Instant Pot Pumpkin

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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.

Instant Pot pumpkin in a white bowl with a pumpkin pie off to the side and a pumpkin in the background.

Sugar pie pumpkins are smaller and perfect for the Instant Pot. Take your from scratch recipes one step further with this easy-to-make, fresh pumpkin puree. From pie, to cookies, and oatmeal.

A pumpkin pie pumpkin cut in half and cleaned out, ready to cook in an Instant Pot.


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.

A pumpkin cut in half and cleaned out in an Instant Pot ready to cook.

The BEST Way to Cook a Pumpkin in the Instant Pot

This easy recipe will work in any brand of electric pressure cooker, including the Instant Pot, Ninja Foodi, or Power Pressure Cooker XL.

We developed our Instant Pot Pumpkin recipe to pressure cook, puree, and thicken all in one pot.

Pressure Cook

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.

Overhead shot of pumpkin puree that has been sauted and cooked down in an Instant 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. 

Pumpkin puree in a white bowl with a pumpkin and an Instant Pot in the background.

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.)

Pumpkin puree on a wooden spoon over an Instant Pot with freshly prepared pumpkin puree.

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!

Close up picture of Instant Pot pumpkin puree in a white bowl with a wooden spoon placed to the side.

Frequently Asked Questions about Instant Pot Pumpkin

Can I freeze homemade pumpkin puree? 

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.

How can I tell when the pumpkin is done cooking?

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.

Can I cook the pumpkin whole, without cutting first?

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!

Does the Sauté trick work with canned pumpkin?

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.

What is the best pumpkin for making pumpkin puree for baking? 

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)
—Fairytale pumpkins
—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.

A white bowl with Instant Pot pumpkin puree in a white bowl.

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 Pie plated up for Thanksgiving.

Instant Pot Homemade Pumpkin Pie ↗

Instant Pot Pumpkin Pies cook up SO cute and easy. They’re great to make in advance!

slice of pumpkin cheesecake drizzled with caramel sauce

Pumpkin Caramel Cheesecake ↗

This recipe calls for just 1/2 cup pumpkin puree, which makes it perfect for using up leftover pumpkin puree.

Pumpkin Spice Instant Pot Steel Cut Oats in a white bowl, topped with pecans and granola

Pumpkin Pie Steel Cut Oats with Pecan Granola ↗

This recipe combines two classic Thanksgiving pies: pumpkin and pecan. It’s the perfect way to start the day.

Profile image of Instant Pot / Pressure Cooker Pumpkin Spice Baked French Toast with whipped cream, maple syrup, and pecans on top.

Instant Pot Pumpkin Baked French Toast

This decadent recipe “bakes” in the Instant Pot and toes the line between dessert and breakfast.

Pressure Cooker (Instant Pot) Pumpkin Crème Brûlée

Instant Pot Pumpkin Crème Brûlée ↗

These individual servings pressure cook six at a time and have a subtle pumpkin flavor with the classic creme brulee crunch.

a spoonful of creamy pumpkin soup with black beans, ground pork, and tomatoes visible, suspended over the rest of the bowl

Instant Pot Pumpkin Soup with Black Beans & Pork

This savory soup’s secret ingredient is pumpkin, which gives the soup its creamy texture and beautiful color.

Do you LOVE this recipe?
Leave us a review below to tell us why!

Close up picture of Instant Pot pumpkin puree in a white bowl with a wooden spoon placed to the side.

Homemade Pumpkin Puree | Instant Pot Recipe

Yield: 1.5 to 2.75 cups puree
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Additional Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

This Instant Pot Pumpkin recipe is the easiest way to cook a pie pumpkin! This homemade pumpkin puree has a short cook time and cooks, blends, and thickens your pumpkin all in the same pot.


  • 1 pie pumpkin (2 to 4 pounds)*
  • 1 cup water


Pressure Cook

  1. 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. 
  2. 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.
  3. 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. 
  4. 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.


  1. Return the pumpkin flesh back into the cooking pot. Use an immersion blender to puree the cooked pumpkin until smooth.


  1. 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.*
  2. 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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