In an ideal world, all of our favorite pumpkin recipes would call for precisely a full can of purée, leaving us with zero leftovers. Because, let's be honest, sometimes the hardest part of cooking or baking with canned pumpkin purée is finding a tasty use for what's left over — be it a tablespoon or a cup.
We've already shared quite a few of our own creative ways to use up leftover pumpkin purée, but now we're turning it over to our readers to share theirs.
1. Stir it into yogurt.
All you need is a spoonful or two (bonus if you have more!) to give your breakfast a delicious upgrade. Here's how one reader puts it to work: "I mix it with 1/2 cup of Greek yogurt, some Splenda or honey, and pumpkin pie spice. Easy peasy breakfast that tastes like creamy pumpkin pie filling!"
2. Spread it on rice cakes.
On its own pumpkin purée can be a little bland, but it's nothing a drizzle of Sriracha can't fix. "I mix mine with a squirt of Sriracha and spread it on rice cakes ... maybe a little odd, but a really satisfying snack."
3. Make it into a simple pumpkin pasta sauce.
What you might not know is that you really don't need a lot of ingredients to turn a little leftover pumpkin purée into a velvety pasta sauce. One reader's favorite use is "Mixed with browned butter and sage for pasta sauce!" Add some freshly grated Parm and you're good to go.
4. Use it to flavor a batch of oatmeal.
Whether you go for a hot pot of oats on the stovetop or can't get enough of chilled overnight oats, a spoonful or two of purée is a fun, festive flavor-booster. One reader opts for "Pumpkin overnight oats. Old fashioned rolled oats, plain yogurt, pumpkin, a pinch of brown sugar, and some spices (I eyeball the proportions), mix it up the night before and leave it in the fridge for morning. Delicious!"
5. Bake it into pumpkin custard (or crustless pie).
If you love the filling in pumpkin pie, this is the route for you. Making a simple custard is basically a crustless pumpkin pie, and we think it's downright brilliant. "You know, most people forget they can simply make pumpkin custard (the filling you make for pumpkin pie) and bake it in a dish without a crust. Yum!"
6. Use it as a substitute for applesauce when baking.
If you like to keep your baked goods on the wholesome side by subbing some of the fat for applesauce, this will be right up your alley. A number of readers have pointed out that they use an equal amount of pumpkin purée in place of applesauce. "Sub for eggs and/or some of the fat in baking, especially muffins, as you would applesauce."
7. Stir it into a pot of chili.
The beauty of adding pumpkin purée to your pot of chili is that the measure doesn't have to be exact. It's fair game whether you have a scant tablespoon or a full cup. The flavor won't be very noticeable, but it'll give a lush, velvety texture. Here's what a reader has to say: "I dislike pumpkin in all forms ... bread, pie, PSL, soup, etc. But I always use a small can in my chili. All of the other spices and ingredients mask the flavor, but it really does something for the texture of the chili. I can't recommend it enough."
Try it here: How To Make Very Good Chili Any Way You Like It
8. Mix into ground beef on taco night.
"Mix it into your ground beef taco meat." This is so smart and what our tacos have been missing all along! Pumpkin partners so well with ground beef and the warm spices used for classic tacos. As for how much to stir in, up to about 1/2 cup is perfect.
Try it here: Ground Beef Taco Casserole
9. Mixed into dog and cat food.
When in doubt, look to your pets. More than one reader was quick to point out that pumpkin purée is pet-approved and makes a good treat for dogs and cats. "I mix it into my dog's food as a treat. She loves it and the fiber is good for them!" Another reader notes: "One of our fur kids is prone to tummy troubles and a spoonful of pumpkin with her meals really seems to help."
10. When in doubt, freeze it.
And if you're not feeling particularly inspired in the moment, remember you can always freeze leftover pumpkin purée for several months. "I freeze the pumpkin in ice cube trays, then pop the pumpkin cubes out into a zip-top freezer bag once they're solid. I use them as needed for pumpkin lattes."