Introduction: How to Cook a Pumpkin

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Here are three simple methods for cooking pumpkins.  Fresh cooked pumpkin is fantastic on its own, or in an endless array of recipes.    With these easy steps, you can  have cooked pumpkin at your fingertips any day of the week! 

You want to make sure you're using a sugar (or baking) pumpkin, not one of the massive ones best saved for carving on Halloween.  

I photographed baking a pumpkin, but I've also included simple instructions for two other methods:

Baking Method

  • Cut the pumpkin in half and discard the stem section and stringy pulp. Save the seeds to dry and roast.
  • In a shallow baking dish, place the two halves face down and cover with foil.
  • Bake in a preheated 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) oven for about 1½ hours for a medium-sized sugar pumpkin, or until tender.  If you cut it into smaller pieces, it will cook even faster!
  • Once the baked pumpkin has cooled, scoop out the flesh or just peel off the rind, and chop, puree or mash it.

Boiling Method

  • Cut the pumpkin in half, discarding the stringy insides.
  • Peel the pumpkin and cut it into chunks.
  • Place in a saucepan and cover with water.
  • Bring to a boil and cook until the pumpkin chunks are tender.
  • Let the chunks cool, and then chop, puree  or mash.

Microwave Method

  • Cut the pumpkin in half, discarding the stringy insides.
  • Microwave on high power for seven minutes per pound, turning pieces every few minutes to promote even cooking. Chop, Puree or mash.
I also had a roommate once who cooked chopped pumpkin in a rice cooker!

You can refrigerate your fresh pumpkin puree for up to three days, or store it in the freezer up to six months.

Now you're ready to go try out some of our Top 20 Pumpkin Recipes!   Enjoy!