How to Make Your Own Pumpkin Puree

Prepare Your Own Pumpkin for Pie

Contributor: Maria Siriano

Skip the can this year and make your own pumpkin puree. You’ll have to carve out some time for it, but you can bake the freshest of the fresh pumpkin pie. Look at you, you awesome pie baker.

  • Author: Maria Siriano
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 2 hours
  • Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American


  • 1 medium sugar or pie pumpkin


  1. Pick out your pumpkin. You want one that’s labeled “sugar”or “pie” pumpkin. They’re smaller than their carving cousins (see the picture up above), and they have more flesh inside. Choose a pumpkin that feels heavy for its size.
  2. Preheat your oven to 375°F. Slice the pumpkin in half lengthwise (that’s stem to base). I kept my stem on, but if it’s easier for you, you can chop the very top of the pumpkin off first.
  3. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and stringy “guts” from the inside of the pumpkin and set them aside. You can use those later for roasting pumpkin seeds, so don’t throw them out!
  4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, a silicone baking mat or foil. Place your pumpkin halves cut side down on the baking sheet. Pop the pan into the oven for about 45 minutes. You should be able to pierce through the pumpkin easily with a fork.
  5. Let the pumpkin cool for about 15 minutes so you don’t burn your hands, then use a spoon to scoop out the flesh, leaving the skin behind. Place the flesh into the bowl of a food processor (a good blender would work, too).
  6. Put your food processor to work. Start by pulsing the pumpkin in the food processor. You may need to scrape down the sides every now and then. Resist the urge to add water; once the pumpkin flesh starts to break down, it will release liquid and be easier to process. Keep pulsing until it is relatively smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and let the food processor run for about a minute more to really smooth things out.
  7. Rest a fine mesh strainer over a large bowl. Line the fine mesh strainer with cheesecloth. Add the pumpkin puree to the lined fine mesh strainer and let it drain for 1-2 hours, until the pumpkin is thick and holds its shape when pressed together in the cheesecloth. It’ll look like this:
  8. Use your pumpkin puree any way you would use canned pumpkin puree. Store what you don’t use immediately in a covered container in the refrigerator.