How to Cook a Pumpkin – Pumpkin Pie Puree Recipe

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Fresh, homemade pumpkin pie, is just one of the reasons I LOVE growing pumpkins every year. When the kids were little I used to grow them for carving, never thinking about actually using the pumpkins for the what Pilgrims intended them for, PUMPKIN PIE {of course}.

Making your own pumpkin puree is totally cool. So each fall, once the front porch has filled up with “decorative pumpkins” I like to get busy in the kitchen and process all the pumpkin puree I can while I have the chance.

If you have never made your own pumpkin puree before, I want you to try it this year.  Not only is making pumpkin puree super easy, your house will smell pretty awesome too.  And if you have chickens, even better, because they have fun pecking away at all the extra pulp.

How to Make Homemade Pumpkin Puree

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  • Wash small sugar pie pumpkins, and cut them in half
  • Scrape pulp and seeds from the center of the pumpkin and set aside
  • Lightly brush pumpkin halves with butter
  • Place prepared pumpkins face down on baking sheet and bake for 40 minutes at 375 degrees or until the skin starts to wrinkle
  • Cool 10 minutes and then remove the pulp with a large spoon
  • Place pulp in a blender and puree
  • Place puree in quart sized zip baggies {I usually measure out 1 or 2 cups per bag}
  • Use a sharpie to label, date and write the portion size on your baggie and freeze

I’m curious, do YOU make your own pumpkin puree every year, or do you just buy the canned version from the grocery store?


Pumpkin, a Super Food for All 12 Months of the Year is filled with 125 recipes celebrate the varied ways that pumpkin can be used in everything from appetizers and snacks to soups, salads, main courses, side dishes, and desserts.  Amazon currently has this book in stock and ready to ship.

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  1. Do you just use the sugar or pie pumpkins or do you use all the pumpkins you are growing? Do they taste any different?

  2. Last year Amber did the same thing but she put the whole pumpkin in the oven. Talk about time saving!

  3. Sheila M. says:

    I want to comment on the step-by-step photos of the things you make. They are very well done. Putting them into a photo book with the instructions will make a great graduation or wedding gift for your kids.

  4. I buy the canned. And this year since you posted about Amazon having 12pk of organic I bought that and used my earnings from Swagbucks so they only cost me six dollars and some change. Also I LOVE your pic/idea of putting your quart bag in a glass to fill. I will def use that (I make a big mess usually or have one of my boys hold it.) Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. I always make my own because I have found that I very much dislike canned pumpkin. It just doesn’t taste right to me. This year I am growing my own too as I use to purchase the pumpkins from farms or the store.
    I just leave the seeds and everything in the pumpkin while it roasts and then remove when it is cool enough.
    Great tutorial!

  6. I always make my own puree. I am too cheap to buy the stuff. I use whatever pumpkins my dad grows in his garden…they are usually quite large. I have never made an actual pie with them though, only things like muffins.

  7. We can it in quart jars, in chunks, and then just smash into puree (which takes about 2 seconds!) when ready to use.
    Super nice to have on hand for baking or making pumpkin soup =)

  8. Well, thank you. I was going to start researching the best way to go about this for my sugars and you put it right up there for me. Libby’s is way too pricey right now and the store brand is vile… even my cheap SIL refuses to eat it.

    But I still have a lemon meringue to finish up. So this will have to wait a bit.

  9. Living in Australia we don’t seem to have the same obsession with sweet pumpkins. Most of the varieties we grow here (Queensland Blue, Jap, Butternut, Kent, etc) are savoury flavoured, so we bake them and use them as a roast vegetable, use them to make pumpkin soup or mash it with potato to use in bubble and squeak. I have never actually had a pumpkin pie.

