How to cook with pumpkin
Make the most of your leftover pumpkin by transforming it into a range of sweet and savoury dishes. Also follow our tips for how to cook this seasonal squash
Leftover pumpkin on your hands? Step away from the rubbish bun and instead delve into our tasty tips for using up this super squash. Whether you are looking for a simple roast pumpkin recipe, comforting one-pot or moist and fluffy pumpkin cake, we've got lots of sweet and savoury options. These easy pumpkin recipes are perfect for celebrating Halloween, Thanksgiving or if you just love cooking with this versatile veg. For more ideas, take a look at our collection of leftover pumpkin recipes.
How to roast pumpkin
Roasting is the easiest way to cook a pumpkin – our basic recipe involves cutting the squash into wedges, drizzling in oil and baking it in the oven. You can, of course add extra spices, herbs or flavourings if you wish.
- 1kg pumpkin, peeled and cut into finger-thick wedge-shaped chunks
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 4 thyme sprigs, leaves only (optional)
To prepare the pumpkin: use a sharp, serrated knife to cut lid off pumpkin and then use a large serving spoon to scoop out seeds (reserve these for roasting), fibres and flesh inside. Cut into wedge-shaped chunks, about 1 inch thick each. For more detailed instructions and images, see our guide on how to carve a pumpkin.
- Pre-heat oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6.
- Place the pumpkin slices on a large, shallow baking sheet. Drizzle with the olive oil and toss to coat all sides of the pumpkin. Season well and scatter over the thyme leaves (if using)
- Roast for about 20 minutes, until the pumpkin is softened and starting to crisp at the edges. Check the seasoning again, and serve.
How to roast pumpkin seeds
One of the first things you will do with your pumpkin, whether you're carving or cooking, is scoop out the seeds. These little kernels are packed with vitamins and minerals and are a great source of fibre, so it would be a shame to throw them away.
Try our ultimate roasted pumpkin seeds recipe:
- Boil some salted water in a large saucepan, clean the seeds and add them to the pan. Boil for 5-10 minutes depending on the size, then drain on a kitchen towel.
- Toss the drained seeds with a little oil, some seasoning and spread evenly across a large baking sheet
- Roast the seeds at 180C/gas 4 for about 8-10 minutes until they are crisp and golden
We've got plenty more tips and flavour ideas in our guide on how to roast pumpkin seeds.
Discover more delicious pumpkin seed recipes.
Pumpkin cake recipes
Sweet pumpkin lends itself perfectly to cakes and bakes when grated. Combine with cinnamon for lightly spiced cupcakes and muffins, enhance the sweetness with honey or give your favourite carrot cake recipe a makeover. If you find your grated pumpkin is a little too wet, simply give it a good squeeze before using and keep an eye on it during baking – the added moisture may mean it needs a little longer in the oven.
Browse more of our tempting pumpkin baking and dessert recipes.
Quick pumpkin recipes
It's often assumed that cooking pumpkin will keep you in the kitchen for quite a while. This isn't always the case, as our speedy squash favourites prove. Make a moreish midweek meal by using blended pumpkin to make a creamy pasta sauce, roast and serve with sausages or simply season and eat as a side dish.
Pumpkin soup recipes
Soft pumpkin flesh blends effortlessly into a thick, velvety soup, making for an impressive dinner party starter. Roast the squash first to enhance its flavour, then add onions, cream and stock to keep the colour bright and bold. Finish off the completed soup with a sprinkling of crunchy pumpkin seeds and salty pancetta.
More like this
Looking to try something different? Give your bowl a spicy twist by adding chilli flakes plus warming cumin and garam masala, or opt for Thai-inspired flavours such as lemongrass and ginger. For a lighter, dairy-free option, try our vegan pumpkin soup, finished with a mouthwatering coconut and pumpkin seed relish.
Discover more of the best-ever pumpkin soup recipes.
Whole pumpkin recipes
Not a fan of jack-o'-lanterns? Cook up a flavourful biryani, then serve it inside the pumpkin itself. Alternatively, scoop out the seeds and strands, pour garlic cream inside and roast the pumpkin whole for a delicious taste and texture. If you are throwing a vegan dinner party for Halloween, our impressive stuffed pumpkin recipe is sure to wow your guests. Fill it with a mouth-watering medley of rice, fennel, apple, pomegranate seeds and pecans.
Even if you aren't going to eat the whole pumpkin – it can still act as a brilliant vessel for dips and spreads. Carve out the centre and use it to blitz up a hummus, then serve this in the pumpkin with peppers, breadsticks and pitta chips for a striking party piece. Or create a bubbling cauldron effect by filling your pumpkin with a rich, three cheese fondue and serve with crusty bread for dipping.
Pumpkin dessert recipes
Pumpkin pies are the obvious choice for transforming your squash into a sweet treat. Opt for a traditional version made with shortcrust pastry, nutmeg and cinnamon, or give it a twist with a lattice top, filo finish or decadent dollop of stem ginger cream. We also have an indulgent vegan version made with nut milk and maple syrup, so everyone can enjoy this classic dessert.
For another dazzling dessert option, make our baked pumpkin cheesecake. With a velvety cinnamon-spiced filling and crunchy ginger base, it's sure to be a hit. If you are short on time, then this frozen pumpkin cheesecake is a great alternative – it's no-bake and can be made ahead in less than half an hour.
Treat yourself to more decadent pumpkin dessert recipes.
Pumpkin one-pot recipes
The mild flavour of pumpkin means it soaks up aromatic flavours and spices easily, so it's a perfect base for curries and tagines. This chunky squash also helps to bulk up a creamy risotto, and combines well with prawns in a fragrant fish dish.
Get more perfect pumpkin ideas...
Top 20 pumpkin recipes
Our favourite pumpkin recipes
Pumpkin recipes for kids
Vegetarian pumpkin recipes
Vegan pumpkin recipes
Healthy pumpkin recipes
How to roast pumpkin seeds
Easy pumpkin carving ideas
Top 10 ways to use up leftover pumpkin
How to carve a pumpkin video
What are your top tips for cooking the winter squash? Leave a comment below...