Want to make your own homemade pumpkin puree? It’s very easy to do in the Instant Pot! Make your own pureed pumpkin from fresh pumpkins that’s delicious in your favorite pumpkin recipes, like pumpkin bread or pumpkin pie. You can make this puree extra thick like canned pumpkin, too!
Pumpkin season is one of my favorite times of the year, not really for the weather (we don’t have much of a fall here in Wyoming), but because I love pumpkin recipes!
This easy homemade pumpkin puree recipe will enable every pumpkin spice lover to do a little DIY and make puree from fresh pumpkins, even if their favorite grocery store sells out of canned pumpkin (we’ve been there).
This is especially awesome if you grow your own pie pumpkins and need an easy way to turn them into puree for recipes.
You can use our homemade pureed pumpkin in pumpkin butter, cookies, cakes, soups, casseroles,… everything you’d use canned pumpkin for. And you can make this as thick as canned puree!
Why you’ll love this fresh pumpkin puree
If you love making kitchen staples from scratch or you have a crop of pie pumpkins to use up, you’ll love our recipe for pumpkin puree. You don’t need a food processor for this recipe, and the Instant Pot makes this recipe super easy.
I also make this fast and easy with a set of good-quality pumpkin carving knives rather than trying to cut the pumpkin with a sharp knife. I find it much easier to cut pumpkins and squash with pumpkin carving tools vs kitchen knives and it makes the whole process faster and safer (especially with hard spaghetti squash).
Just opt for a really sturdy set of pumpkin carving tools if you cook a lot of pumpkins and squash. I upgraded our pumpkin scoop this year and it makes cleaning up pumpkins and squash for cooking so much easier!
How to make pumpkin puree in the Instant Pot
Here are the steps to make your pumpkin puree. This is just an overview, the full recipe is at the end of the blog post!
- Pick a pie pumpkin that will fit in your electric pressure cooker when it’s cut into quarters. My pressure cooker is an 8-quart one, so it can fit a larger pie pumpkin. The ones I picked have been about 8-inches or so in size.
- Wash your pie pumpkin thoroughly, removing the stickers (if any) and dirt.
- Cut off the top of the pumpkin (the stem side), then cut the pumpkin in half.
- Scoop out the seeds with a spoon or pumpkin scoop. Set aside the pumpkin seeds for roasting if you like, otherwise, you can discard them.
- Cut the pumpkin halves in half again to make quarters.
- Add the water to an Instant Pot (or other pressure cooker) and add a steamer rack over the water. I use the Instant Pot green silicone steamer basket.
- Close the lid and pressure cook for 10 minutes. Some machines will have this listed as high pressure, my Instant Pot just has this as a “pressure cook” button.
- Once the cook time is done, allow the machine to naturally release pressure for 15 minutes, then do a quick pressure release to release the remaining pressure.
- Add the cooked pumpkin pieces to a large bowl and peel off the skin. The pumpkin skin/peel will fall off at this point and be very easy to remove.
- Use a hand-held immersion blender to puree the pumpkin until smooth. You can also use a regular blender if you want, but the immersion blender makes it faster.
- Strain the pumpkin through a nut milk bag or cheesecloth to remove excess liquid if you want your puree to be thicker.
During cooking, the pumpkin pieces need to be up out of the water on a steamer rack. The water in this recipe is just to steam the pumpkin and add pressure, but you don’t want the pumpkin pieces to sit in the water during cooking, or it may get too wet and soggy.
You’ll notice that this puree is more yellow than orange like canned pumpkin, this is normal and okay! Your recipes may look more yellow than orange with this homemade puree.
If you don’t have a steamer rack, you can try cooking the pumpkin directly in the water, but the pumpkin may fall apart into the water a little bit. If this happens, you can scoop out the pumpkin pieces, puree them with the rest, and then strain it to remove any excess liquid.
How to strain pureed pumpkin
Once you’re done pureeing your pumpkin with the immersion blender, you’ll notice it isn’t quite as thick as canned pumpkin. It will thicken as it cools, but to get a really thick pumpkin puree like the canned pumpkin, you’ll need to strain out some of the liquid.
You can always just use it as-is in recipes and reduce the liquid in the recipe. This would work well for things like soups or chilis. But for baked recipes like pumpkin bread or pumpkin pancakes, I’d strain out the excess liquid first to get it as thick as canned pumpkin.
