30 Ways To Eat More Pumpkin This Fall

Come autumn, it's no surprise — people need their pumpkin fix. Any excuse to eat this festive fall fruit (yes, pumpkin is a fruit) is well worth it. Although one of the most popular pumpkin products is the pumpkin spice latte (which we should note does not actually contain any pumpkin at all, rather just a blend of spices and sugars in a Starbucks cup), we can appreciate the textures and profile that pumpkin can bring to the kitchen. 

We love that pumpkin is one of the most versatile squashes out there. You can incorporate its flavors into savory dishes like ravioli or sweet baked goods such as muffins and cakes. Pumpkin is also one of the healthiest canned foods you can stock up on per CNET — the squash contains a ton of beta-carotene for healthy skin, mucus membranes, and eyesight (via Mount Sinai). According to Jessica Gavin, canned pumpkin puree is made by steaming and processing pumpkin pulp into a soft, shelf-stable product. It's much more convenient to use because you won't have to worry about cleaning and processing your pumpkin before you're ready to use it. Just crack open a can and whip up some fall culinary magic right in your very own kitchen.

Quick bread

Quick bread is a type of bread that gains its leavening power from synthetic agents like baking powder or baking soda instead of yeast. Quick bread is desirable for its high moisture and soft texture. We recommend using pumpkin puree in your next quick bread because of its sweet, mild flavor and the texture it imparts to the bread. 

Although you think pumpkin puree is sweet enough for a quick bread, you may want to think again. We recommend combining other sweet ingredients like banana, chocolate chips, maple syrup, date syrup, honey, or sugar into the recipe to brighten up your pumpkin bread. Using pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, and nutmeg can also aid in bringing out the pumpkin in the batter. 


One of the only donuts that scream fall is a freshly baked, sugared apple cider donut. But pumpkin donuts might just take that number two spot. You can opt to make an old-fashioned cake donut with pumpkin puree at home — we recommend rolling these donuts in pumpkin pie spice and maple sugar for a more pronounced fall flavor. These donuts are baked, rather than fried, which gives the batter a more sturdy, dip-able texture that's perfect for a hot cup of coffee. According to the King Arthur Baking Company, you can modify the recipe to make donut holes by using a donut hole or a mini muffin pan; the smaller bites will require a higher oven temperature and about half as much time in the oven. 


Butternut squash is a common filling for ravioli, so why not try to adapt your favorite recipe to include pumpkin? 

Pumpkin is a soft stuffing for filled pasta and has a similar texture to butternut squash. Although the pumpkin has a slightly sweeter undertone than butternut or acorn squash (via Oregon State University Extension), we recommend pairing the filling with spices like thyme and sage for a delicious and seemingly elegant dinner choice. If you're looking for a quick way to make puree for your ravioli, opt for a canned version. But if you want to make your own, choose a pumpkin with a unique flavor profile. Jessica Gavin recommends a porcelain doll pumpkin — it's mild in flavor and plays well with savory dishes. 


When it comes to Thanksgiving, there's no pie that's more traditional than pumpkin. We recommend using canned pumpkin rather than DIY-ing your own puree; the canned pumpkin is usually sweeter and more even-textured than if you were to dump pumpkin slices into a food processor and make your own. Moreover, adding condensed milk and orange zest to your pie makes for a creamy texture with an acidic tang that sets the flavor apart from other pumpkin pies. 

For an easier pie recipe, you can always turn to a trusty frozen pie crust or graham cracker shell from the grocery store. Work smarter, not harder — right? 

Ice cream

Although the shift into autumn might mean falling temperatures, it doesn't mean that you have to put your ice cream maker away for the season. Our recipe for homemade pumpkin ice cream uses canned pumpkin puree, sweetened condensed milk, and heavy cream for a smooth, sweet pumpkin flavor. Since canned pumpkin isn't ice-cream-level sweet on its own, we recommend adding a bit of confectionary sugar to the puree to boost its sweetness. You can top your favorite ice cream with maple syrup, pumpkin seeds, or your favorite granola. Your homemade ice cream will come together in less than 12 hours and can last for months in your freezer. 


Gnocchi are pillowy puffs of joy, and you can add a dose of cozy fall flavors to your dumplings with a scoop of mashed pumpkin puree. The pumpkin imitates the same texture and flavor as typical potato gnocchi. To make these tiny dumplings at home, combine the pumpkin with flour, egg yolks, and Pecorino Romano cheese, per The Clever Carrot. Like all pasta, avoid overhandling the dough to prevent too much gluten development. Overhandling will make your gnocchi stodgy and hard to eat, according to the New York Times

We recommend serving your gnocchi with a thin butter sauce flavored with sage, thyme, or fresh parsley. And don't forget to add an extra sprinkle of cheese on top for good measure. 


