Making pumpkin puree at home is super easy. All you need to do is roast a pumpkin or butternut squash, then puree the flesh. Maybe sometimes is just quicker and easier to open up a can, but homemade pumpkin puree is tastier and healthier so give it a go!
What kind of pumpkin is best:
You can make pumpkin puree with any kind of pumpkin or winter squash.
The best are small baking pumpkins, often labeled ‘sugar pumpkin’ or ‘pie pumpkin’. I like to make puree with Hokkaido pumpkin (also called red curi squash), which is very dry and mealy making it perfect for pumpkin desserts. As for savory dishes, I like to make puree from butternut squash – it’s very sweet and tastes amazing (it will also work for desserts).
Larger ‘Jack-o-Lantern’ pumpkin varieties taste bland and are watery so it’s better to reserve them for carving and not eating (but they can be of course eaten).
How to make pumpkin puree step by step:
Pumpkin puree from a pumpkin:
STEP 1: Cut the pumpkin into a couple equal-sized pieces. There is no need to peel the pumpkin.
STEP 2: Scoop out the seeds using a spoon.
STEP 3: Bake in an oven preheated to 400°F / 200°C for about 40-60 minutes. The baking time will depend on the thickness of the pumpkin pieces. To check if the pumpkin is ready, stick a fork in its thickest part – you should be able to stick it without resistance.
STEP 4: Scoop out the flesh out of the skin. Now puree the flesh until smooth. You can do that in a blender, food processor or using a hand (immersion) blender.
The pumpkin puree is now ready to be used!
How to make butternut squash puree:
You can also make puree from butternut squash, it tastes really similar.
STEP 1: Cut the butternut squash in half lengthwise.
STEP 2: Scoop out the seeds with a tablespoon.
STEP 3: Bake in an oven preheated to 400°F / 200°C for about 40-60 minutes. The baking time will depend on the thickness of the pieces. To check if the pumpkin is ready, stick a fork in its thickest part – you should be able to stick it without resistance. If the bottom part is already soft you can take it out of the oven and bake the upper part of the squash a little longer.
STEP 4: Place the roasted squash cut-side down and scrape off the skin with the edge of a fork or a spoon.
STEP 5: Now puree the flesh until smooth. You can do that in a blender, food processor or using a hand (immersion) blender.
The butternut squash puree is now ready to be used!
How much pumpkin puree does a pumpkin made? 4-pound (1.8 kg) butternut squash yields 1.8 lbs (800g) pumpkin puree. 1 cup of homemade pumpkin puree weighs 240g.
How to add more flavor to the puree:
If you would like to make your pumpkin puree even more flavorful you can peel the pumpkin/squash, and cut it into small cubes and roast it in the oven (like you would roast this butternut squash but without the olive oil and spices). Make sure the pumpkin pieces are not overcrowded on the pan (roast them in batches if necessary). Pumpkin cubes should be brown on all sides, which will add more flavor to your puree. This is extra work, but if you’re planning something special, it’s worth it!
The consistency of the pumpkin puree:
The consistency of pumpkin puree may vary depending on the pumpkin/squash type you’ve used. If you’re using your puree for savory recipes like soup, stew, or chili – it does not matter.
If you’re making sweet, but simple recipes like pancakes or oatmeal it also should not cause a problem, unless your puree is really watery.
If you’re making desserts such as pumpkin pie, pumpkin roll, or pumpkin cookies and use a very watery puree – they may not work out, especially if the recipe you’re using is developed with canned pumpkin puree which is quite thick. What you can do: you can just strain the puree through a cheesecloth, leave it of a fine-mesh-strainer for a couple of hours or overnight, or cook it on the stovetop until thickened.
How to make pumpkin puree in the Instant Pot:
If you don’t have time to roast a pumpkin or don’t have an oven, a pressure cooker is a good solution. The pumpkin will be soft in about 15 minutes. This is not my favorite method for cooking the pumpkin as it comes out very watery and less sweet and flavorful (I tested two almost identical butternut squashes side by side, one roasted in the oven, and the second cooked in the IP). So I wouldn’t use such a puree in a dessert recipe but you can use it to make a soup or chili. If you want to use it in desserts, thicken it in a pot first.
How to do it:
If your pumpkin/squash fits perfectly in your instant pot, you just have to add 1 cup of water to the pot and put the pumpkin/squash on a wire rack. If your pumpkin/ squash is bigger, cut it into a couple of parts and scoop out the seeds with a spoon.
Close the pot, set the valve to the ‘sealing’ position, press the ‘high pressure’ button, and set the pressure manually using ‘+’ and ‘-‘ buttons for 13 minutes. The pot will start to work on its own. The cooking time will depend on the thickness of the pieces. For a pumpkin, 13 minutes will be enough but if you’re cooking the butternut squash, its bottom half with the seeds will need also 13 minutes and the upper, thick part without the seeds about 20 minutes. Try to cut the squash into even pieces so they can be ready at the same time.
When the time is up, click the ‘cancel’ button and make the quick release by changing the position of the valve to ‘venting’. When the pressure pin is down, open the pot, transfer the pumpkin to a bowl, leave to cool, remove and discard the skin, then puree the flesh until smooth.
What to do with the seeds:
Leftover pumpkin seeds can be washed and roasted for a quick and healthy snack. Pumpkin seeds are made of two parts – white shell and green kernels also called pepitas. Both parts are edible, you can season and roast them. Jessica Gavin has a great recipe for roasted pumpkin seeds.
Storage and freezing:
Homemade pumpkin puree can be stored in the fridge for up to 7 days. Store it in a tightly-closed container.
Puree can also be frozen. Best is to freeze small amounts, like 1 cup or 2 cups. Freeze the puree for up to 6 months.
In a can of pumpkin puree, there are about 2 cups of pumpkin puree (it’s exactly 2 cups minus 2 1/2 tablespoons).
No. Pumpkin puree is made with pure cooked pumpkin, pumpkin pie filling is sweetened and spiced.
How to use pumpkin puree:
There are many delicious recipes to use up pumpkin puree – sweet and savory. All of these recipes will work with homemade pumpkin puree (if making desserts, make sure that the puree is not too watery).
- Turkey pumpkin chili
- Fluffy pumpkin pancakes
- Pumpkin cranberry muffins
- Pumpkin roll with orange cream cheese
- Pumpkin chestnut soup
- Pumpkin pie apple ring pancakes
- Pumpkin and ginger soup with orange
- Baked pumpkin oatmeal
- Pumpkin mac and cheese
- You can use this pumpkin puree as baby food (complementary feeding).
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How to make pumpkin puree
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- 4 lbs pumpkin or butternut squash
- Preheat the oven to 400°F / 200°C / Gas Mark 6, no fan (if you have a convection oven reduce the temperature by about 20° or follow the manufacturer’s instructions).
- Cut the pumpkin into a couple equal-sized pieces and place on a baking sheet. There is no need to peel the pumpkin.
- Scoop out the seeds using a spoon.
- Bake for about 40-60 minutes. The baking time will depend on the thickness of the pumpkin pieces. To check if the pumpkin is ready, stick a fork in its thickest part – you should be able to stick it without resistance.
- Scoop out the flesh out of the skin.
- Puree the flesh until smooth. You can do that in a blender, food processor, or using a hand (immersion) blender.
- The pumpkin puree is now ready to be used.
- I don’t add any oil or salt to the pumpkin.
- Homemade pumpkin puree is more watery than canned puree. If you intend to use it for savory recipes like soup or chili, it does not matter. If you plan on using homemade puree to make desserts like pumpkin pie or cookies you need to thicken the puree by cooking it on the stove, or straining it through a cheesecloth.
- How much pumpkin puree does a pumpkin make: 4-pound (1.8 kg) butternut squash yields 1.8 lbs (800g) pumpkin puree. 1 cup of homemade pumpkin puree weighs 240g.
- What kind of pumpkin is best: small baking pumpkins like sugar or pie pumpkin, and butternut squash. You can make pumpkin puree from any kind of pumpkin or squash but some varieties are sweeter and less watery.
- How to make pumpkin puree in the Instant Pot (it comes out watery and less flavorful than roasted pumpkin/squash): add 1 cup of water to the pot and place the pumpkin in the pot on a trivet (if it fits). If the pumpkin doesn’t fit cut it into equal-thick pieces, scoop out the seeds, and place on the trivet. Set the pressure cooker to 13 minutes of high pressure. Make the quick release. Thicker pieces of pumpkin may require more cooking time (detailed explanation is in the body of the post).
- Homemade pumpkin puree can be stored in the fridge for up to 7 days. Store it in a tightly-closed container.
- Puree can also be frozen. Best is to freeze small amounts, like 1 cup or 2 cups. Freeze the puree for up to 6 months.