If you caught my Instagram Story (ahem, never say never) last week, you saw my attempt to cook a pumpkin in my pressure cooker and my plea to pray for me.

I should have known it would work out just fine. My pressure cookers haven’t failed me yet.

I can honestly say, this is hands down the easiest way to get some homemade pumpkin puree in your life, and I think it single handedly cured me from my bad attitude about pumpkin.

Grab, pick or purchase a sugar or pie pumpkin (or any pumpkin that will fit into your pressure cooker). I’m using the almighty InstantPot here – the 6-quart model; however the 8-quart model could fit an even larger pumpkin.

My cute little pumpkin (and the ones I’ve cooked subsequently – let’s just say I can’t get enough of cooking pumpkins this way) is around 3 1/2 pounds.

Easy Homemade Pressure Cooker Pumpkin Puree

Place the rack or a steamer basket in the bottom of the pressure cooker, add a cup of water and place the pumpkin on top of the rack/basket.

Make sure the lid will seal properly without bumping into the stem. I recommend popping the stem off before pressure cooking (not pictured here but that’s what I’ve done since I photographed this method). I don’t pierce the pumpkin before pressure cooking.

Easy Homemade Pressure Cooker Pumpkin Puree

Seal the pressure cooker and cook on high pressure for 13 minutes with an electric pressure cooker (about 11-12 minutes for a stovetop pressure cooker).

Let the pressure naturally release (at least for 10 minutes, then you can release the rest of the steam). The pumpkin should be very soft and tender when pierced with a fork. Think: butter.

Easy Homemade Pressure Cooker Pumpkin Puree

Carefully lift the handles of the rack and place the cooked pumpkin on a cutting board or plate. Then let it hang out for a few minutes, maybe 10-15, so it doesn’t burn your fingerprints off when you try to work with it.

I must say, this is such a pretty pumpkin. Too bad I’m about to rip the guts out of it.

Easy Homemade Pressure Cooker Pumpkin Puree

Remove the stem if you haven’t already and slice the pumpkin half.

Easy Homemade Pressure Cooker Pumpkin Puree

Scoop out all the seeds and goop. It will be very, very easy to remove. It almost crawls out on its own. And don’t you dare throw away those seeds. Roast ’em. Devour ’em. Or at the very least, give them to me and I’ll throw them to my chickens.

Easy Homemade Pressure Cooker Pumpkin Puree

You can see the skin is already peeling off. It’s like that pumpkin came out of the pressure cooker just knowing it was meant to be pumpkin puree.

Easy Homemade Pressure Cooker Pumpkin Puree

Peel off the skin. Most of it will fall right off but you can also use a small paring knife to get the stubborn bits.

Easy Homemade Pressure Cooker Pumpkin Puree

Break the soft pumpkin into large pieces.

Easy Homemade Pressure Cooker Pumpkin Puree

Now blend! I throw it all in my Blendtec and go to town (the smoothie button works best). A food processor would work, too. Some varieties of pumpkin might be helped along by a little water, but start with just a small amount! You don’t want watery pumpkin puree. No, no, no. I add a tablespoon to start, if any, and that’s usually enough.

Easy Homemade Pressure Cooker Pumpkin Puree

There you have it! Easy, homemade pumpkin puree. Keep it in the refrigerator until ready to use (or better yet, freeze it so you have it on hand for next June when canned pumpkin puree is nowhere to be found). A 3-4 pound pumpkin will make about 2-3 cups of puree.

Easy Homemade Pressure Cooker Pumpkin Puree

A few quick notes: 

-What if my pumpkin doesn’t fit in my pressure cooker? Easy solution. Before cooking, remove the stem, cut the pumpkin in half and scoop out all the innards. Quarter the pumpkin or cut the halves into large chunks. Place the pieces in the steamer basket or on the rack (still add the 1 cup water) and cook on high pressure for 5 minutes. Peel and blend.

-The color of your finished pumpkin puree will depend on the variety of pumpkin but generally, I’ve found that homemade pumpkin puree is often lighter in color than storebought, especially compared to the Libby’s brand (Trader Joe’s is a bit lighter).

-Is homemade pumpkin puree worth it? Well, now, that’s a great question. In the interest of full disclosure, unless you are growing your own pumpkins or getting them very, very cheap, you can most likely buy storebought pumpkin puree cheaper (even the organic kind at TJ’s). But, it’s kind of fun to at least know how to do this, especially in a pressure cooker. And I will say, the best pumpkin pie I’ve ever had in my whole life was made with homemade pumpkin puree, so there is that incentive.

