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Skip the Can and Prepare Fresh Roasted Pumpkin at Home

A pumpkin, jars of pureed pumpkin, and spices on a wooden table..
Rimma Bondarenko/Shutterstock

If baking is your thing, you’ve probably created some delicious treats with pumpkin puree. But did you know it’s super-easy to roast and puree a sugar pumpkin at home? We’ll teach you how!

If you usually use canned pumpkin instead of roasting one, we understand. Canned pumpkin is more convenient—especially if you don’t have a lot of time.

However, when you have some time to create some beautiful maple pumpkin bread pudding or pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, we’ve got you covered.

Let’s go step-by-step through the process of roasting and pureeing your own pumpkin.

Canned vs. Roasted

Canned pumpkin in a bowl next to a bowl of fresh roasted and pureed pumpkin.
Emilee Unterkoefler

So, what’s the difference between canned pumpkin and fresh pumpkin? Like most canned versus fresh debates, there are many dissimilarities, in color, texture, and, of course, taste. Let’s break it down.

You’ll immediately notice a difference in color and texture. Canned pumpkin is a much darker, deeper shade of orange, while the fresh pureed pumpkin is a subtle orange-yellow.

Fresh pumpkin has a brighter, earthier appeal, no additives to alter the taste, and a soft, creamy texture. Canned pumpkin has a much deeper flavor (which stands out in recipes), and a heavy, thick consistency.

So, whether you decide to use the convenient canned product, or spend some time roasting and pureeing your own, the choice is yours.

How to Select the Perfect Pumpkin

A variety of different sized pumpkins
Emilee Unterkoefler

Before you find yourself staring at a heap of pumpkins in all shapes and sizes, let’s cover some essential tips to pick the best one to suit your baking needs.

A pie pumpkin is also called a sugar pumpkin, and it’s much smaller than the kind you buy to carve a jack-o’-lantern. You can find sugar pumpkins at the grocery store or your local farmer’s market.

They’re small, round, and sweeter than larger pumpkins. They’re also full of pulpy flesh, which, of course, is great for cooking.

How to Roast a Sugar Pumpkin

If you’ve ever cut squash lengthwise, and then scooped out the seeds to roast in the oven, you already have the skills to cook pumpkin. If you have no idea what we’re talking about, just follow the steps and pictures below.

First, preheat your oven to 375 degrees and line a baking sheet with some parchment paper

Cut your pumpkin in half lengthwise. Use a large spoon to scrape out all the stringy pulp and seeds. Save the seeds if you want to roast and season them later.

A hand using a spoon to scoop seeds out of a sugar pumpkin onto a baking sheet.
Emilee Unterkoefler

Drizzle 1 tbsp. of oil on each side of your pumpkin. You can use avocado, coconut, or extra virgin olive oil. Sprinkle a bit of kosher salt on them, as well.

Place your pumpkins cut-side down on the counter, and then pierce holes in the outer skin—this allows steam to escape while they bake.  

Bake your pumpkin for about 45 minutes or until you can easily pierce the skin with a fork. At that point, it will be soft and ready to go. Let it cool for at least 15 minutes before you handle it.

How to Puree Roasted Pumpkin

If you want to turn this sweet treat into a puree, you need a blender, food processor, or a Nutribullet.

When your pumpkin is completely cool, scoop the pumpkin into your blender. Feel free to add a few tablespoons of water if it doesn’t blend well.

A hand using a spoon to scoop out a roasted pumpkin.
Emilee Unterkoefler

Blend until it’s a smooth, fluffy consistency. Use this for your next all-natural pumpkin pie or any other pumpkin goody.

How to Convert a Measurement

Recipes usually call for a 15 oz. can of pumpkin puree. To use freshly roasted pumpkin puree instead, you can convert the measurement.

One cup is eight ounces, so a 15 oz. can is just 1 oz. (approximately 2 tbsps.) short of two cups. So, add 1 cup of pumpkin puree, and then remove 2 tbsp. from the second cup before you add it to the bowl.

Emilee Unterkoefler Emilee Unterkoefler
Emilee Unterkoefler is a freelance food writer, hiking enthusiast, and mama with over ten years of experience working in the food industry. Read Full Bio »

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