The One Step You Should Never, Ever Skip When Baking with Canned Pumpkin

published Oct 9, 2023
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Credit: Kelli Foster

Just about everyone has their own special twist for making the best homemade pumpkin bread or classic pumpkin pie. Whether it’s adding a tablespoon of maple syrup or a splash of your favorite liquor, fall baking is full of unique hacks and techniques. The same goes for using pumpkin purée itself! 

Yes, many fall-friendly baked goods would be nothing without the convenience of canned pumpkin purée. Whichever brand you choose, there’s one step you should probably take when baking with pumpkin purée this year: Add the pumpkin purée to a cheesecloth or paper towel and wring out the excess moisture that’s inside. 

This tip is a particular favorite of TikTok creator and baker Sarah Fennel, the creator of Broma Bakery. When making pumpkin cookies in the video below, Fennel uses this technique to prevent the cookies from turning out too “fluffy” or “cakey.” The promised results? Soft and chewy cookies.

Why It Works

The excess moisture in pumpkin purée evaporates when it’s cooked, which turns to steam. The steam that’s created essentially makes for a more airy interior, which isn’t entirely a bad thing, depending on what type of dessert you’re making. But often, it makes cookies and bars extra cakey. If you prefer a chewy pumpkin cookie, this tip for squeezing out extra moisture is especially important.

I’d also argue that this method could be good for certain recipes for pumpkin pie — especially if your pies often come out too soft. Getting rid of extra moisture from the pumpkin in order to accommodate the addition of other liquid ingredients (like evaporated milk or cream) is a smart method.

The next time you have to finish up a can of pumpkin purée, try out this technique on a variety of baked goods, such as cookies, cakes, bars, and even coffee cake!