Homemade pumpkin puree couldn’t be easier to make. You’ll be shocked by the difference in the taste compared to canned pumpkin. Use in any recipe that calls for canned pumpkin. Store for 1-2 weeks in the refrigerator or up to 3 months in the freezer.
Pumpkin puree is a super healthy ingredient. Until now I have always stocked up on canned pumpkin when I see it on sale. I figured since it is simply pureed pumpkin it wouldn’t make much difference to buy it rather than making my own. That all changed when I discovered how easy it is to make homemade pumpkin puree.
Homemade pumpkin puree tastes remarkably better than canned; I’m talking lick the spoon tasty. Not only that it could not be easier!! Assuming you have a sheet pan and an oven, all you need to make homemade pumpkin puree is a 4-6 pound baking or pie pumpkin and some salt (kosher or sea salt). That’s it!
I consulted Alton Brown to make sure I had the method correct before my first batch. It really is a method and not a recipe. To prepare the pumpkin give the outside a rinse and pat it dry then split it open across the middle. You can whack the stem off and go top to bottom but there really is no need. You’ll be able to lift the stem clean off after the pumpkin bakes.
Clean out the “guts” by scooping out the seeds and mushy insides with a big spoon. (Keep the seeds for roasting they make a nice snack.) Sprinkle the halves with salt then lay them cut side down on a sheet pan and bake until soft.
In my opinion, this next bit is the coolest part! While it bakes the skin darkens to a deep burnt orange and takes on this amazing leathery quality. After the pumpkin has cooled to the touch you simply lift the skin right off the pumpkin halves. Underneath that luxurious leathery shell, you should find two cheery yellow bundt cakes.
From there you simply puree until silky smooth. You may use a food processor, I like to transfer the pumpkin to a bowl and use an immersion blender for easy clean-up. Store your homemade pumpkin puree in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator for 1-2 weeks or in the freezer for a few months.
Not just for pumpkin pies, homemade pumpkin puree can be used in all sorts of ways from savory to sweet. For instance, you can use it to make a creamy sauce for pasta or bake it with oatmeal for a fun fall breakfast.
Here are some of my favorite recipes using pumpkin puree:
- 1 4-5 pound pie pumpkin
- salt (kosher or sea)
- Heat your oven to 400F. Line a rimmed baking pan with parchment paper.
- Rinse and dry your pumpkin then split it open through the center. Remove the seeds and membranes (keep the seeds for roasting if desired).
- Sprinkle each half with a pinch of two of salt then place cut side down on the parchment lined pan.
- Bake for 30 -40 minutes until the flesh is soft in all areas. You should be able to easily slide a fork into the flesh with no resistance.
- Allow the pumpkin to cool to the touch before removing the skin. Transfer the cooked pumpkin to a food processor and blend until smooth - about 5 minutes. Alternately you may transfer the pumpkin to a bowl and puree with an immersion blender.