  10. Regarding Kale – put that stuff in the shakes!!!

  11. Larger pumpkins are waterier (?) and stringier than small pumpkins. I just use an immersion blender right before freezing and it makes for a smoother, no-strings product. I also don’t brush butter on the open cuts when I am about to bake the pumpkin, and have never had a problem. The less butter in my life, the better, as I am a butter slut.

    one other thing—USDA and Ball and various university cooperative extensions advise STRONGLY again canning pumpkin in any form (including pumpkin butter) because of the density of it. The heat cannot make it all the way through, and it is not acidic enough to water can anyway. Commercial canning is able to get to higher temps than home cooks can, so that is why they can can pumpkin and we cannot. Really, I have never had the need to can. The pumpkins will keep for months in a cool location, and if you do want ot cook it down all at once, it freezes well.

    • Elizabeth F says:

      Yes I don’t can pumpkin either, just freeze the puree. BALL does give instructions for canning with pressure canner but seems to be lots of warning with it due to the density. We grow Jack o lantern pumpkins which may or may not ripen by the time fall has come and the vines died. We have a variety of green and orange on the porch now. I like to get a number of sugar pumpkins at the farmers market.

      My MIL used to make pumpkin pies with the carving pumpkins and only mashed it with a fork. They were horrid, pale, tasteless and stringy. I think over 15 years I had one bite in total on various occasions.

    • Its ok to can pumpkin in cubes … just not pureed. The Ball Blue actually has a recipe in it to explain. It does need to be pressure canned, but I do mine in cubes and it turns out just fine.

  12. Usually I buy, but I found out our pumpkin farm sells “eating” pumpkins as well as carving pumpkins, so I am planning to make my own this year. We will also have two babies in our house once spring rolls around so I am excited to use some for baby food as well!

  13. Love it! I’ve pureed my own the last couple of years. I’ll still buy canned pumpkin if I find it SUPER cheap, but I prefer to do my own. I’ve done 3 so far this year and have 6 1/2 cups in the freezer.

  14. Make my own. But I do this by adding 1 cup water to the bottom of a jelly roll pan (no butter) and roasted for 1 hour at 350 degrees.

  15. Oh, and best pumpkin soup ever:

    It works just as well in the crockpot. Dump everything but the milk in the crockpot. Cook all day, remove bay leaf, blend, add the milk and serve.

  16. A little off topic, but, I was hoping that someone could help me.

    My son wanted a pumpkin patch. We planted 3 each of 2 varieties. They are planted on opposite sides of the yard. One is a carving type and the other is a pie type.

    The vines are vigorous and have been blooming profusely for weeks on end, but no fruit is setting. I have seen bees buzzing around the blooms, pollinating them, but to no avail.

    Any ideas on what is happening. I am in Georgia, zone 7b

    • There are male and female flowers on pumpkins – female flowers are the ones that have a mini pumpkin at the base. Pluck off a male flower, pull off the petals and use the remaining part to paint the pollen into the female flowers. Sometimes ants can take all the pollen before the bees get there, so try to pollinate them early when the male flowers first open. All the best :)

  17. I never buy canned pumpkin anymore-fresh is the way to go. It tastes better, and smells fantastic while baking. Hey Mavis don’t bother with cutting the pumpkins prior to baking. Put them in the oven whole. Makes things muuuuuuch easier.

  18. Trying this now gonna use it to make pumpkin butter hopefully it turns out well

  19. Debbie Rioux says:

    I put the cut up pumpkin, cut into smaller pieces, in a crockpot. It works great if you only have 1 smaller pumpkin. Takes about 4 hours comes out nice and moist easy to remove from the shell. :)

  20. Marcy Isherwood says:

    My children are grown and have growing families of their own. The all live very far away. So my Holidays are spent traveling to visit my family. I miss those days of making things from scratch. Everyone called me either Betty Crocker or Suzy Homemaker BC I did everything from scratch. Love reading your blogs. Brings back memories.
    Now 20+ years later I have had a long career in Nursing and good memories as do my children.
    I miss those days and I encourage parents to cook with their children and give them great memories.

  21. Hi Mavis, One of my goals for 2014 is to freeze 35 quart size freezer bags. I make pumpkin pies, pumpkin ice cream and pumpkin rolls plus more and I have to go buy canned, but no more!

  22. Spending the day roasting pumpkins and poking through your recipes. The seeds with Worcester sauce are a huge hit around here. Thanks Mavis!

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