-Homemade pumpkin puree can be subbed one-for-one in recipes that call for canned pumpkin puree.

-What if I don’t have a pressure cooker? You should try to get your hands on one ASAP. Pressure cooking is my life. However, never fear. If you don’t have one (yet!), you can roast a pumpkin in the oven. Halve the pumpkin, take out the seeds and goop, and place it cut side down on a baking sheet. Roast at 375 degrees F until very soft (anywhere from 40-60 minutes, depending on the size). Peel and blend the pumpkin flesh until smooth.

-How far can I take this principle? I have it on good record that this same pressure cooking method works for butternut squash, too. Who knows what other gourds we can throw in there!

One Year Ago: Perfect Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
Two Years Ago: Crunchy-Topped Swiss Chicken Bake
Three Years Ago: Slow Cooker White Bean Chicken Chili

Easy Homemade Pumpkin Puree {Pressure Cooker}

Yield: Makes 2 to 3 cups of pumpkin puree

Easy Homemade Pumpkin Puree {Pressure Cooker}

If your pumpkin is too big to safely fit into the pressure cooker, remove the stem, cut it in half, and take out the seeds and goop. Chop into large pieces and place on the rack/basket (still add the 1 cup water). Cook on high pressure for 5 minutes.


  • 3 1/2 to 4 pound pie pumpkin
  • 1 cup water


  1. Remove the stem from the pumpkin.
  2. Place the rack or a steamer basket in the bottom of the pressure cooker. Add 1 cup water.
  3. Place the pumpkin on the rack/basket. Make sure the lid can close without touching the top of the pumpkin.
  4. Seal the pressure cooker and cook on high pressure for 13 minutes.
  5. Let the pressure naturally release.
  6. Carefully lift the pumpkin out of the pressure cooker (use the handles of the rack) and place on a cutting board or plate. Let cool until it is easy to handle.
  7. Slice the pumpkin in half, remove the seeds and goop, and peel off the skin.
  8. Blend the soft pumpkin in a blender or food processor until smooth, adding a tablespoon of water, if needed to help it along (don't add too much water!).
  9. Store in the refrigerator or freezer until ready to use.

Recipe Source: method given to me by my blogging friend, Liz (thanks, Liz – it worked like a dream!)

Disclosure: affiliate links for the InstantPot included in this post. 

38 Responses to Easy Homemade Pumpkin Puree {Pressure Cooker}

  1. L says:

    The Instant Pot Duo went on sale big time on Black Friday, and I know a ton of people picked one up! Can you share some of your other pressure cooker recipes? I know there are many out there, but your recipes have been my go-to favorites since 2009…I trust your recipes best!

  2. Clare says:

    The skin came off as easily as a prom dress. Perfectly cooked pumpkin. Plan to make your pumpkin cheesecake muffins with it. Thanks!

  3. Evelyn says:

    Did you have excess water once you pureed your pumpkin? Maybe this is the difference between roasting in a pressure cooker and an oven? I did the oven method (no pressure cooker) and had to go out and buy cheese cloth to strain out the water. It took about 2 hours and I got well over a cup of water out of the two pie pumpkins I had roasted/pureed. Thoughts? Maybe it was just the pumpkins??

    • Mel says:

      I think it might be the difference in pumpkin varieties. Some definitely have more water and you’d probably get the excess water whether or not you roasted or pressure cooked it.

  4. Olya says:

    Just did it today and it worked very well! My personal opinion – homemade pumpkin puree is so much better and worth all the effort, and it’s not a huge effort too 🙂 Can’t wait to make a pumpkin chili tonight!

  5. Whitney says:

    I ended up doing 20 minutes on high pressure because 13 minutes wasn’t enough for me to achieve “Fork tender” . I already have about 5 cups of puree and another 1/3rd of cooked pumpkin to blend, so I must have had a bigger pumpkin to start with. It didn’t affect it at all that I did 2 complete pressure cycles (first for 13 and then for another 7).


  6. Grace says:

    I used your method for butternut squash and it worked great! I was given an Instant Pot by my in-laws who got it from a hoarder home they were tasked with cleaning and I had no idea what it was. “Thaaaaaaanks!” ?? I was completely perplexed. It went in storage. When you started posting about the Instant Pot, I thought: Hey! I think that’s what they gave me! OH MY WORD. Best little machine ever! I’ll be making your recently-posted pumpkin cinnamon rolls sooooon (and 20min Stir Fry is on the menu too)! 🙂

  7. Boymomma5 says:

    Just an FYI- when I pressure cooked my cut up pumpkin (which totally motivated me to buy smaller pumpkins) I still needed to add the extra time to get it fork tender. I tried 15min at the second ring of my Kuhn Rikon, and released naturally and that seemed to work ok!

