7 Brands Of Canned Pumpkin, Ranked Worst To Best

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You may only reach for canned pumpkin in the fall for pies and muffins, but it's a pantry staple that's also at home in everyday savory foods like pasta sauce, soup, and risotto. While the brand Libby's dominates the canned pumpkin market, there are plenty of other options, from budget-friendly store brands to artisanal organic cans.

Libby's is the number one producer of canned pumpkin in the U.S., made using their proprietary Dickinson pumpkin. These unique pumpkins are a pale tan color and a tall and narrow shape that is more akin to butternut squash, with dark orange flesh, few seeds, and thin skin, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Canned pumpkins may have a traditional jack 'o lantern-ready pumpkin on the label, but the FDA doesn't require field or sugar pumpkins to be used in canned pumpkins. Instead, they only require "golden-fleshed, sweet squash or mixtures of such squash and field pumpkin." This is why canned pumpkins vary widely between brands: they can contain different kinds of squashes with varying flavors and textures. It also explains why the flavor is very different from canned if you've roasted sugar pumpkins to make pumpkin puree from scratch.

We tasted 7 brands of canned pumpkin plain (10 cans total) to ensure we noted the unique flavors and textures without any added ingredients to throw off our rankings for the best brands of canned pumpkin.

7. Kroger and Simple Truth Organic

Simple Truth Organic Solid Packed 100% Pure Pumpkin, Kroger's organic store brand, was our second-to-last favorite can overall. We did like its easy-open pop-top, but it had unsettling graininess and was one of the palest in color. This brand had an acidic smell and matching tangy flavor that tasted like metal and unripe vegetables. We didn't want to swallow this one, and while perhaps spices and sugar could balance it out in a pie, you'd be better off with any other choice except for Kroger's other offering. If this is all that's left on the shelf, we recommend leveling up your canned pumpkin.

Kroger 100% Pure Pumpkin ranked dead last of all 10 cans. While we noted a slightly more rounded flavor in this can than the Simple Truth Organic option, it still had an overcooked vegetable flavor that wasn't palatable. However, it tasted less acidic and metallic than Simple Truth Organic. What pushed this one into last place was the even grainier texture. There were noticeable crunchy bits reminiscent of sand between your teeth and a slight chalkiness to match.

6. Happy Belly

Amazon's private brand Happy Belly has a plethora of products ranging from eggs and milk to two-bite brownies and cappuccino pods. Some of these products are available via Amazon Prime, and most are available via Amazon Fresh, a grocery delivery service available in some cities.

Price-wise, the Happy Belly Organic 100% Pumpkin was the cheapest organic can we tasted. It has a solid 4.7 rating on Amazon, is a kosher option, and comes with a satisfaction guarantee of up to one year (via Amazon). The label states it is a product of the U.S.

This organic can of pumpkin puree was on the grainy side with noticeable grit. It had a strong vegetable smell that wasn't very pumpkiny and tasted more akin to what we think of as squash. The pumpkin puree also had an unwelcome acidity that, when tasted plain, was fairly pronounced. It wasn't as acidic or unpleasant as the Kroger cans, and it could probably be overpowered with sugar and spices, but this isn't a can we'd reach for unless we had to. It does have the advantage of being easily purchased online.

5. Farmer's Market

Farmer's Market Pumpkin is an organic brand available at many grocery stores and a good option for Non-GMO and BPA Free. The brand explains that their canned pumpkin is a "special variety" of pumpkin they have cultivated and is unique to their brand. On the company's frequently asked questions, they explain that there may be minor differences in the puree from year to year due to "factors like rainfall, temperature changes, soil quality, and wind." Unusual for canned pumpkins, they address allergens as well. Their site points out that they do not process products containing gluten, tree nuts, peanuts, eggs, dairy, fish, or shellfish on their farm and have strict allergen control protocols.

This puree was radically different in texture and color compared to the other cans we tasted; more yellow than the rest and a significantly more watery texture. The flavor reminded us of more squash or sweet potato than pumpkin, and it had some off-putting bitterness while lacking the sweetness of most of the other cans.

