How to Roast a Whole Pumpkin & Make Your Own Pumpkin Puree

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Skip the trip to the store and make your own homemade pumpkin puree! It’s easy once you know how to roast a whole pumpkin. Follow along for step-by-step instructions!

step by step instructions for roasting a whole pumpkin in the oven.

It’s that time of year! A local farm already started bringing pumpkins to the farmers market, so it’s time to start roasting! I’ve been roasting pumpkins and other squashes for years because it’s such a simple way to prepare and preserve them.

It takes just a few easy steps to have plenty of roast pumpkin on hand all year!

We routinely have jars or bags of frozen pumpkin in the freezer, which are perfect for adding to our favorite pumpkin recipes, like sourdough pumpkin muffins, squash soups, pumpkin pie pudding cups, pumpkin bread, or even sprinkling over our dog’s dinner.

Roasted pumpkin (and pumpkin puree) are so versatile that you’ll want to roast several pumpkins this year!

Why you need to know how to roast a whole pumpkin


  • DELICIOUS: Homemade puree is so much better than canned pumpkin from the store! The roasting process concentrates the flavor and you can season your pumpkin if you’d like!
  • SO EASY: Roasting pumpkins is a mostly passive activity. Once the pumpkin is prepped, just pop it in the oven and get on with your life for about an hour. Then, let it cool, peel off the skin, and blend. It’s almost too easy!
  • SO CONVENIENT:  If you need a bunch of roasted pumpkin for your favorite squash soups or pumpkin desserts, you’ll appreciate having pumpkin puree on hand at all times.

Although it’s easy to grab a can of pumpkin at the grocery store, sometimes easy isn’t always best.

If you’re a home gardener or love to shop local, you need to know how to turn that whole pumpkin into an easy-to-use puree. It’s also inexpensive and a great way to reduce your waste!

organic sugar pie pumpkin on a baking tray.

Equipment

To be able to roast your pumpkin and make this delicious puree, you will need to gather the following supplies: 

  • chef’s knife
  • cutting board
  • large spoon
  • baking sheet
  • parchment paper or silicone liner
  • food processor
  • canning funnel (optional)
  • mason jars or freezer-safe bags
inside of a sugar pie pumpkin before roasting.
Notice the thickness and texture of this pumpkin. Sugar pie pumpkins have thicker flesh and a dense texture.

Ingredients

  • Fresh pumpkin: During the fall, you can usually find fresh pumpkins everywhere including your local grocery store, local farm, your favorite farmers market, and more. The best pumpkins are typically on the smaller size, but you can even roast huge carving pumpkins!

How to Roast a Whole Pumpkin: Step-by-Step Tutorial

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Line a half sheet pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
  2. Rinse your pumpkin to clean it off. Turn the pumpkin on its side and use your large knife to slice beneath the handle to remove it.
  3. Place the pumpkin right side up, center your knife where the stem was, and rock the chef’s knife all the way down to split the pumpkin open.
  4. Use a large spoon to remove the seeds and stringy bits from your pumpkin. 
  5. Poke holes into the pumpkins with a sharp knife or fork. Place the pumpkins on the baking sheet with the outside up.
  6. Roast for 50-80 minutes, depending on the size of your pumpkin. When it’s done, the skin will sink in and the pumpkin meat will be extremely tender.
  7. Remove from the oven and let the pumpkin cool for 30 minutes to an hour before peeling off the skin from the meat. Use a paring knife or spoon if needed.
instructions for roasting a whole pumpkin to make pumpkin puree.

How to Make Pumpkin Puree

Once you’ve removed the meat from the pumpkin, it’s incredibly easy to make your own pumpkin purée!

  1. Add all of the cooked pumpkin to the bowl of your food processor. 
  2. Blend until the pumpkin has a smooth, creamy consistency.
  3. Store the pumpkin puree in mason jars and keep it in the fridge for 5-6 days.

How to Freeze Pumpkin Puree in Mason Jars

This batch didn’t last long enough to freeze, but that’s our favorite way to store homemade pumpkin puree for later.

