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How to Make Pumpkin Puree

Learn how to make pumpkin puree with our easy step-by-step instructions.

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Homemade pumpkin puree in a bowlShutterstock / Gamzova Olga

Every fall there’s a gorgeous display of fresh pumpkins at the grocery store. Sure, some are for carving into jack-o’-lanterns (Psst! Learn how to carve a pumpkin here), but others are for cooking and baking. If you’ve never used fresh pumpkin before, the process can look a little intimidating. But don’t sweat—we’ll show you exactly how to transform your giant gourd into a silky-smooth puree that tastes (and looks!) better than the canned kind.

These are our absolute best pumpkin recipes.

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Fresh fruits on display in a farmers marketShutterstock / Kris Schmidt

Before You Begin: Pick a Pumpkin


When making pumpkin puree, you need to start by picking the right pumpkin. Cooking pumpkins work best—they weigh about 4-6 pounds and are a lot smaller and sweeter than carving pumpkins. You can usually find this variety in the produce section of your grocery store. 

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Closeup on young housewife removing filling from pumpkinShutterstock / Alliance

Step 1: Cut Pumpkin


Thoroughly wash and dry the pumpkin. Then, with a small serrated or heavy knife, remove the top of the pumpkin. Use a sawing motion to cut the pumpkin into four quarters. Scrape out all of the seeds and stringy pulp.

Don’t toss the seeds! Instead, turn them into a delicious snack. Here’s how.

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Hands open the oven in the kitchenMangpink/Shutterstock

Step 2:  Bake Pumpkin


For easy clean up, line the pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper. Place pumpkin, flesh side down, on a 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-60 minutes or until a fork inserted in the skin comes out easily.

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Blender with Pumpkin Puree.Shutterstock / Ahanov Michael

Step 3: Process Until Smooth


Let the pumpkin cool, then scoop out the flesh. Add a few chunks at a time to a food processor and process until smooth.

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Food preparation for Thanksgiving dinner menu Shutterstock / Denise Torres

Step 4: Strain Pulp


Place puree in a large strainer lined with 4 pieces of cheesecloth or 1 large coffee filter. Place strainer over a large bowl; cover and refrigerate for 8 hours. Remove pumpkin from strainer and discard the liquid.

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pumpkin pie recipe conceptShutterstock / Joshua Resnick

Step 5: Start Cooking


The puree is ready to use! Make it into our fresh pumpkin pie or pop it in the freezer for up to one year. As you’re cooking, keep in mind that 1-3/4 cups of puree is equivalent to one 15-oz. can of pumpkin.

Get our favorite fresh pumpkin recipes here.

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