Can’t find canned pumpkin? No worries. Making your own pumpkin puree is so easy! Here’s how: scoop the seeds, roast, blend and use in recipes that call for puree.
I have a ton of pumpkin recipes that call for canned pumpkin (aka pumpkin puree). This recipe comes in handy if you can’t find canned pumpkin (a lot of stores have been sold out lately) or simply want your pumpkin puree to be super fresh.
I know roasting and pureeing a whole pumpkin might seem daunting, but don’t be intimidated. It’s just like roasting a winter squash – super simple and so versatile.
So you may be thinking… what the heck is canned pumpkin anyway? Most of the time it is just cooked, pureed pumpkin, but some brands use different winter squashes and sell it as canned pumpkin. It can also be easy to confuse canned pumpkin with pumpkin pie mix, which also comes in a can. Just be sure to check your labels because these two are very different! Canned pumpkin pie mix has added sugar, salt and spices. Just fyi, every recipe you’ll see here on EBF calls for canned pumpkin, not pumpkin pie mix.
So canned pumpkin is basically a shortcut for what we’ll be making today – pumpkin puree! To be honest, I usually just buy canned pumpkin from the store for recipes, but I like making my own from time to time because it definitely tastes better than the canned stuff. It may not be super apparent in recipes that use a small amount of pumpkin or have a ton of extra flavor, but I think you can certainly taste the difference in recipes where pumpkin is the star… like a homemade pumpkin pie.
One thing to note is that often times homemade pumpkin puree can be a bit thinner than canned pumpkin, so if your homemade puree seems a bit too liquidy you can always strain it with a mesh strainer lined with a cheese cloth, similar to how you would strain yogurt for a thicker consistency.
Here’s the best part… you only need one thing (a pumpkin!) to make pumpkin puree! Look for a “sugar” or “pie” pumpkin that is about 2 pounds in weight. Regular pumpkins used for carving aren’t great options for making pumpkin puree. The flesh is a bit too stringy and watery. But you can certainly still roast the seeds of a jack-o-lantern pumpkin.
Clean and prep – Start by cleaning the outside of your pumpkin. Carefully cut in half and scrape the seeds and stringy bits out with a large spoon.
Roast – Heat your oven to 400ºF and place the two pumpkin halves cut-side down in a baking dish or baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Roast for 45-60 minutes or until the inside of the pumpkin is very soft and fork-tender.
Scrape and blend – After the pumpkin is cooked, remove it from the oven and let cool. When cool, scrape the flesh from the skin of the pumpkin. The flesh should come off easily – if it doesn’t, it needs to roast longer. Discard the pumpkin skin and place the pumpkin flesh in a food processor or high-powered blender and puree until smooth and creamy.
There are so many ways to use pumpkin puree! I honestly love using pumpkin all year round but especially during the fall season. I’ve got breakfast recipes, main dishes and desserts that use pumpkin. Pumpkin puree is also great baby food. You can combine it with other foods (like carrot puree, sweet potato puree, mango, apple or yogurt) or serve it straight up.
After your pumpkin puree is cooled completely, place in an airtight container. It will last 4-7 days in the refrigerator or in the freezer for up to 3 months.