  1. Use a canning funnel to fill your quart or pint jars with pumpkin puree. Stop below the shoulders (if using regular mouth jars) and leave at least 1 inch headspace.
  2. Refrigerate the jars to ensure the puree is as cold as possible.
  3. Move the chilled jars to the freezer and allow them to freeze overnight.
  4. Check the jars the next day for any cracks and dispose of any damaged jars.

Using these steps, I’ve only once had a jar break in the freezer, but I’m cautious about following these steps every time.

I prefer to use wide-mouth jars whenever possible because they don’t have shoulders, which can contribute to breakage. Older jars may also be more likely to break. I like to use these reusable lids when freezing just for convenience.

Frozen jars of pumpkin puree last well for 6 months. You can freeze them for approximately a year (or longer), but they taste best within 6 months or so.

Freezing Pumpkin Puree with a Vacuum Sealer

Scared of freezing in glass? You can also use any freezer-safe container. We sometimes use a Food Saver. You’ll need to start by sealing the pouch, then fill it with however much pumpkin puree you’d like. I like to freeze about 2 cups per container.

Then, use the vacuum function to remove any excess air and seal the bags. Label and freeze them for approximately 1 year.

food processor with roast pumpkin puree.

Storing

If you don’t want to make pumpkin pie right now, store your leftover pumpkin puree in mason jars or an airtight container in the fridge. I prefer to use a canning funnel to make it easy to fill the jars. You can store it safely in the fridge for 5-6 days. 

To save your roasted pumpkin for later use, you can also freeze your fresh roasted pumpkin. To do so, store it in a wide-mouth mason jar and leave at least 1 inch of headspace. Refrigerate the jar until very cold before freezing. For freezer bags, add however much you’d like in each container and freeze for up to 1 year. Thaw in the fridge before using. 

Tips & Variations

  • If you’re using your pumpkin for a savory recipe, like pumpkin soup, you can drizzle the inside of the raw pumpkin with olive oil and kosher salt before roasting to bring out the flavor. 
  • This method also works for other winter squashes, including acorn squash, butternut squash, red kuri, and more. Cooking time may vary for different a kind of pumpkin. 
  • Be sure to save your pumpkin seeds for future uses – clean, season, and bake them on low heat in the oven. 
  • To speed things up, cut the pumpkin halves into smaller pieces.
  • For a sweet treat, sprinkle the inside of the pumpkins with melted butter, maple syrup, cinnamon, and a little salt. Bake them inside up and enjoy as a sweet treat this holiday season.

How to Use Homemade Pumpkin Puree

There are countless way to use homemade pumpkin puree! Here are some of the top uses:

freshly roasted pumpkin puree next to spices.
The puree is made from roasted sugar pie pumpkin, but you can also use this method to cook Red Kuri squashes like the one in the background. Those are not as good for puree, but amazing for soups.

FAQs

Can you roast a whole pumpkin?

There are two main ways to roast a whole pumpkin. The first method is to cut the pumpkin in half, scoop out the seeds, and bake it on a tray until tender. Another option, which requires a much longer cooking time, is to cut slits around your entire pumpkin and bake it whole in the oven.

This will take longer than roasting halves, and you will need to clean out the stringy bits and seeds later. This is best to do with small sugar pumpkins as they will fit better in your oven.

Can you roast all pumpkins?

Almost all pumpkins are edible but the best ones to roast are smaller pumpkins, like small sugar pumpkins. Large carving pumpkins can also be roasted, but they are quite bland and have a very watery texture. Those are great if you make pumpkin puree to serve your dogs, but humans will find them a little less appealing.

How long does it take for pumpkin to soften in oven?

The cooking time will depend on the pumpkin size. Generally, it will take about 50 -80 minutes to roast a pumpkin. Large pumpkins will likely take over an hour. 

What’s the difference between a carving pumpkin and a baking pumpkin?

You’ve probably noticed a range of pumpkin sizes at the grocery store, right? From the teeny tiny mini pumpkins to the enormous jack-o-lantern pumpkins, it can be confusing to know which ones are best for what.

Carving pumpkins are the big pumpkins you use for carving jack-o-lanterns. They are big enough to hold a design and usually have a slightly thinner wall, which is easier to cut than denser baking pumpkins.

