The Best and Easiest Way to Cook a Pumpkin

Ever wonder about the best way to cook a pumpkin? Toss it in the slow cooker! This post will explain all the details of cooking your pumpkin perfectly.

Picture of Pumpkin in the Slow Cooker

The BEST Way to Cook a Whole Pumpkin

Have you ever tried to cook a pumpkin to use in a recipe instead of buying canned pumpkin from the store? I always think that it sounds like a fun idea but I rarely do it. A few years ago, I cooked a small pumpkin in the oven and what didn’t stick to the pan tasted too roasted to enjoy in sweet dishes. My quest for a better option started early this year when I decided to plant sugar pumpkins in my garden. They grew well and now I have about a dozen sitting on my porch!

Sugar, sweet, or pie pumpkins are general terms for the smaller 3 to 5 pound pumpkins that are typically grown to be eaten. They’ll be labeled at the store as a pumpkin that is good for baking (generally with a sticker or label attached to them). Their flesh is firmer and sweeter than other varieties, which makes them a great choice for cooking. The insides are a lot less slimy, stringy, and wet than typical jack-o-lantern pumpkins, so prepping them is pretty painless.

Cooking a fresh pumpkin is fun and simple. You should try it this fall just to say you did!

After a bit of research, I decided to try to cook a pumpkin in the slow cooker. My friends, this method is perfect. The pumpkin stays moist, it scoops out easily, there’s little clean up, and it practically cooks itself. The day that I was in the kitchen trying out this method, I planned on cooking 2 of my pumpkins in my large slow cooker at once. When they were finished cooking and my warm slow cooker was still on the counter, I grabbed 2 more pumpkins to cook just because it was so easy. I love this method!

Aren’t the pumpkins pretty?

The best and easiest way to cook a pumpkin - tasty and cheaper than normal canned pumpkin!

Tips and Tricks to Cook a Pumpkin

  • Sugar, sweet, or pie pumpkins are general terms for the smaller 3 to 5 pound pumpkins that are typically grown to be eaten. They’ll be labeled at the store as a pumpkin that is good for baking (generally with a sticker or label attached to them). Their flesh is firmer and sweeter than other varieties, which makes them a great choice for cooking. The insides are a lot less slimy, stringy, and wet than typical jack-o-lantern pumpkins, so prepping them is pretty painless.
  • That being said, you can still cook the pumpkins you normally buy to carve!
  • Most you-pick pumpkin patches will have a section of edible pumpkins/squash so be sure to ask if you go.
  • Don’t forget to puree your homemade pumpkin puree in the food processor or blender for that smooth velvety texture.
  • I love to use fresh pumpkin in my fresh pumpkin piehomemade pumpkin pastapumpkin enchiladas, and healthy pumpkin muffins.
  • You can use fresh pumpkin puree in any recipe calling for pumpkin, though the color will be a little different than using canned pumpkin.
  • Homemade pumpkin puree freezes like a dream. Freezing it in one cup proportions is the best option for long-term storage.

The best and easiest way to cook a pumpkin - tasty and cheaper than normal canned pumpkin!

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How to Cook a Pumpkin in the Slow Cooker


  • Author: Melissa Griffiths
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 3 hours
  • Total Time: 3 hours 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 pumpkin makes about 1 1/2 cups 1x

Description

Ever wonder about the best way to cook a pumpkin? Toss it in the slow cooker! This post will explain all the details of cooking your pumpkin perfectly.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 or 2 sugar pumpkins (3 to 5 pounds each)

Instructions

  1. Wash the outside of the pumpkin with warm water taking care to scrub off any dirt if necessary. Remove the stem and cut the pumpkin in half. Remove the seeds (you can save them to roast) and the stringy parts of the inside of the pumpkin with a spoon or an ice cream scoop.
  2. Place the pumpkin halves skin side up in your slow cooker and cook on high for 2-3 hours or until a fork pierces through the skin of the pumpkin easily. Allow the pumpkin to cool enough to handle and then scrape the flesh from the shell with a spoon.
  3. Use the fresh pumpkin as you would canned pumpkin. Mash the insides with a fork to remove lumps or you may choose to puree it in a food processor or blender before using to get a very smooth texture.
  4. Store pumpkin flesh in the fridge for up to a week or in the freezer for up to 6 months.

