Recipe Spotlight

What to Make with Canned Pumpkin Puree

From breakfast to dessert.

Published Oct. 12, 2023.

It’s time for all things pumpkin! 

It seems like people either love or hate pumpkin things. I’ve found that when people think they don’t like pumpkin, it’s actually that they just don’t like pumpkin spice, which can be overwhelming when it’s not properly used (or it's overused).

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10 ingredients. 45 minutes. Quick, easy, and fresh weeknight recipes.

Pumpkin minus the spices is pretty mild. When it comes to canned pumpkin, the USDA doesn’t have strong guidelines to define “pumpkin,” so any sort of squash-like vegetable can be used, which means flavor can vary by brand. 

The test kitchen’s favorite pumpkin puree is Libby’s 100% Pure Pumpkin. Libby’s uses Dickinson pumpkins, which are known for having tender flesh and a sweeter flavor. Tasters found Libby’s canned pumpkin puree to have a smooth consistency, prominent pumpkin flavor, and subtle squash notes.

(Keep in mind that canned pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie mix or filling are not the same thing.)

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The Best Canned Pumpkin

What’s the best canned pumpkin?
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The recipes below all call for pumpkin puree. Some of these recipes are meant to have prominent pumpkin spice flavor (like the Pumpkin Spice Muffins), and others have judicious amounts of pumpkin spice or no pumpkin spice at all to let the pumpkin flavor shine through. So whether or not you’re a fan of the spice, there’s bound to be a pumpkin recipe here that you’ll love.

If you really, really don’t like pumpkin spice but still want to make a recipe that calls for it, my suggestion is to just swap in a little cinnamon in place of the pumpkin spice. You’ll still get warm notes that pair perfectly with pumpkin but not the flavor that some people find overwhelming. 

Bake Canned Pumpkin into Muffins and Cakes

Our Pumpkin Spice Muffins are supermoist and lightly flavored from the addition of pumpkin puree. They are made for pumpkin spice lovers, as they have pumpkin spice in both the muffin and the crunchy streusel topping.


Pumpkin Spice Muffins

This trendy spice mix was missing one thing: actual pumpkin flavor. Not anymore.
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Using a quick-bread method (stirring together the wet and dry ingredients separately before combining them) ensures that our Pumpkin–Chocolate Chip Snack Cake doesn’t get overmixed (so it will be nice and tender). Mini chocolate chips complement the mild pumpkin. 


Pumpkin–Chocolate Chip Snack Cake

Mini chocolate chips add an exciting touch to this sweet snack cake.
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For a company-worthy dessert, there’s our Maple-Pumpkin Stack Cake. It has four layers of pumpkin cake with maple-sweetened whipped cream spread over each one. Some toasted pecans tossed on top add a bit of crunch. 


Maple-Pumpkin Stack Cake

Why stop at two? Spice up your holiday table this year with four layers of moist, ­tender pumpkin cake sandwiched with maple cream.
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Transform Canned Pumpkin into a Creamy Sauce

You won’t find any pumpkin spice in our Cheese Ravioli with Pumpkin Cream Sauce—just lots of browned butter, toasted hazelnuts, and frizzled sage. Cooking the pumpkin with cream and adding Parmesan cheese turns it into a decadent sauce.


Cheese Ravioli with Pumpkin Cream Sauce

Save time with store-bought ravioli and canned pumpkin, and spend it on browned butter, toasted hazelnuts, and crispy sage leaves instead.
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Use Canned Pumpkin to Make Pumpkin Pie

Everyone’s favorite way to use canned pumpkin is in pumpkin pie. And we won’t disappoint you there. Here are three of our favorite pumpkin pie recipes.

We know holidays can be busy, so that’s why we developed our Make-Ahead Pumpkin Pie with Maple-Cinnamon Whipped Cream. You can make the whole pie up to two weeks ahead and freeze it. When you’re ready to serve it, simply let it thaw for 5 hours at room temperature, whip up the topping, and spread it over.


Make-Ahead Pumpkin Pie with Maple-Cinnamon Whipped Cream

What we wanted: a pumpkin pie we could freeze whole. What we got: an excellent pie, frozen or not.
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Our Rum Pumpkin Chiffon Pie has a meringue-based filling, so it is exceptionally light and airy. A graham cracker crust and some crumbled gingersnaps on top add lots of complementary flavor and crunch. 


Rum Pumpkin Chiffon Pie

Pumpkin pie is great. But this year, we were in the mood for something exceptional.
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Finally, for a real showstopper, there’s our Pumpkin Praline Pie, which has a luscious custard filling and a crunchy pecan praline top, making it the best combination of pumpkin pie and pecan pie.


Pumpkin-Praline Pie

What's not to like about a pie that combines the familiar spiced custard of a pumpkin pie with the praline-like chew of a pecan pie? We set out to create a recipe that yielded crunchy praline, sturdy pumpkin custard, and just the right sweetness.
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If you have any leftover pumpkin puree after opening a can, here are some ways to use it up. 

  • Add pumpkin puree to a smoothie.
  • Make parfaits by layering yogurt, pumpkin puree, and granola.
  • Add pumpkin puree to pasta or macaroni and cheese.
  • Stir pumpkin puree into chili or stew.

You can also transfer extra pumpkin puree to a zipper-lock bag or airtight container and freeze it for up to two months.

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