How To Roast A Sugar Pumpkin & Make Fresh Pumpkin Purée – A Step-by-step Photo Tutorial

by Angela (Oh She Glows) on September 10, 2012

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I unofficially deem this Sugar Pumpkin Week here on Oh She Glows. No wait, make that officially!

I’m not talking canned pumpkin this week.

I’m certainly not talking large carving pumpkins this week.

But sweet, cute-as-a-button sugar pumpkins. The ones that started showing up quite early in my grocery store at the end of August (thank you Organic Garage!). Often just 2-4 pounds, sugar pumpkins (also known as pie pumpkins or pumpkin pie squash) are sweeter than larger carving pumpkins, making them perfect for all of your favourite pumpkin dishes. Their flesh is also firmer and less stringy than carving pumpkins.

My goals for this week are to show you how simple it is to prepare a sugar pumpkin whether its roasting, puréeing, toasting the seeds, or making recipes. It’s really much easier and faster than you might think (at least it was for me!) and it’s nice to take a break from canned pumpkin once in a while. The flavour of a fresh roasted pumpkin is quite different from the canned variety; it’s a bit earthier and nuttier, not to mention so buttery when roasted. A side-by-side taste comparison of canned pumpkin versus freshly roasted pumpkin will make your head explode. It’s definitely worth the extra work now and then.

I hope my photos will inspire you to try it out for yourself if you haven’t already done so. For the pumpkin pros out there, feel free to share you favourite tips and recipes in the comments. If you can’t find a pie pumpkin in your area yet, feel free to try this with butternut squash. The roasting process is pretty much the same and the outcome is just as delicious.

All set?

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Roasting 101:

1. Preheat the oven to 350F and grab small 2-3 pound sugar pumpkin(s). I like to roast a couple 2-lb. pumpkins at the same time. Remember – we’re not looking for the huge carving pumpkins here.

First things first, sharpen your knife! You don’t want to use a dull knife on any squash…or food for that matter. 

2. Slice the stem off before slicing in half so you don’t have to slice through the stem.

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I forgot to in this photo below, but it’s much easier when you remove the top! Some people prefer to slice off both ends and then peel the entire pumpkin before roasting, but I find it easier to peel the skin after roasting – much like with roasted beets.

3. Slice in half.

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4. With a sharp-edged spoon (I use a metal tablespoon with a sharp edge or you can use a metal ice cream scoop), scoop out the seeds & guts. Make sure you clean & save the seeds for roasting. I’ll show you my favourite way to roast the seeds coming up in a future post. Whatever you do, do not throw them out!

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5. Brush inside with oil (optional, but I like to) and place face down on baking sheet lined with parchment paper. I roasted two 1.9-lb. sugar pumpkins. They are so tiny and could all fit on my roasting pan!

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6. Roast at 350F for about 45-50 minutes. The exact time will vary depending on the size of the pumpkin(s) and you may need more time. The skin will be slightly darker and you should be able to poke a fork quite easily through (see image below).

Here is my pumpkin ready to come out of the oven. As you can see, the skin is a deep orange, slightly wrinkled, and my fork could easily slide through.

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6b) I could not resist sticking my fork in and tasting my first (very hot) bite. YUM!! If you want to stop here, just give it a good sprinkling of Herbamare and freshly ground black pepper. Then dig in!

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7. Let the pumpkin cool for 10 minutes before handling. Grab a large spoon and peel away the very thin skin. It comes off almost effortlessly. At this point, you can use the flesh in all kinds of dishes – soups, casseroles, risotto, pies, etc.


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Into the compost goes the skin. Unless you’re Eric, you might put it in a smoothie…(I joke, I joke).

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Today, I decided to make pumpkin puree for a recipe I was planning (hint #1!).

8. If making a puree: Place the pumpkin flesh into the blender and blend away until super smooth. I used my tamper stick on the Vitamix to push all the pumpkin down until it got going. Let it go for a good minute or two – you don’t want any clumps left.

The result was out of this world – so smooth and buttery!

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3.8 pounds of pumpkin (weighed before roasting) made 4-4.5 cups of pumpkin puree. Not too shabby at all! As a rule of thumb, 1 small sugar pumpkin should make enough puree to equal one 15-oz. can.

At this point you can drain the pureed pumpkin in a cheesecloth to remove excess water or you can use it as is. I didn’t bother draining it because I knew I’d be cooking it down for the recipe (hint #2!).

Whatever you do – be sure to save the seeds for roasting.

Coming up – the recipe I used my pumpkin puree for and my favourite way to roast pumpkin seeds.

What’s your favourite way to enjoy fresh pumpkin?

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{ 47 comments… read them below or add one }

Page 4 of 4«1234
Violet October 27, 2014 at 1:38 pm

Shared this to our Facebook page… currently have my sugar pumpkin roasting in the oven. Thank you for a great post!


Lisa Campbell August 13, 2018 at 9:40 am

Can you freeze it after roasting the pumpkins and scraping the middle out?


Sherrie Eversole October 17, 2018 at 3:08 pm

Yes you can, just put all your pumpkin in a blender and or food processor and blend till smooth and measure out how much pumpkin is needed for your recipe and put in quart freezer bags. Then just label your bags. Then it’s all ready. Keeps several years frozen.


gracelynn November 11, 2014 at 2:15 pm

Well im starting right now :) I already skinned and cut in cubes… so im going to put wet pumpkin, putting on A foiled large cookie sheet. And then It will cook it a
lot faster. Putting foil on it will make it steam.


Kellie D . Bott November 17, 2014 at 5:06 pm

This is AWESOME.
I like to Stuff the Sugar Pie Pumpkin with all types of Fruits, Apples, Cranberries(fresh & dried), Raisins, Rubarb, ect. I Saute the Fruit with a little Brown Sugar, Stevia, Vanilla, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Butter and Dark Rum. I Roast the Pumpkin a little bit first so that the filling doesn’t over cook. I roast the pumpkin cut side down for about 15 to 20 minutes at 300°, let cool down for about 10 minutes then stuff with filling. Bake until slightly soft 25 minutes or so at 350°.


Davey November 22, 2014 at 4:08 pm

Thanks for the instructions! I always forget temperature and time. Making pumpkin agnolotti from epicurious – an awesome use of fresh pumpkin purée, and an awesome vegetarian dish! (Although we often top with cripy prosciutto and some shredded duck, for non-vegetarian family members).


eMILY April 29, 2015 at 2:23 pm

If you can find them in your area, use blue hubbard squash. It makes the best “pumpkin” pie and keeps very well, uncooked, on the counter for months or roasted and pureed in the freezer. They are a marquis shaped blue green winter squash that looks nearly gray. You can roast and puree them using this technique. They are the best!


Jerrie Legree August 7, 2015 at 6:59 pm

I am growing sugar pumkins this year. I have 2 good sized ones just starting to turn orange…and a few smaller ones. I will be sure to use your method to roast them for pies! Yum!


June August 24, 2015 at 6:35 pm

I purchased heirloom seeds for Long Pie Pumpkin; they look like long, fat, zucchini. They roasted up in ~35 minutes. Instead of peeling the skin, I just scooped out the pumpkin.


Paul August 26, 2015 at 2:49 pm

I grow them every year and give them away going to keep some now .
Wow and all you girls who like pumpkins are beautiful too lol :)


WhatsUpMomsOfficial September 16, 2015 at 10:21 pm

Hey! Great recipe :). I cannot WAIT for the Pumpkin Season. Pumpkin seeds and purée, here I come!


Paula September 24, 2015 at 7:46 pm

Thanks so much for sharing! Just need something cleared up, to make the puree you add the skin and the stuff you spooned out??



jean September 29, 2015 at 10:42 am

As Julia Child taught us, every kitchen should have a small rawhide mallet to whack your high quality chef’s knife through. For use on hard squash, whole chicken, etc.
I grew the Johnny’s Cinnamon Girl Pie Pumpkin, and it needed no blending at all to produce a creamy pie.


Deb October 10, 2015 at 1:44 pm

Good trick for getting your pumpkin split in half for roasting is to poke a couple small knife wholes into it then wet it and put it in your microwave. Nuke for one to two minutes and the husk will be soft enough to slice open with your knife. I still roast after that because I like the roasted flavor more than microwaved. I guess if you live in a land with sharp knives the nuking step is unnecessary but in my kitchen it is a great time saver!


เสื้อโปโล October 16, 2015 at 2:28 am

Now I am going to do my breakfast, once having my breakfast
coming again to read other news.


Carolyn Fortuna October 18, 2015 at 10:33 am

Thanks for this recipe on how to roast a pumpkin! It was so easy to follow. Now I continue my pursuit of extending the season with local vegetables, thanks to you.


Jacquelyn October 18, 2015 at 6:11 pm

Thanks so much for these instructions, they we’re perfect and so easy to follow. I roasted up 2 cute little sugar pumpkins tonight and it was SO easy. I actually rubbed the insides of the pumpkin with a bit of coconut oil. I will say that cutting off the top of the pumpkin is a bit difficult, I had to use all of my muscle! ;) xoxo, Jacquelyn


Jenifer October 19, 2015 at 12:53 pm

I’m new to this whole baking a pie pumpkin thing. I was wondering if I could store the puree in a sealed mason jar and at what room temperature? I would love to be able to have pumpkin puree on hand during the seasons that they pumpkins are NOT in season….if that makes sense? What is the best way to go about saving the pumpkin puree? I’m sure you could freeze it also, but I worry about freezer burn. Any advice you could give, would be much appreciated. Thank you for sharing this tutorial with beginners like me, I believe FRESH is best in pretty much everything if time allows.


Erin October 28, 2018 at 12:24 pm

You can freeze pureed pumpkin. You can also can pureed pumpkin with a water bath(canning method)pressure cooker in canning jars.

Out must be frozen or crammed


Susan November 2, 2015 at 7:57 am

Thanks for this tutorial and the one on roasting pumpkin seeds. I have the clean seeds from our 4 jack-o-lanterns ready to go in the fridge, but having ruined pumpkin seeds time after time, I hadn’t much enthusiasm for another try! I’ve also got a cute little pie pumpkin sitting on the counter, waiting to be put to good use. I think I’m going to have some fun in the kitchen today!

Here are my tips: when I cleaned off the seeds this time, I put the whole mess of gunk into a big bowl, filled it with water, and skimmed the floating seeds off with a slotted spoon. I wanted them really clean as they had been sitting in their gunk for a couple of days, so I repeated the rinse-and-skim process a couple more times. Had I known I’d be boiling them, I wouldn’t have been so nutty about it, but it was really quick in any case – the easiest method I have ever tried.

To open up a squash or pumpkin, I use the safety knife that came with my pumpkin carving kit, and scoop out the seeds with the kit’s scooper. It’s so-o much easier than using a knife and a spoon!

OK, now, I think there is a pumpkin butter recipe here I need to check out…. :-D


Cam Flower November 7, 2015 at 12:19 pm

I was at my son’s inlaws a couple years ago for thanksgiving and one of her dishes was a baked whole pumpkin! it was absolutely delisioius! Does anyone know a recepie for a baked pumpkin to serve whole? It was flavorful, slightly spicy and so very , very good. WE devoured the entire thing but the skin! the smell was amazing and watching it bake as the juices oozed thru the skin and carmalized on the outside was awsome. we kept peeking at it – just to let the smell fill the kitchen! I just wish I could find a recepie to do one myself. I dont want to roast it to use in somethine else, I just want to bake a pumpkin and eat it!


Jennifer Inskip November 8, 2015 at 9:53 pm

Hi Angela,
I just made this roasted pumpkin puree recipe – its great! My son Sam and I used it to make GF pumpkin bread for breakfast tomorrow. I can smell it cooling while I write this. All that to say that I am looking for the pumpkin seed recipe you said you were going to post … just wondering if you did indeed post it yet? I would like to save the seeds and roast them and maybe make a pumpkin seed butter … any ideas?
Thanks so much, Jenn


LoriAnn November 14, 2015 at 5:11 pm

Thanks for all the tips! I would add that I use a grapefruit spoon (serrated on the sides) to remove the seeds and strings. It’s good for scraping, too.



Glen November 24, 2015 at 12:54 pm

Hi there

I want to make a pumpkin bisque. I want to sweeten the sugar pumpkin with dark brown sugar. So my plan is to roast the pumpkin with the brown sugar. Since I have to roast them face down, when can I add the sugar during the roasting process? I greatly appreciate it.
Thanks a bunch


Jennifer November 25, 2015 at 8:05 pm

I absolutely loved roasting my pumpkins!! Im leery about using my roasted pumpkin puree for pies. Will they be too water/loose?
Do I have to strain it? Ooor can I use more cornstarch/arrowroot to thicken my pie filling?


Donna S January 6, 2016 at 9:53 am

Thanks for posting this – I like to add pumpkins to many foods, like tomato sauce or healthy baked goods, for a filler. I’ve always used canned but will try this out now!


Maha January 23, 2016 at 11:17 am

I like your pumpkin purée but I want to ask how long can I store the purée in the friedge and the freezer


Frances Wa;yne October 5, 2016 at 3:29 pm

If you can find one (or grow them!) use a wonderful heirloom pumpkin that is fabulous, the Long Island Cheese Pumpkin. the best for pies, etc. Also, check out “Pumpkin Stuffed with Everything Good” … on Epicurious recipes…


Paula Shick October 26, 2016 at 6:55 pm

Roasting my pumpkins now. How do you think the puree would be in a cheesecake?


Kelly Mikel November 13, 2016 at 3:11 pm

Can this be frozen for future use?


Angela Liddon November 17, 2016 at 11:10 am

Hi Kelly, I’ve often heard that pumpkin puree freezes really well!


Red Deer Bonnie November 14, 2016 at 2:06 pm

I am very fortunate to have the space for a large garden here in the city. This is the first year I have grown sugar pumpkins. I have so many I am canning the puree for future use in the winter time. Thanks for the tips on cooking them.


Angela Liddon November 14, 2016 at 3:48 pm

Oh, that’s so great! Enjoy those fresh pumpkins. :)


Eleanore November 17, 2016 at 9:29 pm

More recipes for pumpkin pie


Melissa September 22, 2017 at 2:33 pm

Hi Angela!

Thanks for doing this blog post! I love roasting sugar pumpkins for my own fall baking, and you had some great tips that I incorporated this time around! Would you mind if I cited your blog in a post I’m doing on sugar pumpkins? It’ll be my own material with a link to your blog and some of the helpful tips I used from your post.


Melissa (The Mama Llama)


Angela (Oh She Glows) September 25, 2017 at 2:16 pm

Hey Melissa,
Sure that’s no problem at all! Thanks for asking :)


Taylor Maxwell October 13, 2017 at 12:51 pm

How long will the pumpkin puree stay good in the fridge for?


Angela (Oh She Glows) October 13, 2017 at 1:39 pm

Hey Taylor, It should be good in an airtight container for up to 1 week. You can freeze it, I think, too!


Tim W October 24, 2017 at 9:36 am

My pumpkins leaked out a delicious sweet, oily nectar. Hope this is a good sign.


KB November 10, 2017 at 11:35 pm

I have a recipe for stuffed pumpkin that I’ve done so much I’ve worn off the last line of the recipe card and was looking for the time and temperature to roast a pumpkin. Whole. Not what I looked for here, but some interesting ideas… thanks!


Sue December 6, 2017 at 12:47 pm

DO I need to wash the painted faces from Halloween off the skin first?


Erin October 28, 2018 at 12:27 pm

You should, yes. I wash all mine first


Missy Grant July 29, 2018 at 11:28 am

Can’t wait we are growing Sugar Pie Pumpkins .. First time Growing them, We have 2 so far that is growing like crazy getting bigger by the day. Going to try some of the recipes for them..


Angela (Oh She Glows) August 2, 2018 at 12:00 pm

Hey Missy, so cool you’re growing your own! I’d love to hear what you think of the pumpkin purée recipes when you try them out. My Pumpkin Gingerbread Muffins are lovely for the cooler months.


Lori Pierce October 25, 2018 at 3:40 am

I find using a grapefruit spoon that has the jagged edge to it scoops easily squash or the pumpkin. I also have a grapefruit knife from pampered chef that is Great for releasing the seeds and strings from zucchini, butternut squash, pumpkin or any other firm vegetable do you need to remove the insides.


Joanna Brewer October 29, 2018 at 8:38 pm

Hi! I can’t find the roasted pumpkin seed recipe! Please link it! I just bought 2 sugar pumpkins at a pumpkin patch and I need good recipes for them!


Angela (Oh She Glows) October 30, 2018 at 9:12 am

Hey Joanna, In this blog post, I’ve actually written the recipe throughout the post. :) Sorry for the confusion!


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