Roasting pumpkin or squash in the oven cannot be any easier. You can use it to make pumpkin puree, soups, baked goods, and so on.
Roasted pumpkin is definitely my thing. Every autumn and winter, you will find me roasting pumpkin or butternut squash at least once a month. At least!
And all the yummy things you can use it for! You can use it to make soup or a delicious salad. You can stuff pita bread and tortillas and make sandwiches. Or just eat it as it is. Or you can make and use it like you would use canned pumpkin.
Spicy roasted pumpkin wedges are one of the most popular recipes on the blog, actually pretty much my number one recipe every autumn. No wonder those spicy wedges are the best thing you can do to a pumpkin.
However, they are pretty spicy, and that makes them unsuitable for turning into a puree. And that is where today's roasted pumpkin comes in. Simply roasted pieces, nothing added, just perfect to make a puree.
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What kind of pumpkin to roast?
Choosing the right sort for roasting is crucial. There are many kinds that are edible, but not all of them are tasty. I remember getting one small jack-o’-lantern once and thinking I could make soup with it. I threw the soup away... it was pretty disgusting, meaning it had no taste whatsoever. Leave those for decoration purposes.
The best kind I can think of is the Hokkaido, also known as red Kuri squash. It is incredibly aromatic – the best-tasting sort I know - and it doesn't have to be peeled. Ever! You can do whatever you want with it and never have to peel it. That's a huge bonus if you ask me.
My second favorite is the butternut squash. It tastes wonderful as well, but it has to be peeled (in this case, after roasting it).
Other sorts suitable for roasting are rather small sugar or pie pumpkins. Whatever you choose, make sure it is a flavorful, sweet sort with soft flesh. The watery, plain ones, with glassy-looking flesh, make no sense in the kitchen.
How to cut a pumpkin?
Cut the pumpkin
- Remove the stem by slicing the top together with the stem.
- Cut in half, from the top to the bottom. The knife you use has to be large and sturdy, and you will have to use your strength. Careful with the fingers of the other hand.
- Sometimes, when the piece I am cutting is very large, the knife might get stuck inside it. Carefully move the knife up and down to get it out, then start again.
- When that doesn't work, I just lift the pumpkin holding the knife and smash it on the working surface. The cut will not be nice anymore, but at least I got the knife out of the squash without cutting my fingers.
- This will not happen if your piece is small, which is preferable anyway.
- Once you halved it, remove the seeds. That is very easy, scoop them out with a spoon.
- You could roast the seeds if you like.
- If the pumpkin is not very large, leave it as it is now, only halved.
- If it is larger, cut it into quarters.
How to roast a pumpkin?
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius/ 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Place the halves or quarters on the prepared baking sheet.
- Roast them for 40-50 minutes.
- The pictured quarters (Hokkaido/ Kuri squash) needed exactly 45 minutes but check.
- The roasted pumpkin should be perfectly soft, and fork-tender.
Peel or not peel?
- If you had a Hokkaido or Kuri squash, there is no need for you to remove the peel.
- If using another sort, you will have to remove the peel.
- To remove the peel, let it cool for about 10 minutes; it should be cool enough for you to be able to handle it without burning your fingers.
- Separate the flesh from the skin, either by pulling the skin from the flesh, cutting it away with a small knife, or scooping the flesh out of the skin with a spoon.
- If making puree or soup, for instance, scooping out the flesh is perfect.
- If you want to make a salad, you might want to remove the skin more carefully by pulling it away from the flesh or cutting it with a small knife.
How to make puree?
- Place the roughly chopped roasted pieces in a food processor.
- Puree until smooth and creamy.
How to store?
- Place the roasted pieces or puree in airtight containers. Keep them in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- You can also freeze the puree in freezer bags. If you would like to use puree like you would use a can, freeze in 425 g/ 15 oz portions, that's the amount you will find in a regular can.
- The puree thaws easily at room temperature. Or use the microwave for the purpose.
More favorite pumpkin recipes
How To Roast a Pumpkin
- 1 small pumpkin between 1 to 1,5 kg/ 1 to 3.3 lbs - (See note)
- Preheat the oven to 400°F/200°C. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
- Prepare the pumpkin: Remove the stem. Halve the pumpkin. Remove the seeds with a spoon. If the pumpkin or squash is larger, you can cut the halves in two as well, so you will have quarters. Place them on the baking tray, cut side down.
- Roast the pumpkin pieces for 40 to 50 minutes or until perfectly soft, fork-tender.
- Peel: If using Hokkaido/Kuri squash, you will not have to remove the skin. If using another sort of pumpkin or squash, let the roasted pumpkin cool for about 10 minutes, until cool enough to handle. Peel it by pulling the skin away or by scooping the flesh with a spoon.
- Pumpkin puree: If you want to make pumpkin puree, puree the roasted pumpkin in the food processor until smooth.
- Pumpkin type: You can use Hokkaido or Kuri squash, butternut squash, sugar pumpkin, pie pumpkin, or any other sort of small and very flavorful, sweet pumpkin or squash. Hokkaido doesn't need to be peeled.