September 27, 2012

Homemade pumpkin puree – make your own, ditch the canned pumpkin


Homemade Pumpkin Puree

Sugar pumpkins are so plentiful (and affordable) during the fall and they make the BEST pumpkin puree!

Canned pumpkin can be spendy – usually $1.50 – $2 on sale for a 15 oz can. But making it homemade is so much more afforable! I was able to get 3.5 cups (or 28 oz) of fresh pumpkin puree from my smallish sugar pumpkin. So nearly twice the pumpkin puree  for the same price.

Is it worth the extra hassle? That’s up to you. I did like the “roasted” flavor and also knowing that it’s fresh and free of extra preservatives.

First things first. Cut the stem off the top of the pumpkin. Be very careful and use a sharp knife – it can be tricky to cut into the tough skin.

Cut the whole pumpkin down the middle – right in half.

Scoop out all the seeds inside.

Cover a baking sheet with tin foil and lay pumpkin halves facedown on pan. Cover with another layer of tin foil. Bake, covered, in the oven at 350 degrees for 1.5 hours.

Remove from oven and allow to cool.

Once cool to touch, peel the skin off the top. I found it easier to find the little air pockets under the skin and start from that area. It was incredibly easy to peel the skin off.

Toss into food processor and puree until smooth.

Spoon into zipped baggies and flatten for the freezer! I bagged mine in 1 cup amounts, so they’d be easy to measure for recipes. I used quart bags and they worked just fine, but if you want less mess, go with the gallon size bag – it’s easier to fill if it’s big enough for the spoon.

I hear you can also roast the entire pumpkin in the oven – that you don’t even have to bother cutting the top off, cutting it in half and scooping out the seeds until AFTER it’s roasted. I will give that a try next time, but I was worried about having seeds and goop mixed in with the soft, cooked pumpkin.

The whole process took me about two hours – 10 minute prep to start, 1.5 hours in oven and 20 minutes to peel, puree and pop in the freezer. I’m not sure I’ll do this every time I need pumpkin puree but I think it’s certainly a good option and it will save you about 50% off.

So tell me – have you done this before? What should I make with my pumpkin puree?


Here’s the perfect recipe for your pumpkin puree – it’s Slow Cooker Turkey Pumpkin Chili and it’s delicious!



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  1. I always roast the pumpkin whole. Pop it in the oven for about an hour at 300 degrees. So easy, no hassle with cutting it open beforehand and the seeds practically fall out of the inside once cooked. I’ll never go back to the other way!

  2. I used to do it all the time. But when you are factoring in cost you have to include the power for the oven and the freezer as well as the cost of the bags. I decided it was about even if I could stock up during the fall sales. And the cans don’t require any further cost like stuff in the freezer.

  3. remember pumpkin is a food use it with caution you don’t want Salmonella. always wash the out side of your pumpkin befor cutting use cleen utensil .once you cut it you need to use it, bake it and process it cool package it and freeze it be safe with your pumpkin 🙂

  4. I always wait until Halloween to carve my pumpkins, and then I bring them inside when the kids stop coming. I usually steam/bake them, but then I have to put it in cheesecloth and squeeze the excess water out. I like your method better, but I wouldn’t be able to carve my pumpkins… Anyway, I have fun with it.

  5. Very nice… I did this last night… the only issue I had was the pumpkin juices burnt onto the tin foil. I did not read “Bake, covered,” kind of important and since there was not picture of that I did not do it. ;O) Not that you need a picture that is just how it goes in my head. Next time I will cover… I was wondering why you didn’t use any water. Gaw!

  6. Beth Johnson says

    Just did the 3 (well 2 1/2, one was going bad) I got for free at my Albertsons the other day. Made about 10 cups of puree, and the hens get seeds and scraps! Thanks for the recipe, my boy is all excited about pumpkin pie! He might just get custard, though. Such a pain to make GF crust…

  7. Added bonus: roasted pumpkin seeds!

  8. I love pumpkin ice cream!! trying it now!

  9. I normally boil my pumpkin to get it extra soft then I purée it and make all sorts of things, pumpkin cookies, muffins, pancakes. I figure if we are buying a pumpkin then why not turn it into something else once halloweens over.

  10. Well . . . I lucked out and scooped up a bunch of cans of pumpkin (the 15 oz. size) for 19 cents a can right after Thanksgiving last year . . . 🙂

  11. I’ve done this before, and I always love it! The trick is finding a good deal on sugar pumpkins. Once you have that, you’re set!

  12. I am so going to try this! I make my own Pumpkin Spice Syrup and it only takes a couple tablespoons so a lot of the can generally goes to waste. I could freeze this in tablespoon size “pucks” and then throw all of them into a gallon bag.

  13. Celia Husmann says

    Love your posts! 🙂 If you ever wanna trade your pumpkin for my jam, peaches, pickles, or apple sauce, let me know! 😉

  14. I prepare it like you did. I always have frozen pumpkin puree in my freezer. But I put about 1/4 in snack size baggies and then add it to lots of things: spaghetti sauce, banana bread, soups, zucchini bread, etc. And of course, pumpkin pie! Nothing tops a pumpkin pie made with fresh pumpkin puree!!

  15. chrissy anderson says

    I’ve had good luck cooking the smaller sugar pumpkins in a microwave. Cut off the top (like you would for a Jack-O-Lantern) and take out the seeds and pulp. Rinse to make sure it’s clean. Add 1/4 to 1/2 of water, and then put the top back on. Cook initially for 5 minutes, and then check and add a minute or two at a time until soft. Works great and no mess. Just be careful when you take it out…it will be hot. I usually put it in a microwave safe bowl to make moving it easier (once done it will be soft).

    • In the microwave – that is genius! I don’t have a microwave or I’d be trying that tomorrow. I have been thinking about getting a microwave, so maybe when we do, I’ll give it a shot. Thanks for the tip!

  16. Last year I did this and froze the cooked pumpkin. I make pumpkin muffins, waffles and I even added it to smoothies. I then I tried blending the outer skin along with the inner flesh (I don’t like throwing anything away). Then I add this whole pumpkin to my homemade dog food. My dog enjoys it!:)

  17. had to ‘pin’ this one! want to try this too!

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