Homemade Pumpkin Puree

Here’s the deal: it’s officially fall.  I’m in serious pumpkin baking mode.  But, it appears that there is once again a canned pumpkin shortage this year.  This weekend was the first time I saw any cans in the stores (a whopping two cans, at that).  I ordered some online a few weeks ago and now that vendor reports it will ship in 1-2 months.  Shortage or not, I will be baking with pumpkin – a lot.  I’m also going to share the goodies here, and so I feel obligated to share the love.  Even if you aren’t able to find canned pumpkin in the store yet, you can make your own puree at home in a couple of hours and with little effort.

The principle here is exactly the same as what I did when making baby food for Andrew – roast with a little bit of water until tender, puree until smooth, and in the case of pumpkin, strain off the excess liquid.  It’s easy!

Oh, what’s that?  Yeah, my pumpkin spice latte.  I have a pumpkin problem.

So, acquire some pie pumpkins, also known as sugar pumpkins.  These seem to be readily available at grocery stores now, and I also saw them at our apple orchard last weekend.  (Note: these are not the same pumpkins you use for carving your jack-o-lantern.)  Start out by taking a large, very sharp knife and slicing the tops off of the pumpkins.  (Even pumpkins with warts and belly buttons will suffice.)

Slice in half lengthwise, from top to bottom.

Scoop out all the seeds, pulp and pumpkin guts using whatever utensil you prefer – your hand, a spoon, whatever.  I find my small cookie dough scoop very effective.

Place the cleaned out pumpkin halves cut side down in a rimmed baking sheet with 1-2 cups of water (just enough to achieve about a ¼-inch depth.)

Roast in a 350˚ F oven for 60-90 minutes.

To be sure it is cooked thoroughly, test with a fork.  The pumpkin flesh should be completely tender and give easily when poked.

Scoop out the roasted pumpkin from the shells and transfer to a food processor.  (Ideally, you should let the pumpkin cool a bit before doing this.  I’m super impatient, so I usually end up burning my fingers.)

Process until completely smooth.  I let mine go 2-3 minutes to be sure it is fully pureed.

Now, pumpkins naturally contain a lot of liquid (not to mention we added some while we roasted them) so I like to remove some of the excess liquid.  This will help it have a thicker consistency like that of canned pumpkin puree.  You can strain it however you choose.  Cheesecloth is one option, but I prefer to use a mesh sieve lined with a paper towel.

I’m not sure how well you can see from the pictures, but it condensed quite a bit.  I only strained my puree for a little over an hour, and that was time enough to remove a lot of liquid.

How much liquid?  Two and a half cups!!

Store it as you see fit.  I would keep this in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days, or freeze it as needed.  If I were planning to freeze it, I would freeze it in 1 cup portions so that I could thaw the correct amount for whatever I need.  I got nearly 2¼ pounds of puree out of these pumpkins, which is a little more than one of the large cans of pumpkin puree.

That’s it!  Now you have the tools to obtain pumpkin puree even if the store shelves are bare, so now I won’t feel guilty about posting all kinds of pumpkin goodness.  Because believe me, it’s coming.

Source: inspired by Pennies on a Platter

89 Responses

  1. Please do… I share your pumpkin obsession! 🙂 Thanks for the tutorial, I’m definitely going to try it! You don’t have a pumpkin chocolate chip cookie recipe do you? I’ve tried several and am still searching for the elusive perfect recipe…

  2. I actually did this last weekend because I, too, have been obsessed with pumpkin and my grocery store also is constantly out of canned pumpkin. I didn’t puree puree it before freezing it, I just cut it into chunks and drained it, but I think I may come to regret that decision. I don’t have a food processor so hopefully my blender can handle the pureeing as I need it. I’ve already made pumpkin cookies with some of it, which were delicious. I can’t wait until the grocery stores are overflowing with pumpkin puree and I can stock up.

  3. Mmmm homemade pumpkin puree sounds delicious!

  4. thanks for sharing! i saw small cans of libbys at my grocery store but they were 50% more expensive than usual

  5. Genius! We have a serious pumpkin problem too. We buy every can we see in fear of them running out. But now we can make our own…weeeeee!

