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How to Cook Pumpkin for the Best Sweet and Savory Pumpkin Recipes

Learn how to cook pumpkin from a whole fresh pumpkin.  Choose the best cooking method for your pumpkin recipe and discover the amazing taste of fresh pumpkin in every sweet and savory recipe.

how to cook pumpkin title


Crisp weather, leaves falling off the trees, and pumpkins for sale at the farmers market are all signs that autumn is here again.  I love the taste of pumpkin and when I learned how to cook pumpkin, from a whole pumpkin, it opened up a whole array of delicious sweet and savory recipes.

Read about the many reasons to cook pumpkin from a whole, fresh pumpkin even when you can just open a can of pureed pumpkin.  It is well worth the effort.

However, be sure to choose the pumpkin varieties that are the tastiest for cooking, such as the sugar pumpkin.  Not all pumpkins are the best for eating.  Some types of pumpkin are better suited for decoration and carving.



Best Cooking Method for Pumpkins

How will you use the cooked pumpkin?  The answer to this question will help you decide the best way to cook the pumpkin.  Will it be pureed or cut in chunks and eaten with salt and pepper for dinner?

If your recipe calls for canned or pureed pumpkin, the pressure cooker is the best pan to use to get a smooth creamy texture.

If you are cooking a hearty recipe calling either for pumpkin chunks or puree, roast pumpkin or bake pumpkin for whole cooked pieces.

Always prepare pumpkin before you cook it.  To prepare the pumpkin:

  • Wash the rind.
  • Cut off the stem and cut a whole in the top.
  • Remove the pumpkin seeds.  Roast the pumpkin seeds later.
  • Scrape the tough fibers from the pumpkin.


How to Cook Pumpkin with a Pressure Cooker

My favorite way to cook pumpkin is to pressure cook pumpkin.  You can use an electric pressure cooker or a stove top pressure cooker.  Both will cook the pumpkin and give it enough moisture to make pureeing quick and easy.

How to Cook Pumpkin in an Electric Pressure Cooker


pumpkin in a pressure cooker


An electric pressure cooker is a quick, easy, and hands-free way to cook pumpkin.   It takes 10 to 15 minutes to cook the pumpkin (after it comes to pressure).  The cook time depends on the size of the pumpkin pieces.  Half a pumpkin will take longer to cook than pumpkin slices.

Don’t forget to use a steamer rack trivet, so you won’t have problems taking the pumpkin out of the pan.

Learn more about how to pressure cook pumpkin.

The Fagor Lux™ Multi-Cooker is my favorite electric pressure cooker.    I think it is better than the Instant Pot.  See my review of the Fagor pressure cooker to learn why.   The Fagor electric pressure cooker is the best cooking method for pumpkin that will be pureed.


How to Prepare Pumpkin in a Stovetop Pressure Cooker


pumpkin in pressure cooker

A stovetop pressure cooker is another quick way to cook pumpkin.  It cooks the pumpkin in 8 to 12 minutes, depending on the size of the pumpkin pieces.

However, the downside is that you have to monitor the pressure cooker.  When the pan reaches pressure, turn down the heat and then set the timer.

Learn more about how to pressure cook pumpkin.



How to Cook Pumpkin in the Oven

Roast Pumpkin

Roast pumpkin in the oven when you want pumpkin cubes or slices.

cubed roasted pumpkin

  • To roast pumpkin cubes, preheat oven to 400° Fahrenheit.


  • Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with nonstick spray.


  • Cube the pumpkin and brush with olive oil.


  • Season with salt and pepper.


  • Roast pumpkin for 15 minutes.


  • Stir the pumpkin cubes.


  • Roast for another 10 to 15 minutes, until the pumpkin is cooked through and browned slightly.


To roast pumpkin slices, follow the same instructions as cubed pumpkin.  Roast for 15 to 20 minutes each side, depending on the thickness of the pumpkin slices.


pumpkin slices on pan


Bake Pumpkin

You can bake pumpkin, either as a whole pumpkin or as pumpkin halves.  Pumpkin halves cook quicker than a whole pumpkin.

To bake a whole pumpkin:




  • Preheat oven to 350° Fahrenheit.


  • Cut off the stem and cut a whole in the top of the pumpkin.  Cut the hole large enough to remove the pumpkin seeds.


  • Remove the pumpkin seeds.


  • Cover the pumpkin with tin foil.


  • Bake the pumpkin in the oven for 60 to 90 minutes, depending on the size of the pumpkin.  Bake until it is cooked through.


  • When the pumpkin has finished baking, remove it from the oven and allow it to cool for 10 minutes before removing the foil.


To bake pumpkin halves:

roasted pumpkin halves


  • Remove the pumpkin stem.


  • Cut the pumpkin in half.


  • Remove the pumpkin seeds.


  • Line a baking tray with tin foil.


  • Place the pumpkin halves on the baking tray and cover with tin foil.


  • Bake in the oven for 45 to 60 minutes, depending on the size of the pumpkin.


  • When the pumpkin is finished baking, remove it from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes before removing the foil.


There are many ways to cook pumpkin in a pressure cooker or in the oven.  Discover a new way to prepare pumpkin and enjoy all your homemade pumpkin recipes with fresh pumpkin.


Pumpkin Nutrition Facts