How To Roast A Pumpkin

Pumpkins, pumpkins everywhere …

This time of the year  you can find these bright orange fruits (yes, technical

ly pumpkin is a fruit, not a vegetable) everywhere. They make beautiful decorations, but they are also quite tasty. Why not cook a few of them this year? Here’s how to roast a pumpkin.

To Roast Or Not To Roast!


Peter Piper Picked a Profoundly Plump Pumpkin — Now What does he do with it?


Every fall I get many questions about what to do with pumpkins. Many people find curious fascination in imagining what it would be like to grow these versatile little gems, as if growing something that produces a large fruit is somehow more respectable than growing, say, a Serrano pepper. Many people eventually venture into pumpkin experimentation. Some succeed and many fail.

Much like a dog that chases a car, many people never give thought to what they would do if they actually succeeded in successfully raising a patch of these fall favorites. Whether you have found yourself with more pumpkins than you know what to do with or you are one of the people who had to buy pumpkins and duct tape them to the vine, these tips for roasting and using pumpkins are sure to help you make the most out of them (no matter how you acquired them)!

How To Roast A Pumpkin

You can only do this with a freshly carved pumpkin! Do not use on a pumpkin that has been carved and sitting out for several days.

To bake a fresh 6 to 7 pound pumpkin, halve the pumpkin crosswise and scoop out the seeds and strings. Place halves, hollow side down, in a large baking pan covered with aluminum foil and add a little water. Bake, uncovered, at 375° for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until fork-tender. Remove. When cool, scrape pulp from shells and puree, a little at time, in food processor or blender. Mix with a little salt.

To freeze pumpkin puree. Put 1-2 cups in freezer bags along with spices and use in pies.

To use pumpkin puree for recipes: Line a strainer with a double layer of cheesecloth or a flour sack dish towel and let the pumpkin sit to drain out the extra moisture BEFORE cooking with it. Pumpkin is very moist, so in order for your recipe to come out correctly, you MUST strain it.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Boil seeds in water for 5 minutes. Drain well. Sprinkle with salt or seasoned salt. Place a thin layer on a cookie sheet. Bake at 250°. Stir after 30 minutes. Bake 1/2-1 hour more or until crunchy.
*Squash seeds may also be used.

Pumpkin Smoothies

  • 1/2 cup pumpkin
  • 3/4 cup milk or vanilla yogurt
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. nutmeg
  • 2 tsp. brown sugar
  • 4 ice cubes
  • whipped cream (optional)
  • sprinkles (optional)

Place all ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth. Pour into 2-3 glasses. Serve with a small amount of whipped cream on top. You may also add orange sprinkles if you like. Serves 2-3.

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Suzy - October 26, 2009

Hi there, Suzy from Australia. We’re used to treating pumpkin as a baked vegetable here. I usually put a leg of lamb in the baking tray and surround it with chunks of potato and pumpkin, a drizzle of veg oil and a sprinkle of herbs, then bake for an hour and a half, or however long the lamb takes, by weight. Halfway through I turn over the vegies and sprinkle some cracked pepper on the pumpkin. When it all comes out, the pumpkin is slightly roasted on the outside and sweet and soft on the inside. It’s beautiful with gravy, just like the potatoes. :)

Candi - November 3, 2009

Technically, pumpkin is a vegetable. It is the fruit of the vine on which it grows like squash, peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, etc.

You can make pumpkin pudding, pumpkin bread, as well as pumpkin pie by mixing dry milk with the strained fluid from the pumpkin puree. My children loved pumpkin pudding for dessert and pumpkin muffins or bread for breakfast. On the day after Christmas, my mom fixed “poached eggs on toast” by lightly toasting a slice of pumpkin bread under the broiler and topping it with a round dollop of whipped cream with a drained apricot half in the center. It was always a treat for my sisters and me!

    Amber - November 22, 2010

    Biologically, the definition of a fruit would be those things which are (as you yourself said) fruit of whatever it grows on, housing the seeds. In essence, it’s the reproductive part of a plant. Vegetables are the leaves, stems, etc.

Becky - November 4, 2009

I wash and cut a sugar pumpkin (about the size of a head of cabbage) into wedges, scrapign out seeds and strings. I lay them on a sheet of foil (to make clean-up easy) on a baking sheet and roast at 350ºF for about an hour. Then simply cut off the skins, and puree the tender flesh in the food processor. This amount of pumpkin is equivalent to 2 cans of pumpkin, and will make 2 pies. To the FP, I add a 12 oz. can of evaporated milk, 4 eggs, 1½ cups sugar, 1/2 tsp kosher salt, and cinnamon, allspice, cloves, and nutmeg to taste (maybe 2 tsp of cinnamon and ½-1 tsp of the others). Pour into 2 crusts and bake at 350ºF for about 45 min until set in the center.

Virginia - November 13, 2009

To Candi: Most of what you said was great, but honestly, a pumpkin is only a vegetable in the sense that it is not an animal or a mineral. Anything with seeds inside of it, including pumpkins, tomatoes, squashes and peppers are the fruits of a plant.

What we define as vegetables are culinary plants where things OTHER than the fruit is eaten, like the stems, leaves, seeds, or toots.