  6. I did this last Fall. I bought about 6 sugar pumpkins and made puree and froze all of it in 1 cup increments. It was the BEST! I had enough puree in my freezer to last me the whole year. I have one cup left in my freezer from last Fall. Can’t wait to buy some more this Fall and do it again. I don’t think I will ever need to buy canned again. What’s funny is I have heard twice now about the pumpkin shortage in the grocery stores….but I had no clue this was happening because I never needed to buy any. That kinda makes me feel good…makes me feel old fashioned…like I don’t have to rely on what’s available at the grocery store because I have my own stash. Great post! 🙂

    • That may be, but if stores aren’t stocking it until holiday season, it may as well be a shortage. I’ve looked in every store, every time I go for over a month and have seen a total of two cans.

  7. I, too, have searched high and low for canned pumpkin here in southern New England. I was not aware of the poor pumpkin crop of last year and the markets don’t know yet when the restock for this fall will be coming…Waiting on so many pumpkin based recipes especially breads and cookies. I can’t recall this shortage ever before??? Timely post,thanks a bunch!

  8. This is a great tutorial. I’m super excited to give homemade pumpkin puree a try!

  9. Wonder if there would be a good use for the pumpkin liquid left over?

  10. Awesome! Some how last year right after Christmas I found a huge stash of canned pumpkin at a Walgreens on clearance. It was in a new store in a shady part of town where obviously people never thougth to look for pumpkin! I bought it all up for 24 cents a can but I’m sure eventually I will run out and will be stashing this recipe in a safe place so I will have it when needed! Thanks for an awesome (as usual!!) post!

  11. i absolutely love baking with pumpkin as well, and i might have to make my own pumpkin puree, too if i don’t see more canned pumpkin in stores soon! thanks for the post 🙂

  12. I had a hard time finding canned pumpkin last year so when the store finally had it I stocked up. I used my last can of Libby’s last weekend. My store has cans of organic pumpkin but no other brands. I picked some of those up to try them out. A lady at the store even told me to stock up on pumpkin.

    Did you do anything with the seeds?

    • No, I’ve never been one to feel the need to use up every bit of left over things. But, you could season and roast them. I have done that before.

  13. I have just made myself some pumpkin soup after roasting my pumpkins and it was so fresh and delicious! Looking forward to your pumpkin recipes!

  14. this is great, i will be buying some pumpkins tonight and making this over the weekend (this seems like a great “while the husband is watching football” activity…as does making macaroni and cheese…yum). Thanks!

  15. Thanks for a great tutorial. In these days of the canned pumpkin shortage, I just might have to try this. Love all the pictures – that helps me feel more confident!

  16. Thanks for posting this! I’ve always wanted to make my own pumpkin puree but was always so intimidated. This seems pretty doable though! 🙂

  17. Thanks so much! I love when you post useful tutorials like this and your previous freezer post. They are so helpful!

  18. Thank you!!! I bought the last five cans my grocery had two weeks ago. Actually, I went to four stores before finding any!! I was wondering how hard it would be to make your own; now I know it isn’t hard at all. 🙂

  19. I’m wondering if you could simmer down that leftover juice with some wine and butter and make a really awesome sauce…the possibilites!

  20. Wow thanks for posting this! It’s really helpful. I’ve been wanting to make a ton of things with pumpkin lately.

  21. So that explains why my grocery store hasn’t had any pumpkin. I looked for it a few months ago and thought they must only be stocking it around the holidays now, which I thought was dumb! I did find a 3 pack of the large cans at Costco this weekend for $6! I’ve tried making my own butternut squash puree before and loved using it through the year for all kinds of yummy baked goods!

  22. Love this idea!

    Also… is that an iPhone case you have there? I love the silver color!

  23. I live in the Portland, OR area and was just at Costco this weekend. They have pumpkin up the wazoo, in 3 can packages. I don’t know if you have Costcos out there, but definitely a place to check!

    Also, last year when I was baking for a local coffee shop, we heard about the pumpkin shortage that was supposed to come and bought a pallet of canned pumpkin from the local restaurant supply warehouse. For some reason we never seemed to get hit by the shortage last fall and it doesn’t seem like we will this year either; it’s in all the stores and the shelves are stocked, although my grandma from Illinois was telling me this summer she hasn’t been able to find it back home for almost a year. So strange!

