It's easy and inexpensive to make your own pumpkin puree from scratch! With these simple step by step instructions you can ditch the can and have a stash of homemade pumpkin puree to use in cakes, pies, muffins, and more.
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Holla, it’s pumpkin season!
Today I'm going to let you in on a little secret: it's totally easy to make your own homemade pumpkin puree! If you don't know how to cook a pumpkin, fear not! I'm going to break it down for you with step by step instructions that will make it easy as (pumpkin) pie.
Table of contents
Why make homemade pumpkin puree
I've been making homemade pumpkin puree for years, and I mostly do it because I think it's fun! But it's a lucky thing that I do, because now I live in a country where canned pumpkin puree is nearly impossible to find - and if you do find it, it's incredibly expensive.
Maybe you, like me, can't find canned pumpkin. Or maybe you've got a giant pumpkin that you don't want to go to waste. Maybe you want to live the homesteader / prepper life and feel good about making your own.
Whatever the reason, homemade pumpkin puree is inexpensive, and super easy to make, store, and cook with. Let me show you how!
What kind of pumpkin is best for pumpkin puree?
You've got options, my friends! The pumpkin pictured here is a Muscat pumpkin, which is also referred to as a Fairytale pumpkin because it looks like the one Cinderella went to the ball in.
The canned pumpkin puree that you buy at the store is typically sugar pumpkin, which is great for pumpkin pies. Check at your farmer's market or produce stand for different kinds of pumpkin. I've roasted and pureed Blue Hubbard and Hokkaido pumpkins too, with delicious results.
I routinely cook my Halloween pumpkins as well though it should be noted that these are not as sweet or flavourful as other varietals. The puree is still great in muffins or pies though!
What do you need to make pumpkin puree from scratch?
- A big ol' pumpkin. Or a small one. It's up to you!
- A roasting pan big enough to fit your pumpkin into it once cut.
- A food processor or blender to puree the roasted pumpkin.
- A strainer basket and cheesecloth (or similar) to drain the pumpkin.
- Some silicon food storage bags or other containers for freezing.
Note! These instructions are for baking or roasting your pumpkin in the oven. I have found this to consistently yield the best results for the least effort, and it works regardless of how big your pumpkin is.
I don't recommend steaming your pumpkin, as the steam adds too much moisture. However, if you would rather make Instant Pot Pumpkin, I've got you covered.
How to cook a pumpkin
First, Cut your pumpkin in half. If it’s really big it may help to take the ends off first, but this one I just chopped right in half. Now roll up your sleeves so you can scoop out the stringy guts and the seeds. I use my ice cream scoop to scrape out the insides, but any large spoon will do.
Save this gunk in a bowl to sort through later if you want to roast the seeds.There’s so much good nutrition in pumpkin seeds, and they’re delicious to boot!
Now place the cut pumpkin halves cut side down in a large roasting pan. If your pumpkin is really big you may need to cut it into quarters, or you may need more than one pan.
This pumpkin fit into my roasting pan snug as a bug in a rug!
Roast your pumpkin for about an hour. You want it to be at least fork tender, but I like to wait until the pumpkin has collapsed, and the skin is blistered and pulling away from the flesh.
There will probably be some liquid in the bottom of your pan; the amount will vary depending on how long it has been since your pumpkin left the pumpkin patch. A very fresh pumpkin can hold an amazing amount of liquid.
Once your pumpkin has cooled sufficiently so that you can handle it, peel the skin off of the flesh. The skin should come off quite easily; I normally start at the edge or by pulling up on a blistered section, and it will come off in strips.
Transfer the roasted pumpkin flesh into a food processor and puree until smooth. You will likely have to do this in batches, depending on the size of your pumpkin.
In order for your roasted pumpkin purée to have the same consistency as canned pumpkin would, you need to drain some of the liquid out. Line a colander with cheesecloth or thin dishcloth, set it over a large bowl, and let it sit for 2-3 hours.
Once drained, you're ready to use your pumpkin!
