How to Cook a Pumpkin (+ make pumpkin puree!)

Learn exactly how to cook a pumpkin and make easy homemade pumpkin puree! Pumpkins can be intimidating, but in this easy step-by-step tutorial you’ll learn exactly how to cut, dice & roast a pumpkin for cooking and baking. Use your homemade pumpkin puree for all of your favorite pumpkin recipes!

Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
1 hour
Total Time
1 hour 5 mins

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 pumpkin puree).

Since starting my annual pumpkin week, I’ve gotten a ton of questions on how to roast a pumpkin and how to 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!

monique holding a pumpkin pie

What is pumpkin puree?

Pumpkin puree is simply the inside of a pumpkin that has been cooked through baking, roasting, steaming, boiling or sautéing and then blended or mashed to create a smooth puree. It can then easily be used in cooking and baking for both sweet & savory recipes! You can often find pumpkin puree canned in grocery stores, but during the excitement of pumpkin season there is often a shortage.

That’s why we created this simple guide to show you how to roast a pumpkin and make your own homemade pumpkin puree from scratch!

a pie pumpkin on a grey board

The best type of pumpkin for cooking and baking

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.

How to cut and dice a pumpkin

This method is perfect for cooking up cubes of pumpkin to use in recipes like a tray of roasted veggies.

  1. First, 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.

pumpkin cut in half on a cutting board with a knife

How to cook cubed pumpkin

  1. 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!)
  2. 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.

pumpkin cut into pieces on a cutting board with a knife

How to roast and cook a pumpkin

Use this method to roast a whole pumpkin and use it in sweet & savory recipes.

  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. If you’re making a sweet recipe, rub the pumpkin with a little melted butter or coconut oil, then rub a little brown sugar into each pumpkin and sprinkle with cinnamon, if desired. For a savory recipe, rub the pumpkin with olive oil and sprinkle some salt and pepper.
  4. Place pumpkin flesh side down on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  5. Roast at 375 degrees F for 40-50 minutes. Peel off skin and enjoy!

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 make homemade pumpkin puree

To make your own homemade pumpkin puree, you’ll roast the entire pumpkin as explained above and then simply add the pumpkin flesh to a food processor or blender:

  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. If you’re making a sweet recipe, rub the pumpkin with a little melted butter or coconut oil, then rub a little brown sugar into each pumpkin and sprinkle with cinnamon, if desired. For a savory recipe, rub the pumpkin with olive oil and sprinkle some salt and pepper.
  4. Place pumpkin flesh side down on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  5. Roast at 375 degrees F for 40-50 minutes. Allow to cool for 20-30 minutes.
  6. Peel off skin and then add pumpkin flesh to a blender or food processor. Process until smooth, about 2-3 minutes.

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

homemade pumpkin puree in a blender

How to store & freeze homemade pumpkin puree

To store: once your pumpkin puree has completely cooled, store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

To freeze: instead of putting your containers of pumpkin puree in the fridge place them in the freezer for up to 6 months. Simply thaw it in the refrigerator overnight before using it.

See how to roast a pumpkin + make homemade pumpkin puree

Delicious recipes using homemade pumpkin puree

Paleo Pumpkin Pie Bars with Almond Flour Sugar Cookie Crust

Best Ever Healthy Pumpkin Pie

Vegetarian Spinach Pumpkin Lasagna

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

Healthy Soft Pumpkin Cookies with Salted Maple Frosting

Healthy Pumpkin Bread with Maple Glaze

Homemade Pumpkin Spice Bagels with Whipped Cinnamon Honey Butter

Pumpkin Pie Overnight Oats with Chia

Slow Cooker Black Bean Quinoa Pumpkin Chili

Fluffy Whole Wheat Healthy Pumpkin Waffles

Healthy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

Looking for even more pumpkin recipes? Get all of our BEST pumpkin recipes here!

I hope you love this easy tutorial for how to cook a pumpkin and make homemade pumpkin puree! If you try it be sure to leave a comment and a rating to let me know how you used it. Enjoy, xo!

How to Cook a Pumpkin + Homemade Pumpkin Puree

half of a pumpkin in a baking dish with a spoon
Course Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Nut Free, Paleo, Side Dish, Vegan, Vegetarian
Cuisine American
Keyword homemade pumpkin puree, how to cook a pumpkin, how to roast a pumpkin
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Serves 4

Learn exactly how to cook a pumpkin and make easy homemade pumpkin puree! Pumpkins can be intimidating, but in this easy step-by-step tutorial you'll learn exactly how to cut, dice & roast a pumpkin for cooking and baking. Use your homemade pumpkin puree for all of your favorite pumpkin recipes!

Ingredients

  • 1 (3-6 pound) sugar pumpkin (or pie pumpkin)
  • 1/2 tablespoon melted butter, coconut oil or olive oil
  • For sweet recipes (optional):
  • 1/2 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • For savory recipes (optional):
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  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. If you're making a sweet recipe, rub the pumpkin with melted butter, coconut oil or olive oil, then rub brown sugar into each pumpkin and sprinkle with cinnamon, if desired. For a savory recipe, rub the pumpkin with olive oil and sprinkle salt and pepper.

  4. Place pumpkin flesh side down on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  5. Roast at 375 degrees F for 40-50 minutes or until fork tender. Allow to cool for 20-30 minutes.

  6. Peel off skin and then add pumpkin flesh to a blender or food processor. Process until smooth, about 2-3 minutes. Makes about 4 cups of pumpkin puree (depending on how big your pumpkin is of course!)

Recipe Notes

To store: once your pumpkin puree has completely cooled, store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

To freeze: instead of putting your containers of pumpkin puree in the fridge place them in the freezer for up to 6 months. Simply thaw it in the refrigerator overnight before using it.

Nutrition
Servings: 4 servings
Serving size: 1 cup pumpkin puree
Calories: 94kcal
Fat: 2.7g
Saturated fat: 0.2g
Carbohydrates: 18g
Fiber: 10g
Sugar: 8g
Protein: 4g
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