How to Make Pumpkin Puree (Instant Pot)

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

I’ve made more pumpkin recipes at this point in the fall season that I have any other year.  I have a lot of pumpkin recipes coming your way, and they will be a great way to utilize this homemade pumpkin puree!

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 often as I say homemade is always best, 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!

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!

sugar pie pumpkin

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.

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
  • It 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:

  • Place the whole pumpkin in a baking dish with water about 2 inches high.  Roast at 375 degrees for about 45-60 minutes.
  • If you prefer not to roast a whole pumpkin, see these instructions on roasted pumpkin.
  • Cook pumpkin in the slow cooker.

How to Make Pumpkin Puree

how to make pumpkin puree instant pot process collage 1

  • 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.

how to make pumpkin puree instant pot process collage 2

  • Peel the pumpkin, then cut the pumpkin in half.
  • Scoop out the seeds and stringy insides, and save for roasted pumpkin seeds!

pumpkin seeds in bowl

  • Cut the pumpkin into chunks and place in the food processor.  
  • Process until smooth, then 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.

how to make pumpkin puree instant pot process collage 3

Recipe tips and substitutions

  • *Sugar pumpkins are small orange pumpkins typically used for pumpkin pie. Other great varieties are red kuri and kabocha squash.
  • 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.
  • Store homemade pumpkin puree in an air tight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

 

how to make pumpkin puree instant pot -- puree in white bowl

Craving pumpkin??  See all of my Pumpkin recipes.

Use homemade pumpkin purée in these recipes:

Pumpkin cheesecake

Pumpkin coffee cake

Pumpkin chili

Pumpkin pancakes

Pumpkin pie

Pumpkin pie bars

Pumpkin overnight oats

How to Make Pumpkin Puree (Instant Pot)

Yield: 2 cups puree
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 23 minutes
Additional Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 58 minutes

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!

How to Make Pumpkin Puree (Instant Pot)

Ingredients

  • 2 lb. sugar pumpkin*

Instructions

  1. 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. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Remove the peel and scoop the seeds out, and cut the pumpkin into chunks.
  5. Place the pumpkin into a food processor and puree until smooth.
  6. 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.
  7. Use your pumpkin puree to make pies, pancakes, muffins, quick breads, risotto, chili and more!

Notes

  • Additional time includes 10 minutes for the Instant Pot to come to pressure, and 10 minutes cooling time.
  • *Sugar pumpkins are small orange pumpkins typically used for pumpkin pie. Other great varieties are red kuri and kabocha squash.
  • 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.
  • Store homemade pumpkin purée in an air tight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

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