Fresh Instant Pot pumpkin will level up your favorite pumpkin recipes. This homemade pumpkin puree is surprisingly easy to make and lets you cook, blend, and thicken all in the main cooking pot.
INGREDIENTS YOU NEED
For this recipe, you’ll just need a small pie pumpkin and water to steam it with!
As far as choosing a pie pumpkin, we didn’t have a lot of selection at the grocery stores around us: it was Sugar Pie Pumpkins or nothing.
If you’re lucky enough to live in an area with multiple cooking pumpkin varieties, check out the FAQ section for recommendations.
If you’re using an 8 quart pressure cooker, you may want to increase the water to 1 1/2 cups.
The BEST Way to Cook a Pumpkin in the Instant Pot
We developed our Instant Pot Pumpkin recipe to pressure cook, puree, and thicken all in one pot.
Use a sharp knife to remove the stem from the pumpkin and cut the pumpkin in equal halves. Use a spoon to remove the seeds and strings.
Place 1 cup water in the cooking pot, and insert a trivet on the bottom. Place the pumpkin halves on it. (We tested this recipe with both a two and four pound sugar pumpkin. The 4 pounder was a tight fit, but it did fit in a 6-quart.) Cook at high pressure for 10 minutes.
After a 5-minute natural release, release the pressure. Carefully remove the pumpkin to a rimmed plate. Discard the cooking water, remove the trivet, and wipe out the cooking pot.
Once the pumpkin is cool enough to handle, scrape the pumpkin flesh from the skin. Discard the skin.
If you have an immersion blender, you can put the cooked pumpkin right back into the cooking pot for blending.
Otherwise, place the pumpkin in a food processor or blender and pulse until very smooth.
Tip: If you’re using an immersion blender, use a rubber scraper to pile the cooked pumpkin so the immersion blender can reach it easily. Both the 2 pound and the 4 pound pumpkins we tested were easy to immersion blend right in the pot.
Once the pumpkin puree is nice and smooth, you’ll want to cook it down so it has a nice thick consistency like canned pumpkin.
A bonus is that sautéing the pumpkin helps caramelize and concentrate the flavor, which you’ll notice in the finished dish.
You can finish the pumpkin on the stove or you can use the Saute setting on your Instant Pot (Normal on some models, around a Level 3 or 4 on others). Saute until the water has boiled off. Continue cooking until the pumpkin starts to turn a darker orange and has been reduced by a quarter to half of the total volume.
Be sure to stir regularly to prevent scorching.
Place in a dish to cool to room temperature before using in your recipe. Refrigerate if desired.
NOTE: The total sauté time depends on the size and how much liquid your particular pumpkin has.
Important Tips for Making Instant Pot Pumpkin Puree
As a general rule of thumb, each pound of pumpkin you buy is close to 1 cup of pumpkin puree before sauteing.
Then, make sure to take the sauté step into account when deciding what size of pumpkin to buy.
For example, our 4-pound pumpkin yielded just 3 cups of finished pumpkin puree. (After pressure cooking and blending, we had just shy of 4 cups of pumpkin puree, which we then reduced down by about a quarter.)
No wrong way to cook a pumpkin
I have to note that there are several different ways you can pressure cook pumpkins.
I prefer halving and cleaning the pumpkins before cooking, for a few reasons:
- A cut pumpkin will cook more quickly than a whole pumpkin.
- It can be tricky to fit a whole pumpkin in a 6-quart Instant Pot, especially if it’s a larger cooking pumpkin. Cutting it first makes it easier.
- I find it easier to remove the pumpkin seeds and strings before cooking. (And, honestly, from a sensory standpoint, I found the pumpkin guts and seeds more icky after pressure cooking, so I wanted to spend as little time as possible on that step.)
- Removing the guts first means that liquid is allowed to escape while the pumpkin cooks.
However, others hollow the pumpkin before cooking or even put the whole pumpkin into the Instant Pot and remove the guts and skin after cooking. As always, we 100% support using the method that feels best for you!
Frequently Asked Questions about Instant Pot Pumpkin
Cool the puree to room temperature and divide 1-cup portions into freezer-safe ziplock bags. Label, date, and freeze for 6 months to 1 year.
Use a fork or a small knife to prick the pumpkin. It’s done cooking when there’s no resistance. If you need to add more time, replace the lid and a few more minutes of cook time, along with a 5-minute natural pressure release.
You can! If you are cooking a whole pumpkin, you’ll need to increase the cook time quite a bit. I’d start with 20 minutes for a smaller 2-pound pumpkin and 25 minutes for a larger 4-pound pumpkin. Add more time as needed.
It’s not my favorite method, for the reasons I mentioned above, but use the method that works best for you!
The Saute step in this recipe works just as great for Libby’s pure pumpkin as it does for homemade.
Make sure to use extra pumpkin so you have the amount called for in the recipe after you’re done sautéing.
Canned pumpkin will also need a shorter sauté time—I’d start with just 2 minutes, stirring frequently until the canned pumpkin darkens and is reduced by about 1/4.
We developed this recipe for Sugar Pie Pumpkins, because those were the cooking pumpkins available in our area. Do NOT use a carving pumpkin, since carving pumpkins are much more stringy and have a higher water content.
If you can find them, these heirloom and specialty pumpkin varieties make pumpkin puree that is extra smooth and flavorful:
—Dickinson pumpkins (aka Dickinson squash, aka what you’ll find in your can of Libby’s)
—Butternut squash (yep, it makes a great pie)
Note: You’ll need to adjust the recipe if you’re cooking with one of these larger specialty varieties. If your pumpkin is more than 4 pounds, you’ll need to cut it into more pieces and you’ll need to increase your pressure cook and sauté times by a few minutes.
What to Make with Homemade Pumpkin Puree?
Honestly, the sky really is the limit when it comes to using your Instant Pot pumpkin puree! Here are a few of our favorites:
Instant Pot Pumpkin Pies cook up SO cute and easy. They’re great to make in advance!
This recipe calls for just 1/2 cup pumpkin puree, which makes it perfect for using up leftover pumpkin puree.
This decadent recipe “bakes” in the Instant Pot and toes the line between dessert and breakfast.
These individual servings pressure cook six at a time and have a subtle pumpkin flavor with the classic creme brulee crunch.
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- 1 pie pumpkin (2 to 4 pounds)*
- 1 cup water
- Start with a clean pumpkin. Use a sharp knife to remove the stem, then cut the pumpkin in equal halves. Use a spoon to remove the seeds and strings.
- Place a trivet in the bottom of the pressure cooking pot, then add 1 cup water. Fit the pumpkin halves on the trivet so there is room for the steam on all sides. Lock the lid in place. Select High Pressure and 10 minutes cook time.
- When the cook time ends, allow the pressure to release naturally for 5 minutes, then finish with a quick release. When the valve drops, carefully remove the lid.
- Remove the pumpkin to a rimmed plate. Discard the cooking water, remove the trivet, and wipe out the cooking pot. Use a spoon to scrape the pumpkin flesh from the skin. Discard the skin.
- Return the pumpkin flesh back into the cooking pot. Use an immersion blender to puree the cooked pumpkin until smooth.
- To finish the puree, select Sauté adjusted to Normal (Level 3 or 4 on some models). Saute, stirring regularly until the liquids have boiled off. Continue cooking until the pumpkin puree beings to turn a darker orange and is reduced by a quarter to half of the original volume. Keep stirring to avoid scorching.*
- Place in a dish to cool to room temperature before using in your recipe. Refrigerate if not using immediately.
*We tested this recipe with both a 2-pound and 4-pound pumpkin. The pressure cook time for the two were identical. However, the larger pumpkin needed a longer saute time. The 2 pound pumpkin only needed 6 minutes to sauté and made 1 1/2 cups puree after sauteeing. The 4 pound pumpkin needed 12 minutes during the sauté step. After sautéing, we had 2 3/4 cups puree.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 1 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 323Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 35mgSodium: 327mgCarbohydrates: 46gFiber: 2gSugar: 25gProtein: 5g
Nutrition information is calculated by Nutritionix and may not always be accurate.
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