Learn how to make pumpkin puree effortlessly by cooking the pumpkin whole in the Instant Pot!  It’s velvety smooth, and so tastes so much fresher than store bought! Recipe also includes instructions to cook pumpkin in a slow cooker or roast it in the oven!

how to make pumpkin puree -- puree in white bowl

I’ve made more pumpkin recipes at this point in the fall season that I have any other year, which isn’t a bad thing. 🙂 

I’ve been developing the recipe for this homemade pumpkin puree, and I’m having a great time incorporating it into pumpkin risotto and pumpkin pie from scratch!

Have you ever made pumpkin puree?  I’ve roasted pumpkin for pumpkin soup, etc., but I’ve never pureed it in the food processor before this year.  

That may be a surprise to you as I say the phrase homemade is always best quite often, but canned pumpkin is so convenient that I just never got around to making it myself.  

Last month I tried cooking a whole pumpkin in the Instant Pot, and I haven’t looked back.  Once you learn how to make pumpkin puree in your Instant Pot, I think you’ll feel the same way.

It’s life changing — it’s so much better than that canned stuff!

Why you’ll love this recipe:

  • Once you learn how to make pumpkin puree, there’s no going back. It has an amazing velvety texture and tastes so much fresher than canned pumpkin.
  • The pumpkin is cooked whole so there’s almost no prep involved!
  • Recipe includes information on the best pumpkins for baking and cooking.
  • It’s cooked in the Instant Pot so it’s ready in about 30 minutes. Recipe also includes instructions on how to cook pumpkin in a slow cooker or roast it in the oven.

Recipe ingredients

sugar pie pumpkin for homemade pumpkin puree

There’s only one ingredient for homemade pumpkin puree and that’s fresh pumpkin!

There are so many delicious varieties to choose from for both sweet and savory pumpkin recipes, so be sure to talk to someone at your market or pumpkin patch to find out which ones are best for cooking.

I love using sugar pumpkins as they’re readily available and are great for sweet recipes like pumpkin bars as well as savory recipes like pumpkin chili.

Kabocha squash is another variety that I love — check out my post on kabocha squash recipes to find out more about it.

How to make homemade pumpkin puree

Making homemade pumpkin puree is incredibly easy. Simply cook the pumpkin until tender, then puree it with my easy tips.

Cooking pumpkin

There are a few different ways to approach cooking pumpkin for homemade pumpkin puree, but cooking a whole pumpkin in the Instant Pot is by far the easiest.

Here’s why:

  • Cutting the pumpkin is not required
  • A whole pumpkin cooks twice as fast in the Instant Pot than in the oven
  • The moisture in the Instant Pot ensures a nice, tender pumpkin every single time
  • It’s easier to peel and scoop the seeds out once the pumpkin is cooked

If you don’t have an Instant Pot, you can cook pumpkin as follows:

Pro tip: If your pumpkin is larger than 2 lbs., you will need to cook it between 25-30 minutes at high pressure. Check for doneness, and add time if necessary.

how to make pumpkin puree instant pot process collage 1
how to make pumpkin puree instant pot process collage 2
  • Rinse the pumpkin thoroughly and place on the trivet in the Instant Pot with one cup of water. Select Pressure Cook and cook at high pressure for 20-23 minutes.
  • Quick release the pressure and remove the lid.  The skin should be peeling off of the pumpkin.  Insert a knife into the pumpkin — it should slice through it like softened butter.  If the pumpkin doesn’t seem tender enough, cook on high pressure another 3-5 minutes.
  • When cool enough to handle, remove from the Instant Pot and place on a cutting board.
  • Peel the pumpkin, cut the pumpkin in half, then scoop out the seeds and stringy insides.
pumpkin seeds in bowl

How to make homemade pumpkin puree

how to make pumpkin puree instant pot process collage 3
  • Cut the pumpkin into chunks and place in the food processor and process until smooth.  
  • Place in a fine mesh sieve lined with cheesecloth placed over a bowl. Cover the puree loosely with plastic wrap and store in the fridge overnight.  This will ensure that your pumpkin puree is free of excess liquid, which is essential for baking.

FAQs

Is canned pumpkin the same as pumpkin puree?

Canned pumpkin and pumpkin puree are one in the same.  They’re both pure pumpkin processed until smooth, with no additives.

Pumpkin puree is not to be confused with pumpkin pie filling, which contains sweeteners and spices.

What pumpkins are good for cooking?

Sugar pumpkins, or baking pumpkins, are typically used for pumpkin pie because they contain a good amount of pumpkin flesh and they taste sweeter.

