Ingredient Intelligence

White Pumpkins Look Cool — And They’re Tasty Too

published Oct 22, 2022
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A group of white pumpkins on a white background
Credit: Photo: Chris Simpson; Food Styling: Jessie YuChen

As Halloween approaches, it’s once again time to pull on our boots and hit the pumpkin patch for photo ops, hay mazes, and more. But which types of pumpkins to choose? There are the classic orange pumpkins, big and round and begging to be carved into jack-o’-lanterns, and the bumpy, witches’ nose ornamental gourds for decorating your front stoop.

But what about the new kids on the block, those ghostly white pumpkins? As it turns out, they’re perfect for painting or carving, and excellent in your pumpkin pie too. Here’s everything you need to know about white pumpkins, including how they’re different from orange pumpkins.

Where did white pumpkins come from, exactly?

While the exact origins of white pumpkins are somewhat mysterious, we know that several varieties, such as the Lumina, Valenciano, and Casper, were intentionally developed from albino pumpkin seeds by seed companies in the 1980s and ’90s.

Since the early 2000s, white pumpkins have become increasingly popular as folks have looked for alternatives to the orange pumpkin for seasonal decor. But these pumpkins are more than just decoration; they can be cooked and eaten just like their orange counterparts.

Are white pumpkins the same as orange pumpkins?

Both white and orange pumpkins are members of the Cucurbita family, the family that includes winter squash, summer squash, cucumbers, and melons. In terms of usage, white pumpkins can be treated the same as orange pumpkins.

Most white pumpkins have orange flesh, ranging from pale to dark, inside. White Baby Boo and Cotton Candy pumpkins are rare examples of white pumpkins with white flesh.

Do white pumpkins taste different?

White pumpkins taste almost exactly the same as orange pumpkins. Like orange pumpkins, the quality of their flesh depends on how they were grown and how large they are, with larger pumpkins tending to have more watery, stringy flesh than smaller pumpkins.

What are white pumpkins used for?

Thanks to their ghoulish appearance, white pumpkins are excellent for seasonal decorating, but they can also be enjoyed as food. White pumpkins and their seeds can be prepared just as you would orange pumpkins. 

Can you eat white pumpkins?

Yes, white pumpkins are edible, and you can substitute a white pumpkin for an orange one in any recipe. Lumina, Valenciano, and Polar Bear are examples of white pumpkins that are especially good for cooking.

Try these pumpkin recipes with white pumpkins instead of orange: