Last night, while watching “It’s the Great Pumpkin King, Charlie Brown,” I did something that I highly recommend you try this fall season.
Armed with two sugar pumpkins, some utensils, a big dish, and a food processor, I made my own pumpkin puree.
I recently visited an apple orchard that was, very conveniently, connected to a pumpkin patch. And as much as I loved picking fresh, juicy apples, I was excessively giddy when I searched the patches.
I walked away with $20 of loot: a tall, slender-ish orange one, a big crazy-green one, as well as a handful of smaller, cuter selections. I took them home, trying to decide if I should make a Jack-O-Lantern, or use them all for cooking.
Then I did some research. Were you aware that not all pumpkins are best for cooking?
No? Well, let me fill you in: apparently, the best varieties for recipes are called “pie pumpkins” or “sugar pumpkins,” and you can find them like that labeled in the store.
So all the beautiful, carefully picked ones I got at the farm? Two are on my work desk, two are at home, and the two big ones are on the front steps. Beautiful decorations, but not as ingredients for eating.
The ones I used to make this recipe? They came from our local grocery store.
While you might be tempted to quickly grab a few cans of puree during your next grocery run, you’ll be pleasantly surprised that making your own from scratch is incredibly easy and fun.
And, proud baker that you are, you’ll be delighted with the idea that your next pie will be made completely from scratch – natural puree, creamy filling, and flaky crust!
Simply roast the squash, whip up the flesh, and you’ll be ready to make all your favorite fall recipes with a fresh stash of pure puree.
Read our recipe below, and be sure to follow our Cooking by the Numbers section for all the helpful tips you’ll need for each step along the way.Print
Want to make your next pumpkin pie completely from scratch? Learn how to make homemade pumpkin puree. It’s simple, easy, and all-natural.
- 1 sugar pumpkin, 3-5 pounds
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a sheet pan with aluminum foil.
- Carefully cut the pumpkin in half lengthways using a large sharp chef’s knife. Start through the stem, into the middle, and through the bottom.
- With a metal spoon, scrape out and dispose of the seeds and stringy parts in the inside of each half.
- Place the halves cut-side down on the prepared sheet pan. Bake for about 1 hour until the flesh is tender and a fork can easily pierce through the flesh. Remove them from the oven and let cool completely.
- After the halves are cool, turn them around and scoop out the flesh, avoiding the skin. Transfer to a food processor or blender, and puree until smooth and thick, using a tablespoon of water at a time if it is too thick to mix.
- Use immediately, or store in the refrigerator or freezer in an airtight container.
- Prep Time: 25 minutes
- Cook Time: 1 hour
- Category: Puree
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: Condiment
Keywords: pumpkin, puree, fall, pie, Thanksgiving
Cooking by the Numbers…
Step 1 – Prep
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line one sheet pan with aluminum foil.
Set out the pumpkin.
Step 2 – Cut the Pumpkin
Carefully cut the pumpkin in half lengthways, staring at the stem, into the middle, and through the bottom.
As long as your knife is large and sharp enough, cutting through the stem should not be difficult. If the stem is long, you may need to cut it down closer to the top of the squash.
Step 3 – Scrape out Seeds
With a metal spoon, scrape out the seeds and stringy parts in the inside of each half.
Let’s not forget that you get the added bonus of all those pumpkin seeds – roast them for a crispy, toasty snack!
Step 4 – Bake
Once all the seeds and stringy parts are completely removed, place the halves cut-side down on the prepared sheet pan.
Bake for about one hour, until the skin is browned and the flesh is tender enough that a fork can pierce through it without any resistance.
Remove the pan from the oven and let cool completely on the pan.
Step 5 – Remove Flesh
After the halves are completely cool, turn them over so the cut side is now facing up. Scoop out the flesh with a metal spoon. Avoiding scraping off any of the skin.
Step 6 – Puree
Transfer the flesh to a food processor or blender, and mix until it is smooth and thick. You may need a tablespoon or so of water to help begin the blending process.
Step 7 – Use and Store
You can use it immediately in any recipe that calls for pumpkin puree, using an equal amount.
Here’s a helpful tip: a typical 15-ounce can of pumpkin puree is about 2 cups.
The mixture will keep for up to a week in the fridge in an airtight container. You can also freeze it in an airtight container for up to 6 months.
It’s the Great Pumpkin Puree, Charlie Brown
If you get your hands on some of these sugar pumpkins, you definitely need to turn them into puree.
It is easy, it is triumphant, and, best of all, it is the beginning of many, many good things to eat this fall.
Well done, you homemade guru!
For some inspiration on how to use this fresh ingredient, take a look at our list of recipes to make:
Recipe Ideas with Pumpkin Puree
And if you still can’t find what you are looking for, then choose anything from our 41 Best Pumpkin Recipes for more ideas and inspiration.
Have you ever made this completely from scratch? What will you plan on doing with it this year? Does this open the door to other homemade purees, like our parsnip and beet version? Comment below, after rating this recipe.
Photos by Nikki Cervone, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on October 30th, 2008. With additional writing and editing by Nikki Cervone. Last updated: October 30, 2021 at 15:48 pm.
Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Shanna Mallon
Shanna Mallon is a freelance writer who holds an MA in writing from DePaul University. Her work has been featured in a variety of media outlets, including The Kitchn, Better Homes & Gardens, Taste of Home, Houzz.com, Foodista, Entrepreneur, and Ragan PR. In 2014, she co-authored The Einkorn Cookbook with her husband, Tim. Today, you can find her digging into food topics and celebrating the everyday grace of eating on her blog, Go Eat Your Bread with Joy. Shanna lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with Tim and their two small kids.