Virginia - November 13, 2009

“Toots”… HA! Of course I meant ROOTS. :)

Kai - September 24, 2010

I find that cutting raw pumpkin with a knife can be very dangerous. The rind is thick and the shape makes it unstable. Here’s what I do insteaad and it works beautifully. Wash the dirt off the outside of the pumpkin. Drill 3 or 4 1/2-inch holes (used my portable drill) around the top of the pumpkin (about 2 inches away from the stem). You can tell when you’ve drilled deeply enough because there will be no resistance on the drill after an inch or so. Place the entire pumpkin in a shallow dish – stem side up. Bake at 400F for 1 hr. Remove from oven and completely cool on a rack (a couple of hours). Now it will be very, very easy to slice the pumpkin open and the seeds will come out much easier. The rind is very solid at this point and you can just scoop out the flesh with a spoon after you’ve seeded the pumpkin. Put the scooped out flesh into a food processor and blend till smooth. I used an immersion blender. Freeze till ready to use.

Dorothy - September 24, 2010

what is your favorite pumpkin soup recipe?

Ann-Marie - September 26, 2010

My favorite is the Better Homes and Garden recipe, minus the nutmeg. I prefer a very savory soup.

Lynn DeBuhr Johnson - October 28, 2010

Fall-tastic Pumpkin Pie – a raw foods recipe


* 2 cups of almonds
* 1/2 cup of soaked dates
* dash of sea salt

Blitz in your handy dandy food processor and press into your favorite pie plate.


* 2 cups of pumpkin (organic, canned)
* 1 cup of soaked dates
* 2 teaspoons of cinnamon
* 1 teaspoon of fresh ginger
* 1 teaspoon of nutmeg
* 1 teaspoon of coconut oil
* dash of vanilla
* 1/4 cup of water or almond milk to blend

Add all ingredients into your food processor and blend until well mixed. Pour into your pie plate and chill. This is SO yummy. My kids love to clean out the bowl after I make this because it is so good!’

Marla - November 4, 2010

We roasted and pureed pumpkin yesterday with your instructions. Somewhat messy, but it turned out great! I now have enough pumpkin purée in my freezer to last until next year. I put it into glass jars, the same amount in each jar as I would normally use for a recipe. Looking forward to pumpkin cookies.

    The Hillbilly Housewife - November 4, 2010

    I’m so glad it worked out so well for you, Marla. And, yes, it is pretty messy! 😉

Ashley - November 23, 2010

I just discovered a different way to do this and it is WONDERFUL! You cut the pumpkin in half, clean out the insides (saving seeds of course), and slice the pumpkin into wedges. Then cut the wedges into large chunks (2-3 inches). At this point I also carefully slice off the rind because I find it easier to do when the pumpkin is not all squishy. I also feel I end up with more puree to use instead of on me, the spoon, the counter, etc (maybe you are more talented though).
Put all of your pumpkin chunks into a crockpot. You can cram it completely full if you want. Just make sure you can put the lid on all the way. I also put a kitchen towel over the top. Set it to “Low” and walk away. No baby-sitting your pumpkin!
I let this cook for several hours. Use your own judgment. If you can pierce it easily with a fork, it is done. Turn the crockpot off and let the pumpkin cool a little. There will be liquid in the bottom of the crockpot. Drain this off. You can use it just like one of the other comments said. Puree the cooked pumpkin and you are ready to go. I have done this twice and loved it. I could start it in the morning, go and run errands, and deal with it when it was convenient. You are busy ladies too. You know what I mean. :)

leese - October 3, 2012

Sorry if I sound ignorant, but how much salt? How much pumpkin spices? Is that all I add?

(Ok, so maybe I am ignorant…)

I plan to try putting it in the slow cooker this weekend while I roast the seeds and clean house. Then I want to freeze by whatever the measurement of one can is. Will go to the store to see how much a can actually is.

(Does anyone happen to know the measurement in cups and not just the oz. of the can?)


    The Hillbilly Housewife - October 4, 2012

    Hi Leese. You don’t sound ignorant at all! Until we try a recipe, we really don’t know, so no problem! Some of the recipes are simply “to taste” so just use as much salt and spices as you think… you can always add more, so start with less than you think. Also, there are 8 oz in a cup, so in a typical can (say like a cream of condensed soup can) is 10.5 oz, so I usually figure about 1 1/2 cups per can, there about. The math isn’t perfect, but it’s close enough for my needs. Let us know how your pumpkin turns out.

    Teacher mom - October 9, 2013

    A small can of pumpkin is 15 oz. my pie recipe, from my grandma, says 2cups pumpkin. It is a little more than one can, but recipe comes out fine either way, and all the amounts compare with the recipe on the can.

Amy - October 4, 2012

This soup has become a tradition for Thanksgiving in my house. I didn’t make it one year and everyone complained!

Roasted Pumpkin Soup
Cut a 5-7 lb pumpkin in half. Remove seeds and string. Coat with olive oil and salt. Roast in a 350 oven for 1 – 1.5 hours until fork tender. Cool completely and peel and cut into chunks. Melt 1 stick butter in a stockpot. Add 3 cloves of minced garlic and cook 30 seconds or so. Add the chunks of pumpkin and enough vegetable or chicken stock to cover. Cook over medium low heat until the pumpkin is soft enough to fall apart. Puree with an immersion blender or in the blender. Add more stock to the desired consistency. Salt and pepper to taste. It is not necessary to add cream, although I usually make a design on the top of each bowl with a tablespoon of heavy cream.

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