Roasting Pumpkin 101: How to Make Your Own Pumpkin Purée

Written by Lynn Craig.

When fall crisps the air and chills the nights, my thoughts invariably turn to pumpkins. For some reason I start craving pumpkin dishes. Pumpkin pie is a natural, yes, but I start dreaming of ways I can put pumpkin in all baked goods.

Muffins, cupcakes, and cinnamon rolls are just the beginning for me. I’ve been known to wake from a sound sleep and scribble something on my bedside notepad that in the morning looks like it may or may not say pumpkin pudding.

To fuel this hectic pumpkin mania in my kitchen, I need a lot of pumpkin. Of course, it is easy to just pick up a can of pumpkin at the grocery store. I frequently go this route and won’t think less of you if you choose to do so.

It is fun, however, to take a pumpkin you’ve picked, bake it, purée it, and then turn it into your own dream pumpkin creation.

Baking pumpkins is super simple. You only need a pumpkin, a rimmed baking sheet, a sheet of aluminum foil, and an oven.


How to Make Homemade Pumpkin Purée

ALL Photos by Lynn Craig

There are jack-o-lantern pumpkins and pie pumpkins.  I chose an organically grown pie pumpkin. What’s the difference?

  • Pie pumpkins are smaller than jack-o-lantern pumpkins. They also have more flesh, hence a smaller cavity inside and fewer seeds.
  • Jack-o-lantern pumpkins are bigger and because they’re grown for size, tend to have stringier flesh and are more watery.

Trust me: keep the jack-o-lanterns for carving and for roasting the seeds; bake the pie pumpkin.

Using a long sharp knife, cut your pumpkin in half horizontally. The outside of my pumpkin was very tough, so I used the stab and saw technique. A serrated knife or a hand saw can also be employed. Use whatever works for you and allows all your fingers to stay attached.

Preheat the oven to 350° F (200 C) with a rack in the center of the oven.

Scoop out the guts of the pumpkin, putting the seeds aside to toast later. You don’t want to miss out on those!

Lay the pumpkin halves, cut side down, on the rimmed baking sheet. Lay a sheet of aluminum foil over the halves and gently turn it under at the edges to secure it.

Bake the pumpkin for about 90 minutes. If it’s a smaller pumpkin, it won’t take as long. When it’s done, the skin should yield to gentle pressure and the flesh should be soft.

Remove the pumpkin from the oven and allow it to cool till it’s just warm.

Scoop out the flesh using a broad spoon (often the skin will peel right off) and put it into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse the pulp till it’s smooth and even-textured. If you prefer, you can use an immersion blender for this step.

You could use your purée right away, but I like to put it in a strainer to drain off some of the liquid. (Save the liquid and use it in breads, muffins, or pancakes!). You could put it in cheesecloth or a coffee filter, but I just put mine straight in the fine sieve and it wasn’t a problem.

Storing your pumpkin purée

To save it for later use, the easiest method is to put a pre-measured amount into a zip-loc bag or a freezer-safe container. Label it with the date, the contents, and the amount, then pop it into the freezer.

You can also freeze the purée in glass canning jars; just be sure to leave a good inch of headspace to allow for expansion when it freezes.

Now that you see how easy it is to make your own pumpkin purée,  I’m sure you’re eager to try it also. When your kitchen is full of pumpkin purée, here are a few recipes from some of my favorite blogs to tempt your palate. Have fun!
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What’s your favorite way to use pumpkin purée?

About Lynn

Lynn Craig is a mother of four (two out of the nest, two to go) who homeschools, bakes obsessively, quilts sporadically, and occasionally finds time to clean the house. She and her husband live in Bellevue, Washington where she chronicles her kitchen triumphs and disasters on her blog Cookie Baker Lynn.

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Comments

  1. I’ve been doing this for years living overseas but I never knew to drain the pumpkin and it does lose a bit of flavor since the freezing separates the moisture out. I’m looking forward to seeing the difference it makes to drain it.
    Thanks!!
    Shilo
    shilo’s last post: Our Peaceful Place

  2. Stefani M. says:

    An alternative to pumpkin puree is mashed, steamed sweet potatoes. You can sub it for any canned pumpkin or pumpkin puree. We peel the sweet potatoes, dice to about 1″ cubes, then steam them for about 20 minutes. We toss them in our stand mixer to puree since we don’t have a food processor, then portion it out into 8oz increments in freezer bags. Seriously can’t tell the difference…. Great for when it’s not pumpkin season!