  8. Katyana says:

    I can’t even handle this!!!! I just passed a little pumpkin patch that was selling pie pumpkins 3/$1. I thought to myself WWMD??? (what would mel do:) How can I get a hold of her to see how I can cook these babies in my instant pot. I jump on to my computer and low and behold…you are already one step ahead of me! You are genius!! Thank you thank you thank you!!!!

  9. Karen says:

    Thank you for this idea. I didn’t have a pumpkin, but I did have a butternut squash. I had meaning to cook it for days and never got around to it. I threw the whole thing in the pressure cooker for ten minutes with a cup of water on the steamer rack. Tuned out perfect. Thanks again.

  10. Teresa says:

    Do you have a recommendation for a good pressure cooker.

    • Mel says:

      I love the Instant Pot (7-in-1 6 quart model) for an electric pressure cooker but I also deeply love my stovetop Kuhn-Rikon pressure cooker, too (the 7-quart model).

  11. Kimber says:

    You are the reason I have a pressure cooker and love it. I’m so glad you posted this and love when you do post pressure cooker recipes! I’ll definitely try this!

  12. Christine says:

    Hi Mel
    The farm up the street from me had a great deal on sugar pumpkins..i bought 5! Roasted them whole in the oven at 375..after stabbing all over with a fork. My freezer is full of pumpkin! I get the best compliments from folks who eat anything made with them…pumpkin streusel coffee cake, pumpkin apple muffins, ginger pumpkin pear bread…the list goes on and on…In fact – someone I know who hates pumpkin anything loved the pumpkin streusel coffee cake made with it! yum..

  13. Terra says:

    I have pressure cooked every variety of winter sqash i can get my hands on and all have been amazing the acorn the best by far with my husband making them he simply cut in half took out guts and filled with brown sugar and a tsp maple syrup they where amazing does great spaghetti squash also.

  14. Helen says:

    Ok confession .. I normally have a garden that produces dozens of pumpkins and since my move last spring I have no garden … I also got the Insta Pot as a gift recently … And I was so excited to have it !!! But I can’t seem to find the motivation to get it out and use it … Let’s just say my current living situation has made cooking a drudgery …. Also totally out of character for me !! This post however is making me feel like I may get up the motivation to pull the Insta Pot out of the box, buy a store bought pumpkin … And give this a go !! Then maybe I’ll try the refried beans too !! On a side note .. Speaking of IG stories .. I’m still trying to figure out which roll recipe you were using when you did your Sunday dinner story a couple of weeks ago … The rolls were in layers (sideways) in a muffin tin … Please share .. I’ve been wondering about it … Ok stewing over it since I saw that post As always .. Everything you do amazes me !!

    • Mel says:

      Hey Helen! I’m sorry to hear cooking is a drudgery. I don’t blame you given your situation. Hang in there! About the rolls, they were a butter fan roll I was experimenting with so I don’t have the official recipe ready to go yet but I hope to share it soon!

      • Helen says:

        Thanks Mel !! I get the cooking bug regularly … Like daily … But it always turns into whatever I can throw together quick …spending time in the kitchen is the biggest issue .. I just need my OWN kitchen .. I know you get it ( I was thinking back to when you lived in a hotel room for a few weeks ) … This is definitely better than that !! I know this isn’t permanent and it will get better … In the meantime my dreams are filled with recipes of all the cooking and baking I have to look forward to in my own kitchen again some day !!

  15. trish says:

    You are revolutionizing my life! Because of you I’ve put up peaches, salsa, applesauce, and tomato sauce this year. Now I can add pumpkin canning to my list of cool things I can preserve without resorting to a lot of cursing and cussing!

  16. Louise E. says:

    Great timing. Canadian Thanksgiving is this coming weekend. I have always used canned pumpkin in my pumpkin pies. (It’s just so easy.) But this sounds like something I could handle and probably the improved taste would make the effort worthwhile. Thanks.

    • Jodie says:

      Last year was a first for me, making pumpkin purée totally worth the effort. Making mine today, with dinner tomorrow. I don’t have a pressure cooker, just use the oven method, which worked just fine.

