Pumpkin is ubiquitous at this time of year – but so many of our favorite seasonal recipes that bear the moniker are actually made with blends of “pumpkin spice” (PSL, I’m looking at you!) and no actual squash whatsoever.
Chances are, you’ll be making your annual pilgrimage (if you haven’t already) to the grocery store any day now to purchase a few cans of puree, and nine times out of ten that sweet orange ingredient will be mixed into a pie filling.
But there’s so much more out there! This round up takes us beyond the traditional pie, bringing you the best pumpkin recipes from some of our favorite bloggers.
If you take a look at The Flavor Bible by Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg, there are so many delicious ways to pair this seasonal squash with other ingredients. Allspice, apples, bay leaf, brandy, caramel, carrots, cayenne… the list goes on and on, from A to Z (well, from A to Y, ending with yogurt).
The Flavor Bible: The Essential Guide to Culinary Creativity, Based on the Wisdom of America’s Most Imaginative Chefs
For a little extra inspiration, if you’re ever stumped for a way to use that produce in your weekly CSA box or the bag of mystery grains in the back of your pantry, this book is an excellent resource, and it’s available on Amazon.
Both sweet and savory, for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and everything in between, there are so very many ways to enjoy this humble winter squash. It’s time to get cooking!
Breakfast, Brunch, and Afternoon Tea
1. Spiced Scones
Perfect at just about any time of day when you’re craving carbs with a touch of sweetness, these pumpkin spice scones scream “autumn.” Serve them with tea, smeared with pumpkin butter or drizzled with honey.
2. Baked Donuts
Made with both pie spice and pie filling, these baked donuts are delicious served warm, with a sprinkling of cinnamon sugar.
Learn how to make them from Brynn McDowell at The Domestic Dietitian.
3. Cheesecake French Toast Casserole
A double layer of pumpkin French toast with sweetened cream cheese in the middle, and brown sugar pumpkin-spiced streusel on top, drizzled with a maple pumpkin spice glaze. This is brunch perfection!
Chris Cockren shares the recipe over at Shared Appetite.
4. Cream Cheese Muffins
Soft, fall-flavored, and stuffed with a sweet cream cheese filling, you’re sure to start your day with a smile when these muffins are on the table.
Freezing and slicing the cream cheese mixture before filling your muffin tins is the key to success with this recipe.
You’ll find Lauren’s instructions at Tastes Better From Scratch.
5. Spice and Nut Bread
Moist and flavored with our favorite fall spices, you’ll want to make an extra loaf to keep in the fridge, or to share with the neighbors. Oh, and don’t forget one for the holiday breakfast table, and Sunday brunch, too!
6. Breakfast Rice Pudding
This dairy-free rice pudding is made with healthy quinoa and brown rice, and it’s delicious topped with nuts and dried fruit. You could serve it for dessert instead, but why wait? This is a delicious and nutrient-packed meal that the whole family is sure to love.
Get the recipe now from Laurel at Catching Seeds.
7. Pumpkin Zucchini Bread
Winter squash and summer squash, together at last! Oh, and you’re going to love the cream cheese glaze on top. Holly says it’s optional if you’re looking for a dairy-free option, but we say “pile it on!”
Holly shares the recipe on Spend With Pennies.
8. 20-Minute Pumpkin Butter
Maybe you look forward to picking up a jar at Trader Joe’s year after year, but we’re here to tell you – it’s time to try your hand at making your own.
Creamy and rich, Dana calls this “the quintessential fall spread.” And it comes together in just 20 minutes, with maple syrup, apple juice, lemon juice, and spices.
You’ll find the recipe on Minimalist Baker.
Nothing beats a stack of flapjacks for breakfast, lovingly made from scratch, and drowned in Grade A maple syrup. This pumpkin version is moist and delicious, so much better than the boxed and artificially flavored stuff.
10. Granola with Maple Syrup
Made with gluten-free oats, pecans, coconut, and pepitas, this granola is delicious sprinkled atop yogurt, or served on its own.
Squash puree is what makes this granola recipe unique, combined with maple syrup, coconut sugar, coconut oil, and vanilla to make a sweet syrup that coats the grains, nuts, and seeds in supremely flavorful fashion.
London Brazil shares the recipe on Evolving Table.
11. Sticky Buns
Once you’ve had these, you’ll never want to pop open a can of pre-made dough again. Starting with a pumpkin buttermilk biscuit base made with spices and orange zest, plus a pecan and maple syrup glaze, you’re going to be in sticky bun heaven in no time.