4. Great Value

This option is from Walmart's store brand Great Value, and according to the can's label, it was the only canned pumpkin brand that's also a product of China. Price-wise, Great Value is on the more affordable side when it comes to canned pumpkin brands, coming in a $1.47 per can.

The texture of the Great Value 100% Pure Pumpkin was smooth and a little thicker than many of the other cans. It has a balanced flavor, with a natural, well-rounded sweetness that we enjoyed. However, while it had an enjoyable flavor, it was reminiscent of sweet potatoes and didn't taste much like pumpkin, although this puree did have a light and pleasant pumpkin smell. With some added pumpkin spice, it could make a solid pie and is a great option, given how available it is and the fact that it was the third cheapest brand that we tested.

3. 365 Whole Foods Market

Together, the Whole Foods store-brand cans were in the middle of the pack; not our favorites, but not the ones we said "yuck" to. They'd make a fine pie or muffin, but it wouldn't be our first choice. Both cans are products of the U.S.

The 365 by Whole Foods Pumpkin Puree was on the fluffier side texture-wise and at the darker end of the spectrum in color. The flavor was a little bland, with more general squash notes and less of a "pumpkiny" taste. The same was true of the smell, which was light but not unpleasant. Surprisingly, it was the second cheapest can we tested.

The 365 by Whole Foods Market Organic Pumpkin Puree comes with an easy-open pop-top, and it was on the smoother side texture-wise, with a similar color to the non-organic can, leaning ever so slightly darker. It had a stronger smell than the other 365 option, equally deeply pumpkiny but also a little like overcooked vegetables. We noted an almost green bean-like note in the flavor. This was the second cheapest organic option we tasted.

2. Libby's

Libby's is likely the canned pumpkin you grew up eating and the one you picture when someone says "canned pumpkin," likely because it's "America's #1 canned pumpkin," according to Libby's. It was also the most expensive non-organic can that we tested.

Libby's pumpkins are all grown in the U.S., and their site points out their can isn't a blend of squashes but is 100 percent pumpkin and doesn't contain "Hubbard squash, or other types of squash."

The texture was silky smooth, a little whipped or fluffy, and a deep orange color. It tasted like Thanksgiving, pumpkin pie, and childhood — likely because this is the can we've had the most in our lives. Interestingly, Libby's was the only canned pumpkin with five grams of sugar per half-cup serving; every other brand had four grams of sugar. It tasted lightly sweet, but despite containing more sugar, it tasted slightly less sweet than the Good & Gather Organic option. There were no off notes, well-balanced flavorwise, and perfect in pies, muffins, pasta sauce, and any other application.

This was our favorite non-organic can and is the best canned pumpkin for pumpkin pie if you don't want to go organic, but it was the most expensive non-organic option. Libby's came close to being our favorite brand, and we think this classic is well worth using.

1. Good & Gather

Target is a popular place to grab a can of pumpkin while you stock up on essentials. Products in Target's store-brand Good & Gather go through "rigorous" taste testing and are "made without artificial flavors and sweeteners, synthetic colors and high-fructose corn syrup," and they carry a money-back guarantee.

The Good & Gather Organic 100% Pumpkin was the most expensive organic canned pumpkin we tested, and it has high ratings, with 88 percent of Target reviewers giving it five stars. This can is extremely smooth with no graininess or unpleasant textures and deep orange color. It smelled strongly of pumpkin (in a good way) and tasted sweeter than the some other brands, despite not containing more sugar. This was our favorite can of the entire test and is a kosher option.

The Good & Gather 100% Pure Pumpkin was the cheapest can of all the ones we tested, with a solid 86 percent of Target reviewers giving it a five-star rating. Tasted by itself, the pumpkin had a fluffy, smooth texture that was well-rounded and balanced-tasting. It was ever so slightly lighter in color than the organic Good & Gather option. It wasn't quite as sweet as the Good & Gather Organic can of pumpkin, and it had a slightly fainter smell and taste but overall was very pleasant. This was our favorite non-organic pick after Libby's and is by far the best deal for canned pumpkins because it was also the cheapest one we tested.