How to Make Pumpkin Puree

by Erin @ Food Doodles on September 29, 2020

Learn how to make pumpkin puree, straight from a pumpkin instead of a can! Read more to find out the trick to avoiding watery puree.

So the problem with homemade pumpkin puree is that sometimes it can be far more watery than the canned variety.  I usually call for canned pumpkin puree in my pumpkin recipes, especially baked ones, because I know some people are going to have really watery homemade puree.

That extra water can really cause a recipe to flop! I’m obsessed with precision in baking so extra liquid makes me nervous.

Homemade Pumpkin Puree in bowl

But I know that some people don’t want to use canned pumpkin puree. And I know all about the issues with BPA and how the chemicals used in BPA-free cans might even be worse for you than BPA itself.

I don’t like that, either. So I can understand why you may prefer to make the puree yourself.

 

So here we have a recipe for homemade pumpkin puree! If you’ve been putting off trying to make your own and if you already make your own but it’s too watery, this recipe is for you. 🙂

And if you need some Pumpkin Pie Spice to go along with your puree, I’ve got you covered! It’s great in recipes like these Pumpkin Spice Energy Bites and Pumpkin Pie Spice Larabar Bites.

To make this homemade puree, we first start with some fresh pumpkins. I bought mine from our local fruit stand. I got six in total for under $10.  

What pumpkins should I use for homemade pumpkin puree?

Make sure you buy sugar pumpkins, also sometimes called baking pumpkins. They’re a smaller variety and make for a smoother puree.  

If you live outside of North America, those may be difficult to find. You can also use Hokkaido pumpkin, also known as red Kuri squash, which seems to be the most commonly available pumpkin in many countries.

Butternut squash also works.

Start by washing your pumpkins.

Then remove the stem (I kind of forgot that step for these photos 🤦‍♀️) and slice the pumpkins in half with a large sharp knife. Scoop out the seeds with a spoon. You can save them for roasting if you want!  

Place the pumpkin halves, cut side down, on a baking sheet. Pour enough water to come up about halfway on the edge of the pan and place the pan in the oven.  

Bake at 350 °F (175 °C) for about an hour or until the flesh is very soft. The exact time will depend on the size of your pumpkins.

Can you eat pumpkin skin?

Yes! It’s safe and has lots of nutrients. If using a sugar pumpkin or Hokkaido, you can skip the next step where you separate the flesh from the skin. Butternut squash skin is too tough and should be separated from the flesh.

If you want to use another type, you’ll need to google whether or not that skin gets soft enough.

Before pureeing, I would still remove any areas with blemishes, like the top left pumpkin above has.

The puree will be less sweet, but on the other hand, a bit richer. 

Remove the pan from the oven and let the pumpkin cool for 10-20 minutes. You don’t want it so hot that it destroys your food processor.

Then scoop the flesh into a food processor, blender or a large bowl (to blend with an immersion blender). Blend until completely smooth.

How to thicken pumpkin puree:

Place a large sieve lined with cheesecloth over a large bowl. You can also use a clean tea towel. Pour the pumpkin in and let it drain.

Your puree may not need much time to drain, or if it’s particularly wet like mine was, it may take a while to get to the right consistency. If you’re doing a large batch of pumpkins all at once like I was, it’s best to do it in a few different batches to ensure that it drains properly.

When it looks like it has the right consistency, place the pumpkin in a bowl and stir together as the parts closest to the cheesecloth will have less moisture than the pumpkin at the top.  If your pumpkin puree seems too dry, add a little of the liquid from the bowl.

Freezing pumpkin puree:

If you don’t need much pumpkin puree at the moment, just freeze what you don’t need. I think 1/2 cup, 1 cup and 15-ounces (like a can of pumpkin puree) are the most useful amounts to freeze them in. 


You can freeze them in Ziplocs or really, any kind of container. I like to label them with the date.

How long does pumpkin puree last in the fridge?

It keeps in an airtight container for 4-6 days. 