To strain your pureed pumpkin and make it thick, you can either strain it through 2-3 layers of cheesecloth placed in a mesh strainer, or you can use a fine mesh nut milk bag to separate the liquid. I used a fine mesh nylon nut milk bag to separate the excess water from the pumpkin and it worked perfectly!
I strained my pumpkin for about 30 minutes and got almost 1/4 cup of liquid out of it, so it was much thicker and better for recipes. You can let this strain for as long as you like to achieve the thickness you want for your pumpkin puree.
What kind of pumpkin can I use for this homemade pumpkin puree recipe?
When you make this homemade pumpkin puree, the best pumpkin to use is the pie pumpkin, also called sugar pumpkin or sugar pie pumpkin. The pie pumpkin variety of pumpkin is sweeter and has a firmer and thicker flesh for better pumpkin purees and pies.
A regular carving pumpkin is a different variety and is a bit more watery and stringy than pie pumpkins, so pie pumpkins are preferred. But some people still use carving pumpkins to make puree in a pinch.
But if you have a choice, opt for sugar pumpkins for the best flavor and puree.
You can also make pumpkin puree out of other kinds of pumpkins/squashes. Libby and other brands of canned pumpkin manufacturers use different varieties of winter squashes in their canned pumpkin, such as Dickinson, Hubbard, or butternut.
There was a bit of controversy around this several years ago that companies were labeling their technically canned squash as canned pumpkin since the FDA doesn’t split hairs on what counts as a pumpkin vs a squash.
But I personally didn’t care that much about the pumpkin labeling dustup and still love a good can of Libby pumpkin (which uses Dickinson squash) when I don’t make my own!
How to store your pumpkin puree
The best way to store this recipe is either in the fridge or the freezer. The fridge if you plan on using it soon, the freezer if you want to keep it for longer (about 6 to 12 months).
Make sure to strain the excess liquid from the pumpkin and add it to a freezer bag or a freezer-safe and airtight container. Jars are probably fine to use as well, just make sure the glass is freezer-safe and there is headspace for expanding liquids.
It is not recommended that you can your pumpkin puree. If you want to pressure can or water bath can pumpkin, PennState recommends canning pumpkin pieces but not canning puree.
Our pumpkin puree freezes well! We froze and thawed some of this strained pumpkin puree to test how well it does, and aside from some water separation (totally normal), it works great.
If you freeze and thaw your pumpkin but notice a little water/liquid on top of the pumpkin (depending on your container), just pour off the excess water.
Use this pumpkin puree to make some of your favorite pumpkin treats!
- Gluten Free Instant Pot Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal
- Gluten Free Dairy Free Pumpkin Spice Pancakes
- No Bake Pumpkin Pie
- Easy Crustless Pumpkin Pie
- Sugar Free Pumpkin Spice Creamer
- Vegan and Gluten Free Pumpkin Cheesecake
- Pumpkin Spice Rice Crispy Treats
- Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes
- Pumpkin Spice Donuts with Cinnamon Glaze
Easy Instant Pot Pumpkin Puree
- 1 pie pumpkin (about 6 to 8 inches in size)
- 1 cup water
- Cut the stem off the top of the pumpkin, then cut in half and scoop out the seeds and inside of the pumpkin.
- Cut the pumpkin into quarters. Place a steamer rack or steamer basket into the bottom of the pressure cooker, add 1 to 1½ cup of water to the pressure cooker and add the pumpkin pieces on top of the trivet.
- Close the pressure cooker, set the steam valve to closed, set machine to "Steam" on CrockPot Express or "Manual" for 10 minutes.
- Once cooking time has completed, turn off the "keep warm" function if it turns on automatically and allow the pressure to release naturally for 15 minutes, then quick release the rest of the pressure.
- Separate the pumpkin flesh from the skin and throw the skin away. Using an immersion blender, puree the pumpkin until it's smooth.
- If you want this to be thicker, let it strain through a nut milk bag or over 2-3 layers of cheesecloth placed over a strainer in a bowl to separate some of the liquid out of the puree.
- Use puree for pumpkin butter, soups, pies, cookies, and more.
Sarah Jane Parker is the founder, recipe creator, and photographer behind The Fit Cookie. She’s a food allergy mom and healthy living blogger based in Wyoming. Sarah is also an ACSM Certified Personal Trainer, ACE Certified Health Coach, Revolution Running certified running coach, and an ACE Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist