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This homemade pumpkin puree is super easy and can be used in a ton of recipes (both sweet and savory!).
It’s pumpkin season, people! I’m one of those pumpkin fanatics that would be SUPER happy if pumpkin season was a little bit longer (maybe, say, January to December?!), but it isn’t, so I feel the need to fully bask in pumpkin glory all fall long!
Today, we’re giving you step by step instructions on exactly how to make your own pumpkin puree (no more scouring the grocery store shelves for canned puree!) so that you can enjoy all things pumpkin from September to November!
What Type of Pumpkin Do You Need for Pumpkin Puree?
When it comes to pumpkin puree, you don’t want to grab a huge orange pumpkin – the really big ones are fantastic for pumpkin patch photos, carving, and painting, but not for popping into your Instant Pot or baking (they tend to be stringy and bland). Instead, you’ll stick with pie pumpkins, small baking pumpkins, or sugar pumpkins (all the same, just known by a few different names!) – this smaller variety is less fibrous than carving pumpkins, really flavorful, just a tad bit sweet, and has a super smooth, creamy flesh.
How to Cut a Pumpkin
If you’re using the Instant Pot method, there is no need to cut your pumpkin before cooking it (which is REALLY nice, because cutting through a raw pumpkin can get a little bit tricky!), but if you’re going the oven route, you’ll need to cut your pumpkin in half beforehand. To do this, simply take a paring knife (trust us on this one!) and stick it straight into the pumpkin (starting at the top, near the stem) so that the pointed tip of the knife is piercing the pumpkin’s skin + flesh. Then, move the knife in and out of the pumpkin as you continue cutting down toward the bottom of the pumpkin. Continue this until you’ve made it all the way around the pumpkin and have two separate pumpkin halves! Using this technique is a lot easier than trying to saw the pumpkin with a large knife…I promise!
How to Make Pumpkin Puree in the Instant Pot
This really is the easiest thing ever, you guys! It totally makes me wonder why I’ve always purchased the canned stuff! Here’s how you’ll use your Instant Pot to make perfect pumpkin puree:
- Gather Your Supplies – to start, you need to gather all of your supplies: your pie pumpkin, tongs, a spoon for scraping seeds out, a cutting board, and 2-3 bowls (2 bowls if you’re tossing the pumpkin seeds, or 3 bowls if you want to save the seeds for roasting).
- Add Your Pumpkin to the Instant Pot – place the steamer rack trivet in your Instant Pot, then add 1 cup of water and place the whole baking pumpkin on the rack. Seal the lid, then cook on high pressure for 15 minutes.
- Release the Pressure + Let Cool – once the timer goes off, release the pressure manually, then remove the pumpkin from the pot and let it cool for about 15 minutes, until it’s at handling temperature.
- Cut Your Pumpkin in Half – using a sharp knife, cut the pumpkin in half, starting near the stem and making your way through the pumpkin. This should be pretty easy to do since your pumpkin is cooked!
- Scrape Out the Pumpkin Seeds – use your spoon (blunt-nose or regular) to gently scrape out the seeds, the flesh will be softer on the bottom of the pumpkin so be careful to not include too much flesh there while you’re seed scooping. If your pumpkin is still hot, use your tongs to help you handle it. If you plan on roasting your pumpkin seeds, we recommend using THIS recipe as a guide!
- Scoop Out the Pumpkin Flesh – you can go one of two routes here – scooping the flesh from the skin, or peeling the skin off of the flesh.
- Option 1: Scoop the Flesh – if you’re going this route, you’ll need to simply use the blunt-nosed spoon to scoop the flesh out of the pumpkin and into a bowl. Doing it this way is super easy, but know that you may lose a little bit of the flesh that’s attached to the skin.
- Option 2: Peel the Skin Off – this option involves peeling the skin away from the flesh. To do this, you’ll need to flip the pumpkin upside down, and (using a spoon), scrape the skin off of the pumpkin. We like this method because it is the best way to get ALL of the pumpkin flesh, but it is messier than option 1 and takes a little bit more time.
- Add the Pumpkin to a Food Processor – carefully scoop the pumpkin flesh from the skin, then transfer to a blender or food processor and blend for 3-5 minutes, until smooth. Do note that the flesh nearest the bottom of the pumpkin will be mushier than the flesh near the stem – don’t worry, though (this is normal), it’ll all blend up nicely in the food processor.
- Transfer to Containers + Store – transfer the fresh puree from the food processor to airtight container(s) and store for a week in the fridge or up to 4-5 months in the freezer.
