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Wondering how to roast a whole pumpkin? It’s easy, once you choose the right pumpkin and follow a few simple tips. Here’s how to do it and make homemade pumpkin puree.

how to roast a whole pumpkin on a baking sheet
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Why this recipe works

Pumpkin puree is a super-flexible ingredient in both sweet and savory dishes. Using this method, you’ll:

  • Start by choosing a medium-sized (2- to 3-pound) sugar pumpkin, also called a pie or sweet pumpkin. This variety is bred for eating, unlike the larger pumpkins meant for carving.
  • Choose whether to roast whole or cut in half. Both methods work great. Halving results in more caramelization.
  • Coax out the natural sweetness of the squash while retaining most of its moisture content, making it perfect for puree.

What you’ll need

Here’s a glance at the ingredients you’ll need to make this recipe.

ingredients in bowls
  • A medium-sized sugar pumpkin (2 to 3 pounds), also called a pie pumpkin or sweet pumpkin, is smaller, sweeter, and less fibrous than the kind you’d carve. You can roast the seeds from a carving pumpkin, but the flesh will not result in a good puree. You can also use this method with other winter squash that have dense orange flesh, including kabocha (Japanese pumpkin) and red kuri. Learn more about pumpkin varieties here if you like.
  • If you’ll be halving the pumpkin, you’ll need a little bit of either olive oil or a neutral-tasting oil such as safflower. See below to learn more.

How to make it

Here’s an overview of how to roast a whole pumpkin and make pumpkin puree. You can see the steps in action in the video that accompanies this post, and get all the details in the recipe card below.

step by step
  1. The most important step is choosing the right pumpkin — a 2- to 3-pound sugar pumpkin. You can choose whether to cut it in half or roast it intact.
  2. If cutting in half, scoop out the seeds and stringy bits before roasting. (If not, do it after.)
  3. If cutting, rub a bit of olive oil onto the cut sides and arrange halves cut-sides down on a rimmed baking sheet.
  4. Roast at 400°F for 30-60 minutes, until tender. (A paring knife should slide through the skin easily.) Once cool enough to handle, scoop flesh out of skin and place into a food processor fitted with the blade. Process until perfectly smooth. That’s it!

Expert tips and FAQs

How long does pumpkin puree last?

In an airtight container in a nice cold fridge, pumpkin puree will stay good for a week. For longer-term storage, freeze it for up to a year.

Can you freeze pumpkin puree?

Yes, pumpkin puree (whether homemade or canned) freezes beautifully. Place it into an airtight container and freeze for up to a year.

Can I use this technique with other winter squash?

You sure can. Kabocha (Japanese pumpkin), acorn squash, red kuri, butternut, and most other winter squash will behave almost identically when roasted and pureed. Some have denser flesh and some have a higher water content, so keep that in mind when subbing various types of squash puree into recipes. Roasting times will vary depending on the size of the squash.

How to store pumpkin puree

Once completely cool, place puree into an airtight container. It will keep well in the fridge for a week, or freeze for up to a year.

My typical vibe is to keep a variety of winter squash purees in the freezer for use throughout the year. Labeling them would be a great idea, but I mostly don’t, and they work pretty well interchangeably.

How to make pumpkin puree without an oven

You can cook a whole sugar pumpkin for puree quickly and easily in the Instant Pot if you like.

For a 2- to 3-pound pumpkin, place the entire thing into the pot and add one cup of water. Position the lid and set the vent to sealing. Cook on manual, high pressure for 15 minutes and then let the pressure release naturally. When cooled somewhat, carefully cut in half, scoop out the seeds and stringy bits. Flesh is ready to use. You can roast the seeds another time if you like.

How to use pumpkin puree

Here are a few of our favorite ways to use pumpkin puree:

More fruit and vegetable prep skills

Here’s how to:

roasted pumpkin on a baking sheet with a spoon

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roasted pumpkin on a baking sheet with a spoon
4.80 from 5 votes

How to Roast a Whole Pumpkin and Make Pumpkin Puree

By Carolyn Gratzer Cope
Wondering how to roast a whole pumpkin? It's easy, once you choose the right pumpkin and follow a few simple tips. Here's how to do it and make homemade pumpkin puree.
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 1 hour
Total: 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings: 8
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Ingredients 

  • 1 medium sugar pumpkin, 2 to 3 pounds / 907 to 1(360 grams)
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) olive or safflower oil

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 400°F with a rack in the center.
  • If you like, split pumpkin in half. Or roast whole.
  • If halving, remove seeds and stringy flesh with a large spoon.
  • If halving, brush pumpkin on cut surfaces with oil and place on a rimmed baking sheet, cut-sides down. If roasting whole, use a paring knife to cut several small, deep slits around the pumpkin to allow steam to escape.
  • Roast until completely tender and a knife inserted through the skin meets little to no resistance, 30 minutes to 1 hour. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
  • When cool enough to handle: If whole, cut open and scoop out seeds and stringy bits. Scoop out tender flesh and discard skin.
  • To puree, place pumpkin flesh into a food processor fitted with the blade and process until completely smooth. Pumpkin puree is ready to use or store.

Notes

Once completely cool, place puree into an airtight container. It will keep well in the fridge for a week, or freeze for up to a year.

How to make pumpkin puree without an oven

You can cook a whole sugar pumpkin for puree quickly and easily in the Instant Pot if you like.
For a 2- to 3-pound pumpkin, place the entire thing into the pot and add one cup of water. Position the lid and set the vent to sealing. Cook on manual, high pressure for 15 minutes and then let the pressure release naturally. When cooled somewhat, carefully cut in half, scoop out the seeds and stringy bits. Flesh is ready to use. You can roast the seeds another time if you like.

Nutrition

Serving: 1, Calories: 23kcal, Carbohydrates: 2g, Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Sugar: 1g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Cooking Skills
Cuisine: American
Tried this recipe?Mention @umamigirl or tag #umamigirl!

Hungry for more?

Subscribe to Umami Girl’s email updates, and follow along on Instagram.

Hungry for More?
Subscribe to Umami Girl's email updates, and follow along on Instagram.
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About Carolyn Gratzer Cope

Hi there, I'm Carolyn Gratzer Cope, founder and publisher of Umami Girl. Join me in savoring life, one recipe at a time. I'm a professional recipe developer with training from the French Culinary Institute (now ICE) and a lifetime of studying, appreciating, and sharing food.

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