Really – these are made without yeast, so you don’t even need to wait for the dough to rise!
Get the recipe now from Ramona at The Merchant Baker.
12. Kabocha Bread
The cuteness factor alone is enough motivation to make these Japanese milk bread buns ASAP. Stuffed with a sweet kabocha and purple sweet potato paste, they’re traditional, adorable, and irresistible.
Kitchen string is the key to shaping the dough, with a pepita “stem” at the center of each.
Shihoko Ura shares the recipe on Chopstick Chronicles.
13. Vanilla Bean Pumpkin Apple Butter
As soon as you get back from apple picking and choosing the finest selections that your local pumpkin patch has to offer, you’re going to want to get out the CrockPot and make a batch of this delicious spread.
The perfect weekend project, all of that passive cooking time (about 12 hours or so) gives you the perfect excuse for an all-day scary movie marathon while you wait.
Get the recipe now from Jess P. at Cooking with Janica.
14. Coconut Flour Pumpkin Bread with Crumb Topping
Free of refined sugar, gluten, dairy, and grains, this paleo recipe is rich in fiber, and big on flavor. For a hearty breakfast on those busy weekdays, this recipe from London Brazil is sure to hit the spot.
London Brazil shares the recipe at Evolving Table.
Simply Savory Snacks and Sweet Appetizers
This special seasonal hummus is everything you could ask for, pure pumpkin flavor without any warming spices to get in the way (just a touch of cumin, with nothing added that’s overly sweet).
If you’re a pumpkin purist in search of a tasty protein-rich dip that’s quick to make, this recipe’s a winner. It’s great on roasted vegetable sandwiches, too!
16. Fried Mozzarella Balls with Pumpkin, Sage, and Caramelized Onion
OMG, yum! Need an appetizer for your next party? These fried mozzarella balls combine fresh pumpkin, sage, and caramelized onions with grated mozzeralla, fried to perfection in an egg and breadcrumb crust, and served with yogurt herb dip on the side. Your guests are going to be so impressed!
You can find Kitty Long’s recipe on Vintage Kitty.
17. Healthy Vegan Caramel Pumpkin Dip
Dairy-free caramel dip? It can be done! Dates are the key ingredient here, and there’s no cooking required – just fire up the trusty food processor and you’re ready to go.
Get the recipe now from London Brazil at Evolving Table.
18. Pumpkin Ale Cornbread
This cast iron skillet cornbread gets a double-wallop of that flavor that you love so much from puree and pumpkin ale, sweetened with a touch of maple syrup. Served with a steaming bowlful of seasonal chili or stew, this is the answer to those cold-weather comfort food cravings.
Jenni Ward shares the recipe at The Gingered Whisk.
19. Gluten-Free and Vegan No-Bake Pumpkin Pie Balls
Looking for a protein-rich snacking option to keep you going on game day? These pie bites are simple to make in just 15 minutes, and there’s no cooking required!
A fun project to make with the kids, they’re sweetened with coconut sugar and maple syrup, meaning they’re refined sugar free. Gluten free as well, these bites are reminiscent of the flavors of pie, without the crust.
You’ll find London Brazil’s recipe at Evolving Table.
20. Caramel Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake Dip
Need something quick to bring to a party? Super decadent and super easy to make, this simple dip is like a homemade cream cheese frosting blended with caramel sauce and squash puree.
Again, there’s no crust here! But your friends and loved ones are going to love dipping their graham crackers, cookies, and apple slices in this sweet and fluffy dip.
Get the recipe now, from Richa at My Food Story.
21. Pumpkin Pie Martini
Okay, okay, we know, we said no pie! But don’t be misled. This is a martini, and we chose it because this is one of few martini recipes with pumpkin in the name that actually includes real puree in the mix, rather than just spice.
Made with pumpkin spice vodka (it’s a thing!) and dark rum, and complete with a graham cracker, cinnamon, and sugar rim, you might switch to drinking your “pie” in cocktail form from now on.
Check out Cheyanne Holzworth-Bany’s recipe at No Spoon Necessary.
Made with banana and frozen yogurt, these milkshakes are a healthier option than your typical bowlful of pumpkin-flavored ice cream (not that there’s anything wrong with that either… see #37 for a truly decadent version).
