on what you’ll be using the frozen pumpkin puree for, you may or may not need to thaw it first. 

You DON’T need to thaw frozen pumpkin puree if using in a smoothie, such as this pumpkin breakfast smoothie.

You also don’t need to thaw pumpkin puree if you’ll be adding it straight to a soup or stew that’s going to simmer on the stovetop. The puree will thaw and cook directly in the hot soup. 

You DO need to thaw frozen pumpkin puree if you’ll be mixing it into batters, doughs, overnight oats, and so forth. 

Tips for Making Pumpkin Puree 

  • Use a small baking pumpkin: Pumpkins that are 3 to 8 pounds are best for making homemade pumpkin puree. 
  • Don’t use carving pumpkins: The pumpkins you use to make Halloween Jack-o-Lanterns are too large and stringy to use for making pumpkin puree. Opt for sugar or pie pumpkins instead. 
  • Choose your cooking method wisely: The flavor of your pumpkin puree will be affected by the method in which you cook the pumpkin. Steaming or boiling the pumpkin will minimally affect the flavor, but may make it more watery. 
  • Drain the puree, as needed: Homemade pumpkin puree is often more watery than canned puree. If your puree is watery, skim off the excess moisture and / or let it drain in a cheesecloth-lined sieve that’s been set over a bowl for about 1 hour. 
pumpkins in a wooden bin

Recipes Using Pumpkin Puree

Not sure what to make with the pumpkin puree you just made? Here are my favorite things to make with pumpkin puree!

More Useful Kitchen Tutorials: 

Have you ever wondered if you can freeze fresh spinach? Well, you can! Freezing spinach is really simple, and handy if you would like to have extra vegetables stored in your freezer.

Freezing basil minimizes food waste and ensures you always have some on hand for soups, stews, sauces, and more! This post explains how to freeze basil 4 ways, plus you’ll get access to 10+ basil recipes.

Freezing raspberries is a wonderful way to enjoy summer’s harvest year-round! This guide explains how to freeze raspberries, plus it answers the most commonly asked questions about thawing frozen raspberries and using them in recipes.

Cookie dough freezes extremely well and is the perfect sweet treat to keep stashed in your freezer to instantly satisfy those sweet tooth cravings. Here’s how to freeze cookie dough and bake it later.

Freezing muffins is a great idea if you need quick breakfasts or snacks throughout the week and want to prep them in advance. This post explains how to freeze muffins, as well as provides thawing instructions and 15 easy muffin recipes.

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How to Make Homemade Pumpkin Puree

How to Make Homemade Pumpkin Puree

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes

Homemade Pumpkin Puree can be used in many sweet and savory recipes and lets you enjoy pumpkin season year-round! In this post, I’m sharing 5 ways to make pumpkin puree from scratch as well as how to store, freeze, thaw, and use it. 

Ingredients

  • 3- to 8-pound baking pumpkin (sugar or pie pumpkin)
  • Water

Instructions

    Baked Pumpkin Puree

  1. Wash the pumpkin to remove any dirt. 
  2. Carefully cut the pumpkin in half (or into fourths if it’s larger). 
  3. Scoop out the seeds and stringy membrane. 
  4. Place the pumpkin halves cut side down on a parchment paper-lined baking tray. 
  5. Bake the pumpkin halves for roughly 45 minutes at 350ºF, or until easily pierced with a fork. 
  6. Remove from the oven and let cool until safe to handle. 
  7. Scoop the flesh out of the pumpkin and into the bowl of your food processor. Discard the skin. 
  8. Puree the cooked pumpkin in the food processor until smooth.  

Boiled Pumpkin Puree

  1. Wash the pumpkin to remove any dirt. 
  2. Carefully cut the pumpkin in half (or into fourths if it’s larger). 
  3. Scoop out the seeds and stringy membrane. 
  4. Place the pumpkin halves into a large saucepan or pot. 
  5. Fill the pot with water, just until the pumpkin halves are fully submerged. 
  6. Bring the water to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 10 minutes. 
  7. Once the pumpkin is tender enough to pierce with a fork, drain the water (a colander comes in handy for this!). 
  8. When cool enough to handle, scoop the flesh out of the pumpkin and into the bowl of your food processor. Discard the skin. 
  9. Puree the cooked pumpkin in the food processor until smooth.   

Instant Pot Pumpkin Puree

  1. Wash the pumpkin to remove any dirt. 
  2. Carefully cut a hole in the very top of the pumpkin (like you do with Jack-o-Lanterns). 
  3. Scoop out the flesh and stringy membranes. Discard along with the lid you cut out. 
  4. Set a wire rack into a 6-quart (or larger) Instant Pot. 
  5. Add 1 ½ cups water to the Instant Pot. 
  6. Lock on the lid and set the pressure valve to seal.
  7. Cook the pumpkin on high pressure for 15 minutes. 
  8. Naturally release the pressure for 5 minutes, then quick release for any remaining pressure. 
  9. Once the pumpkin is cool enough to handle, scoop the flesh out of the pumpkin and into the bowl of your food processor. Discard the skin. 
  10. Puree the cooked pumpkin in the food processor until smooth. 

Microwave Pumpkin Puree

  1. Wash the pumpkin to remove any dirt. 
  2. Cut the pumpkin into 1-inch pieces. You’ll want to cut off the skin for this method. 
  3. Place the pumpkin pieces into a large microwave-safe bowl. 
  4. Add a little water to the bowl. Cover loosely with a lid. 
  5. Cook the pumpkin pieces on full power for 20 to 30 minutes. 
  6. Once fork tender, drain any excess water before adding the pumpkin to a food processor. 
  7. Blend until smooth. 
  8. If your pumpkin is larger, you’ll need to microwave the pumpkin pieces in batches. If you try to microwave them all at once, they’ll take much longer to cook through. 

Steamed Pumpkin Puree

  1. Wash the pumpkin to remove any dirt. 
  2. Carefully cut the pumpkin in half (or into fourths if it’s larger). 
  3. Scoop out the seeds and stringy membrane. 
  4. Place the pumpkin halves into a steaming basket. 
  5. Place the steaming basket into a large pot and add 1 cup water. (Make sure the pumpkin is NOT touching the water directly!).  
  6. Cook the pumpkin, covered, for 10 to 15 minutes until fork tender. 
  7. When cool enough to handle, scoop the flesh out of the pumpkin and into the bowl of your food processor. Discard the skin. 
  8. Puree the cooked pumpkin in the food processor until smooth.   

Notes

How to Store Pumpkin Puree 

Pumpkin puree can be refrigerated or frozen for later.

I recommend storing 1 cup of puree per bag or container so that you can thaw the exact amount you need for future recipes.

To store pumpkin puree in the fridge: Transfer to an airtight container or bag, label, date, and then refrigerate for up to three days. 

To store pumpkin puree in the freezer: Transfer the puree to freezer-safe containers, freezer bags, ice cube trays, or vacuum bags.

I prefer using freezer bags that I’ve pressed the excess air out of and then flattened. Once frozen solid, I can store the flattened bags of puree upright in my freezer to save space! 

Frozen pumpkin puree will last up to three months. Be sure to label and date the puree so you know what’s in each freezer bag. I also recommend putting the amount of puree on the label so you can thaw the exact amount you need.   

How Long Is Pumpkin Puree Good For in the Fridge? 

If stored in an airtight container, fresh pumpkin puree will last up to three days in the fridge. After three days, it needs to be frozen or thrown out. 

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