Notes

  • If the pumpkin isn’t fitting well in your slow cooker, feel free to cut it into a few more pieces.
  • Category: Side
  • Method: Slow Cooker
  • Cuisine: American
Nutrition Information: YIELD: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 73.5 Fat: 3g Cholesterol: 0mg Sodium: 3.7mg Carbohydrates: 18g Sugars: 7.6g Protein: 2.6g Vitamin A: 1,058.4µg Vitamin C: 17.3mg

Keywords: slow cooker pumpkin recipe, easiest way to cook a pumpkin, how to cook a pumpkin, easy pumpkin recipe, how to cook a pumpkin crockpot, how to cook a pumpkin for pie, best pumpkin recipe

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The best and easiest way to cook a pumpkin - tasty and cheaper than normal canned pumpkin!

This is for sure the easiest way to cook a pumpkin but it isn’t the only way. You can also bake your pumpkin. It’s a bit quicker than this method, though there is a little more clean up involved. You can see my baked homemade pumpkin puree recipe here.

This post was originally published in October 2014 and has been updated and republished in October 2017.

Ever wonder how to cook a pumpkin? Best easiest way is to toss it in the slow cooker and this post will explain all the details!

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about me

About Melissa

I have a lot going on, and I’d much rather spend my time enjoying my messes than fretting about what I’m going to make for dinner. Over the past few years, I’ve nailed down a few strategies that helped me keep my kitchen running like a well-oiled machine, so I started Bless This Mess to help other mess-loving parents solve the nightly dinner delimma—no stress, no drama, just really great food your whole family will love. Read more...

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Do you think that I could make the broth the day before my brunch event? Then reheat the broth the next day and add the seafood?

This is a lot easier. Still a mess but that’s half the fun haha! I used two small pie pumpkins in my large crockpot. Made a much tastier filling in my opinion, and so easy!

Much much easier than the oven. It turned out great

You can also cook a pumpkin whole in the microwave. Remove the stalk, and slice off the top third of the pumpkin. Scoop out seeds etc. Add a clove of garlic, finely chopped, 1tsp. Cinnamon and a large knob butter. Replace the pumpkin top and cook for 30 mins until soft. Add salt and pepper to the inside, scoop and serve.

I cook homemade pumpkin pies every year and this is by far the easiest way. I won’t cook my pumpkins any other way. Thanks for sharing!

Can you eat it without pureeing it? Like just chunked out on a plate as a side. If like to try it without the added sweetness most of us are accustomed to. Get the natural taste of it with salt maybe. Is this recommended? Thank you your video and article are wonderful and look amazingly delicious.

I love pumpkins! I’ve grown them, boiled them and sautéed them. The water from boiling can be used too. I will try your slow cooker method. Thank you!

fastest way to cook a pumpkin for me , is in a pressure cooker …. get a new fancy one with digital LCD screen and all the settings ….. takes 4 minutes from when it gets up to pressure ……. waaaaaaaaaaay quicker, mind you its another gadget in the kitchen right ? lol I love to cook in a crock pot or slow cooker …… my waist line doesnt seem to mind though …

I am going to try in the crock pot! Thanks

I’going to try tomorrow on my Halloween pumpkins so I can fresh pumpkin pies!

First attempt at this
My pumpkin is really big
Will have to peel the shell off the meat first so no wasted time scooping
Planning on adding cinnamon in the possessor for extra flavor

I bought a pie pumpkin for my dog. This looks like the best way to cook it. Thanks!

Have you tried it on low? Maybe twice as long cook time? My days are such that i cant be there to turn it on then back 2-3 hours later to turn it off and i don’t have one of those fancy pots with the timer setting 🙂 thanks!

Bless This Mess - About Me

I’m Melissa, and I want to help you feed your family wholesome food.

As a hobby farmer and mom of five, I’m all about keeping it simple in the kitchen. I want healthy meals that feed my family well, and then I want to get back to my (messy) life. Let’s work together to find something yummy for your dinner table.