Baking pumpkins are usually sweet pumpkins and are often called sugar pie pumpkin. They are small pumpkins, usually 3-5 pounds each, and have a great texture and flavor for pies, soups, muffins, and more. 

How long to roast a whole pumpkin?

For best results, I recommend slicing your pumpkin in half, removing the seeds, and then roasting them in the oven for 50-80 minutes, depending on size. Since pumpkins are so thick, it takes time for the flesh to soften. It’s important to keep an eye on the pumpkins so you don’t overbake them. If the peel on the outside is starting to cave in, and you can easily smush the baked pumpkin flesh with a fork, it’s done!

Related Recipes

Love fall flavors? They’re our favorite too! Try these fall recipes to add some sugar and spice to your life.

Here are over 70 more cozy fall desserts to enjoy, too!

step by step instructions for roasting a whole pumpkin in the oven.
food processor with roast pumpkin puree.

How to Roast a Whole Pumpkin to Make Puree

Skip the trip to the store and make your own homemade pumpkin puree! It's easy once you know how to roast a whole pumpkin. Follow along for step-by-step instructions!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Cooling Time 1 hour
Total Time 2 hours 10 minutes
Course Baking
Cuisine American
Calories 354 kcal

Equipment

  • Chef's knife
  • Cutting board
  • large spoon
  • parchment paper or silicone liner
  • canning funnel (optional)
  • mason jars or freezer-safe bags

Ingredients
  

  • 1 pumpkin, ideally a baking pumpkin

Instructions
 

How to Roast Pumpkin

  • Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Line a half sheet pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
  • Rinse your pumpkin to clean it off. Turn the pumpkin on its side and use your large knife to slice beneath the handle to remove it.
  • Place the pumpkin right side up, center your knife where the stem was, and rock the chef’s knife all the way down to split the pumpkin open.
  • Use a large spoon to remove the seeds and stringy bits from your pumpkin.
  • Poke holes into the pumpkins with a sharp knife or fork. Place the pumpkins on the baking sheet with the outside up.
  • Roast for 50-80 minutes, depending on the size of your pumpkin. When it’s done, the skin will sink in and the pumpkin meat will be extremely tender.
  • Remove from the oven and let the pumpkin cool for 30 minutes to an hour before peeling off the skin from the meat. Use a paring knife or spoon if needed.

How to Make Pumpkin Puree

  • Add all of the cooked pumpkin to the bowl of your food processor. 
  • Blend until the pumpkin has a smooth, creamy consistency.
  • Store the pumpkin puree in mason jars and keep it in the fridge for 5-6 days.

Notes

If you don’t want to make pumpkin pie right now, store your leftover pumpkin puree in mason jars or an airtight container in the fridge. I prefer to use a canning funnel to make it easy to fill the jars. You can store it safely in the fridge for 5-6 days. 
To save your roasted pumpkin for later use, you can also freeze your fresh roasted pumpkin. To do so, store it in a wide-mouth mason jar and leave at least 1 inch of headspace. Refrigerate the jar until very cold before freezing.
For freezer bags, add however much you’d like in each container and freeze for up to 1 year. Thaw in the fridge before using. 
 
  • If you’re using your pumpkin for a savory recipe, like pumpkin soup, you can drizzle the inside of the raw pumpkin with olive oil and kosher salt before roasting to bring out the flavor. 
  • This method also works for other winter squashes, including acorn squash, butternut squash, red kuri, and more. Cooking time may vary for different a kind of pumpkin. 
  • Be sure to save your pumpkin seeds for future uses – clean, season, and bake them on low heat in the oven. 
  • To speed things up, cut the pumpkin halves into smaller pieces.
  • For a sweet treat, sprinkle the inside of the pumpkins with melted butter, maple syrup, cinnamon, and a little salt. Bake them inside up and enjoy as a sweet treat this holiday season.

Nutrition

Calories: 354kcalCarbohydrates: 88gProtein: 14gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.1gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.2gSodium: 14mgPotassium: 4624mgFiber: 7gSugar: 38gVitamin A: 115777IUVitamin C: 122mgCalcium: 286mgIron: 11mg
Keyword homemade pumpkin puree, how to roast whole pumpkin, roast pumpkin, sugar pie pumpkin
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pin for how to roast a whole pumpkin for baking or soup.

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