Topped with whipped cream and crushed graham cracker, you will not hesitate to follow Erin’s final instruction – to sip immediately!
Get the recipe now at Well Plated.
23. Pumpkin Pie Green Smoothies
Okay, it’s green. And we’re sure we don’t have to let you know that there’s no pie in here. But for the green smoothie lovers among us and recent converts alike, you’re sure to be convinced by the fall flavors of this healthy beverage.
Bonus: the kids are going to love it, and Halloween presents the perfect opportunity to venture into coaxing them to drink their healthy greens…
Dana shares the recipe at Minimalist Baker.
24. Boozy Pumpkin White Hot Chocolate
Pick your poison: this grown-up white hot chocolate can be made two ways, either with Kahlua or bourbon. Creamy and comforting, you can even make a lactose-free and vegan version with dairy free milk and white chocolate.
Get the recipe now from Minimalist Baker.
Lunch and Dinner Entrees and Sides
25. Asian-Style Pumpkin Curry
Spicy, rich, and big on flavor, you’ll love this curry that features our favorite fall ingredient served over a bowlful of white rice, with lightly toasted naan on the side.
26. Roasted Pumpkin Ravioli with Brown Butter, Sage, and Pine Nuts
One of our favorite combinations of flavors at this time of year, brown butter and sage pair so nicely with the earthy and sweet flavors of squash and pine nuts. Wrapped in homemade pasta dough with ricotta and breadcrumbs, this is a lovingly made main dish that’s perfect for special occasions.
Stuck with leftover ravioli filling? Nicoletta suggests using it to make a tart. Brilliant!
You’ll find the recipe on Sugar Love Spices.
27. Stuffed Pumpkin with Meat and Potatoes
Imagine a sugar pumpkin roasted with brown sugar and bourbon, then stuffed with meat and potatoes. French Canadian New Englander Lauren Pariseau calls this recipe a “fall necessity,” and she hopes everyone will want to try it.
Essentially, she says it’s a meat pie, and you can actually use the microwave to do a lot of the work. Whether you choose to eat it with ketchup or mustard (or straight up, as is!) this is another cold-weather classic, real hearty eating to put some meat on your bones.
Check out the recipe now at Hunger Thirst Play.
28. Sloppy Joes
Instead of using ground beef, this vegan version is made from scratch using green lentils, pumpkin puree, and cubed winter squash. This is the perfect fuel to prepare yourself for a long stretch of tailgating, trick-or-treating, or spooky movie watching.
Laurel shares the recipe at Catching Seeds.
29. Spicy Southwestern Soup
Sommer at A Spicy Perspective describes this soup as a healing dish that’s comforting, rustic, and rich. We love that she tops it all off with crunchy pepitas and French-fried onions, a little bit of added texture and flavor that really takes it over the top.
Get the recipe now on A Spicy Perspective.
30. Roasted Pumpkin Baked Pasta
Like mac and cheese plus bacon and pumpkin, Kristen at Feast in Thyme says she tried various different types of squash, roasting methods, and pasta-to-cheese ratios before settling on this perfect combination. As someone who requested pumpkin pie in lieu of birthday cake as a kid, she’s a squash-lover after our own gooey, mac-and-cheesy heart.
And in addition to the recipe, her article offers the encouragement you’ll need to transition for a canned-only squash lover to a more adventurous whole-gourd culinarian.
Did we mention that’s there’s bacon?
Visit Feast in Thyme for the recipe.
31. Cauliflower Steaks with Tahini Dressing and Pistachios
Have you ever added pumpkin puree to homemade salad dressing? Now’s your chance! Paired with tahini and pistachios, it makes the perfect topping for cauliflower steaks, fried up in a pan with a little olive oil and garlic. This makes a delicious vegetarian meal for Meatless Monday, or a side served with your favorite roasted or grilled protein.
You’ll find Amanda’s recipe on Figs and Flour.
32. Curried Pumpkin Soup
Winter squash, carrots, and apples are combined to make this satisfying soup, flavored with bay leaf, star anise, and cinnamon.
Easy to make in under an hour with produce and pantry items that you likely already have at this time of year, you’ll have a quick lunch or simple dinner on the table in no time.
Get the recipe now from Hina Gujral at Fun Food and Frolic.
Save Room for Dessert!
33. Skillet Blondies
If you’ve never had dessert made in a skillet, now’s a great time to start. Moist and gooey with white chocolate chips and warming spices, you’ll be asking for a second slice of this blondie as soon as you’re finished with the first one.