Pumpkin cheesecake may not be one of the most popular flavors at the Cheesecake Factory, but we're still all about the flavors and textures of pumpkin cheesecake during the fall. Our cheesecake recipe, inspired by Jennine Bryant from the Marshside Pantry, uses two unconventional spices: dill and coriander seed. Bryant notes "the coriander seed adds a mild lemony citrus sweetness and the dill seeds add a nutty aniseed flavour." You'll find the other spices in most pumpkin recipes, including pumpkin pie spice, nutmeg, and cinnamon. 

The base for the pumpkin pie is made of graham cracker crumbs sealed together with butter, but you can also opt to use a pre-made graham cracker crust instead. One of the most important tips for making a cheesecake at home is to allow adequate time for it to set in the crust; we recommend refrigerating the pie for six and 12 hours after baking. However, you'll want to avoid putting the cheesecake directly from the oven into the fridge. According to Robust Kitchen, dramatically changing the fridge temperature causes condensation that can make the crust soggy.


Pumpkin pancakes are the perfect food to wake up to on a cool fall morning. Our recipe combines the flavors of spicy pumpkin with warm pecans for a fluffy pancake that aims to please. The perfect pancake is a product of beaten eggs, baking powder, and baking soda — these leavening agents make the batter super light. The leavening also counteracts the density of other ingredients like heavy cream, oil, melted butter, and of course, canned pumpkin puree. We also recommend adding warm spices like cloves, nutmeg, and cinnamon as well. Serve your pumpkin pecan pancakes with warm pure maple syrup and a pad of creamy butter. 

Creamy soup

Fall will always be known as "soup season," and there's no better time to enjoy a steaming bowl of pumpkin soup. Our creamy pumpkin soup recipe packs a powerful punch of flavor thanks to a hefty helping of grated ginger, turmeric, and paprika. We also recommend adding miso paste to your soup for a unique umami flavor. 

You can add heavy cream to your soup for thickness, or substitute a dairy-free alternative (like full-fat coconut milk). Serve your pumpkin soup with crusty bread and garnish it with a sprinkle of toasted pumpkin seeds for crunch, saltiness, and even more pumpkin. 

Baked oatmeal

Baked oatmeal is an on-the-go breakfast for folks with a busy lifestyle. You can bake a tray of oatmeal ahead of time, refrigerate it, and scoop it into a travel cup when you're leaving for work or school in the morning. You can also reheat the oatmeal in a toaster oven or in the microwave. 

We recommend adding a ton of spices and seasonings to your baked oatmeal like cinnamon, vanilla extract, and cloves. You can also chop up nuts or stir in chocolate chips for a customized experience. The pumpkin puree is a good addition to your oatmeal for more than just flavor — you'll get a healthy dose of fiber that will keep you full all day long. 


Where there is pumpkin ice cream, there are pumpkin milkshakes, right? If you want to go with an extreme pumpkin shake, take notes from Black Tap's pumpkin pie milkshake. This New York City restaurant serves its pumpkin pie shake in a glass rimmed with frosting and mini marshmallows before being topped with whipped cream, a cherry, and of course, a slice of pumpkin pie. 

While Black Tap uses vanilla ice cream blended with pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice, you can get creative and use pumpkin ice cream instead. We recommend adding a ton of pumpkin pie spice and a sprinkle of cinnamon to hone in on the best fall flavors. 


At first, pumpkin might seem like an odd flavor to add to spicy, tomato-rich chili. But the inclusion of sweet squash-like pumpkin amplifies the flavors and textures in a perfect fall chili. You can customize your recipe based on your favorite types of beans and meat, or add a few jalapeños if you enjoy a spicy kick. If you want to add pumpkin to your chili, you'll just need to add the canned puree to the dish when you add your beans. The flavor isn't too pungent (in fact, you may not recognize there is pumpkin in the chili at all) and provides a sweet undertone to this warm fall classic. 


You can integrate pumpkin into cookies in a ton of different ways. In fact, Jessica Morone from Jess Loves Baking recommends adding pumpkin puree to a crowd favorite: the snickerdoodle cookie. Her soft and chewy pumpkin cookies are perfect for an early morning breakfast treat, a fall dessert, or a sweet snack.

Morone recommends adding pumpkin puree to the wet ingredients in the batter (along with eggs, butter, and the like). Chilling the batter for at least an hour is critical, she notes, because it prevents the dough from getting too sticky and unworkable. After the dough is cooled, she scoops it into balls and places it on a baking sheet. Then, she tops them with a mix of pumpkin pie spice and sugar before baking. 


Everyone needs a snack during afternoon tea. Adding pumpkin to your biscotti is a slightly sweet addition that doesn't significantly change the texture of the hard biscuit. According to Everything Biscotti, keeping the biscotti dough pliable is one of the most important steps to baking the perfect biscotti at home. If your dough is moist, spray your hands with cooking spray or keep your hands damp to prevent the biscotti from sticking. You can also refrigerate the dough for at least an hour before handling it to reduce the stickiness. This is especially important if you plan on adding chocolate chips to your pumpkin biscotti. 