Have you ever made homemade puree before? How’d you like it compared to canned? If you give this recipe a try, I’d love to hear how it goes!

If you need some ideas on what to make with it, try this Whole Wheat Pumpkin Cake, these Healthy Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Muffins or these Whole Wheat Crustless Pumpkin Pie Bars.

5 from 1 vote
Homemade Pumpkin Puree in bowl
How to Make Pumpkin Puree
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 15 mins
 

How to make pumpkin puree, straight from a pumpkin instead of a can! It's simpler than you probably imagine and can be frozen.

Course: Condiment
Cuisine: American
Keyword: pumpkin
Author: Heidi @ Food Doodles
Ingredients
  • Sugar pumpkins (aka baking pumpkins, or Hokaiddo pumpkins or butternut squash)
Instructions
  1. Wash sugar pumpkins before cutting in half. Cut off the stem.

  2. Remove all the seeds and place pumpkin halves cut side down on a baking sheet. Fill the baking sheet with water, about halfway up the edge of the baking sheet.

  3. Place in the oven and bake at 350 °F (175 °C) for about an hour or until the flesh of the pumpkins is very soft. How long exactly will depend on the size of your pumpkins.

  4. When cooked, remove from the oven and let cool enough until it's at a temperature safe to blend.

  5. Scoop the flesh into a food processor or blender. If you have an immersion blender, you can place the cooked pumpkin in a bowl. Blend until completely smooth.

  6. If the pumpkin is thinner than the canned variety, line a large sieve with cheesecloth or a clean tea towel and place over a large bowl. Pour the pumpkin in and let drain as long as needed, draining pumpkin in several batches, if needed.

  7. Once the pumpkin has drained, place in a bowl and stir together. Place the totally cooled pumpkin puree in containers or Ziploc bags. It can be refrigerated for 4-6 days in an airtight container.

  8. If freezing, I think it's best to freeze in the amounts you usually use, like 1/2 cup, 1 cup or 15 ounces / 425 grams (like a can of pumpkin). It's best used within 3-6 months but starts to lose quality over time. It can actually be frozen for much longer periods.

Recipe Notes

This is going to vary wildly from pumpkin to pumpkin but with an initial pumpkin weight of 2 pounds (907 grams), your yield will be about 1.5 pounds (680 grams) of pumpkin puree. 1 cup of pumpkin puree = 240 grams. So that'd be about 2 3/4 cups of pumpkin puree. That's if not using the skin. If you use the skin, you'll have more like 3 1/3 cups. This is per pumpkin!

Leave a Comment

{ 30 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kari Alana October 5, 2020 at 18:48

This has been such a great recipe to have discovered and I have been able to bookmark it to store excess pumpkins.

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2 Jamie October 5, 2020 at 05:31

I love your step by step instructions for how to make this! It tastes so much better than the canned stuff and now I’ll be making this at home every year! I have some saved in a container to make a pumpkin pie. So excited!

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3 Gunjan October 5, 2020 at 01:21

Such a great recipe. This pumpkin purée has the right texture and consistency.

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4 Paula Montenegro October 4, 2020 at 17:54

Easy and much healthier than the canned thing. Great post and video! Draining it is the key. Thanks for sharing this recipe.

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5 Lori | The Kitchen Whisperer October 2, 2020 at 01:19

I absolutely love this! Not sure what it’s like in your area but here it’s impossible to find canned pumpkin. Thankfully I have your recipe now and can easily make from scratch pumpkin puree! Thank you so much for this!

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6 Jenny September 30, 2020 at 18:18

I really need to try this, it will elevate my pumpkin pie tremendously. I bet it tastes SO much better then the canned stuff I keep buying. Thank you so much for the great recipe.

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7 Amy September 30, 2020 at 06:46

Love a good pumpkin puree and I love the cheesecloth idea as I have had that issue before so this is great to know. when my daughter was a baby, this was by far her favourite. I could use this for so many recipe I have so thanks for this!

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8 kerri September 30, 2020 at 00:33

i never knew pumpkin puree was so easy and i love that it freezes so well!