  24. I loooove pumpkin pie, but I don’t think I’ve ever had the real thing with non-canned filling! Does using the real thing taste any different?

    • Canned pumpkin pie filling and canned pumpkin puree are two different things. But no, canned pumpkin puree and homemade puree taste the same and are used the same way in baking.

  25. Another thing – if you happen to live in a crappy little desert town where they don’t sell pie pumpkins, butternut squash will give you basically the same result. In fact, the “pumpkin” in canned pumpkin isn’t technically pumpkin anyway.

  26. I am always so impressed by you, but this time you have truly out done yourself! You make it look so effortless:)

  27. Ha! I JUST went to starbucks yesterday and was extatic to get a pumpkin spice latte, then I started day dreaming about pumkin muffins.. I’m definatly going to make some puree to freeze since I can never find it at the store, fresh is always better anyway! Thanks so much for sharing!

  28. I have done this for years. And just so you know, I always used the pumpkins you would carve. They are just fine. And so are large Butternut or other such squashes. They all come from the same family. Once they are full of “pumpkin spices” and cream or whatever you would use in a pie……they taste pretty much the same! Great tutorial!

  29. i just roasted some pumpkins for puree yesterday! however i did not use sugar pumpkins, i used plain old pumpkin pumpkins. i’ve noticed that if you get the smaller ones, they give you the same result as the sugar pumpkins. i roasted 2 and got about 6cups of puree. froze in 2cup portions since i’d likely be using that amount myself….so easy. i can’t believe we have yet another pumpkin shortage!

  30. Oh my… this seems much easier and safer than the way I do it! I peel the pumpkin (before it’s cooked), chop it up in big chunks, boil them, drain them, and then puree them. Thanks for sharing!

  31. I love fall, too. Great idea to make your own pumpkin puree!

  32. Great post! My grocery store just restocked pumpkin and I got 6 cans 🙂

  33. So I read this little tidbit of information in some gardening publication of my garden-obsessed mom last year: canned pumpkin is made from the previous year’s pumpkins. Because last year was an incredibly wet summer in the pumpkin growing areas, they did not have enough sun, etc to ripen before their vines started to die in the Fall. Not ripe enough, no pumpkin. Not enough fresh pumpkins last year = no cans this year. We haven’t had them on the shelves at my store since February! And it’s a shame since I use pumpkin in recipes in place of fat all the time. So there you have it, your two month wait is probably so this year’s pumpkins can be processed and canned. And now I’m off to the farm stand for some pumpkins.

    • This is actually the second year in a row of the shortage due to the crop troubles. They save what they do have for the holiday season.

  34. I’m not sure if you have an Aldi by you, but I found an overabundance of canned pumpkins for 89 cents a piece!! I was beyond thrilled since our local groceries are out.

  35. Great post, Annie! Now that I’m in the desert of California, I don’t have easy access to the pumpkins to make my own anymore! 😦 I’m missing me some Fall weather, too!! lol!

    Interesting that a previous comment mentioned using butternut squash instead (have plenty of those around here). I’m curious enough that I might just give that a try!

    • I used butternut squash last year and I didn’t like the result at all. Of course, I don’t really like butternut squash, but I still don’t think it’s an identical substitute.

  36. I actually grew up in the town in central Illinois that is home to the Libby’s plant and “The Pumpkin Capital of the World” 🙂 I live in Chicago now, though, and cannot find pumpkin in any of the grocery stores here. However, I just went back to my parents’ this weekend and the grocery stores there are full of it because they get extra stock from the hometown connection! They have a 6 can limit, but I use my family members to help me stock up so that I can keep plenty on hand! If I would have seen this post earlier I would have picked up a few extra cans and shipped them your way 🙂 It really is nostalgic for me and I think everyone should love pumpkin so much! Enjoy your fall!

  37. Awesome!! I love the step by step and I will totally be trying this this year!

  38. Great idea! It’ll be in the freezer ready to go. I’m definitely going to do this!

  39. Perfect timing for this post! I also have a serious pumpkin problem and just paid $3 for a can of organic pumpkin on sale. I got 2 organic sugar pumpkins in my CSA box this week and was hoping to make some puree thick enough to use in my normal recipes- pumpkin bread, pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin sausage pasta here I come! I can’t wait to see what you post. I have a wonderful cranberry pumpkin bread recipe calling my name riiiight now.