Whoopie pies

According to the Farmers' Almanac, the whoopie pie is a uniquely New England dessert traditionally made by sandwiching a layer of soft, vanilla creme between two chocolate cake rounds. The cake is believed to have gotten its start with the Amish as a way for them to use up leftover cake and frosting; the wives of Amish men would pack the pies with their lunches, to which the men would exclaim "whoopie!" when seeing them in their bag. 

You can substitute the chocolate in the recipe for a soft pumpkin-flavored cake made with pumpkin puree. We also recommend flavoring the icing with pumpkin pie spice for an extra seasonal flavor kick. 


Pumpkin is probably not your go-to flavor when you're looking for a bagel for your bacon, egg, and cheese breakfast sandwich. But, a pumpkin bagel is a flavorful bagel for a sweet schmear like cream cheese or peanut butter. 

The pumpkin flavor in most pumpkin bagels comes from canned pumpkin — along with some help from spices like cinnamon and nutmeg. You'll also want to use an ample amount of sugar to help bloom the yeast before you mix the mixture into the flour, according to Feast and Farm. This will keep your bagels soft, puffy, and light. 

Pumpkin butter

Pumpkin butter is a delicious spread made from pumpkin puree, an acid (apple cider or apple cider vinegar), sweetener, and warming spices. According to Delighted Cooking, cooking the pumpkin down in a pan will change its color slightly and thicken it to a butter-like consistency. 

You can use pumpkin butter anywhere you would use peanut butter or cream cheese. This includes bagels, biscuits, or mixed into cream cheese for a simple fall dip. You can also opt to can your pumpkin butter to preserve the mixture for up to several years. If you choose to can your pumpkin butter, you'll want to find a recipe with a high-acid or high-sugar environment to kill off any pathogens, per West Virginia University Extension


Empanadas are handheld dough pockets stuffed with sweet or savory fillings mostly found in Latin American cooking. Pumpkin empanadas are a sweet filling that's popular during Mexican-American Thanksgiving or Christmas, per Curious Cuisiniere. The empanada dough is similar to that of traditional pie dough; it's made with flour, water, and butter. The filling is traditionally made with pumpkin puree, brown sugar, sweet spices, and half-and-half. 

According to Yummy, the key to making the perfect empanada is to keep the filling dry. Too much moisture will result in a filling that seeps out of the edges. You should also plan to add a lot of spices to the filling because the bland dough will dilute it. 

Cinnamon rolls

Cinnamon rolls might be the sweetest way to start the perfect fall day. You can purchase canned Pillsbury Pumpkin Spice Cinnamon Rolls at most grocery stores during the autumn months if you're not interested in making your own. Try preparing the cinnamon rolls on a baking sheet or modify the recipe for a breakfast casserole — just bake the rolls with eggs, canned pumpkin, sugar, and evaporated milk. You can sprinkle an extra cup of chopped pecans on top of your bake for an added crunch. 

Top chefs recommend using evaporated milk as a thickener for the icing on your cinnamon rolls. For a better flake, you can also try laminating your dough with butter. 

Sheet cake

Where's the fun in pumpkin if you can't enjoy it with your friends and family? Consider making a sheet cake with pumpkin to celebrate a birthday, anniversary, or another special event. Use our pumpkin gooey butter cake recipe to make your own — the addition of boxed cake mix makes this dessert so much easier to make than a completely DIY bake. 

The cake gets its moisture from the cream cheese and pumpkin puree baked into the batter. If you want a finishing touch on your dish, try mixing whipped topping and pumpkin pie spice together before spreading it on your cooled sheet cake. 


Pizza — it's cheese, tomato sauce, and pumpkin? Indeed, the unexpected ingredient to add to your pizza this fall is pumpkin. The fall fruit is a good ingredient for pizza because it holds up well to roasting. Instead of the traditional Jack-o-Lantern that you'd carve on Halloween, you should use a Japanese pumpkin or sugar pumpkin for roasting and mashing. These varieties are much more flavorful. 

To accentuate the flavor of the pumpkin, consider mashing the pumpkin with apple and spreading it onto the pizza crust. The pumpkin tastes great when combined with tasty toppings like sausage, gruyere cheese, sage, or sliced shallots. 


If you're looking for a simple, fall-inspired dip to enjoy at home or bring to a festive gathering, look no further than pumpkin hummus. You can make it with three ingredients: store-bought hummus, pumpkin puree, and pumpkin pie spice. Mix these three together in a bowl (no food processor needed) and serve with sweet or savory vessels like apple chips, crackers, or bread. If you want to make your own hummus from scratch, follow a hummus recipe and add a serving of pumpkin puree to your food processor. The pumpkin is smooth in texture, making it a great addition to this nutritious snacking spread. 