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9 Jennifer Fisher November 17, 2019 at 18:38

This is good to know! And, easier than I expected. One thing I learned was to get the sugar pumpkin . . . not the regular ole jack o latern ones!

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10 Stacey Crawford November 16, 2019 at 11:33

I seriously need to try this! I still have not tried making pumpkin puree from scratch. Thanks for the detailed instructions 🙂

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11 Don Baiocchi November 14, 2019 at 15:50

Yum. I bet this tastes so much more pumpkin-y than the canned kind!

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12 Kelly November 13, 2019 at 14:31

Thank you for this recipe! Better for you than canned puree and so delicious!

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13 ChihYu November 13, 2019 at 12:19

I love that pumpkin puree is easy to make at home! So much better and healthier than canned!

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14 Raia Todd November 12, 2019 at 16:44

Mmm… That pumpkin cheesecake loaf is totally calling me. Haha.

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15 Heather@EasyKetoDishes November 12, 2019 at 14:11

I’d love to be one to eat the pumpkin pie from this! Thanks for the tip on removing water.

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16 Heather Harris November 12, 2019 at 14:10

Sometimes you get so used to buying a particular item in a can that you forget that its so much better to make it yourself, and so much easier!

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17 Jean Choi November 11, 2019 at 17:02

Didn’t realize how easy it is to make pumpkin puree at home! Looks so much tastier than the store bought version.

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18 Joni Gomes November 11, 2019 at 08:01

Wow just 1 ingredient, I am pleasantly surprised! Will make this for sure!

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19 Trynna October 8, 2017 at 10:03

Is there anything you can do with the pumpkin drippings? It seems a waste to toss them away.

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20 Heidi @ Food Doodles November 24, 2017 at 09:12

I realize this reply is a little late, but if you’re still looking for some ideas or in case anyone else is… I’m sure you could freeze it into cubes and use in smoothies, or use it in squash soup instead of broth or even add it to chili or something else full flavoured where you probably wouldn’t notice the flavour but it might add a little extra nutrition 🙂

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21 Kelly November 18, 2016 at 03:30

What do I do if I don’t have a cheese cloth and a sieve? Is there another way to strain it? Thanks!

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22 Heather September 21, 2019 at 11:24

You can use a thin cloth in place of cheese cloth. I have several receiving blankets that are the perfect thickness. I place them on top of the bowl, anchor it in place (rubber bands on either side) and then tip the bowl upside down into another bowl. It works great!

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23 Debra December 7, 2013 at 12:13

Great pumpkin pudding!

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24 Debi November 11, 2013 at 21:14

My kids wanted to do this all Fall but I didn’t know how. Now I know.

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25 Sharon October 27, 2013 at 16:47

This is such a great tutorial! I’m definitely making my own next time. How long can you keep the pumpkin in the freezer?

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26 Heidi @ Food Doodles October 30, 2013 at 11:22

I’d say at least 6 months, if not longer! 🙂

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27 Erin | The Emerging Foodie October 27, 2013 at 09:56

This is such a smart idea! I stay away from making my own pumpkin puree because of the texture difference but I never thought of using cheesecloth to remove liquid… brilliant! Definitely storing this away for use once I use up all my cans of pumpkin. 🙂

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28 Megan October 26, 2013 at 05:12

Thanks for this. You make it look super easy!! I don’t know if I have the patience for it 🙂

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29 Maryea {Happy Healthy Mama} October 25, 2013 at 05:30

Look at that color!! Love it. I have to admit, though, I got a pie pumpkin in my CSA box and it’s on my mantel for decoration. 🙂 Ha!

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30 Laura @ Kneadwhine October 25, 2013 at 05:04

This is really fortuitous timing as I was thinking about trying to make my own puree – I never manage to use the whole of a tin and it seems like a massive shame (I make a pumpkin macaroni cheese).

Now to get some cheesecloth – several recipes I’ve seen recently have needed it, so probably time to take the plunge!

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