Most carving pumpkins, or larger pumpkins, don’t have the flavor that smaller pumpkins have, so they’re not a great choice for cooking.

There are many other amazing pumpkin varieties on the market that are great for purees, including red kuri, kabocha, and many more heirloom varieties.  

When visiting a pumpkin patch or market, be sure to ask which varieties are great for baking and cooking! See this post from Pumpkin Patches and More to find out more information on the best pumpkins for pumpkin recipes.

How do you clean a pumpkin for cooking?

If you’re cooking a whole pumpkin as I recommend here, simply wash the outside of the pumpkin under running water.

If you plan to cut your pumpkin in half before cooking, rinse the pumpkin under running water, then cut in half and scoop out the seeds and stringy insides.

Recipe notes

  • Pro tip: If your pumpkin is larger than 2 lbs., you will need to cook it between 25-30 minutes at high pressure. Check for doneness, and add time if necessary.
  • Sugar pumpkins are small orange pumpkins typically used for pumpkin pie. Other great varieties for homemade pumpkin puree are red kuri and kabocha squash.
  • No Instant Pot? You can also cook a pumpkin in the slow cooker or roast it in the oven following the instructions for my roasted pumpkin soup.
  • Store homemade pumpkin puree in an air tight container in the refrigerator for up to one week. It may also be frozen for up to 3 months.
how to make pumpkin puree instant pot -- puree in white bowl

See all of my Pumpkin recipes for more inspiration.

Use homemade pumpkin purée in the following recipes:

Did you try this recipe?  If so, be sure to leave a review below and tag me @flavorthemoments on Facebook and Instagram!

Homemade pumpkin puree in white bowl with spoon alongside

How to Make Pumpkin Puree (Instant Pot)

Learn how to make homemade pumpkin puree effortlessly by cooking pumpkin whole in the Instant Pot!  It's velvety smooth, and so much better than store bought!
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Ingredients

  • 2 lb. sugar pumpkin or your favorite edible variety. See below.

Instructions 

  • Place the trivet in the Instant Pot and add 1 cup of water. Wash the pumpkin and place on the trivet. Seal the lid and close the venting valve, then select Pressure Cook on High pressure for 23 minutes. The Instant pot will take 10-15 minutes to come to pressure.
    2 lb. sugar pumpkin
  • Quick release the pressure when the cooking time is over, and remove the lid. The skin on the pumpkin should be peeling off in some places which is normal. You can also insert a sharp knife into the pumpkin to test for doneness…the knife should slide in like it’s cutting butter. If it doesn’t, cook the pumpkin for another 2-3 minutes at high pressure.
    Whole pumpkin in an Instant Pot before and after cooking
  • When the pumpkin is cool enough to handle, carefully remove the trivet and pumpkin from the Instant Pot and place on a cutting board. Cut the pumpkin in half, and allow to cool before handling.
  • Remove the peel and scoop the seeds out, and cut the pumpkin into chunks.
    Collage of peeled whole pumpkin and one cut in half
  • Place the pumpkin into a food processor and puree until smooth.
  • Transfer the puree to a fine mesh sieve lined with cheesecloth placed over a bowl. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let stand in the refrigerator overnight to allow liquid to drain from the puree. Don’t skip this step or you’ll have watery puree, which will affect baked goods.
    Collage of cooked pumpkin in food processor and puree draining in cheesecloth
  • Cool the pumpkin puree, then store in an air tight container and store in the refrigerator until you're ready to use it.

Notes

  • Pro tip: If your pumpkin is larger than 2 lbs., you will need to cook it between 25-30 minutes at high pressure. Check for doneness, and add time if necessary.
  • Sugar pumpkins are small orange pumpkins typically used for pumpkin pie. Other great varieties for homemade pumpkin puree are red kuri and kabocha squash.
  • No Instant Pot? You can also cook a pumpkin in the slow cooker or roast it in the oven following the instructions for my roasted pumpkin soup.
  • Store homemade pumpkin puree in an air tight container in the refrigerator for up to one week. It may also be frozen for up to 3 months.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.5cup, Calories: 59kcal, Carbohydrates: 15g, Protein: 2g, Fat: 1g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 2mg, Potassium: 771mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 6g, Vitamin A: 19307IU, Vitamin C: 20mg, Calcium: 48mg, Iron: 2mg

Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.

Did you try this recipe?Be sure to tag @flavorthemoments with the hashtag #flavorthemoments on Instagram so I can see what you made!

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