Homemade Pumpkin Puree is ultra-smooth, creamy, and perfect for all of your favorite pumpkin recipes.
In my Pumpkin Puree vs Canned Pumpkin – The Pumpkin Pie Challenge, fresh pumpkin puree and canned pumpkin faced off in a side by side challenge to see which one made the best pumpkin pie. Three different types of pumpkin (squash) puree and canned pumpkin were put to a blind taste test. While canned pumpkin is more convenient and available year round, Homemade Pumpkin Puree won unanimously for its deep, sweet pumpkin-y flavor and its velvety smooth texture.
I use plenty of cans of Libby’s pumpkin every year. They have been a part of my family’s holiday celebrations and well-loved seasonal baking for as long as I can remember. But every year as the temperature drops and pumpkin season rolls around, I can’t resist buying fresh pumpkin and making homemade pumpkin puree.
One very interesting thing I learned in my Pumpkin Pie Challenge is that there are so many varieties of pumpkin, and some are tastier than others. Libby’s pumpkin, a proprietary variation of the Dickinson pumpkin, is in fact a variety of squash similar to butternut squash in appearance, taste, and texture. Since squash is the general term for the fruits that belong to the genus Cucurbita, and since pumpkin is from the genus Cucurbita, you can say that a pumpkin is just a kind of squash. This gave me the idea to try other varieties of squash. Obviously, if Libby’s pumpkin was similar to butternut squash, that’s where I’d start. I did some research and based on what was readily available in my local supermarket, I also tried kabocha squash, also known as Japanese pumpkin. I also tested the commonly found sugar or pie pumpkin.
I would not recommend using large Jack O’ lantern pumpkins for pumpkin puree. They’re less sweet and have a higher moisture content than the smaller sugar (pie) pumpkin. The sugar (or pie) pumpkin is one of the most popular types of squash for making pumpkin pie. It’s small – about 2-3 pounds and 7-8 inches in diameter – and readily available in the fall in most supermarkets. While it’s the most popular, it may not necessarily be the best for fresh puree and pie. It’s not as deep in flavor as some other types of squash and has a more watery texture.
Kabocha squash is a Japanese pumpkin with a beautiful color, a sweet flavor, and a lovely, fluffy texture. It makes a silky, rich, velvety smooth filling for pumpkin pie.
Butternut squash, similar in appearance, flavor, and texture to Libby’s Dickinson squash, has a sweet flavor, bright orange color, and makes a dense and luscious filling for pie.
All three types of pumpkin (squash) made lovely purees. However, the butternut squash and kabocha squash were unanimously preferred by the taste testers. Their flavors were deeper, sweeter, and more pumpkin-y than the sugar (pie) pumpkin.
In this tutorial, I’ve used a sugar (pie) pumpkin since that is what is most commonly found. Any type of pumpkin or squash can be prepared in the same way. (Any good tasting, edible squash that is.) I highly recommend trying butternut squash or kabocha squash in your pumpkin puree. Visit your local farm stand and ask about other varieties that are ideal for baking. Two other varieties that make good puree are the Cinderella pumpkin and the red kuri squash.
To make Homemade Pumpkin Puree, cut a 2-3 pound pumpkin in half. Using a spoon or a melon baller, scrape out the seeds and pulp from the inside of the pumpkin. The seeds can be roasted for an excellent, healthy snack.
Lightly salt the inside of the pumpkin. Place the pumpkin cut-side down on a parchment lined baking sheet, and bake in a 400 degree F oven for 35-50 minutes until the pumpkin is soft and nearly collapsing. The sugar (pie) pumpkin will release a lot of water during baking so use a rimmed baking sheet. The butternut and kabocha squash have a higher sugar content so they will begin to caramelize on the bottoms.
Remove the pumpkins from the oven and let cool until they can be handled. The skin should easily peel away from the flesh, otherwise, scoop out the flesh with a spoon.
Puree the pumpkin in a food processor until smooth.
Homemade pumpkin puree can be refrigerated for several days or frozen.
A 2-3 pound pumpkin should yield about 2 cups or 15 ounces of puree.
To test the puree for the proper consistency (the same consistency of canned pumpkin), weigh the puree on a kitchen scale. According to the USDA, 1 cup of pumpkin puree should weigh 245 grams (8.6oz). If your puree is on the thin side, let the puree rest in a cheesecloth lined strainer until the desired consistency is reached. Another way to get rid of excess moisture is to cook the puree over medium heat, stirring constantly until it reaches the desired thickness. Using the roasting method of preparing pumpkin helps to remove excess moisture.Print
- 1 2-3 pound pumpkin or squash – sugar (pie) pumpkin, Cinderella pumpkin, kabocha squash, butternut squash, red kuri squash, or other pumpkin/squash ideal for baking
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Cut pumpkin in half.
- Using a spoon or a melon baller, scrape out the seeds and pulp from the inside of the pumpkin.
- Lightly salt the inside of the pumpkin.
- Place the pumpkin cut-side down on a parchment lined baking sheet, and bake in a 400 degree F oven for 35-50 minutes until the pumpkin is soft and nearly collapsing.
- Remove the pumpkin from the oven and let cool until it can be handled.
- The skin should easily peel away from the flesh, otherwise, scoop out the flesh with a spoon.
- Puree the pumpkin in a food processor until smooth.
- Homemade pumpkin puree can be refrigerated for several days or frozen.
Check out my Pumpkin Puree vs Canned Pumpkin – Pumpkin Pie Challenge where fresh pumpkin puree and canned pumpkin face off in a side by side, blind taste test.