19 Ways to Use the Rest of That Can of Pumpkin Puree
You made pumpkin muffins (or pie! or bread!). And now you have half a can left: Have you tried pumpkin smoothies, curries, and brownies?
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When I was a kid, I hated pumpkin pie. The texture made me squirmy. What a fool I was, missing out on years’ worth of that perfect autumn dessert! These days I’ll never say no to a slice. And can we talk about pumpkin bread? Every so often I’ll make it even in the heat of summer, I love it so much. Throw in some chopped pecans and add a streusel topping, and I’m in heaven. Then there’s pumpkin cheesecake — don’t even get me started. But whatever I’m making, I’m often left with an open can of pumpkin puree. Or a yen to make more pumpkin recipes. Good thing there are so many delicious ways to use up a can of pumpkin puree.
But before we jump into canned pumpkin recipes that go beyond the usual pie, bread, and cheesecake, let’s talk about canned pumpkin puree itself.
What is canned pumpkin puree?
That may seem like a silly question, but take it from someone who’s made this mistake: It is not the same thing as canned pumpkin pie filling. When you buy a can of pumpkin puree, it will contain literally nothing but orange-toned winter squash that’s been cooked and mashed. That’s right, according to the USDA, canned pumpkin can be made from any “properly matured, golden fleshed, firm shelled, sweet varieties of either pumpkins or squashes.” But don’t worry: The flavor is reliable, no matter which type of squash is in that can.
How to store canned pumpkin puree
How long does canned pumpkin last after opening? If you store it properly, you’ll have five days to a week before it should be thrown out. “Properly” means you should transfer it to a covered glass or plastic container — don’t leave it in the can — and keep it in the fridge. If you know you won’t use it within the week, you can always freeze canned pumpkin. Place it in an airtight container or freezer bag, and it’ll stay at top quality for up to three months. It won’t go bad after that (as long as it stays frozen, it can remain in your freezer indefinitely), but the quality may go down.
The best ways to use canned pumpkin puree
As much as I loved canned pumpkin, I wouldn’t recommend just grabbing a spoon and eating it. The beauty of the stuff is in its versatility — and in its nutrition. Because it’s naturally sweet, pumpkin puree goes beautifully in desserts and breakfasts. But remember, we’re talking about winter squash, so it can also play nicely with spices, beans, and grains in savory pumpkin recipes. (I particularly like it with spices like cumin, paprika, and chili powder.) And then there are pumpkin-spiced options like lattes, spreads, and snacks.
Canned pumpkin nutrition
No matter how you use it, canned pumpkin offers plenty of fiber, vitamin K, and beta-carotene. Yup, it’s good for you.
How many cups are in a can of pumpkin puree?
A 15-ounce can of pumpkin puree holds between 1 ¾ cups and 2 cups, which means you’ll have plenty for experimenting with the following recipes.
Jump ahead to:
Canned pumpkin breakfast recipes
Thanks to its fiber and natural sweetness, adding a little canned pumpkin to your breakfast makes a great way to start the day.
Confession: Since I got over my childhood aversion, I’ve been known to eat pumpkin pie for breakfast. But you can't (or maybe just shouldn't) eat breakfast pie every day. So when I have leftover canned pumpkin, I like to bake up some French toast with all the flavor of my favorite pie. Think of this as a bread pudding you can eat first thing in the morning. Canned pumpkin needed: 3/4 cup
It takes just five ingredients and a few minutes to make a rich-tasting vegan treat. Yes, this is one easy canned pumpkin recipe. And if I want a version with no added sugar, the tablespoon of honey is optional. If I sip on this while checking social media before work, I’m good for the whole morning. Canned pumpkin needed: 1/4 cup
This time of year I love a hot breakfast, but I don’t have tons of time (hello, remote schooling). Oatmeal does the job perfectly. Adding pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spices makes it a healthy, easy treat — and drizzling it with maple syrup makes it lick-the-bowl good. Canned pumpkin needed: 1/4 cup
I’m a sucker for brown butter. Its deep, nutty flavor makes a perfect complement for pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spices. Combining it all into fluffy waffles? Genius. I could eat these every weekend, all autumn long. Canned pumpkin needed: 1 cup
Yes, you read that correctly: breakfast popsicles. Instead of layering pumpkin sauce, sweetened whipped cream or Greek yogurt, and graham cracker crumbs as you might for a traditional parfait dessert recipe, this healthier and much easier version calls for a combination of dairy-free yogurt, pumpkin puree, a smidge of honey, spices, and kashi cereal. Get ready for some pretty excited kids at 7 AM. Canned pumpkin needed: 1 cup
Savory canned pumpkin recipes
I used to think canned pumpkin was only useful for dessert recipes or pumpkin bread. Boy, was I wrong. But as we now know, pumpkin is a winter squash, just like butternut. It works beautifully in savory recipes. Did I mention it also boosts the nutritional value, so you’re eating something enticing and healthy?