Sommer at A Spicy Perspective shares the recipe.
34. Pumpkin Spice Beer Cake
Beer for dessert? Yes, please! Save a pumpkin beer from your seasonal six-pack and whip up a delicious batter made with pumpkin pie spice and a surprise ingredient – black pepper!
Drizzled with homemade pumpkin caramel atop vanilla buttercream, the sweet toppings contrast nicely with the touch of bitterness and spicy notes of the cake.
Get the recipe now on Vintage Kitty.
35. Cheesecake with Praline Sauce
If you already like pumpkin cheesecake, you’re going to love it even more when it’s topped with Jenni Ward’s delectable brown sugar pecan sauce, made from scratch with cinnamon and heavy cream.
You’ll find the recipe on The Gingered Whisk.
36. Ricotta Bundt Cake
Who doesn’t love a good bundt? Ramona at The Merchant Baker says ricotta custard is the highlight of this dessert, poured right on top of the batter before baking. Super moist, with a pie-like consistency where custard meets cake, this is an excellent alternative if you want to bring something new and exciting to the Thanksgiving table.
Ramona at The Merchant Baker shares the recipe.
37. Seasonal Ice Cream Sundaes
Homemade pumpkin ice cream, warm pumpkin caramel sauce, maple vanilla bourbon whipped cream, and candied pecans come together to create the ultimate autumn sundae.
You can make it with or without an ice cream maker, and though there are lots of moving parts happening here with things to churn, stir, bake, and chill, your efforts will most certainly pay off. I’m generally a firm believer that a sundae must include chocolate, preferably in several forms, but this drool-worthy recipe has convinced me to make an exception, at least once a year.
Get the recipe now from Cooking with Janica.
38. Coconut Panna Cotta
Smooth and creamy, this quick dessert is easy to make on the stovetop and chill in the refrigerator until it’s time for dessert. Topped with pumpkin spice syrup and toasted coconut, this recipe offers the beautiful presentation you’re looking for to round out a holiday meal, without the extra effort.
Carlos Leo shares the recipe at Spoonabilities.
39. Vegan Cheesecake Bars
Even for the lactose intolerant and dairy-eschewing among us, cheesecake flavored with everybody’s favorite big orange squash isn’t off limits with this recipe from Jess at Choosing Chia. This vegan dessert uses pecans and dates to form the crust, with a craveable cashew and coconut cream-based filling.
Check out the recipe at Choosing Chia.
40. Spice Cookies
If you’re a fan of cake-like cookies, try these warm from the oven, sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar.
Alia at Everyday Easy Eats says it’s best to use an ice cream scoop for portioning out the dough, which she likes to make ahead and store in the fridge until cookie time for freshly-baked squash-loving deliciousness.
Get Alia’s recipe now at Everyday Easy Eats.
41. Tiramisu Cake
Instead of lady fingers, this autumn-appropriate spin on tiramisu is made with alternating layers of pumpkin spice mascarpone and homemade hazelnut pumpkin spice cake drizzled with amaretto and hazelnut-flavored coffee syrup. So many flavors!
If you’re hosting a Halloween party or need something special for Thanksgiving dessert, serve slices of this alongside cups of strong espresso, and you’re guaranteed to get more than a few requests for the recipe.
Check it out now at Spoonabilities.
What’s on the Menu?
Armed with these recipes, you’re sure to sail through the fall season on a satisfying sea of deliciousness at every meal. And don’t forget – lots of these dishes make excellent leftovers.
By the way, if you made its this far and you’re still looking for pie, we’ve got that too! Check out our round up of some of the best recipes here.
What are your family favorites? And how will you use canned or home-roasted winter squash in new ways to expand your culinary repertoire this season? We want to hear from you! Leave us a message in the comments.
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About Allison Sidhu
Allison M. Sidhu is a foodie from Philly who is based in LA, where she loves exploring the restaurant scene with her husband. She holds a BA in English literature from Swarthmore College as well as an MA in gastronomy from Boston University. When she’s not in the kitchen making a fresh green juice or whipping up something tasty for dinner (or listening to the latest food podcasts while she’s doing the dishes!) you’ll probably find Allison tapping away at her laptop, curled up with a good book (or ready to dominate with controller in hand in front of the latest video game) on the couch, or devouring a food-filled magazine at the beach.