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!

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    22 Discussions


    1 year ago

    Cooked pumpkin using the baking method - don't want to boil away nutrients and taste, and didn't want to have to turn it. Didn't use foil, so took ~40 mins for 4 small pumpkin halves.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    I tried this for the first time on my own today and I got to say that for first timer, it takes a while! LOL. I am ashamed to be one of these “Americans” who either ate pre made from the bakery or with canned pumpkin. Sorry! LOL. I am learning and its interesting to learn how to prepare your own pumpkin.

    I took the stem off easily by wacking it off with the blunt end of the knife. It came cleanly off. Like you would do with a wine cork, the Italian way. I nuked it instead of baking it in the oven. I was told that it works as well, however was told baking it brings the flavor out better. So I will try that next time. To nuke, you put wedges in a microwave safe bowl of water but don’t fill it all the way up. Cover with microwave safe plastic and leave for 15 minutes. Check for tenderness with fork. If needed more, put back in the nuker for another 2 to 5 minutes and check in increments until its fully tender. Blend! You can put in cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and such in it while you’re blending. Then store.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    After it has been baked/cooked/whatever, is this the time you can use it for making a pumpkin pie? or does it have to bake with the rest of the pie? or just what would I have to do for a pie??

    I checked the recipes for pumpkin pie, but it does not tell me anything....

    11 replies

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    You would use this in place of canned pumpkin. So this is when you would take the mashed pumpkin, add all the rest of the ingredients, pour it into a pie crust, and bake!

    I'm guessing that like me you're also not from the USA.
    In Australia, there is no such thing as canned pumpkin. If you want pumpkin for a recipe, you go buy one, or cut one out of the backyard veggie patch, and cook it. The different cooking culture sure doesn't make it easy to interpret recipes..when it says 'A full can of pumpkin'..which is.....what measure exactly??
    I've had pumpkin scones..but the idea of putting pumpkin in a sweet pie crust with marshmallows still makes me shudder..and gag a little!

    G'Day Ma'am!!
    Yes I was born & raised in America...but I have never used canned pumpkins nor do I ever intend to(never even made a pumpkin pie as of yet).
    The people that can the foods here in America, I trust them about as far as I can throw a Grand Piano. So I always use fresh in all the stuff I cook & bake.

    Always wanted to visit the land down under...but at this stage of my life(50 yo & poor health) I doubt that will ever happen. I always called it "God's Country" from all the pics I have seen of it & all the wildlife & such...even kicked around the idea of getting a wallaby....but I never did because I dn't know if I could handle it or if I would even like it after the newness wore off....

    Sorry to babble.

    Yeah, marshies in a pumpkin pie make me gag a wee bit as well....what a terrible way to ruin a perfectly good pie.

    I probably should have addressed my 'you probably not American' comment directly to cammers, after his 'pumpkin comes in cans??' amazement comment, as to not have offend.. I'm aware of how patriotic Americans can be of their pumpkin pies!
    When you're cooking you first ever pumpkin pie I would cook it, mash it, refrigerate it, and THEN put in in a pie, because warm mashed pumpkin will make mush out of any pie crust! If you grow you own 'sweet' pumpkins (a description that also amuses me, because Aussies are not aware that pumpkins are EVER sweet..they are pretty much always savoury!) then cook, and freeze in cooked chunky pieces, rather than mash. For some reason pumpkin goes watery when you thaw it out from mashed state. Its easier to pour any excess moisture off chunks before you mash it.
    I've made chocolate cakes that has a primary ingredient of baked beetroot..and changed it up to use kumara (sweet potato)...incredibly delicious flour-less cake for my Gluten intolerant mum! Now contemplating using pumpkin mash instead. Doubt it will take off, but I'm going to keep the ingredients quiet until after my family has tried it.
    p.s. lmao@throw a Grand Piano
    Never let ill health stop you from your dreams..I'm 38, have MS..and when hubby and I sell our house, we am planning to travel. Just do it! xxx

    I do not get offended easily so you have no worries there.

    TY for letting me know about the refridgeration of the pumpkin mash...I never would have thought about that & prolly ended up with a terrible pie.

    Aye, "sweet pumpkins"??? Being born & raised in America, I had never heard of that either....I always thought that pumpkins were all the same pretty much(well, when it comes to cooking & baking anyway).

    TY for the tip about freezing the pumpkin squares...again, I learned something new!! :) awesome!

    that Kumara cake sounds great! I'll have to try that TY Ma'am.

    You are truly an inspiration to me...Somehow, TY just does not seem enough....

    maybe one day, they will find a cure for MS & cancer & all these other diseases that try to keep people down.

    TY Again Ma'am.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    I have been lucky enough to have both travelled (not to US yet) and had a pet wallaby. I thoroughly recommend both.
    I will be disappointed if we don't see Sir James here in Australia. "Just do it" well said.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    believe me, the only thing stopping me is money.

    I hate flying, but going by ship appeals even less to me.

    Last time I checked, it was about $6K American Dollars for the round trip(that was just the airfare, and passports. the motel & motor car would be extra. :(

    But yes, if I had the money, I would not give it a second thought....I would not be able to get on that plane fast enough...especially if it were to make new friends & meet a sheila :P


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    I know - those costs add up fast. And USDs don't buy as many AUDs as they used to.

    We are getting a bit off topic, but I definitely recommend 'just doing it' with the travel..but pet wallaby's ..not so much! Those thing will bounce around all over the place, are un-catchable when needed, and will crap all over your house with much joy and abandon.
    Australian animals make bad pets!
    Kangaroos will kick you in the gonads, and those feet have BIG claws, Possums will pee all over your house, eat the gyprock off your walls,and rip your curtains and fly-screen doors to buggery. Koala's live up a tree and if they don't HAVE a tree, you ARE the tree..and they have BIIIIIGGG sharp claws and are weighty when they pee, the pee down the tree! Tasmanian devils will nibble your fingers off at the elbow. Dingo's will probably try and eat you, if you don't pay attention..signs are there 'Don't feed the dingo's' cos they think 'FOOD' as soon as they see you coming.
    They all need to stay in the bush!
    So you see, of you want an Australian pet, I'd try a blue-tongue lizard..not cuddly, but they won't try and eat you, puncture you, or use you as a toilet..well 95% of the time for the last bit. :)


    7 years ago on Introduction

    If you're in a hurry, you can wash off your squash and bake the entire thing, whole, and scoop out the seeds n stuff later. I did it with a delica squash recently and it was delicious, and much less messy.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    I like this, but there is one more method, my favorite. Use a slow cooker on low heat. It preserves the nutrients best, and any squash turns out delicious in it. You need patience, though.

    1 reply

    I'm so excited to try the microwave instructions. I have a sugar pumpkin on my porch, and tonight is my last hurrah with pumpkin cookie recipes. If my canned supply runs short, I'll give this a go. :) Thanks for sharing!

    1 reply