half of a pumpkin in a baking dish with a spoon

How to Cook a Pumpkin + homemade pumpkin puree

Pumpkins can be intimidating, but we’ll break down to to easily cut, dice & roast a pumpkin for cooking. Plus, you’ll learn how to make your own homemade pumpkin puree for all of your favorite pumpkin recipes!

graphic of how to cook a pumpkin + homemade pumpkin puree

TODAY MARKS THE BEGINNING OF #AKPUMPKINWEEK. We’re super excited you’re here!
I’m not sure about you, but I’m a PL4L aka Pumpkin Lover 4 Life. It will forever be my favorite. In fact, here’s a photo of me when I was 9 years old, making my first pumpkin pie completely from scratch (and using homemade puree).

monique holding a pumpkin pie

Since starting pumpkin week, I’ve gotten a ton of questions on how to cook, dice, roast and make your own homemade pumpkin puree. Today I’ve got all the answers you; it’s absolutely delicious, easy to make and so much fun!

I don’t want to spend too much time talking, let’s just get to this thing.

pumpkin on a grey board

What kind of pumpkin to use:

It may seem tempting, but I wouldn’t recommend cooking with the big pumpkins you normally get at the pumpkin patch. They tend to be very stringy and not flavorful.

Instead, I recommend using a pie pumpkin or sugar pumpkin (pictured above). During the fall and winter season, most stores will have them available. Try to pick pumpkins between 3-6 pounds — that’s usually when the flesh is best.

pumpkin cut in half on a cutting board with a knife

pumpkin cut into pieces on a cutting board with a knife

How to cut and dice a pumpkin:

  1. Use a very sharp knife to cut the pumpkin in half on one side of the stem (with stem facing upward).
  2. Use a spoon to scoop out the pumpkin seeds and discard or save for roasting.
  3. To make it easier to peel the pumpkin, place in a microwave safe bowl and microwave on high for 2-3 minutes until slightly soft.
  4. Next cut each pumpkin half into wedges.
  5. Use a sharp knife to cut off skin of the pumpkin as best you can, it should come off fairly easy. You may even be able to peel it off without using a knife!
  6. Cube pumpkin wedges into 1-inch cubes.
  7. To cook: Place pumpkin cubes on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper (add any other spices you’d like!). Roast at 375 degrees F for 30-35 minutes or until pumpkin cubes are fork tender, flipping halfway through. You can also add it to soups and curries or in any recipe that calls for winter squash.

Watch the video tutorial to see how to cut and dice a pumpkin:

two pumpkin halves face down in a glass baking pan

hand scooping out the inside of half of a cooked pumpkin in a glass baking dish

How to roast a pumpkin:

  1. Use a very sharp knife to cut the pumpkin in half on one side of the stem (with stem facing upward).
  2. Use a spoon to scoop out the pumpkin seeds and discard or save for roasting later.
  3. Rub pumpkin with a little melted butter or coconut oil, then rub a little brown sugar into each pumpkin and sprinkle with cinnamon, if desired. Place pumpkin flesh side down on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  4. Roast at 375 degrees F for 40-50 minutes. Peel off skin and enjoy!

pumpkin puree in a blender

How to make pumpkin puree:

  1. Use a very sharp knife to cut the pumpkin in half on one side of the stem (with stem facing upward).
  2. Use a spoon to scoop out the pumpkin seeds and discard or save for roasting later.
  3. Rub pumpkin with a little melted butter or coconut oil, then rub a little brown sugar into each pumpkin and sprinkle with cinnamon, if desired. Place pumpkin flesh side down on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  4. Roast at 375 degrees F for 40-50 minutes. Allow to cool for 20-30 minutes. Peel off skin and then add pumpkin flesh to a blender or food processor. Process until smooth, about 2-3 minutes. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 6 months.

half of a pumpkin in a glass baking dish with the insides blended

Delicious recipes using pumpkin puree:

Paleo Pumpkin Pie Bars with Almond Flour Sugar Cookie Crust

Homemade Pumpkin Spice Bagels with Whipped Cinnamon Honey Butter

One-Bowl Fudgy Pumpkin Paleo Brownies

Pumpkin Pie Overnight Oats with Chia

Melt-In-Your-Mouth Brown Butter Pumpkin Coffee Cake with Pecan Gingersnap Cookie Streusel

Slow Cooker Black Bean Quinoa Pumpkin Chili

Chai-Spiced Pumpkin Oatmeal Muffins with Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Glaze

Honey Pumpkin Cornbread Muffins

Healthy Whole Wheat Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Pancakes

Fluffy Whole Wheat Healthy Pumpkin Waffles

Slow Cooker Black Bean Pumpkin Turkey Chili

Healthy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

5 Secrets to Healthy and Delicious Desserts

5 Secrets to Healthy and Delicious Desserts

Get my best easy tips for healthy baking in this free email series!

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