  17. Laurie says:

    Hi Mel, I have my pie pumpkins all bought, ready for baking…then I saw your post! I’m wondering how watery your puree is? The method I was going to use to do the pumpkins in the oven said you should strain the puree in cheesecloth for a few hours or you’ll end up with watery puree.

    • Mel says:

      Hi Laurie – my homemade puree is softer than the storebought canned – but I’ve successfully used it in some recent cakes and cookies with a few little changes (usually just adding a couplet tablespoons more flour) and sometimes not adapting the recipe at all. Someone else in the comment thread recommended spreading the puree on a baking sheet and baking/roasting in the oven to dry it out a little. Straining through cheesecloth would probably have the same effect. I guess it just depends whether you want that extra step; homemade pumpkin puree definitely is softer than storebought.

      • Kirk says:

        America’s Test Kitchen recommends spreading pumpkin puree out on a sheet, then laying paper towels over the top to absorb the moisture. This method works great for me and has resulted in much better outcomes with things like pumpkin cheesecake or pumpkin pie. I’ll be it would work with this homemade puree.

      • Pam Wilcox says:

        I have used my duo stove top pressure cooker for pumpkin puree. Cut the pumpkins in quarters after scooping, add about 2 cups of water, bring to high pressure, time 5 minutes, pressure release natural and perfect solid pumpkin, no watery pumpkin. The earlier you do fresh pumpkin, the less watery it is.

  18. Annie says:

    Hi Mel- I LOVE your recipes and would love to know which pressure cooker you recommend. Thanks! 🙂

  19. Laurie B says:

    What if I don’t have a pressure cooker, but DO have a pressure canner? Can that be used instead? If so, would I have to alter the cooking any or do it the same way?

    • Mel says:

      In theory, yes. Pressure canners are just oversized pressure cookers. Having said that, I haven’t tried this method in a pressure canner so I’m not sure how the time would be altered (and if you would use 15 pounds pressure, etc). You might try googling for more help!

  20. Sheree L says:

    I recently got the Instant Pot for my birthday, and I LOVE it! Been making all kinds of things, including homemade yogurt. I just used it to make spaghetti squash. I cut it in half around the middle (the short way) and scooped out the guts. It didn’t quite fit, so had to quarter it. Cooked on high pressure for 8 min. Quick release. Perfection! If I can find one that fits in whole, I’d like to try your method of not cutting it first.

  21. Heather bell says:

    I’ve done oven before and you’re right, pumpkin is spring is

  22. Liz says:

    Glad you got great results, Mel!

    I could do an infomercial on both the Instant Pot and the high powered blenders (I have VitaMix to your BlendTec). They are the 2 applicances that I would purchase instantly and have shipped next day air should either fail! I’ve had my VitaMix for 10 years and use it several times a day. The InstantPot was a total game changer and I often use it multiple times a day as well. And I cook for 1 human (me) and 1 dog (rice, pumpkin, chicken). I better stop now 🙂 !

    Pumpkin – I’m currently pureeing half for freezing and using the other half unpureed for by dog and in soups. The non-pureed I just cut into bite-sized chunks.

    The cost. I’m paying .39/# right now at a local farm and the pumpkins are 3-3.5 pounds like yours so 1.20-1.50ish for about the equivalent of 2 cans of store pumpkin? I enjoy doing it … kind of a fun ritual of the time of year …and it tastes better [to me] than canned.

    And, yes … other squash: so far I’ve done butternut and acorn.

    • Mel says:

      Thanks, Liz! I love this method! I just received the 8-quart Instant Pot (the company sent it to me for review) and I think I’ll be able to fit in a larger pumpkin this go-round. I’m excited to use it for butternut and acorn and spaghetti squash, too. I agree on the Instant Pot and blender. I actually think I’d replace my Blendtec (if it died) with a Vitamix but that’s neither here nor there – both are awesome!

  23. Sherry says:

    It’s like you read my mind! I’m living out of the country now and can’t find pumpkin puree anywhere. I was just debating whether it was worth the effort to make. it. Thanks, I think I’ll try it now. 🙂 P.s. I’ve been a loyal reader for about 6 years now. You are one of you heroes!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Sherry! With a pressure cooker, it’s totally worth the effort to make this, especially if your country stores are lacking in canned pumpkin puree. 🙂

  24. Sheila says:

    I bake whole pumpkins In the oven for at least an hour. That way there is no risk of an injury when cutting a hard, raw pumpkin and it is also super easy, just takes longer than a pressure cooker.

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