It's pumpkin season! And that means we're ready for fall baking: pumpkin bars, breads, rolls, pies, and everything in between! Yes, you can buy pumpkin purée at the grocery store (in the US), but if you really want to maximize the flavor, you can make homemade pumpkin purée! It's easy and great for freezing, so you'll have everything you need for the season's baking.
If you're making a batch of pumpkin purée, you can use it in recipes like this Sourdough Discard Pumpkin Chocolate Chunk Bread, these Sourdough Discard Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls, and this Pumpkin and Carrot Soup.
Why you'll love this recipe
- Homemade Pumpkin Purée is easy to make and adds additional flavor to your fall cooking and baking.
- It freezes well so you can make a batch at the beginning of the season to use all winter long!
- This is a great way to use up some of your fall pumpkin harvest!
- You can also use the pumpkin seeds for other tasty recipes!
There is only one thing you'll need to make homemade pumpkin purée!
The only thing you'll need to make homemade pumpkin purée is a pie pumpkin. To note, a pie pumpkin is not the same thing as a carving pumpkin! Pie pumpkins tend to be smaller and are sweeter. They're better for baking.
See full recipe below for detailed directions.
How to make Homemade Pumpkin Purée
Carefully cut your pumpkins in half and use a spoon (or ice cream scoop!) to remove the seeds and pulp. Discard or save the seeds for other recipes.
Place the pumpkins face down on the baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes or until tender when pierced with a fork. Let cool on the baking sheet for at least 30 minutes, or until comfortable to touch.
Cut the pumpkin into chunks and remove the peel with a spoon. Add the pumpkin pieces to a food processor.
Pulse until smooth. Place the puréed pumpkin in the center of a cheesecloth (you can also use paper towels), form a ball around the pumpkin and hold over a sink. Squeeze to remove as much excess water from the pumpkin as possible.
Transfer the purée to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator or use immediately.
You can also freeze pumpkin purée in individual portions (I recommend 1-cup measurements). Freeze for up to 3 months.
Expert Baking Tips
- Be careful slicing the pumpkin! Pumpkins are tough, so you'll want to use a large, sharp knife to carefully halve the pumpkin.
- Save the seeds and use them for other recipes! This is optional, but they're very tasty.
- Use an ice cream scoop to easily remove the seeds from the pumpkin.
- Drain as much water as possible from the pumpkin purée before using it to bake. Pumpkin has a very high water content, and store-bought pumpkin purée is fairly low in water. To make sure your recipes turn out correctly, strain as much water as possible from the purée.
- Freeze the purée for future baking projects!
You'll need a food processor, or a strong blender to make the purée. I like to use a Cuisinart 14-Cup Food Processor. You will also need to drain some of the water out of the pumpkin purée, and there are a few ways to do this:
- Use cheesecloth: I like to use cheesecloth (you can buy a bolt of cheesecloth, but they also make individual squares). Add the purée to the center of the cloth, lift it up so the purée is in a ball and squeeze the water out. The weave is small enough to not allow any of the pumpkin itself to come out, but you can wring out quite a bit of water! Also, cheesecloth is washable, so you can wash and use it again for something else.
- Use paper towels: You can use the same process as the bullet point above but with paper towels. They'll be more likely to rip, so be careful. You likely want to use at least 2 layers of paper towels before you start wringing, and you may need to repeat the process with several paper towels to remove all the water.
- Use a mesh strainer: You can also add the purée to a mesh strainer (like this OXO mesh strainer) and use a spoon to push the water out. The pumpkin should remain in the belly of the strainer. Be careful with this one: depending on the size of your mesh, you might lose some of your pumpkin as well!
Refrigerator Storage: If you plan to use the pumpkin purée within 3-4 days, store it in the refrigerator in an airtight container.
Freezer Storage: If you want to store the purée to use later, transfer the purée to a freezer-safe airtight container or bags and freeze for up to 3 months. I like to transfer the purée into bags in 1 cup measurements, so I know how much is in each bag and can easily take out the amount that I need.
To use, let the purée thaw overnight in the refrigerator before using to bake.
You can use a spoon, but I've found using an ice cream scoop works best!
You don't need to keep them if you don't want to, but if you do, you can make spiced pumpkin seeds! Here are a few great recipes you can try: Simply Recipes, Roasted Pumpkin Seeds (plain), Healthy Recipes, Spicy Roasted Pumpkin Seeds (for a spicy kick), and Joy Food Sunshine, Roasted Cinnamon Sugar Pumpkin Seeds (a sweet twist).
Technically, no. You can use it as is after you purée, but note that your pumpkin purée will have a higher water content than a recipe using store-bought canned pumpkin normally would. You may need to adjust a few ingredients to ensure your recipe doesn't end up too wet.
Homemade Pumpkin Purée
- 2 small pie pumpkins
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
- Carefully cut your pumpkins in half and use a spoon (or ice cream scoop!) to remove the seeds and pulp. Discard or save the seeds for other recipes.
- Place the pumpkins face down on the baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes or until tender when pierced with a fork. Let cool on the baking sheet for at least 30 minutes, or until comfortable to touch.
- Cut the pumpkin into chunks and remove the peel with a spoon. Add the pumpkin pieces to a food processor and pulse until smooth.
- Place the puréed pumpkin in the center of a cheesecloth (you can also use paper towels), form a ball around the pumpkin and hold over a sink. Squeeze to remove as much excess water from the pumpkin as possible.
- You can use the purée or store in the refrigerator or freezer for later usage (see storage section above).