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Kitchen 101: Making Pumpkin Puree

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Kitchen 101: Making Pumpkin Puree

In the Kitchen

By Katie Goodman
I think often we take for granted how easy it is to go to the grocery store and buy a can of already-cooked and pureed pumpkin. That is, until things like pumpkin shortages happen, like the one that happened thanks to last year’s poor weather conditions and smaller-than-expected pumpkin yields. We weren’t affected here in New Mexico last year to my knowledge. I was always able to purchase pumpkin when I needed it. But had I not been able to make a quick trip to the nearest store to satisfy my fall cravings, this quick tutorial on making pumpkin puree would have been helpful.
Even if you aren’t experiencing a pumpkin shortage, it’s fun to roast your own pumpkin once in a while. My kids sure get a kick out of picking out pumpkins and cleaning out all the seeds. And you can’t make roasted pumpkin seeds when you buy store-bought canned pumpkin!
Look for pumpkins labeled “Pie Pumpkin” or “Sugar Pumpkin,” available in many stores beginning in September.


Step 1: Wash and dry the outside of the pumpkin to prevent any cross-contamination as you cut the pumpkin. Especially take note if there is any dirt or mud on the outside of your pumpkin. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Step 2: Cut the top of the pumpkin off, just a tad below the stem – about 1/2″. Discard the stem.
Step 3: Next, cut the pumpkin in half. It helps if you place the pumpkin with the cut top facing down on the cutting board while you slice through the pumpkin’s middle. That way the pumpkin is not rolling around on its sides as you try to cut.
Step 4: Using a large metal spoon, scrape the seeds and stringy pulp out and transfer to a bowl. If you would like, you can make roasted pumpkin seeds or let your kids do some sort of craft using the seeds after you’ve washed them. Or maybe even plant the seeds – a friend’s children planted a ton of seeds from their Halloween pumpkins a few years ago (without her knowledge!).
Step 5: Cut each pumpkin half in half again. By now, your pumpkin should be quartered and clean of seeds and pulp. You’re ready to roast!
Step 6: Place the quarters cut side down on a baking sheet and cover with foil. Bake at 400 degrees F for 35-45 minutes, or until the pumpkin is tender enough to scrape off the shell.
Step 7: Let pumpkin cool for 10 minutes, or until it is cool enough to handle. Scrape the pumpkin flesh out of the shell. Transfer the flesh to a food processor.
Step 8: Puree the pumpkin in the food processor. Depending on the water content of your pumpkin, you may need to add up to 2 tablespoons of water to help reach a desirable consistency. Your yield will depend on the size of your pumpkin. I was able to get 3 cups of puree from one pie pumpkin.
Step 9: Use right away in your favorite pumpkin recipe. Or, freeze in one cup portions in the freezer for up to 6 months. In the refrigerator it will last for about 5-7 days.
If you have need for cooked or pureed squash, you can use a similar approach to many types of fall squash such as butternut squash, spaghetti squash, acorn squash, etc.
You might enjoy these pumpkin recipes:

About the Author:
Katie Goodman blogs at goodLife {eats} where she shares what she finds good in the kitchen and in life through recipes, family memories, and yummy photography. She also works as a freelance food writer and photographer for various sites. Outside of cooking, Katie loves reading, gardening, visiting family, and attending the Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where she resides with her husband and two children.
CRAFT Halloween Contest
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4 thoughts on “Kitchen 101: Making Pumpkin Puree

  1. SeriousSewing says:

    Oh, the pumpkin shortage hit us hard in Maine last year! I promised myself then that I’d learn how to do this. So, thanks for the reminder.

  2. Michelle says:

    As I live in the UK, I had never heard of pumpkin puree in a can, so I had a go at making this. Very easy to do, so much that I’m just making a second batch. Many thanks!

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