How To: Cut a Pumpkin

updated May 12, 2022
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(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Mallets, moving cars, and great heights have all figured in suggestions of how to split open a pumpkin. We’ve been tempted to hurl ours off the balcony, but patience and a good chef’s knife should do the trick in the end. See step-by-step photos below…

NOTE: We really only recommend this for small pie pumpkins that can easily be steadied with one hand. Anything over 3 or 4 pounds – use a saw or screwdriver and mallet.

1. Start with a small pie pumpkin. These are the best for actual cooking; leave the big boys to the jack-o-lantern carvers.

2. Use your biggest, heaviest chef’s knife. It should still feel comfortable in your hand – you don’t want it slipping free. Insert the point of the knife at the top of the pumpkin and push it in.

3. Slowly and carefully push the knife in, applying pressure straight down, and pausing to wiggle the knife from side to side, widening the crack. Work your way slowly down the side of the pumpkin.

4. Holding the pumpkin down, repeat on the other side of the pumpkin.

5. Push straight down through the second crack and split through the bottom of the pumpkin.

6. You should be able to cut through the split on the bottom. The two halves should only be attached at the stem now.

7. Pull apart with your hands, cracking at the stem.

Congratulations – you’ve cracked your pumpkin! Now – what to do with it? Watch for more tips on pumpkin innards and seeds…

Related Links
• Tip: Bake Pumpkins Before Cutting
How To: Make Pumpkin Puree
• Pumpkin Carving Gadgets
• Good Tip: Brining Pumpkin Seeds
Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
Recipe: Honey Pumpkin Creme Brulee
Recipe: Pumpkin Crumb Cakes