Learn how to cook a pumpkin three different ways: 1) in an electric pressure cooker, 2) on a stove top pressure cooker, and 3) by roasting in the oven.
Pumpkin is a versatile squash. It can be used in main dishes, desserts or snacks. Therefore, learning how to cook a pumpkin is the first step to making tasty dishes. There are three easy ways to cook a pumpkin so it is ready to puree for any recipe. Follow some simple steps before beginning any of the cooking methods.
First, wash the pumpkin with a vegetable wash to remove any dirt. Next, cut the stem off and cut the pumpkin in half.
Remove the seeds and pulp. Scrape as much of the stringy flesh out of the pumpkin as possible. Clean seeds and learn how to roast the pumpkin seeds.
The pumpkin will cook faster if it is cut in half or in fourths, depending on the size of the pumpkin. Cut small pumpkins in half. Cut larger pumpkins in quarters. If you are going to cook the pumpkin whole, cut a bigger hole at the top of the pumpkin where the stem was removed.
How to Cook a Pumpkin in an Electric Pressure Cooker (like an Instant Pot)
The quickest method to cooking pumpkin is to use a pressure cooker, either an electric pressure cooker like the Instant Pot or a stove top pressure cooker. An electric pressure cooker is my favorite tool to use to cook a pumpkin. It is convenient to add the pumpkin, a little water, turn on the pressure cooker and leave it to cook. It is easy and the pumpkin doesn’t have to be watched. My favorite electric pressure cooker is the Fagor Lux Multi-Cooker. When it is finished cooking, my pressure cooker will go to the “keep warm” setting and hold there until I am ready to take care of the pumpkin.
To cook a pumpkin in an electric pressure cooker, add a steamer rack trivet to the bottom of the pan. This is optional, but it will help you get the pumpkin out of the pan easily when it has finished cooking. Add 1/2 to 1 cup of water, depending on the size of the pumpkin. Next, add the pumpkin. Turn the pressure cooker on and select 10 to 12 minutes. Press start and your electric pressure cooker will do the rest of the work.
How to Cook a Pumpkin in a Stove Top Pressure Cooker
When using a stove top pressure cooker, add the trivet to the bottom of the pan and ½ to 1 cup of water, depending on the size of the pumpkin. Smaller pumpkins will need less water. However, a pan that is full of large pumpkin quarters will need 1 cup of water.
My favorite stove top pressure cooker. is made by Kuhn Rikon. The pressure valve has two red rings to indicate the pressure level. The pressure gauge should be on the second red ring when cooking a pumpkin.
Place the pumpkin in the pan on the trivet, skin side down. Put the lid on the pressure cooker and begin cooking on stove top on medium heat. When the pressure gauge hits the second ring, reduce the heat slightly and cook for 8 to 12 minutes. Once again the timing depends on the quantity and size of pumpkin in the pan.
After the pumpkin has finished cooking, remove the pan from the heat and release the pressure. If you are pureeing the pumpkin, overcooking won’t be detrimental.
How to Roast a Pumpkin in the Oven
To roast a pumpkin in the oven, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a jelly roll or casserole pan with tin foil. I recommend cutting the pumpkin in half or in fourths so it will cook more quickly and easily. Next, place the pumpkin on the foil face down (if the pumpkin is halved or quartered) or face up (if cooking the whole pumpkin).
Cover the pumpkin completely with tin foil.
Roast in the oven for 30-45 minutes for a pumpkin cut in half or quartered or for a small whole pumpkin. Roast for 60-90 minutes if the pumpkin is large or if the pumpkin is whole.
After 30 minutes check the pumpkin by pricking it with a fork. It is ready when the fork pierces the pumpkin easily. If the pumpkin cannot be pierced, return to oven to continue cooking. Check every 5-6 minutes.
When the pumpkin is done, remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 20 minutes before scraping the pumpkin flesh out of the skin. The bottom of the pumpkin may have browned a little during the cooking process. Avoid this area when removing the flesh for a puree.
How to Puree Pumpkin
Now that you know how to cook a pumpkin, you may find that recipes call for a pumpkin puree. Pureeing cooked pumpkin is easy when using either a Vitamix or an immersion blender, such as the Bamix. Mashing the pumpkin with a fork or a potato masher can also work to some degree, but you will never get the smooth puree that a high quality blender will give you.
First, scrape out the cooked pumpkin flesh. Pumpkin is a squash, so the texture and consistency will be the same.
To achieve a smooth pumpkin puree, blend in a Vitamix Blender for 30 to 60 seconds, depending on the amount of pumpkin. Another option is to use an immersion blender. This will take 3-5 minutes to get a similar smooth puree. Blend all of the pumpkin.
What I Used to Cook a Pumpkin
For your convenience, I have listed products that I have used to cook pumpkin. These are affiliate links of products I highly recommend.