3 Substitutes for Canned Pumpkin Purée

updated May 1, 2019
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(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

There are two reasons why you might need to substitute something for canned pumpkin purée: either your grocery store ran out (it happens!), or you accidentally forgot to pick some up.

Don’t worry, though — there are a few pantry and freezer staples that you can easily substitute for canned pumpkin purée in most recipes. These three pumpkin purée alternatives will keep you cooking or baking no matter what.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

1. Frozen Butternut Squash

You can substitute almost any roasted and puréed squash for canned pumpkin. Frozen butternut cubes are a shortcut we think you should always have on hand. Bonus: They might also minimize the prep work you’ll need to do.

How to Use Frozen Butternut Squash for Canned Pumpkin in a Recipe

Roast or sauté the butternut cubes until tender — this helps draw out excessive moisture from the frozen cubes. Then cool and purée in a food processor or blender until smooth.

Get roasting instructions here: How To Roast Frozen Butternut Squash

(Image credit: Lauren Volo)

2. Sweet Potatoes

Whether you keep the raw tubers or canned cubes on hand, sweet potatoes are one of the best alternatives to canned pumpkin you can keep stocked.

How to Use Sweet Potatoes for Canned Pumpkin in a Recipe

Roast raw potatoes whole to concentrate their sweetness and soften their flesh so that you can use them 1:1 in place of pumpkin. Be sure to purée the roasted flesh before adding it to pie filling or bread batter. For canned sweet potatoes, drain the cubes and rinse before puréeing and using.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

3. Roasted Acorn Squash

Technically you could roast any hard squash and make purée from it, but we prefer acorn or butternut to other varieties. They each have the brilliant color and sweetness we expect from pumpkin purée.

How to Use Roasted Squash for Canned Pumpkin in a Recipe

Halve your squash and remove the seeds with a spoon. Roast until tender then purée. Sound a lot like making pumpkin purée? That’s because it is! Use this squash purée 1:1 for pumpkin purée.