Cooking a pie pumpkin in the Instant Pot is the easiest way I have found to cook a pumpkin. You can cook them whole so you don't have to fight with cutting it open and taking the seeds out. Your knife will cut right through once it is cooked.
Have you ever wanted to use homemade pumpkin puree but it just sounded difficult to cook? I totally get it! I remember the first time I tried to cook a pumpkin it was a very lengthy process of trying to cut it open and cutting the stem. I also was trying to remove the seeds and oh it was so frustrating that I had given up on it for years. Seriously, I did. I knew there had to be a better way!
Well there is a better way, cook it whole in the Instant Pot!
Wait, did I say easily? Yes I did! Even me, the one who made it like a complicated surgery to cook it the first time I tried now loves making homemade pumpkin puree. In my defense, my pumpkin surgery days were before the Internet days. Yes, those days did really exist haha!
Cooking a pumpkin in the Instant Pot only has 2 ingredients:
Pie pumpkin - This is often called sugar pumpkin or sugar pie pumpkin.
Water - You do need the water for cooking or you will get a burn notice, know this from personal experience!
Cooking the Pumpkin in the Instant Pot
Pumpkin and the skin get nice and soft once cooked. It makes it so much easier to slice through! I sliced through that just like if I was slicing through butter. I was so happy the first time I made it this way!
Prepping the pumpkin for the Instant Pot
First thing you want to do is pick out a pie pumpkin that will fit in the inner pot. This depends on the size of the Instant Pot you have. Most pie pumpkins should fit if you have a 6 quart, but I prefer to use our 8 quart because every sugar pie pumpkin we have bought fits in it. If you have to, you can place the pumpkin on it's side in the IP.
I wash the outside of the pumpkin with a little vinegar and rinse it off. I don't know where my pumpkin has been so I want to get the germs off. You don't have to, but I like to use the trivet provided with the Instant Pot if your pumpkin will fit on it. I have done them both ways as some pumpkins are too big to fit on it.
If you have to, you can break the stem right off usually. This might be a little harder if you grow them and it was just picked - it might require a sharp knife. If you bought it from a supermarket, it should break off easily with your hands.
Even sometimes from your local farm stand it will break off easily if it wasn't picked that morning.
Poke a few holes in the top of the pumpkin - if you are putting it in on it's side, poke holes on the side facing up when in the Instant Pot. I use a fork to poke the holes, but you can carefully use a knife instead.
Cooking the pumpkin
Set the pumpkin on the trivet and pour in the water. Place the lid on and make sure the vent is set to seal. Hit the pressure cook/manual button and set the time to 12 minutes.
Allow to do a natural release which also took about 12 minutes for us. Once the pin drops, remove lid and let it sit for just a couple minutes to allow the steam to dissipate. Carefully remove the pumpkin.
The pumpkin will be soft so lift the trivet out to take the pumpkin out. This is where the trivet comes in handy since the pumpkin will be soft and easy to cut open. Allow it to cool slightly before cutting it open so you do not get burned.
Making the pumpkin puree
Once the pumpkin is cool enough to handle, cut it in half and allow it to cool a little further so you can handle it. I scoop the seeds out carefully first and then peel the skin off.
You don't have, but we like to put our pumpkin into a food processor to make it a smooth puree. I have also used our Ninja chopper, but it doesn't hold as much pumpkin as the big processor. If you choose to skip this step it will be stringy but still good.
Recipes that use fresh pumpkin puree
- Pumpkin whipped cream
- Pumpkin pie with fresh pumpkin
- No bake pumpkin cheesecake
- Pumpkin pasta sauce
- Instant Pot pumpkin cheesecake
Frequently asked questions
It will last about 5-7 days in the fridge if placed in the fridge shortly after cooling down.
I do not recommend canning it and personally do not do it. Pumpkin runs a much higher risk of bacteria if not canned properly.
After making the puree and allowing it to cool all the way, you can freeze it. It is the best way to store it if you are not using it right away. We freeze ours in 1 cup amounts because most of our recipes are done with 1 or 2 cups. We use freezer bags, but you can use any freezer safe container.
Items that help with this recipe
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- Food processor - Not required if just cooking the pumpkin, but this will make a smooth puree if you need puree for your recipes.
- 8 quart Instant Pot - You can use the 6 quart, but I prefer to use the 8 quart. Most pie pumpkins fit in the 6, but all of the pie pumpkins I have purchased fit in the 8.
- Storage containers - These are a little bigger then you need, but if you store it in 1 cup sizes the 8 ounce containers are little too small. The ideal size would be 10-12 ounce containers, but they are harder to find so the 16 ounce containers work great. We often use quart size freezer bags to freeze pumpkin too.
Cooking a Pumpkin in Instant Pot
- Instant Pot, see notes
- 1 pie pumpkin
- 1¼ cups water
- Wash the outside of the pumpkin with a little vinegar then rinse with water to wash away any germs. Poke a few holes on the top of the pumpkin with a fork or sharp knife.
- Place trivet inside the Instant Pot if the pumpkin will fit with trivet in there.
- Place the pumpkin on the trivet - it's ok if the pumpkin touches the lid. If the lid will not fit on, take the trivet out and place pumpkin directly in the inner pot.
- Pour the water into the bottom of the inner pot.
- Hit the pressure cook/manual button and set the time to 12 minutes.
- Once it is done, allow it to naturally release the pressure.
- When the pin drops, remove the lid and let the steam dissipate so you don't get burned. Carefully remove the trivet with the pumpkin on it and place the pumpkin onto a dish. Be very careful if you didn't use the trivet, the pumpkin is very hot and will be soft.
- Give it a couple minutes so you do not get burned and cut the pumpkin in half.
- Scoop seeds out of it and peel the skin off. To make a smooth puree, add the pumpkin to a food processor and blend until it is smooth.
For step by step pictures - Instant Pot pumpkin puree.