How to freeze pumpkin
Freezing pumpkin means you can put your homemade pumpkin puree to good use all year round! Simply portion your pumpkin purée into 1 or 2-cup servings and stash in the freezer for baking, smoothies, soups, or anything else you'd normally used canned pumpkin for.
I use reusable silicon freezer bags for this part, but you can use glass jars if you leave enough head space in them. Check out this comprehensive guide on How to Freeze Pumpkin if you want to learn more.
Pro tips / recipe notes:
This will totally depend on the size of the pumpkin you started with. This beauty yielded about 8 cups of purée once it was drained.
According to food safety guidelines, you can freeze homemade pumpkin puree for up to six months. I have certainly frozen mine for much longer than that before, but only for baking where oven temperatures will kill any harmful bacteria.
Pumpkin isn’t acidic enough to safely can in a water bath canner. Botulism is not your friend. Trust me, just freeze it.
However, if you’ve got a high pressure canner at home that can reach the extreme temperatures necessary to ensure safety, you can can pumpkin chunks, but not pumpkin puree. My girl Sarah at Sustainable Cooks has a post that will show you how to safely can pumpkin.
You sure can! A lot of folks will say they're too stringy or not flavourful enough, but I always cook mine and use the puree in muffins, pies, etc. For more info, check out our guide on How to Cook a Jack O'Lantern.
What can I use homemade pumpkin puree to make?
Here are some of our favourite pumpkin recipes for you! Be sure to check our full archive of Pumpkin Recipes for inspiration.
Try making Healthy Pumpkin Muffins with millet and pumpkin seeds or these Pumpkin Banana Muffins.
Or how about Pumpkin Granola? Or are Pumpkin Snickerdoodles more up your alley? Maybe some Vegan Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies?
I love making this DIY Pumpkin Chai Latte and laughing at how much the overpriced coffee shop lattes cost. For breakfast, I love these Pumpkin Overnight Oats or a Healthy Pumpkin Smoothie!
This Healthier Pumpkin Pie is hands down my favourite pumpkin pie recipe. But if you're looking for something savoury, this Baked Pumpkin Risotto doesn't require any stirring!
Pumpkin Mac and Cheese is always a crowd favourite, or you could make Pumpkin and Black Bean Taquitos. A world of pumpkin possibilities!
Homemade Pumpkin Puree Recipe
- 1 medium pumpkin sugar pumpkin or muscat pumpkin
- Preheat your oven to 200°C / 400°F.
- Cut your pumpkin in half and scoop out the seeds and stringy bits.1 medium pumpkin
- Place the pumpkin cut-side down into a roasting pan.
- Place in the oven and roast until the skin has blistered and the pumpkin flesh is very soft.
- Remove from the oven and let cool.
- Peel the skin away from the pumpkin flesh, and transfer in batches to a food processor.
- Puree until smooth.
- Line a strainer with a cheese cloth (or similar) and strain the pumpkin over a bowl for 2-3 hours, until thick.
- Transfer the puree into freezer bags in 1 or 2 cup portions.
- Freeze for 3-6 months.
- How much pumpkin puree will one cooked pumpkin yield? This will totally depend on the size of the pumpkin you started with. This beauty yielded about 8 cups of purée once it was drained.
- How long will homemade pumpkin puree last in the freezer? According to food safety guidelines, you can freeze homemade pumpkin puree for 3-6 months.
- Can I can my pumpkin puree? Pumpkin isn’t acidic enough to safely can in a water bath canner. Botulism is not your friend. Trust me, just freeze it.
- Can I cook my Halloween Pumpkin? Yes! Please do! Note that Halloween pumpkins aren't as flavourful or sweet as, say, a sugar pumpkin, but you can still use the puree in muffins, pies, etc.
This recipe was originally published October, 2010. It was retested, rephotographed, and updated on October 2, 2018. Most recently updated October 9, 2022.
I came to you through Sarah at Sustainable Cooks and I am here to stay! This method was easy and helped us process our overflowing pumpkin harvest. Thanks!
Hey Erin! So glad you found this easy pumpkin purée. May there be many delicious pumpkin recipes in your future!
This is the best tasting pumpkin pie I’ve ever had. The spices are well balanced and the texture is so creamy and smooth. Most pumpkin pies are so bland and blah. This one had all of our family coming back for just one more small piece.