  40. You can also microwave halves for 7 minutes and save yourself 45 minutes of roasting 🙂 Unfortunately, I don’t have a microwave, so I have to do it the old-fashioned way. I’ve done it before, though, and it works surprisingly well.

    • Except no way would eight pumpkin halves fit in the microwave, so it would end up taking a while but with more active work.

  41. I prefer homemade pumpkin puree over libby’s any day

  42. I do this every year and actually prefer fresh pumpkins from the canned… but I do have a question… do you think you could use the liquid drained in soups, etc? I’ve never drained my puree but think it’s a great idea!

    • I suppose you could but I doubt the liquid has much flavor. It was pretty close to water. I would use the puree itself to give better pumpkin flavor, texture, etc.

  43. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
    I live in New Zealand and we do not get canned pumpkin puree. I see so many recipes with pumpkin- pie, cake, slice, waffles etc and i want to make it but don’t have the correct ingredients.
    I was meant to Google how to make it but laziness took over me so your post came at a perfect time.
    Thanks again. I cannot wait to make some and whip up something delicious.

  44. This is awesome. I can’t wait to try this. Thanks for the tutorial. I never would have known how to do this!

  45. First of all, I love your website. I came acrossed it a few weeks ago. I find myself checking it daily to see what you’ve come up with. I haven’t been disappointed yet. I’ll be making the Cranberry Harvest Muffins this weekend and can’t wait to try them. I have 4 children and when I showed my 3 boys the Star Wars cookies, they were thrilled!!

    I also share this love for pumpkin. I like to put it in my oatmeal in the morning. Yum. I’ll have to give this a try.

    Keep up the good work! You are an inspiration to us all. I’m not quite sure how you manage it all but I’m grateful you do.

  46. Great post. I find the pumpkin shortage strangely disturbing. I just can’t wrap my mind around how there is just no pumpkin!!

  47. looks good! and i did find some in bloomington, in case you’re ever down here, at the east side kroger by the mall/movie theater. but the rest of the stores in town don’t have any.

  48. I was in Trader Joe’s two days ago and they had an entire wall of canned pumpkin! Organic 15oz for $1.99.

  49. I’ve always been curious as to how you make your own pumpkin puree..I would love to try this–great tutorial!

  50. I love pumpkin, and my MIL makes a homemade pumpkin pie with puree, but I’ve never been a huge fan. I’m wondering if it’s because you drained it. I love pumpkin everything, and will have to give this a try.

    Your site is wonderful, the postings and recipes are very high quality and so well done. I love coming here.

  51. I’m going to be in full baby-food-making mode this fall and winter anyway, so I will give this a try! But I have a question–as I’m looking at the recipes I want to try, some say “canned pumpkin,” some say “pumpkin puree,” and others say “solid pack pumpkin.” What’s the difference in the canned varieties, and where would this homemade stuff fit in on that list?

    • Danielle,
      They are all the same thing. As long as it isn’t calling for canned pumpkin pie filling, the rest are all the same thing.

  52. Love this! I too have a pumpkin obsession in the fall (today it feels like summer again, so I got my pumpkin spice latte iced), and last year I kind of freaked out a little about the pumpkin shortage, so I stocked up when I could. Then my husband opened the pantry and discovered I’d hoarded a dozen cans of pumpkin… Me: But there’s a shortage! Him: I think I know why!

  53. Awesome tutorial! I was about to attempt this same thing, but FINALLY found Libby’s 100% canned at the grocery store(Albertsons) on Saturday and bought a boat load. I had been watching the shelves for months! I bet your homemade version is fantastic!

  54. Just gave this a try this afternoon and it went great – excited to kick off my autumn pumpkin baking tomorrow! Thanks for the great tutorial!

  55. Thought you might enjoy this recipe for pumpkin hummus desertcandy.blogspot.com/2007/11/nutty-pumpkin-dip.html (forgot the link in my previous post 😉

  56. This sure looks easy.

  57. I tried doing this last year but didn’t strain it quite as long and the pie turned out MUCH softer than the canned stuff. Thanks for the tips!! I’ll have to try it this way next.

