Making pumpkin puree is a bit messy, but it’s also very easy and SO worth it! It’s fresh and delicious, and you know exactly what kind of pumpkin (or squash) you’re getting. Plus, you get a ton of puree from even just one pumpkin!
Here are the five steps to making your own pumpkin puree.
- Choose your pumpkin
- Prep your pumpkin
- Bake the pumpkin
- Peel off the skin and puree the flesh
- Use it now or freeze it for later
1. Choose Your Pumpkin
The most easily attainable, common pumpkins for baking are usually called “sugar pumpkin” or “sugar pie pumpkin.” They’re usually about the size of a volleyball or slightly smaller, and usually average about 5 pounds. The flesh sweet and fine-grained so that it purees nicely. You won’t get great puree from a huge Jack-o-lantern style pumpkin, as they were bred for carving, not eating.
2. Prep Your Pumpkin
Rinse off the pumpkin, if necessary, and lop the top off.
Slice it in half.
Scoop out the seeds. It’s okay if there are a few strings left. (Save the seeds and roast them up!)
3. Bake the Pumpkin
Lay cut side down on a foil-lined baking sheet.
Bake for about 1 hour, or until a fork easily pierces the pumpkin.
Let cool for about 30 minutes, or until it can be easily handled.
4. Peel off the skin and puree the flesh
When it’s cool enough to handle, peel off the skin. Depending on the pumpkin, sometimes it peels right off, and sometimes you need to scrape the flesh off with a spoon.
Oh, and this can be messy business – don’t say I didn’t warn ya!
Place the pumpkin meat into a food processor or blender. I don’t have a big girl food processor yet, so I do a little bit at a time in my 4-cup food processor. It works!
Pulse or blend the cooked pumpkin until it’s a smooth consistency.
5. Use it now or freeze it for later
That’s it! Pureed pumpkin! I like to freeze it in 1/2 cup portions – and I even have a mini pumpkin cake tin that’s oh-so perfect. You can also scoop it into zipper freezer bags, carefully squeeze the air out, and smooth it flat for storage in the freezer. Easy peasy!
Frequently Asked Questions
How Much Puree Will I Get from One Pumpkin?
As a general rule, you can count on about 1 cup of puree per pound of fresh pumpkin. Here are specific measurements I’ve found for various varieties of pumpkins:
- Sugar Pie Pumpkin: 1 cup puree per 1 pound of pumpkin
- Winter Luxury Pumpkin: a 4 pound pumpkin results in about 4 1/2 cups of puree
- Long Island Cheese Pumpkin: A 6 pound pumpkin results in about 5 cups of puree
- 1 pie pumpkin (sugar pumpkin, sugar pie pumpkin, winter luxury pumpkin, etc. )
- 1 Rimmed baking sheet
- Food processor or high-powered blender
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Line baking sheet(s) with foil (this is optional, but helps make clean-up easier).
- Wash the pumpkin to remove any residual mud or debris. Cut off the top of the pumpkin, then slice it in half. Use a sturdy spoon to scoop out the seeds. It's okay if there are a few strings left. Lay the pumpkin halves cut-side down and cover tightly with more foil.
- Bake for about 1 hour, or until a fork easily pierces the pumpkin. Let cool for about 30 minutes, or until it can be easily handled.
- Peel the skin off. Depending on the pumpkin, sometimes it peels right off, and sometimes you need to scrape the flesh off with a spoon. Place the hunks of pumpkin flesh into a food processor or blender.
- Pulse or blend the cooked pumpkin until it's a smooth consistency. You may need to add a little water – a teaspoon at a time – to get it moving, if your pumpkin was particularly dry.
- Use in pumpkin recipes just like you would canned pumpkin. Keeps refrigerated in an airtight container for 3-4 days; keeps in the freezer for several months.