Have you ever wondered how to cook pumpkin for pumpkin pie? Here’s all you need to know about cooking pumpkin and making pumpkin puree. Plus, you’ll find plenty of pumpkin puree recipes to use up any extra. 
A glass jar filled with homemade pumpkin puree. How to make pumpkin puree for pie, baked goods, and more. How to cook pumpkin, and pumpkin puree recipes.

Tis the season for all things pumpkin! If I didn’t have a calendar I’d know it was mid October just by the volume of visitors to our top pumpkin recipes. Mini Pumpkin Pies are perfect for classroom parties while Vegan Pumpkin Pie was a big hit last Thanksgiving. 

I’ve always used canned pumpkin puree in the past, but this year, I wanted to experiment with making it from scratch. And I was pleasantly surprised by how easy and tasty it is. After cooking at least 5 pie pumpkins this week, I’m happy to share two of the best ways to cook pumpkin: roasting in the oven, and steaming whole in the Instant Pot. 

Three sugar pie pumpkins on a countertop before cooking and making pumpkin puree for pie.

What Type of Pumpkin is Best for Pumpkin Puree

Have you noticed those cute little round pumpkins at the grocery store and wondered what to do with them? Pie or Sugar Pumpkins are easy to cook. Either bake or roast in the oven or steam in the Instant Pot – we’ll go over both methods here and talk about which works best vs. which is fastest. 

Sugar pie pumpkins are perfect for making homemade DIY pumpkin puree to use in pumpkin pie or other recipes, like pumpkin soups, curries, baby food, and even dog treats. I have found perfect sized pie pumpkins at Trader Joe’s lately. 1 pie pumpkin yields about 1 1/2 cups of pumpkin puree, similar to 1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin. 

How to Cook Pumpkin

There are several different ways to cook fresh pumpkin. If you’re using larger cubes in something like a curry, you could peel and then roast the chunks. If you’re wanting to stuff a whole pumpkin, you’d roast it, but not until it’s as soft as you’d want it for puree.

While some people like to steam chunks of pumpkin for puree, the methods I like best are baking/roasting in the oven or pressure cooking whole in the Instant Pot. These two methods keep excess water out of the pumpkin puree. 

How to Roast or Bake Pumpkin in the Oven 

Baking or roasting pumpkin in the oven results in the deepest pumpkin flavor, in my opinion. Roasting pumpkin in the oven is also the most fool-proof way to cook pumpkin, as it’s easy to check for doneness. The only downside is that it takes over an hour to cook. 

Pumpkin halves roasted on a baking sheet for making pumpkin puree. How to cook pumpkin.

Step 1: How to Cut Pumpkin 

Cut the stem off the pumpkin, then carefully cut in half. A serrated knife works best here. Scoop out the seeds and any stringy pieces from the center. Keep those seeds for roasting later! 

Step 2: Roast the Pumpkin Halves

Place the pumpkin halves, cut-side-down, on a parchment lined baking sheet. If you’re making a savory dish it’s okay to season with salt and pepper, but for pumpkin puree I don’t add anything. Cover the pumpkins with a sheet of foil and roast at 350 degrees F. until very tender, about 1 1/2 hours

Steam comes off roast pumpkin halves on a baking sheet. How to cook pumpkin for pie.

Step 3: Cool and Peel 

Let the pumpkin cool. The skin should slip right off. 

Skin is peeled off a roast pumpkin. Learn how to cook pumpkin.

A whole pumpkin is peeled after cooking in the Instant Pot pressure cooker. Instant Pot pumpkin is an easy way to make pumpkin puree.

How to Cook Pumpkin in the Instant Pot

Instant pot pumpkin is quick and easy! If you don’t want to wait the hour and half it takes to roast a pumpkin, the Instant Pot works very well, just like Instant Pot Spaghetti Squash. I like to cook the pumpkin whole to so it doesn’t get too wet, but you can cook halved pieces as well. Be sure to buy a pumpkin that will fit into your pot. All of the standard-sized pie pumpkins I’ve found fit nicely in my 6-quart Instant Pot. You’ll also need a steamer basket. I found the tall trivet made the pumpkin sit too high to close the lid, but a steamer basket was perfect. 

