This fall, skip the canned pumpkin! Instead, make homemade Instant Pot pumpkin purée with a sugar pumpkin!
Do you want to make your own pumpkin purée?
Does the thought of cooking a whole pumpkin and scooping out the tasty orange middle make you excited, but also a little nervous?
For a long time, for years, I thought that making pumpkin purée from scratch would be SO DIFFICULT.
Recently, as I wandered past the winter squash at Trader Joe's and saw the pretty little sugar pumpkins sitting right next to the acorn squash, something occurred to me.
I cook squash all the time!
What was I so worried about?!
And so, I grabbed several sugar pumpkins (or pie pumpkins), and headed home.
Once I was in the kitchen, I realized something.
The only difficult part about cooking sugar pumpkin (and other winter squash) is cutting them in half (because winter squash are notoriously difficult to cut) and also waiting on them to cook.
This Instant Pot pumpkin purée recipe solves both problems.
You'll cook the pumpkin whole, and then when you cut it in half your knife will glide right through without struggling.
And this Instant Pot pumpkin purée is ready in about 35 minutes-- a full 25 minutes faster than roasted pumpkin purée.
No Instant Pot yet? Use your oven instead and make roasted pumpkin purée.
What Kind of Pumpkin Should I Use?
Look for a sugar pumpkin or a pie pumpkin.
They're the same type of pumpkin, but you'll see them labeled both ways.
These pumpkins are usually near (or with) the winter squash at the grocery store.
This recipe uses a 2-3 pound pumpkin, which is a pretty average size.
If your pumpkin is bigger, try adding one extra minute of pressure cooking for each extra pound.
And keep in mind that if you buy a massive sugar pumpkin, it might not fit in the Instant Pot whole, and you'll have to cut it before cooking.
How to Make Instant Pot Pumpkin Purée
Start by rinsing the dirt off your pumpkin.
Next, grab the trivet that came with your Instant Pot and set it in the pot. Place the pumpkin on top.
Add one cup of water to the pot.
Close the Instant Pot, turn the valve to the sealing position, and press pressure cook (or manual).
Set the timer to 14 minutes.
Some Instant Pots models have a pressure cook button, and others have a manual button. They do exactly the same thing.
It will take about six minutes for the Instant Pot to build pressure, and then it’ll start counting down.
When the countdown finishes, your pot will beep and begin counting up.
Let the Instant Pot do a natural release for ten minutes.
Next, carefully release any remaining pressure.
Remove the pumpkin from the Instant Pot, set the trivet aside, and discard the water.
Cut the pumpkin in half, and scoop out the seeds and membrane.
Next, scoop out the cooked pumpkin.
The skin will be very soft at this point, and it should separate easily from the pumpkin flesh.
If there's any tough bits that feel like they should've cooked a little longer, don't worry about it, we'll take care of that next.
Go back to your Instant Pot, and press the sauté button.
Add a little olive oil, the pumpkin, and some salt.
Mash the pumpkin down with a wooden spoon or spatula, and let it cook in the oil for about five minutes.
Cooking the pumpkin in the oil adds a little extra flavor, and it also helps cook off any extra water.
At this point, you've got mashed pumpkin.
If I know I’ll be blending the pumpkin in a recipe later, or if I just want to eat the pumpkin as a snack, I stop here.
Want more Instant Pot ideas? Check out all of my Instant Pot recipes.
For a silky pumpkin purée , scoop the pumpkin into a blender or food processor, and blend until it's creamy!
At this point, you can either use the pumpkin immediately (in a recipe or as a snack), or stick it in the fridge or freezer for another day.
Instant Pot Pumpkin Purée
- trivet (I use the one that came with my Instant Pot)
- 1 sugar pumpkin (2-3 lbs) Sometimes labeled "pumpkin pie pumpkin"
- 1 cup water
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- Rinse off the pumpkin. Use a knife to poke a few holes in the top of the pumpkin (to let the steam escape).
- Add trivet to the Instant Pot, set pumpkin on top (stem-side up), and add 1 cup water.
- Seal the lid and turn the steam valve to the sealing position.
- Set Instant Pot to pressure cook/manual, high pressure. Set the cook time for 14 minutes.
- The Instant Pot will take about 6 minutes to come to pressure, and then will start counting down the cook time. After the cook time is finished, the machine will begin the natural release process, and the countdown timer will start counting up. Allow the Instant Pot to do a natural release for 10 minutes.After 10 minutes, carefully quick release the remaining pressure by using the handle of a long spoon (I use a wooden spoon) to turn the steam valve to venting.Tip: Quick release can be messy– the vent will let loose some liquids with the steam. Lay a kitchen towel over the top to keep your kitchen clean.
- Wait for the steam to escape and the pin to drop down. Then, carefully remove the lid.
- Remove the pumpkin from the Instant Pot, and discard the water. Set the trivet aside.
- Cut the pumpkin in half, and remove the seeds and membrane.
- Scoop the pumpkin out, and discard the skin. Tip: If a little bit of skin ends up in the purée, it's okay. It's edible.
- Add the olive oil to the empty Instant Pot basin. Press the sauté button. Leave the adjustable temperature setting at normal.
- Add the cooked pumpkin and salt to the pan. Use a wooden spoon to mash the pumpkin into the oil, and let the pumpkin cook for about 5 minutes.This step helps remove any excess water from the pumpkin, and adds a little extra flavor.
- Skip the Blender (Option 1):If you're eating the pumpkin as a side dish, adding to a dish that will be puréed after adding the pumpkin, or if you're adding it to a dish where it doesn't matter if the pumpkin is silky smooth, you can stop here.Blend the Pumpkin (Option 2):For extra-smooth pumpkin purée, add the pumpkin to a blender or food processor. If your blender struggles, add a splash of water while blending, but you shouldn't need to!
- Serve immediately as a side dish, or add to a recipe.Make Ahead:Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to a week, or in the freezer for up to two months. Do not can.