DIY: Homemade Pumpkin Puree
Can’t get canned pumpkin puree where you live or are looking for an easy DIY kitchen project? This homemade pumpkin puree is simple and perfect to use for baking!
Once the fall weather hits, I love to bake with pumpkin; it’s perfect paired with some of my favorite fall flavors like maple, ginger, cinnamon and a plethora of other spices. When I want to bake, I simply buy cans of pumpkin puree at the grocery store, but I know that many of you who live in other areas of the world don’t have access to canned pumpkin. I often get questions about how to go about making homemade pumpkin puree, so today I’m going to show you how to do it! (Spoiler alert: it’s easy!)
We start with what is referred to as a pie pumpkin or a sugar pumpkin – this is a relatively small pumpkin in comparison to the large carving pumpkins you might be used to seeing. A sugar pumpkin is about 8 to 10 inches in diameter and a much deeper shade of orange. You should be able to find these in your local grocery store (or orchard).
You will need to use a heavy, sharp knife and slice the pumpkin half. Full disclosure – I had my husband do this because I was terrified of slicing myself. I’m not very tall, so I can’t put a lot of downward pressure on the knife, and I’m not terribly strong either. Be careful when doing this! The sharper your knife, the better.
Next – the easy part! Place the pumpkin cut-side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and roast until the flesh is tender, then turn them over and continue roasting.
Once the pumpkin halves are cool enough to handle, the pumpkin is pureed in a food processor (I think you could also use a blender) and then placed in a fine-mesh strainer to drain.
Once drained, you’ll need to test the consistency to make sure that it has the correct amount of moisture (there are details below in the recipe).
I got about 10 ounces of puree out of my pumpkin, which is just a little more than one cup. Of course yield will depend on the size of your pumpkin and how much flesh there is inside.
This pumpkin puree can be used interchangeably for any recipe that calls for canned pumpkin. Just grab a small sugar pumpkin and you’re in business! Since this can be easily frozen, you can make a huge batch once at the start of the season and keep it in the freezer until you’re ready to bake.
Tell me – what is your favorite pumpkin recipe?
Four years ago: Salted Caramel Popcorn, Pretzel & Peanut Bars
Six years ago: Potato Rosemary Bread
Homemade Pumpkin Puree
- 1 sugar pumpkin, halved from top to bottom, seeds and pulp removed
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Place the pumpkin halves on the baking sheet, cut side down. Roast until a skewer can easily pierce the flesh, 45 to 60 minutes. Turn the pumpkin halves over and roast for an additional 30 minutes.
- Once cool enough to handle, scoop the flesh from the pumpkin skins and place in the bowl of a food processor. Puree until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, about 1 minute.
- Place the pumpkin puree in a fine mesh sieve set over a medium bowl and allow to drain for at least 1 hour. To test the consistency, pack the puree into a small drinking glass and unmold it onto a plate. It should slump slightly but hold its shape. If it is too loose, return to the strainer and allow it to continue draining; if it is too firm, whisk in a little bit of the drained liquid.
- Once the correct consistency has been achieved, you can store the pumpkin puree in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days, or freeze (with parchment paper pressed against the surface of the puree) for up to two months. You can substitute this puree in equal amounts for any recipe calling for canned pumpkin.
Did you make this recipe?
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When you drain your puréed pumpkin can you use the pumpkin juice for anything?
Hello. Can I line the baking sheet with aluminum foil instead of parchment paper? It is all I have on hand ATM… Thanks. :)
Hi Chloe, You can use foil but I would spray it with non-stick cooking spray or grease another way, otherwise the pumpkin may stick.
Did this yesterday! Turned out great. I froze half the purée for later. Also, I fed some to my baby as her first food! She loved it. Perfect seasonal first food :)
I love making my own puree and while I use sugar pumpkins if you can find a Cinderella pumpkin they are amazing.
I love using the seeds too; I roasted them with butter, cinnamon, nutmeg and sugar. Absolutely addictive!
it doesn’t say, do you clean out the pumpkin before roasting it?
On the printable it says to remove the seeds & pulp.
Hi Darlene, Yes, step #3.
The best pumpkin recipe I’ve tried was for some pumpkin caramels. Very tasty and not too stressful. The humid climate where I live makes cooking candies at home an adventure, so it’s not something I attempt unless the humidity is lower than usual.
It’s been a few years since I made them, but IIRC, I got the recipe from Food52.