  1. Pierce the pumpkin with a sharp knife so that steam can escape. 
  2. Pour 1 cup of water into the Instant Pot and fit with a steamer basket. 
  3. Place the whole pumpkin into the steamer basket. 
  4. Lock the lid, with the valve set to sealing, and set to pressure cook (high) for 13 minutes. Naturally release the pressure for 10 minutes before releasing any remaining pressure. 

Fresh pumpkin purees in a food processor. How to cook pumpkin for pie.

How to Make Pumpkin Puree

  • Cook and peel the pumpkin. 
  • Discard any seeds, but save for roasting, if you’d like. 
  • Cooked pumpkin flesh can be stringy. To make it smooth, blend in a food processor. 
  • For soup, stews, curries, and dog food, thicker pumpkin puree is fine. For pie, it’s best to blend in a food processor. 
  • Transfer pumpkin puree to a glass storage conatiner and refrigerate for up to 5 days. 

Pumpkin Puree for Dogs

If you have a dog and extra pumpkin puree, consider sharing. When one of our dogs had an upset stomach, I learned that pumpkin can help canine digestion. Our vet recommended mixing about 1/2 cup into his regular dog food. I’ve since noticed that even Whole Foods and some pet stores carry canned pumpkin puree next to the dog food. 

Homemade pumpkin pie made from scratch with a whole pie pumpkin. How to make pumpkin pie with fresh pumpkin.

Pumpkin Puree Recipes

Pumpkin puree is perfect for pumpkin pie, of course, but there are many other ways to use it. Here are some of my favorite pumpkin puree recipes. 

Common Questions about Pumpkin Puree

  • How do you cook pumpkin for pie? Follow the instructions here to roast or pressure cook a pie pumpkin. Make sure it’s very very tender and puree in a food processor so it’s silky smooth. 
  • Can you freeze pumpkin puree? Yes! You can freeze pumpkin in a freezer safe container for up to 3 months. Freeze in an ice cube tray, then transfer to a freezer bag for small portions to add to smoothies
  • How do you can pumpkin? Here‘s an article about how to can pumpkin chunks. I haven’t found any information about canning pumpkin puree. 

More How-To Cooking Resources

Yield: about 1 1/2 cups

Pumpkin Puree

Prep Time 3 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 33 minutes

How to cook pumpkin for pie and pumpkin puree. The best two ways to cook fresh pumpkin are to roast in the oven and pressure cook in the Instant Pot. This pumpkin puree recipe is perfect for pie, baked goods, adding to soups and curries, and even adding to dog food.

Pumpkin Puree


  • 1 pie pumpkin


Roast Pumpkin

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicon mat.
  2. Carefully cut the stem off the pumpkin and discard. Cut the pumpkin in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and stringy flesh from the middle of the pumpkin and discard or keep the seeds for roasting later.
  3. Place the pumpkin halves, cut-side-down, onto the prepared baking sheet. Cover with foil. Roast until very tender, 1-1 1/2 hours.
  4. Cool completely before peeling off skin.
  5. Transfer the cooked pumpkin flesh to a food processor and puree until smooth.

Instant Pot Pumpkin

  1. Pour 1 cup of water into the Instant Pot liner. Fit with a steamer basket.
  2. Using a sharp knife, carefully cut a 1-inch slit through the pumpkin for steam to escape.
  3. Place the whole pumpkin into the steamer basket.
  4. Lock the lid, with valve set to sealing, and pressure cook (high) for 13 minutes. Allow the pressure to naturally release for 10 minutes before manually releasing any remaining pressure.
  5. Carefully remove the lid and steamer basket, with hand covered by a dishcloth or potholder.
  6. Let pumpkin cool, then peel and cut in half. Scoop out the seeds and discard.
  7. Transfer the cooked pumpkin flesh to a food processor and puree until smooth.


1 pie pumpkin yields about 1 1/2 cups of pumpkin puree, similar to 1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin. 

Store pumpkin puree in a glass jar in the refrigerator for up to 5-7 days or up to 3 months in a freezer-safe container in the freezer.

This pumpkin puree is perfect for our Vegan Pumpkin Pie.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 1 Serving Size: 1 1/2 cups
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 49Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 2mgCarbohydrates: 12gFiber: 3gSugar: 5gProtein: 2g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated by Nutritionix. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee accuracy. If your health depends on nutrition information, please calculate again with your favorite calculator.