Looking for healthy canned pumpkin recipes? This one incorporates so many good-for-you ingredients: canned pumpkin, of course, as well as red curry paste, vegetable broth, coconut milk, and red lentils. It calls for fresh baby spinach (more veggies!), but I swap in frozen and it’s equally yummy. Canned pumpkin needed: 1 cup
Pumpkin soup with canned pumpkin tends to be a whole-can situation, rather than something designed to use up leftovers, but you’re going to want this easy recipe in your fall repertoire nonetheless. Made with pantry-friendly ingredients, the creamy soup is ready in only 30 minutes. It’s also low carb, keto, gluten-free, and grain-free. Top it off with some roasted pumpkin seeds and a swirl of sour cream. Canned pumpkin needed: 15 ounces (about 1 ¾ cups).
Fresh sage is an herb that just screams “Fall!” I try to keep it on hand this time of year — that deep, earthy flavor adds so much to simple recipes like this one. A creamy, hearty dinner (or brunch) emerges from just polenta, pumpkin puree, Parmesan, butter, and sage. Canned pumpkin needed: 1/2 cup
Pureed pumpkin adds both savory-sweet flavor and luscious texture to this easy, pantry-based stew. Raiding the spice rack lends it a sophisticated Moroccan accent with very little effort. And using vegetable broth and coconut milk makes it vegan. Canned pumpkin needed: 1 cup
This vegetarian chili is nothing like the traditional meat-and-beans varieties, though it uses the same seasoning. Pureed pumpkin thickens the broth while also lending a hint of sweetness, and using both chickpeas and black beans adds plenty of protein and fiber. Canned pumpkin needed: 1 cup
Canned pumpkin dessert recipes
The world of pumpkin treats extends far beyond pie. Each of these dessert recipes can help you use up an open can of pumpkin puree.
Pumpkin donuts covered in cinnamon sugar? Yes, please. These balls get rolled by hand — no cutter necessary. Just think: These could be in your belly just 20 minutes from now. Canned pumpkin needed: 1/4 cup
We've already established that pumpkin and cream cheese are a combo not to be missed in terms of fall recipes. If you don't have the bandwidth to make cheesecake, how about some easy bars? You'll marble the pumpkin filling and the cream cheese to make pretty swirls, but that's about it for any difficulty. Canned pumpkin needed: 1 cup.
One of my favorite desserts growing up was what my mom called “Saucy Chocolate Pudding Cake.” It was a magical concoction that emerged from the oven with a crusty cake lid covering a pool of sauce. This is that, only with pumpkin, brown sugar, and cinnamon instead of chocolate. Consider it a must-make. Add a dollop of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream? Why not. Canned pumpkin needed: 1 cup.
Reasons to try these fudgy fall flavor bombs? 1. They only have 7 ingredients. 2. They’re gluten-free, oil-free, dairy-free, and refined sugar-free. 3. You make the batter in the blender or food processor! Who knew almond butter, cocoa powder, and pumpkin could be so fantastic together? Canned pumpkin needed: 1/2 cup
When I picture “autumnal cookies,” this is exactly what springs to mind. Wholesome oats, plenty of pumpkin pie spice, and pumpkin puree are already pretty great together. Add in white chocolate chips and dried cherries, and these pumpkin cookies are a major hit. Canned pumpkin needed: 1 cup
Unexpected ways to use canned pumpkin puree
What’s that? You’ve made your pie and tried canned pumpkin puree in breakfast, dinner, and dessert, and you still want more pumpkin-y goodness? Check these out:
I love flavored butters. This one uses pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spices, and honey to make the perfect autumn spread. Try it on pumpkin bread, pumpkin waffles, pumpkin pancakes — or, y’know, non-pumpkin goodies, too. Canned pumpkin needed: 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons
Pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice add a seasonal twist to the everyday energy bite ingredients: dates, pecans, and coconut. Pop one or two when you need a healthy boost. Canned pumpkin needed: 1/3 cup
Who needs to leave home and spend $5 for a pumpkin spice latte? Make any ol’ cup of coffee into everyone’s favorite seasonal latte with this simple mixture. It gets its creaminess from evaporated milk, but if you want a keto option, use cream instead. Canned pumpkin needed: 2 tablespoons
It turns out pumpkin isn’t just great for humans. Apparently it can also benefit your four-legged friend’s digestive tract. These treats combine pumpkin puree with peanut butter, whole wheat flour, and an egg. One taste and your dog will beg for more. Canned pumpkin needed: 1/4 cup
Still more ideas for canned pumpkin puree
Haven’t had enough talk about canned pumpkin? We’ve got tempting recipes for pumpkin muffins, pumpkin scones, pumpkin gnocchi, and yes, pumpkin ice cream. Plus more options in the following collections.