Tips for Straining Pumpkin Puree
Blending the flesh of your cooked pumpkin at high speed in the food processor for 3-5 minutes should create a super smooth, perfectly textured puree, but if you still have a few stringy or lumpy bits in your puree, straining it is a great way to get those out! To strain, simply place a fine-mesh strainer over a large bowl and line it with cheesecloth, then pour in the pumpkin puree, and let sit for 5-10 minutes, until the excess liquid in the puree has strained out – easy peasy!
How to Roast a Pumpkin in the Oven
If you don’t have an Instant Pot, don’t worry! You can still make homemade pumpkin puree, you’ll just need to roast your pumpkin rather than pressure cook it. In order to do this, you’ll need to cut your pumpkin into 4 wedges (in half and then in half again) first, then scrape out the seeds, and give each wedge a good olive oil rub. Once your pumpkin is coated in olive oil, place on a rimmed baking sheet or baking dish and bake it at 375ºF for 45 minutes, or until the flesh is easily pierced with a fork. Let your pumpkin cool to handling temperature, and then scoop out the roasted pumpkin flesh, blend it in a food processor for 3-5 minutes, and strain if needed!
How long is pumpkin puree good for?
Glad you asked! Pumpkin puree (even the homemade variety) has a pretty lengthy shelf life! If you’re choosing to store your puree in the fridge, it’ll last for a week, but if you’re choosing to store it in the freezer, it’ll last for 4-5 months. We say, grab a few baking pumpkins at the very end of pumpkin season, make + freeze some homemade puree, and then enjoy pumpkin-y goodness for the months to come (because EVERYTHING is better with pumpkin, right?!).
How to Freeze Pumpkin Puree
There are a few different ways to freeze pumpkin puree. If you’ll use ~12 ounces (1½ cups) at a time (or in a week’s time), we recommend freezing your puree in 12 ounce portions in THESE mason jars. If you know you won’t use 12 ounces at once, though, feel free to freeze your puree in smaller portions! We love freezing purees in THESE reusable baggies, or portioning small amounts of puree in muffin tins lined with silicone baking cups for individual sized (about ½ cup per silicone liner) frozen puree. If you’re going the muffin tin route, simply pop the puree-filled silicone liners in a large Ziplock once frozen, and store in the freezer!
How to Defrost Pumpkin Puree
Defrosting pumpkin puree is EASY! You can either stick your frozen puree into the refrigerator overnight (or for a couple of hours for smaller, individually portioned puree) to defrost, or, if you’re short on time, dunk your airtight container into a large bowl of water on the counter to defrost for an hour or so.
Can I use homemade pumpkin puree the same as canned?
YES! That’s the beauty of this recipe! No more stocking up on canned pumpkin, because making it this way is cheaper and (dare I say) even yummier. Though every pumpkin is different, and some have more or less flesh or seeds than others, we’ve found that a 1½ – 2 pound pumpkin yields about 3 cups (24 ounces) of fresh pumpkin puree, which is a little bit more than a can and a half of the store-bought stuff.
What to Make With Pumpkin Puree
SO MANY THINGS! I say that if it’s between September 1st and November 30th, it’s completely acceptable to add a dollop of pumpkin puree to EVERYTHING. Okay, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but there really are a ton of things that can be done with pumpkin puree. Here are a few of our very favorite pumpkin recipes:
Sweet Pumpkin Recipes
- Gluten Free Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins
- Pumpkin Spice Overnight Oats
- Pumpkin Dump Cake
- Egg-Free Pumpkin Pie with Cinnamon Crumble Topping
- Pumpkin Spiced Icebox Cookies
- Pumpkin Pie Banana Nut Muffins
Savory Pumpkin Recipes
- Instant Pot Creamy Pumpkin Soup
- Pumpkin Lasagna Rolls
- Pumpkin Turkey Paleo Chili
- Paleo Pumpkin Curry
- Creamy Bacon Pumpkin Soup
More Pumpkin Uses
We hope this article inspires you to get in the kitchen and make your very own homemade pumpkin puree – it’s too easy not to!
- 1, 1.5-2 pound pumpkin
- Place the steamer rack trivet in your Instant Pot, then add 1 cup of water and place the whole baking pumpkin on the rack. Seal the lid, then cook on high pressure for 15 minutes.
- Once the timer goes off, release the pressure manually, then remove the pumpkin from the pot and let it cool for about 15 minutes, until it’s at handling temperature.
- Using a sharp knife, cut the pumpkin in half, starting near the stem and making your way through the pumpkin. Once split, use a spoon to scrape out the seeds.
- Flip the pumpkin halves over so that the shell side is up, then peel off the skin. If the skin isn't breaking apart easily, you can scoop the flesh out instead.
- Transfer the pumpkin flesh to a food processor, then puree for 3-5 minutes, until smooth.
- Store the pumpkin puree in airtight containers for a week in the fridge or up to 4-5 months in the freezer.