Learn how to make pumpkin puree with this step-by-step photo tutorial! This homemade pumpkin puree recipe is easy and much cheaper than canned pumpkin. Also, pumpkin puree can also be frozen, which means it’s ready to go whenever you need it! You’ll never have to figure out what to do with leftover canned pumpkin puree again, because you’ll always be able to use just what you need.
Another fall is officially upon us, and pumpkins have started appearing at the market! I know many of you are often on the hunt for new pumpkin recipes (I always am).
I often hear people complain about recipes that don’t use an entire can of pumpkin. I totally get it! (Side note: I feel the same way about tomato puree, which is the reason I’ve started buying tubes instead of cans).
This is why I’ve started making my own homemade pumpkin puree. I roast and puree a few large baking pumpkins at the beginning of the season, portion them into freezer bags, and have them ready to go whenever I make recipes using pumpkin.
Homemade Pumpkin Puree Equipment
Aside from some kitchen basics like a cutting board, bowl, and spoon, you’ll want to have a few tools ready to go.
- A chef’s knife or cleaver – Cutting a pumpkin in half requires a large, sharp knife. The skin is tough, more so than butternut squash. Using a sharp chef’s knife or cleaver will keep your fingers safe.
- A sheet pan lined with parchment or foil – Any large pan will work; you could even use a large roasting pan. It just needs to be large enough to hold both pumpkin halves. I recommend using something with a lip around the edges since juices will release from the roasting pumpkin, and you don’t want to have to scrub your oven because liquid spilled over. I like using parchment sheets as opposed to the rolls you’d buy at the grocery store.
- A food processor, immersion blender or food mill – You’ll need to puree the pumpkin after roasting it. You could use a regular blender if you have no other options, but it’s harder to scrape all of the pumpkin puree out.
How To Make Pumpkin Puree
Homemade pumpkin puree is easy to prepare and only takes a few minutes of prep work. Here’s what you do.
Step 1: Slice off a small piece of pumpkin to Create a Flat Surface
Any time you’re using a sharp knife, you want to cut against a flat surface. This means always creating a flat side when working with round produce. I do the same thing when chopping onions.
Since you’re removing the stem in the next step, create the flat edge on the side of the pumpkin instead of the bottom.
Step 2: Remove the Stem
It’s much easier to slice the pumpkin in half once the stem is gone.
Step 3: Slice The Pumpkin in Half
Place the stem side down on your cutting board (since you’ve created another flat surface!) and carefully slice the pumpkin in half.
You might find it easier to do this by piercing the tip of the knife into the center of the pumpkin, slicing downward from top to bottom. This will halve one side of the pumpkin. Remove the knife, turn the pumpkin around and repeat the same process on the other side.
However you do it, keep your fingers safely tucked away (as always).
Step 4: Scoop Out The Seeds and Fibers
Use a large spoon or ice cream scoop to clean out the pumpkin, removing the seeds and stringy fibers. You can discard them or save the seeds to make roasted pumpkin seeds!
Step 5: Lightly salt pumpkin and Place on Sheet Pan
Sprinkle the pumpkin flesh lightly with salt. Place both halves flesh-side down on a sheet pan lined with parchment or foil (always line your pan to save time cleaning up.
Lightly salting the pumpkin will help extract water as it roasts, meaning you might not need to strain it. Roasting the pumpkin flesh-side down will allow the water to drip away.
Step 6: Roast Until Tender
The time will vary depending on how large the pumpkin is. Once the flesh is fork tender (test it in several places). remove from the oven and let it sit until it’s cool enough to handle. Use a large spoon to scoop out the flesh, discarding the skin.
Step 7: Puree Roasted Pumpkin
As noted in the equipment section, there are a few ways to do this. I prefer the food processor since it’s quick and easy.
Optional Step 8: Strain the Pumpkin Puree
If your puree looks more watery than canned pumpkin puree, you’ll want to strain out some of the water (mine did not, which is why there are no photos).
To do this, place a fine mesh strainer (or colander lined with cheesecloth) over a large bowl. Add the pumpkin puree and drain the excess liquid, stirring periodically, until the desired thickness is reached. This might take anywhere from 30-60 minutes.
How To Freeze Pumpkin Puree
If you don’t need to use all of the homemade pumpkin puree, you can store it in the refrigerator for up to one week or freeze it for up to 3 months. To freeze, use resealable freezer bags or containers.
I like using small freezer bags. I label each bag with the date and quantity. Press out as much air as possible before sealing. Note that when you defrost the pumpkin puree, it might need to be strained to release water from condensation.
Pumpkin Puree Recipes
You likely don’t need me to tell you how to use pumpkin puree, but here are a few ideas if you’re interested in branching out beyond the standard pumpkin pie!
- Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
- Pumpkin Muffins
- Pumpkin Slab Pie
- Pumpkin Dinner Rolls
- Pumpkin Roll with Cream Cheese Frosting (from Fifteen Spatulas)
More Ingredient Tutorials
If you love this tutorial, be sure to check out How to Roast Butternut Squash, What is Half-and-Half and How to Make It, and What is Yeast? A Guide To Different Types of Yeast.
You can also see my full archive of tutorials recipes here!
Homemade Pumpkin Puree
- 1 (4 to 6-pound) baking pumpkin, rinsed and dried (see notes)
- Kosher salt
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment or foil.
- Slice a piece of skin off one side of the pumpkin to create a flat surface. Turn the pumpkin onto its side so it’s resting on the newly created flat surface, then slice off the stem.
- Use a large spoon or ice cream scoop to remove the seeds and fibers from each half (you can optionally save the seeds for roasting).
- Sprinkle a light coating of salt all over the pumpkin flesh (this will help extract water), and place flesh-side sown on the prepared sheet pan.
- Roast for 40 to 60 minutes, until a knife can be easily inserted into the pumpkin in several places. The roasting time will vary depending on the size of the pumpkin.
- Remove from the oven and cool for around 1 hour, until the pumpkin is room temperature or just slightly warm. Use a large spoon to scoop the pumpkin out of the skin and into a food processor (you can also use a food mill or large bowl and immersion blender). Puree until smooth.
- If the puree seems watery and thin compared with canned pumpkin, transfer to a fine mesh strainer (or colander lined with cheesecloth) set over a bowl, and let some of the water drain out, stirring occasionally, until the puree reaches the desired consistency (30-60 minutes).
- Store in the fridge for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 3 months.
Please read my full post for additional recipe notes, tips, and serving suggestions!
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