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How to Make Pumpkin Puree from Scratch

Organic pumpkin puree can be pricey. Whole organic pumpkins and other local winter squash can often be found for a deal this time of year. Thankfully, learning how to make pumpkin puree from scratch is easy.

A jar of pumpkin puree on a napkin surrounded by fresh pumpkins.

This basic process is relatively hands-off and results in a yummy puree to begin many sweet and savory dishes alike.

Get Ready

You’ll need a high-rimmed baking sheet, a sharp knife, a bowl, and a big spoon.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and proceed:

Step 1: Cut the Pumpkin in Half

Use a very good knife. Something heavy and sharp is required to get through the cured skin of winter squash. Simply insert the knife at the top near the stem. Slice downward. Move the knife around the squash until reach the other side of the stem.

A pumpkin cut in half with seeds exposed.

Pull the halves apart. Remove the stem from the pumpkin.

Step 2: Remove the Seeds and Strings

Use a big spoon and scrape all the seeds and strings out. Save and wash the seeds to make roasted pumpkin seeds, if desired. It’s easiest to do this over a bowl.

A pumpkin half with the seeds removed sitting next to a bowl of the seeds with a spoon.

Step 3: Bake the Pumpkin

Place the pumpkin cut-side down on the baking sheet. Place the squash into the preheated oven. Bake for 30 minutes to an hour. Time will vary based on the size of the pumpkin.

Cooked pumpkin halves on a baking sheet with a fork piercing the skin.

The pumpkin is cooked when the flesh is easily pierced with a fork. Remove from the oven and let cool.

Step 4: Scoop the Flesh from the Skin

Again using a spoon, scoop the flesh from the skin. Lightly scrape the sides of the flesh to remove all the bits of cooked pumpkin. Spoon this into a bowl.

Step 5: Mash or Puree the Cooked Pumpkin

Turn the cooked pumpkin into puree by putting it into a blender or food processor and pulsing until smooth. Alternatively, mash well with a potato masher.

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Storing the Puree

It will keep in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Freeze it for up to 6 months in containers or bags.

It is not safe to can pumpkin puree.

Using Pumpkin Puree

Use your homemade pumpkin puree in any recipe as you would canned. It works for pie, cookies, cakes, soups, and more.

Soft pumpkin cookies on a plate.

Try using it in one of these pumpkin spice recipes. You can even dehydrate it for pumpkin pie leather!

It is as easy that to make pumpkin puree from scratch. So get out there and take advantage of the Autumn seasonal abundance.

A jar of pumpkin puree sitting on a cloth surrounded by 2 fresh pumpkins with text overlay.

Thanks for sharing!

Thomas McCarthy McCarthy

Tuesday 20th of October 2020

Once the pumpkin is removed from the skin it is a good idea to put it into a sieve and let it drain before processing it. Any winter squash may be watery and allowing the excess water to drain from the flesh will make your pumpkin more like the puree you get from the can.


Wednesday 21st of October 2020

Thanks for the tip.


Sunday 14th of October 2018

I use one of those Jack-o-lantern knives with the orange handles found in the Halloween decoration department. It works well for cutting any winter squash!

Angi Schneider

Tuesday 4th of December 2018

Great idea! Thanks for the tip.

J. Sly

Friday 3rd of November 2017

I bake my pumpkins whole as the pie pumpkins I have gotten lately are very hard to cut. Once they cool a bit I take out the seeds etc and go from there. I still roast the seeds.


Friday 23rd of October 2020

I had wondered if I could bake without removing the seeds.

B . Scott

Monday 18th of November 2019

That’s exactly what I do.. bake whole and roast the seeds