How To Cook With Fresh Or Canned Pumpkin

Wondering what to do with that can of pumpkin puree in your pantry? Here are a few recipes to get you started!

Pumpkin isn’t just for pies and centerpieces. Add spices to sweet or savory pumpkin recipes for nutritious breakfast and dinner dishes, starting with these easy recipes.

The humble pumpkin doesn’t get much credit. Carved into a jack-o-lantern, pumpkins are symbols of Halloween. But the smaller, edible pumpkins (called sugar or pie pumpkins) are nutritious vegetables and a member of the squash family. Substitute cooked sugar pumpkin for other winter squash (especially butternut or acorn) in recipes.

Pumpkin is a Nutritious Vegetable

Pumpkin is a healthy choice. It is low in calories, high in fiber, and full of essential antioxidants, including beta-carotene (the precursor to vitamin A). Nutrition experts recommend eating green leafy vegetables and orange vegetables every day. Why not include some pumpkin?

Pumpkin seeds and their oil are rich in highly polyunsaturated omega-6 fats. The seeds of both decorative and sugar pumpkins make a delicious snack – learn how to cook and season them.

Flavors that Complement Pumpkin

Pumpkin pies are by far the most popular use of pumpkins, but the flavor of pumpkin goes well with savory spices too.

Sweet Spices:


Savory Spices:

 Hot spices (hot peppers, paprika, cayenne)

Using Canned Pumpkin

Unless you’re making pie, choose plain canned pumpkin rather than pumpkin pie filling.

Using Fresh Pumpkin

The fresh pumpkins sold for carving are large and not suitable for cooking. Look instead for the smaller sugar pumpkins in the produce section of grocery stores.

Fresh pumpkin, like other winter squash, is harvested during the fall. They will keep well into the winter if kept cool and dry.

Cook fresh sugar pumpkin as for other winter squash; omitting brown sugar and butter/margarine.

Easy Pumpkin Recipes

Use pumpkin in baked goods, breakfast foods, snacks, dinner and desserts. Here are some easy pumpkin recipes:

 pumpkin pie spice (two recipes)
 pumpkin oatmeal
 pumpkin yogurt

Pumpkin Pie Spice Recipes

Use either of these recipes in place of store bought pumpkin pie spice, or as a basis for sweet pumpkin recipes. Store mixes in a tightly-sealed glass jar.

Pumpkin Spice with Nutmeg

Makes 8 tsp.

 4 tsp. cinnamon
 2 tsp. ground ginger
 1 tsp. allspice
 1 tsp. nutmeg

Pumpkin Spice with Cloves

Makes 6 tsp.

 4 tsp. cinnamon
 1 tsp. ground ginger
 ½ tsp. ground cloves
 ½ tsp. allspice

Pumpkin Oatmeal Recipe


 1/3 cup oats
 2/3 cup water
 1/8 cup cooked, pureed or canned pumpkin
 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
 1 Tbsp. brown sugar or maple syrup
 Chopped pecans (optional)


  1. Combine the oats, water, pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice, and brown sugar/maple syrup in a bowl. Stir well.
  2. Microwave on HIGH power for 1 minute 10 seconds, or until hot and cooked. For other ways to cook oatmeal, see sub-heading Oatmeal Cooking Methods.
  3. Top oatmeal with chopped pecans and a splash of non-dairy milk. Enjoy a healthy breakfast!

Easy Pumpkin Yogurt Snack


 ¾ cup plain yogurt
 ½ cup cooked, pureed pumpkin or canned pumpkin
 1 Tbsp. maple syrup
 ½ tsp. pumpkin pie spice


Mix all ingredients together and eat!