According to The Takeout, "curry" is an Indian stew made with a combination of ingredients and seasonings including turmeric, coriander, and cumin. Pumpkin, along with curry, is quite prevalent in Indian cuisine because of its sweet taste and nutritional profile. You can add numerous proteins and vegetables to pumpkin curry like chickpeas, chicken, peppers, and onions — it all depends on your favorite tastes and what you have available in your kitchen at the time. You'll need to cube small pieces of pumpkin for the soup; make sure the pieces are uniform in shape so that they cook equally. Garnish with a handful of mint leaves and cilantro, and serve with naan bread and basmati rice. 


Risotto is a warm, filling rice dish made with stock, alcohol, butter, and cheese per Cuisine at Home. The rice is prepared by stirring small portions of it into the broth until the liquid is absorbed. There are some variations on the traditional northern Italian risotto including onions, leeks, and you guessed it — pumpkin. You'll want to add the pumpkin puree to your risotto after it's finished cooking; this is the same time you add the grated cheese, salt, and pepper to the dish. Although it may seem unconventional to add nutmeg to your risotto, the New York Times found the spice brightens the pumpkin flavors and works well with other savory spices like garlic. 


We all need to eat more vegetables, so why not start with a veggie pumpkin lasagna? Using a traditional vegetable lasagna, add a thin layer of the gourd to your other vegetables like zucchini, spinach, and onions. One important mistake to try and avoid when making lasagna is to keep the watery ingredients to a minimum. Adding too much sauce or watery vegetables to your lasagna can quickly turn it into a soup. The "bigger is better" mantra isn't always applicable to lasagna either — the weight and liquid can render the lasagna too soft to withstand the heft of all the layers. When working with pumpkin puree, we recommend adding a thin layer to your lasagna rather than a thick portion. This will prevent weighing down the other layers in the recipe. 


Granola is the perfect crunchy topping for yogurt or as a snack when you're leaf-peeping in the great outdoors. You can make your own granola at home by combining pumpkin pie puree with rolled oats, a sticky sweetener of choice, and coconut oil for browning. Eating Bird Food notes that you can add your favorite raw nuts, chocolate chips, or spices to your homemade granola for flavor and healthy fats. 

If you're not the DIY type, consider picking up a bag of Purely Elizabeth's pumpkin cinnamon ancient grains granola next time you're at the grocery store. It's one of our favorite bagged granola brands, and we love the spice of the cinnamon along with the crunch from the pumpkin seeds. 


According to The Better India, biryani is an aromatic blend of long grain rice and spices originating in Persia. Thanks to migration, the dish slowly became a treasured part of Indian cuisine. Holy Cow Vegan recommends mixing pumpkin puree into the saucepan after your vegetables and spices have cooked off. The spices are critical for developing the flavors in pumpkin biryani; Holy Cow Vegan recommends toasting cardamon pods, turmeric, bay leaves, and biryani masala into your dish along with pumpkin's favorite spices: cinnamon and nutmeg. You can serve this biryani as its own meal or serve it as a side dish at your next family gathering. 


The only thing that rivals the flavor and nostalgia of pumpkin pancakes is pumpkin waffles. To make your own pumpkin waffles at home, you'll want to be sure to keep the wet ingredients (including the pumpkin puree) separate from the dry ingredients until the last step. This is because the waffle credits its rise to double-acting baking powder; activation of the baking powder with an acid will cause carbon dioxide to be produced. If the carbon dioxide is beaten out of the batter too quickly, the waffle will be stodgy and hard. If you overmix the batter, you will also have similar issues in the waffle texture. 

We recommend topping your pumpkin waffle with maple syrup, almond butter, or candied pecans. You can freeze these waffles after cooking and pop them in the toaster oven when you're ready to eat. 


There might not be anything more perfect than a warm cobbler with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. If you aren't a fan of apples or peaches, you might want to try making pumpkin cobbler instead. The pumpkin puree is combined with other custard-like ingredients (like eggs and butter) and finished with a sugary streusel. Liv for Cake recommends sprinkling coarse sugar on top of the cobbler before baking for a subtle crunch. Adding pecans to the crumble can add a new textural element to the dish, too. 

Stir fry

Stir fry is a simple dinner idea made great with the help of savory pumpkin cubes. If you want to make your own stir fry at home, you'll want to use kabocha squash (Japanese pumpkin) cubes because the squash has a neutral flavor and integrates well with other savory stir fry flavors like fish sauce, soy sauce, and garlic (via Thai Table). Thai Table also recommends removing the skin from thick-skinned squash types; delicata or other thin-skinned squash do not require having the skin removed. If you find that the pumpkin is not softening during cooking, you can try adding more water to the wok.