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How to Roast a Whole Pumpkin

Updated May 7, 2020
Cooked pumpkin in a bowl
Here it is: the easy way to make DIY pumpkin puree.

Let’s be realistic: There’s nothing easier than simply opening a can of pumpkin and adding it to a bowl to make pie filling. But there’s also nothing quite as satisfying as roasting the real deal on your own—and, the good news is it’s really not that complicated! Once you’ve roasted a whole pumpkin, you can use that delicious bright-orange puree for pies, breads, casseroles and more.

From picking the right type of pumpkin to perfectly prepping your gourd, here’s everything we know about how to roast a whole pumpkin in 45 minutes or less.


How to Pick the Right Pumpkin

Now, if you’re just going after the seeds, the type of pumpkin doesn’t matter. But we’re for-sure eating this one, so pick up a Sugar or Pie Pumpkin. They’re a bit smaller than the carving pumpkins you see all over every fall and they actually have a thicker flesh and lower water quantity. This means less work and more pumpkin for you. Win-win. If you’re roasting more than one pumpkin at a time, try to get similar sizes so the baking time is the same for both.

How to Prepare a Pumpkin for Roasting

For maximum success in roasting a pumpkin, be sure to prep it correctly. Thankfully, this part is super-easy!

First, do a quick wash of your pumpkins, then slice them cleanly in half. A sharp kitchen knife works best; no need to use a special serrated blade. Second, use a sturdy spoon to scoop out the seeds and stringy bits of flesh. That’s it! Now, we’re ready to roast.

How to Roast a Pumpkin

Now, just like with any vegetable, there are a lot of methods for cooking a pumpkin out there. You can microwave, steam or boil it, but honestly a simple roast is the easiest and cleanest option.

Because a pumpkin is a type of squash, roasting it is very similar to how you would roast an acorn squash or butternut squash. Here’s how to do it in three easy steps.

Step 1

Season the inside of the pumpkins by rubbing the flesh with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper. Then place cut-side down on a rimmed baking sheet. We recommend lining it with aluminum foil or parchment for easier cleanup later.

Pumpkins, cut in half, on a baking sheet

Step 2

Place your baking sheet with the prepared pumpkins in an oven preheated to 400°F. Set a timer and do something fun with the kids while you wait, or treat yourself to an episode of your favorite streaming TV show. The point here is that it’s hands-off cook time. No pot to watch here!

Check the pumpkin for doneness after about 30 minutes. You’ll know it’s done when a sharp knife easily and cleanly pierces the skin and flesh. The pumpkin will look kind of caramelized and slightly deflated.

Step 3

Let the pumpkin cool a bit more before handling. Then turn the halves over and scoop out the tender pumpkin goodness.

Scoop out pumpkin an put in a pan

Take one of those old-fashioned potato mashers, one of the hardest-working kitchen tools, and go to town. You can get out a food processor or blender at this point, but a little elbow grease does the job with fewer dishes to clean.

Mashed pumpkin

Now, you can portion into storage containers and refrigerate or freeze for later use. Or get to making up one of your favorite fall recipes—we share a few of the best ones we have on Pillsbury below! (Psst: You can use this fresh puree in any recipe that calls for the canned stuff.)

Best Pumpkin Recipes