Wondering how to roast a whole pumpkin? It’s easy, once you choose the right pumpkin and follow a few simple tips. Here’s how to do it and make homemade pumpkin puree.
Why this recipe works
Pumpkin puree is a super-flexible ingredient in both sweet and savory dishes. Using this method, you’ll:
- Start by choosing a medium-sized (2- to 3-pound) sugar pumpkin, also called a pie or sweet pumpkin. This variety is bred for eating, unlike the larger pumpkins meant for carving.
- Choose whether to roast whole or cut in half. Both methods work great. Halving results in more caramelization.
- Coax out the natural sweetness of the squash while retaining most of its moisture content, making it perfect for puree.
What you’ll need
Here’s a glance at the ingredients you’ll need to make this recipe.
- A medium-sized sugar pumpkin (2 to 3 pounds), also called a pie pumpkin or sweet pumpkin, is smaller, sweeter, and less fibrous than the kind you’d carve. You can roast the seeds from a carving pumpkin, but the flesh will not result in a good puree. You can also use this method with other winter squash that have dense orange flesh, including kabocha (Japanese pumpkin) and red kuri. Learn more about pumpkin varieties here if you like.
- If you’ll be halving the pumpkin, you’ll need a little bit of either olive oil or a neutral-tasting oil such as safflower. See below to learn more.
How to make it
Here’s an overview of how to roast a whole pumpkin and make pumpkin puree. You can see the steps in action in the video that accompanies this post, and get all the details in the recipe card below.
- The most important step is choosing the right pumpkin — a 2- to 3-pound sugar pumpkin. You can choose whether to cut it in half or roast it intact.
- If cutting in half, scoop out the seeds and stringy bits before roasting. (If not, do it after.)
- If cutting, rub a bit of olive oil onto the cut sides and arrange halves cut-sides down on a rimmed baking sheet.
- Roast at 400°F for 30-60 minutes, until tender. (A paring knife should slide through the skin easily.) Once cool enough to handle, scoop flesh out of skin and place into a food processor fitted with the blade. Process until perfectly smooth. That’s it!
Expert tips and FAQs
How to store pumpkin puree
Once completely cool, place puree into an airtight container. It will keep well in the fridge for a week, or freeze for up to a year.
My typical vibe is to keep a variety of winter squash purees in the freezer for use throughout the year. Labeling them would be a great idea, but I mostly don’t, and they work pretty well interchangeably.
How to make pumpkin puree without an oven
You can cook a whole sugar pumpkin for puree quickly and easily in the Instant Pot if you like.
For a 2- to 3-pound pumpkin, place the entire thing into the pot and add one cup of water. Position the lid and set the vent to sealing. Cook on manual, high pressure for 15 minutes and then let the pressure release naturally. When cooled somewhat, carefully cut in half, scoop out the seeds and stringy bits. Flesh is ready to use. You can roast the seeds another time if you like.
How to use pumpkin puree
Here are a few of our favorite ways to use pumpkin puree:
- Mini whoopie pies
- Vegan muffins
- Pumpkin bread
More fruit and vegetable prep skills
Here’s how to:
- Prep and cut butternut squash
- Cut a peach for any recipe
- Freeze rhubarb
For more information, please see more information about How to roast a whole pumpkin