I had no idea how easy it was to make myself! I walk by these cute little pumpkins every time I go to the grocery store, now I’m going to finally buy some. I think that I will try the baking it whole method, because I am short as well, and very accident prone! Thank you for your recipe, I can’t wait to try it!
I find if you microwave the whole pumpkin for about 3 minutes it’s much easier to cut. I don’t know what a sugar pumpkin is. In Oz we have Jap, Queensland Blue and Butternut pumpkins (well, those are the ones I can think of).
In North America we generally have 2 kinds of pumpkins, the big ones used for carving designs for Halloween and the smaller sugar or pie pumpkins. Normally the big ones aren’t used for cooking, you can but my understanding is that the taste isn’t as good.
OK . . . here’s related question, now that it’s been brought up: How do you roast the pumpkin seeds? Do they have to be further roasted after the cooked pumpkin is scooped out or peeled? And, do you have to remove the hard outer “shell” of the seeds before roasting? I’ve had numerous bowls of squash soup and other dishes that are garnished with pumpkin seeds, but they’re the soft inner part with the pumpkin seed shell removed. I think pumpkins seeds are like sunflower seeds in that they need to have the shell portion removed. Am I correct?
For the seeds, all I do is rinse them off, dry them off, toss them with a bit of oil and roast on a baking sheet til just lightly toasted/crisp.
From what I understand, the outer shell is edible, and I have eaten them. Some pumpkin seed I’ve used had much thinner skinned shells than others.
I think if the shells were really thick, I’d try to peel each one before eating it.
(But for making nut brittle? I’d buy them pre-shelled too much work, IMO.)
Hi Michelle, You do not need to remove the shells, my mom used to roast them with the shells on all the time, and that’s how we’d eat them. I have a few different recipes for roasted pumpkin seeds:
I love the comments about cooking the pumpkin whole, because I too have problems cutting open a pumpkin – since I cut my finger badly enough for stitches one year, my husband won’t let me cut them open. My favorite part is the seeds!
Thank you so much for this! I’m making a ton of pumpkin stuff this fall and am so excited to use real, fresh pumpkin puree!
it’s nice and easy, I want to thank you for high quality photos that hep us to do it as you did
My favorite recipe is the Pumpkin Pie recipe from Cooks Illustrated, followed by my Pumpkin Bread Recipe.
I have a little pie pumpkin on my counter right now. Might be roasting it today for puree. :)
This is great – it yields the perfect amount of pumpkin for my favourite pumpkin muffin recipe:
I love making pumpkin puree. I actually roast them whole, avoiding the hazardous job of cutting them in half. It takes about 90 minutes, but it’s very easy. I haven’t made pumpkin puree the last couple of years because I no longer have a food processor. Do you think my Vitamix would do the trick?
Hi Laura, I definitely think a Vitamix would work!
Another hint is to pierce the pumpkin all over and microwave for 20 -30 seconds. This softens it up just enough to make it easy to cut. I just did this with butternut squash and it helped a lot!
Thanks for a great how to! The sugar pie pumpkins are in abundance at the markets right now. Every time I walked by them I always pause…next time I am going to pick up one or two! My favorite recipe has to be pumpkin pie!
We don’t have pumpkin puree where I live, but I’ve been making it for some time. It can be even easier – I do not cut the pumpkin but simply pierce the skin a few times with a knife and put it in a water bath and bake at 200 c for an hour or until a table knife can pierce it easily. Then I let it cool and open it. The seeds and seed lists can be easily removed, as can the skin. After that I puree it and drain it. Almost the same as your recipe except you don’t have to struggle to cut through a thick pumpkin when it is still raw.
I am lucky to have a husband who is retired. Every time I need a squash severed he gets out his lethal clever and gives it a big whack!! I do think it is a great idea to roast your own pumpkin if you can and then roast the seeds — yummy. I do a lot of squash but have not done a sugar pumpkin. I think I’ll give it a try once we return home. Thank you for the inspiration. Have a great day!!
That’s great thank you for the recipe!
Here in France where I live it’s difficult to find canned pumpkin, but all kinds of fresh ones are sold in the markets, this procedure will work just fine for me :)
I roast my sugar pumpkin whole! Stab it multiple times with a fork and put it on a baking sheet. Stuff it in the oven for an hour or so at 375. Check for doneness by testing with a fork. Let it cool a moment or two an peel it top down. Slice that little bugger in half (no cut fingers and no husbands needed!) and scoop out the seeds. puree as usual.
So smart! Totally doing this next time!