  3. What can I say? I’ve been wanting Simple Bites to cover making homemade pumpkin puree ever since Amiee posted that pumpkin cheesecake! Thanks Lynn!

  4. This is great! I am thinking of growing cheese pumpkins next year. Those are my favorite for puree. Great post!
    Kelsey/TheNaptimeChef’s last post: Tales from the Trenches: Ellen Hansons Chicken Curry

  5. Unfortunately pumpkin is not one of my favorite flavors but these pictures and recipe ideas really make me wish it was! The rest of my family loves pumpkin in both sweet and savory dishes so I do cook and bake with it quite often. Who knows… maybe eventually my taste buds will come around.
    Kelly @ Mom’s Kitchen Gadgets’s last post: A Smart Halloween Cupcake Idea from Fred and Friends

  6. Thank you for this! I’ve been going through the pantry this week and thinking about some of the pre-packaged things I buy and if there are better alternatives. Canned pumpkin is one of those things I’ve been pondering … so this is just in time for me!

    (oh, yeah, Kara, I agree – perfect excuse for pumpkin cheesecake making! Golly, that recipe is addicting!)
    Kara @Simple Kids’s last post: Fire Safety Month and AtHome Fire Drills

  7. so easy! thanks for this post! somehow i thought this would be much more difficult than it actually is… :)
    Stephanie’s last post: Wordless Wednesday: Fire and Flowers

  8. Totally brilliant! thanks for the tutorial!!

  9. Pumpkins go on super-sale right after Halloween- I’ll be buying a few and using your directions

  10. Love your how-tos. This is a great one!

  11. Wow…what a wonderful tutorial. I think I’m going to do this!

  12. Great DIY guide for pumpkin, or any winter squash, puree. I needed this article a couple weeks ago, when I was cutting into a Turk Turban squash.

  13. Medifast Coupon says:

    What is your opinion on how long you can keep pumpkin puree in the freezer? I really get mixed dates.
    Medifast Coupon’s last post: Need to lose a lot of weight!

  14. I am curious….how long do the pumpkin puree in the freezer? (I mean ‘expire’) UP to a year or two? I didn’t know that I have to drain the puree! Now I learn something new!! :) I’ve making purees for years….maybe 8 to 9 years now. Save $$ and taste sooo fresh! I just bought 6 small pumpkins for a dollar each and plan get more after Halloween! 1.00 isn’t bad! I’ll prefer 50 cents lol!

  15. We just roasted about 8 pumpkins the other day. I love making homemade pumpkin puree! We do 450 for an hour, and skip the tinfoil (though I add a small amount of water to the bottom of the pan). Thanks for the links to the recipes. Lots of jars are in the freezer already but I’m thinking a lot of pumpkin goodies are necessary ASAP. :)
    Alicia’s last post: Two Halloween candy brands recalled for containing peanuts and stainless steel

  16. Thanks for the tutorial. How do you roast the seeds?

  17. MamaShift says:

    Thank you, thank you! For years, as an expat, I had been told that it was impossible to make pumpkin puree, that it would be too watery and that only canned was good for pies. This started in Paris, I believe, when at Thanksgiving-time we would all flock to Thanksgiving or The Real McCoy for the canned stuff. All these years I coulda makin’ the stuff on my own. I just finished my first batch and am eager to return to the market for more pumpkins. Pumpkin-everything is in store for all of us this winter!

  18. jamie creative cupcakes says:

    I have been trying to figure our pumpkin puree for awhile now.
    Will definitely try this in some cupcakes. Thanks for sharing.

  19. Just wondering if I can use the puree to make pankcakes? Any ideas?

  20. I want to make pumpkin baby food for my 5 1/2 month old. Would this be a good way to do it?

    • Thomas' Dad says:

      My wife has made everything that our 6 1/2 month old eats from scratch…including pie pumpkins that I grew in our garden this year. He gobbled them up just like he has everything else. One ingredient, awesome wholesome food. We do it just by steaming and pureeing. But i imagine this would be equivalent. good luck!

  21. Thank you so much for this info. Just printed the instructions and will be putting in my homemade recipe book for myself. I can’t wait to make some pumpkin bread. Yum

  22. meaghanne says:

    Going to roast a pumpkin to use in a cream cheese pumpkin pie snickerdoodle recipe later this week. Thanks for the easy step by step instructions on pumpkin roasting ^^

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