If you are not sure how to cook a whole pumpkin and make pumpkin puree, just follow these easy steps. Cooking a whole pumpkin is easier than you may think! Freezing it for future use is just as simple. And you can use a regular carving pumpkin - you don't have to buy a special pumpkin.
The best part is that when you bake a whole pumpkin the result is fresh pumpkin you can freeze and use all 'year round. It's perfect for the fall and so much better than using canned! Homemade pumpkin puree is ideal for desserts, pie filling, soups and more! There are so many things you can make with your pumpkin.
This recipe is popular during the autumn season, but you can use your frozen pumpkin puree any time of year!
🎃Recipes that use Pumpkin Puree
I love using my fresh (or frozen) pumpkin puree in my favorite pumpkin recipes: pumpkin bread, ,pumpkin soup, pumpkin pie pumpkin muffins (not shown), pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin biscotti, pumpkin cheesecake and pumpkin pie ice cream (no churn) (not shown).
For baking a whole pumpkin, all you need is the pumpkin and some water!
And although it's recommended you use sugar pumpkins, you really don't need to bother buying a special type of pumpkin. They are easier to find at the grocery store and farmer's markets earlier in the season, but they are a smaller pumpkin and generally more expensive.
I have been cooking pumpkins for years and I always buy one from the bins at the grocery store and they taste great! I will even often use the one the kids carve, as I hate to see it go to waste. And we only carve it a day or two before Halloween. The first photo in this post shows a sugar pumpkin because that's all that was available at my grocery store in late September. Last year I bought this regular carving pumpkin (in the above photo) specifically for cooking and pureeing.
There are different methods for roasting a whole pumpkin, but I use this method every year and it works great for me! You don't need special pumpkins, equipment or anything else!
- Cut your pumpkin into 3-4 large wedges with a sharp knife. I like to keep them in large pieces, as they are easier to handle than a bunch of smaller pieces. *There is no need to peel your pumpkin before baking. In fact, that's more difficult, as they skin peels off very easily, once baked.
- Clean out your pumpkin by scraping the insides out with a large spoon (a tablespoon is fine), as you would a cantaloupe. *You can save the pumpkin seeds and roast them, if you desire.
How to bake a whole pumpkin:
Fill a large roasting pan with about 1-2 inches of water. I use about 4 cups for a 20 lb/ 9 k roaster.
Cut the pumpkin into about 3-6 wedges, depending on the size of your pumpkin, and place it flesh down /skin up.
If I have a very large, pumpkin, I do this in batches, or in two different roasting pans.
Roast raw pumpkin wedges in roaster (with lid on) 325 degrees f (or 162 degrees c) for about 50 minutes to 1 hour. *Cooking time will vary, depending on the size of your pumpkin.
When done, you should be able to easily remove the skin by gently by getting a fork or butter knife under it and gently peeling it back. And a fork should easily go into it (be careful, as it will be hot)! I use an oven mitt and wash it afterwards.
Remove all the skin from the roasted pumpkin and discard.
Place the "meat" or pumpkin flesh in the food processor and puree until smooth.
You'll want to do this in batches if you're using a large pumpkin.
*You need to make sure that it's perfectly smooth puree
Pour it into a bowl, and double check to make sure there are no little pieces of skin, seed or stringy bits.
If there are any bits, remove them. And if it's still stringy, put it back and in the food processor and puree for a little longer, until it's completely smooth, as shown.
Pour through a sieve
Drain off excess fluid. Cool completely.
Scoop 2 cups into each Ziplock freezer bag and be sure to record amount and date on the bag.
Place in freezer flat (you can stack them).
You'll need a food processor and a large roasting pan (affiliate links) for cooking a whole pumpkin and making purée. You could also use a large casserole dish with a lid for cooking the whole pumpkin.
👪 Serving Size
This servings in this recipe (8 cups) are calculated using the puree from a large pumpkin for carving, about 5-8 lbs, which is typically double the size of a sugar pumpkin.
You can store it in the fridge in an airtight container if you're going to use it within 2-3 days. It's recommended you only freeze it for up to 6 months in a sealed container or freezer bags.
You need to ensure the puree is properly pureed and drained or it will be very stringy and runny when you go to make your baked goods. *I usually drain off the liquid again, after it's defrosted, then I measure it.
❔ Frequently Asked Questions
It's recommended you use a sugar pumpkin (known as pie pumpkins), as a sugar pie pumpkin is sweeter than large carving pumpkins. These smaller pumpkins are also firmer and less stringy than carving pumpkins. You can tell it's a sugar pumpkin because they are only about just 2-4 pounds. However, I always use a regular large carving pumpkin to make my puree and the result is still great pumpkin puree!
It takes about 45 minutes to 1 hour to cook a pumpkin, depending its size and weight.
Yes, you can roast a regular carving pumpkin. I do this all the time, make puree, cook with it and it tastes great!
Homemade pumpkin purée, can be used interchangeably with canned pumpkin, but it's so superior to the canned stuff! If you're looking for an economical, healthy and easy way to make your own pumpkin puree then give this method a try. You don't need to use a special pumpkin or use any olive oil to make this. All you need is a regular carving pumpkin and a little water to make this easy recipe!
🎃How to Cook a Whole Pumpkin (and make pumpkin purée) recipe
- 1 whole pumpkin
- 4 cups water (approximately) *for a large (20 lb/ 9 k roaster)
- Fill a large roasting pan with about 1-2 inches of water. I use about 4 cups for a 20 lb/ 9 k roaster.Cut the pumpkin into about 3-6 wedges, depending on the size of your pumpkin, and place flesh side down, .If I have a very large, pumpkin, I do this in batches, or in two different roasting pans.Roast pumpkin wedges in roaster (with lid on) 325 degrees f (or 162 degrees c) for about 50 minutes to an hour. *Roasting time will depend on the size of your pumpkin.
- When done, you should be able to easily remove the skin by gently by getting a fork or butter knife under it and gently peeling it back. And a fork should easily go into it (be careful, as it will be hot)! I use an oven mitt and wash it afterwards.Remove all the skin and discard.
- Place the "meat" or flesh of the pumpkin in the food processor and puree until smooth.You'll want to do this in batches
- *You need to make sure that it's perfectly smoothPour it into a bowl, and double check to make sure there are no little pieces of skin, seed or stringy bits.
- Pour through a sieve.
- Drain off excess fluid. Cool completely.
- Scoop 2 cups into each Ziplock freezer bag and be sure to record amount and date on the bag
- Place in freezer flat (you can stack them)