I used a store bought crust and didn’t even try making the cranberries, but I will be making this pie for our family until I can’t make pie anymore!
What the heck, Katie! For 3 years I’ve thought about this post each time I chucked my jack’-o-’lantern friend to the compost and hadn’t bothered to heed your advice. I cannot believe how freaking easy and delicious this was. After making the purée and then subsequently your pumpkin overnight oats and then pumpkin miso soup, I went and saved my in-laws pumpkin from his compost fate, and now have a freezer full of of purée to use this fall. All those years wasted!! thanks for the instructions and annual reminder. Im a convert.
It's just so easy to do this, I don't think I'll ever buy canned pumpkin again.
We don't sell pumpkin puree over here in Australia and I always feel so left out this time of year. Not anymore - I can so easily make my own!! Thank you for all the tips
This is so easy! I roasted both butternut squash and sugar pumpkin together and added to your pumpkin risotto recipe. Delicious!
Yes! I love roasting my pumpkin, and mixing with different kinds of squash is such a great idea. I hope you enjoyed the risotto - would love to hear your thoughts on that recipe as well!
Sustainable Cooks - Sarah
This is such a great method and you make it look so easy!
I love making my own pumpkin and squash purée! It saves on packaging(even though the recycling in Germany is great, the tin cans still require energy to be produced, shipped, filled, and recycled again), and tastes even better than the canned versions, imo. I recently had some other Canadian immigrants over for a Canadian Thanksgiving dinner, and they were all wondering where I found the puréed pumpkin for my vegan pumpkin-pecan cheesecake, so I told then how east it was to make with a Hokkaido, which are so abundant in Germany. I just picked up a muscat and am excited to try half of it puréed and frozen for pumpkin spice smoothies!
Linda @ Veganosity
Thank you for this!!! I really hate canned food because few companies use BPA free cans. I roast squash all the time but had a fear of making my own pumpkin puree. Now that I know how simple it is, I don't think I'll use canned again, unless pumpkins are out of season. Don't forget to roast the seeds! They are delicious. I'll be posting the recipe for roasted pumpkin seeds next week on my blog.
It's just a gigantic squash! Super easy to roast your own and stash it in the freezer. And yesssss, the seeds must be roasted. There's so much great nutrition in pumpkin seeds. I usually just toss them in olive oil, salt, and pepper, and roast 'em till nice and crunchy.
So much better than buying from a can. Great, clear tips!! Thanks Katie 🙂
Thanks Emma! Glad you liked the post.
Looks wonderful.. I always love to make my own pumpkin puree - Yesterday I just baked a big pumpkin and made few cups portions and froze them. Never bought pumpkin cans yet as it doesn't represent me:)
The cans are pretty convenient, but I much prefer to make my own puree. And I love having it stashed in the freezer!
Looks wonderful.. I always love to make my own pumpkin puree - Yesterday I just baked a big pumpkin and made few cups portions and froze them. Never bought pumpkin cans ye .as it doesn't represent me:)
This looks wonderful and so easy! You really don't need a sugar pumpkin in order to use your purée in food?
I've cooked many a jack'o'lantern in my day and used it in food. The flavour isn't as sweet or rich as a sugar pumpkin, but it works just fine. I've used it in everything from pies to muffins to taquitos with no complaints!
Tina @ Just Putzing Around the Kitchen
This post is amazing! I am so in awe of you for processing your own pumpkins - usually I just buy the canned puree and get real pumpkins for carving only. Definitely going to give this a try though!
Aww, thanks. But don't be in awe, it's actually really easy! If you can roast a squash, you can roast a pumpkin. Give it a try!
This looks wonderful! I've yet to try roasting a pumpkin (a food blogger's crime!) but I will definitely come back to this when I do. Maybe this thanksgiving for my pumpkin pie!
Definitely try it! It's not hard, and the puree you get is sooooo good. Plus there's so many things to do with it!
It doesn't get any better than homemade, roasted pumpkin, and this puree looks like perfection! 🙂
It is pretty dang good!