  58. Though I still want to try and make this puree from scratch, there is some exciting news for my fellow canned pumpkin lovers – the shortage is supposedly over! http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/39379122/ns/business-consumer_news/

  59. Is there a way to print your recipes where all the many pages of ‘comments’ does not print? Just printing this puree recipe ended up being 22 pages because of all the comments. Thanks.

    • No, there shouldn’t really be a need to print this post so I didn’t make a printer-friendly version. It’s more of a method than an actual recipe. Just read through it once and you know the steps.

  60. Fall is my favorite season too.. all thanks to pumpkin. I’ve been a pureeing fool this month. Can’t wait for new recipes. 🙂

  61. Love this post! I was dealing with the same thing. Every time I went to the store I wasn’t able to get any canned pumpkin puree. This looks so easy! Can’t wait to make my own batch! Thanks again!!!

  62. I have been wanting to do this for such a long time and your clear steps give me the courage to try it. Great post and THANK YOU! 🙂

  63. Great post! Any chance you’ll give us a traditional pumpkin pie recipe, featuring this puree? 🙂 Please?

  64. I went to Trader Joe’s the other day and they had cans of Pumpkin stacked high. I was very surprised to see such an abundance!

  65. WHY CAN’T I FIND SUGAR PUMPKINS IN THE SACRAMENTO STORES? I DID finally find Libby Pumpkin yesterday. Bought 10 cans. Expiration: 2014!! …..October 12, 2010
    QUESTION: If you buy the canned PURE PUMPKIN and the recipe calls for “PUREED PUMPKIN”…….Do you have to puree in blender or in Pure Pumpkin ok as is?

  66. Annie! So glad I found this b/c my sorority sister just sent me a pumpkin pie recipe that calls for pumpkin puree. I don’t have a food processor though – do you think a blender will do the job?

    • Erin, maybe – I’m not sure. My blender isn’t the greatest and I don’t think it would work that well, but it may work if you do it in small batches. You should be able to find canned puree at the stores now, most places are stocking it.

  67. Thank you so much for this posting. I am obsessed with all things pumpkin but now live in the UK where they are not really that mainstream, with the exception of a few jack o lantern varietals for Halloween. Last year I was forced to use the jack o lantern’s to make puree and they actually were quite good! Not as much depth of flavor but very acceptable in the pumpkin pasta sauces and dips and soups I typically make.

    Also because I didn’t have proper knives and almost lost a finger a few times I just decided to bake the whole thing like a baked potato and it worked beautifully! I did do a bit of piercing when they softened up to release steam e but it was much less work and no taste difference. I didn’t strain though and I think that will really enhance the texture and flavor. Just thought I would share my pumpkin experience. Thanks again!

    Also, a food speciality store said he was told in March he could no longer get the few cans of pumpkin he used import from the states. He didn’t know why

  68. Everyone (myself included!) likes the pumpkin spice/pumpkin creme {Seattle’s Best} lattes so much, I’d love to see you do a cupcake spin-off…something involving pumpkin/pumpkin pie spice, espresso powder, and…a hint of white chocolate, maybe?

  69. Any recipes on roasting pumpkin seeds?

  70. Annie, I couldn’t find sugar/pie pumpkins but have used smaller pumpkins to puree. 2 questions: 1. Are just smaller ones sugar/pie? 2. If not, do I need to add sugar to the regular puree to make it equal to what a sugar/pie pumpkin should taste good to make bread, pie, soup, etc? Thanks!

    • It is the smaller pumpkins that are known as sugar or pie pumpkins and are meant for pureeing and baking. I did a bit of research about using regular “field” pumpkins but didn’t come up with much consistent or reliable information. You should try Googling this and reading about it yourself. I don’t think I would add sugar to the puree.

  71. I wish I had seen your post before! I made pumpkin puree yesterday and the process was horrible. Your directions are way simpler then the ones I found and used. I will definitely come to your site first from now on 😉

  72. Thank you for sharing all your tips. I went pumpkin picking with the kiddies and did not want to let their little pumpkins end up in the trash. Your method was sooo easy and straight forward. I just have to figure out a way to puree the pumkin now. Lol. Wish me luck.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: