How to Cook a Pumpkin in the Oven the Easy Way

How to cook a pumpkin in the oven and make pumpkin puree.

how to cook a pumpkin

Every fall I can’t resist buying sugar pie pumpkins to use in recipes. I love to see them sitting in the kitchen through the fall months, and then I cook them to make pumpkin puree.

Last week I decided it was time to tackle the pie pumpkins sitting in my kitchen.

In the past, I’ve always cut the pumpkins in half first, took out the seeds and the insides, and then baked the pumpkin in the oven on a cookie sheet.

Here’s the traditional recipe I’ve always used before:

Cut pie pumpkin in half and clean out cavity. Place flesh side down in a cake pan or cookie sheet with sides. Add a little water. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 1/2 hours or until pumpkin is fork tender. Scrape out and mash or puree in the blender.

That’s how I’ve always done it in the past. But the problem with that method is that it’s quite a bit of work to cut a raw pumpkin in half. It takes some serious effort!

Today I’m going to show you a much simpler process for how to cook a pumpkin.

How to Cook a Pumpkin the Easy Way

First, I washed my pumpkins and dried them off. Then, I broke the stems off so they’d fit on the center oven rack more easily.

I put a sheet of aluminum foil underneath them just in case things got messy, but it turns out that wasn’t necessary.

how to cook a pumpkin

I baked the whole pumpkins (without piercing them or doing anything else to them) in a 200 degree (200 ° F) oven for a few hours.

My pumpkins were around 3 1/2 or 4 pounds, and it took them about 4 hours to finish cooking.

I checked them around the 3-hour mark and they didn’t feel soft enough, so I let them cook for another hour. Finally, they were soft enough to make an indentation when I pressed on them with my finger.

how to cook a pumpkin

After removing them from the oven, I placed them on a cookie sheet and cut them in half.

how to cook a pumpkin

Then I removed the seeds and stringy flesh.

how to cook a pumpkin

Using a large spoon, I then scooped out all the cooked pumpkin.

how to cook a pumpkin

Then all the cooked pumpkin went into the food processor to be turned into homemade pumpkin puree.

how to cook a pumpkin

After quite a bit of blending in the food processor, the pumpkin puree is finished. Simple!

Compared to all the work I used to do trying to saw through an uncooked pumpkin, this is so much simpler.

how to cook a pumpkin

If you would like to freeze the pumpkin puree, be sure to use a freezer-safe wide-mouth mason jar, and leave a few inches of head space at the top for expansion.

You can also freeze it in freezer bags if you prefer (or if you’re short on freezer space).

How to Use Cooked Pumpkin

Even though I intended to freeze my homemade pumpkin puree, I ended up making this butternut squash soup recipe (replacing the butternut squash with the pumpkin). It would also be great in these Einkorn pumpkin muffins.

how to cook a pumpkin

How to Cook a Pumpkin in the Oven

how to cook a pumpkin
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5 from 1 vote

How to Cook a Pumpkin in the Oven

How to cook a pumpkin in the oven and make pumpkin puree for recipes.
Author: Joy at Artful Homemaking


  • Pie Pumpkins


  • Use as many pumpkins as will fit in your oven on the center rack. Wash and dry the pumpkins and remove stems if necessary to help them fit in the oven better.
  • Move the oven rack to the center of the oven and put down aluminum foil or a cookie sheet to catch any drips (mine didn't require this, but it may still be a good idea).
  • Bake at 200 degrees (F) for a few hours. The time depends on how big your pumpkins are. My pumpkins were about 3.5-4 lbs, and they took 4 hours. A larger pumpkin will take longer.
  • Check your pumpkins periodically to see if they're getting soft. You'll know they're ready when the outside feels soft.
  • When they're soft, remove from the oven, place on a cookie sheet or cutting board, and cut the pumpkins in half. 
  • Remove the seeds and the stringy flesh in the pumpkin cavity. 
  • Using a large spoon, scoop out the cooked pumpkin and put into a food processor. 
  • Process the pumpkin in the food processor until you have a nice smooth puree.
  • Store in jars or another container. The puree will stay good in the fridge for a few days or in the freezer for months.

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How to Cook a Pumpkin

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  1. The puree is great for pumpkin pies. So much better than canned pumpkin. And you can still use the Libby’s recipe, which is the best. But you must drain the pumpkin puree first, so it is not so moist. I put a paper towel in a sieve and put the sieve over a bowl and drain it overnight. Then I either use it or freeze it.

  2. Hi!
    This does look way easier than chopping!

    Thanks for sharing at the Homestead Blog Hop!


    Congrats on being featured this week!


  3. Thanks for the great tip. I have no problem cutting the pumpkins since I have a two foot long huge knife. However cooking them whole is way better. It worked great. I added some brown sugar to the puree and then froze it for later use during the cold winter. Tried some immediately and it was great. I have about 200 bags of banana squash I cooked and bagged and the family loves some of it at every evening meal during the winter months.

  4. Ally says your a little too slow 🙂 she cooked her first pumpkin and made puree which she used right away to make pies. About a week ago. Our pumpkin must have been allot smaller than yours. She cut it into wedges and baked for about 45 min. We may have to try this way next time.

    1. Go Ally! That’s great that she cooked her first pumpkin. I find this way to be so much simpler than the traditional way, so I plan to do it like this from now on.

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