Learn how to make pumpkin puree from scratch! With minimal effort and just one ingredient, you can make delicious pumpkin puree to use in all your favorite pumpkin recipes this Fall. Also learn how to freeze and store it for best results.
It's no secret that I love pumpkin recipes - and it seems everyone else does too at this time of year. Whenever pumpkin season comes around, I want to use them for as many recipes as possible.
But there's often a common issue - a lot of recipes call for pumpkin purée specifically. Especially all of those tasty pumpkin desserts.
Of course you can use canned pumpkin, but there's a lot of disparity between brands in terms of quality and flavor. And everything taste better from scratch anyway.
So, I'm here to teach you exactly how to make pumpkin purée using fresh pumpkin (or squash). You won't believe just how delicious it is.
And it requires just one ingredient - pumpkin!
In general, I love eating as much seasonal produce as possible. And making pumpkin purée is an excellent way to do just that. You can use it in any pumpkin recipes that call for canned pumpkin. Although, I have to say that I'm also a big fan of eating it by itself with a pinch of salt because it seriously is that good.
Get ready for your kitchen to smell amazing, and for all of the amazing fall-inspired meals, snacks and desserts you'll be able to make! It's also freezer-friendly, so you can keep any leftovers for whenever you're ready to use them.
Best Pumpkin Varieties for Pumpkin Puree
You're probably wondering what the best pumpkin variety is for making pumpkin purée. After all, there are so many, and it can feel overwhelming.
In general, I would recommend opting for a sweet pumpkin variety. Above all, avoid using carving pumpkins. They typically have a very bland flavor, and the texture isn't appealing either.
Go for a sweet pumpkin variety. In supermarkets, these are typically labelled as 'sugar pumpkin' or 'baking pumpkin'.
I love using Kabocha squash because it's so sweet and flavorful. Butternut squash also works very well for many pumpkin recipes, and is easier to get hold of throughout the whole year.
The texture and flavor of the pumpkin purée will vary slightly depending on the variety that you use, so do keep that in mind, and try out different ones to see which one you prefer.
How to make pumpkin purée from scratch
Prepare the pumpkin
This is the most involved part of the recipe, but doesn't take a long time at all. Start by cutting the pumpkin in half right next to the stem and move the knife all the way around the pumpkin.
Scoop out the pumpkin seeds, which you can then leave to dry for a delicious snack or garnish!
Next, cut each section of the pumpkin in half once again. Use either a vegetable knife or a peeler to peel each segment of the pumpkin.
Next, you can go ahead and cut the pumpkin into bite-sized cubes.
Cook the pumpkin
In order to cook the pumpkin, you can either roast or simmer it. Although it takes a little bit longer, I prefer to roast the pumpkin in order to make pumpkin purée with a richer flavor and less water content.
How to boil pumpkin: simply add the pumpkin cubes to a large saucepan of water. Bring to a light simmer, and cook for 15 minutes, until fork tender. Drain when done.
How to roast pumpkin: start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Line a large baking tray with parchment paper, and spread the pumpkin cubes out into a single layer. Bake for 25 minutes in the preheated oven, until crispy on the outside and fork tender.
Purée the pumpkin
You can purée roasted pumpkin using a blender or a food processor. Simply blend for a few minutes, until very smooth.
For boiled pumpkin, you can also use an immersion blender.
And your homemade pumpkin purée is now ready to use!
Tips for best results
To soften the pumpkin before preparing it, you can microwave it for 5 minutes, which will make it easier to cut and peel it.
Make sure that the pumpkin you use is ripe. In order to do this, you can check the sound: a ripe pumpkin will sound hollow. It will also be uniform in color. This will ensure the best results in terms of texture.
Plain pumpkin purée is great, but you can also make different flavor varieties. For a bit of contrast, you can add a pinch of salt and pepper, which still keeps things very simple. Paprika is great for a hint of spice. For an earthy and savory flavor, use a mixture of seasonings such as cumin, onion powder and garlic salt.
For pumpkin purée with an even richer and deeper flavor, roast the pumpkin with a little bit of olive oil. This will really level up savory pumpkin recipes in particular!
Instructions for storage and freezing
The great thing about pumpkin purée is that it keeps very well in the fridge and freezer alike. This way, you can make a huge batch and have it ready to use for as many pumpkin recipes as possible - even after pumpkin season is over!
TO STORE IN THE FRIDGE: simply transfer the pumpkin purée to an airtight container and store it in the fridge for up to 4-5 days.
HOW TO FREEZE PUMPKIN PUREE: make sure that the purée is fully cooled down before freezing. Next, transfer it to freezer-friendly bags or containers and keep in the freezer for up to 3 months. To defrost, simply leave in the fridge for a few hours until fully thawed.
How to use pumpkin purée
Once you learn how to make pumpkin purée, you have so much choice when it comes to using it! I even love eating it by itself as a quick snack. You can use it as a topping for yogurt bowls, add a couple of spoonfuls to smoothies, or spread on toast. But you can also:
Use it for baking recipes! For instance, you can never go wrong with a recipe like my vegan pumpkin bread.
For a savory option, try out vegan pumpkin focaccia. It's so easy, and never fails to impress.
Of course, pumpkin baked oatmeal is always a great idea. Baked oats are great, but the addition of homemade pumpkin purée makes them even better.
For a comforting dinner, make a pumpkin pasta sauce and serve with any pasta of your choice.
You can also stir it together with rice or quinoa for a dinner or side dish that won't fail to impress.
Let me know in the comments: what's your favorite way to use pumpkin purée? If you give this easy homemade pumpkin purée a go, be sure to tag me on Instagram, and leave your feedback in the comments below.
- 1 medium baking pumpkin (around 4 lbs in weight)
- Cut the pumpkin in half right next to the stem and move the knife all the way around the pumpkin. Scoop out the pumpkin seeds and set them aside.1 medium baking pumpkin
- Halve each section of the pumpkin once again. Use either a vegetable knife or a peeler to peel each segment of the pumpkin. Next, cut them into bite-sized pieces.
- To boil pumpkin: simply add the pumpkin cubes to a large saucepan of water. Bring to a light simmer, and cook for 15 minutes, until fork tender. Drain when done.
- To roast pumpkin: start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Line a large baking tray with parchment paper, and spread the pumpkin cubes out into a single layer. Bake for 25 minutes in the preheated oven, until crispy on the outside and fork tender.
- Purée roasted pumpkin using a blender or a food processor. Simply blend for a few minutes, until very smooth. For boiled pumpkin, you can also use an immersion blender.
- Use the pumpkin purée as desired, or refrigerate/freeze for later.