Do you have a soft spot in your heart for roasted winter squash, like butternut, kabocha, or acorn? If so, it's high time to roast a pumpkin. If you've done this before then you know the results are nothing short of amazing. And spoiler alert: it's not as tough or fussy as you might think. In fact, prepping a pumpkin is a lot easier than some other squash varieties (I'm looking at you, butternut squash).
Pick the Right Pumpkin
Not all pumpkins are created equal, and picking the right kind of pumpkin is critical. That giant pumpkin you bought to carve a jack-o'-lantern might seem like it would be impressive to roast, but it's really not. It's hard to handle, tough to cut, and the flavor and texture aren't actually that enjoyable. Large pumpkins are much better left out of the kitchen, and used as a decoration.
Instead, the best pumpkins for roasting are smaller — anywhere from two to six pounds, or so. You're likely to see these pumpkins labeled as "sugar pumpkins" or "pie pumpkins." These pumpkins are best for cooking and baking; they're sweet and flavorful, with smooth flesh.
More on Picking a Pumpkin
It's Really No Different than Roasting Squash
Perhaps it's the size, or that we're used to seeing pumpkins carved as decorations, rather than in the kitchen, but pumpkins have a funny way of seeming tricky to cook. Here's the thing, though — they're actually not tricky at all.
Have you ever roasted a butternut, acorn, kabocha, or spaghetti squash? Well, roasting a pumpkin is no different! Pumpkin is just another type of squash.
While you can roast a pumpkin whole, it saves some time to halve it or cut it into wedges. This also gives you a chance to scoop out all the seeds, which you can roast as a snack. Unlike some other types of squash, pumpkins have thick skin, which is best removed from the flesh after roasting.
→ Save the seeds! How To Roast Pumpkin and Squash Seeds
Using Roasted Pumpkin
Pumpkin is just another type of squash, so use it just as you would any other type of winter squash. You can cut the roasted pumpkin into cubes and toss them into a salad, or use them in a curry, soup, or stir-fry. And of course, you can also purée roasted pumpkin in a food processor or blender and use it to bake bread, cookies, pies, and tarts.
How To Roast a Pumpkin
Makes 2 to 3 cups roasted pumpkin
What You Need
1 (2- to 3-pound) pumpkin
Cooking oil (vegetable, canola, olive oil)
- Heat the oven: Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Remove the stem: Turn the pumpkin on its side, and use a sharp knife to slice the top, including the stem, off the pumpkin.
- Halve the pumpkin: Use a sharp knife to cut the pumpkin in half, from the top to the bottom.
- Remove the seeds: Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and stringy innards. You can save the seeds for later to roast them for a snack, or discard them.
- Cut into wedges: Cut each pumpkin half into wedges, roughly 3 inches wide, then place them skin-side down on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Brush with oil: Lightly brush the flesh of each of the pumpkin wedges with cooking oil.
- Roast the pumpkin: Roast for about 35 to 40 minutes, until fork-tender.
- Remove the skin: Remove the pumpkin from the oven, and cool for about 10 minutes — just until it's cool enough to handle. Separate the pumpkin flesh from the skin, and discard the skin.
- Purée (optional): Transfer the pumpkin flesh to a food processor or blender and purée until smooth.
- Store the roasted pumpkin (chunks or purée) in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.