10 Best Pumpkin Varieties for Your Fall Decor and Baking Needs

Plaid Painted Pumpkins
Photo: Peter Krumhardt

Picture a pumpkin, and an orange sphere probably comes to mind. Yet, these members of the squash family come in various shapes, colors, sizes, and textures and serve many different purposes. There are so many to choose from: huge ivory white pumpkins, tiny light orange pumpkins, round, jolly pumpkins, conical, humorous pumpkins. Here are a few of the best pumpkin varieties for fall decorating, baking, and more.

01 of 10

'New England Cheddar'

'new england cheddar' pumpkin with muted orange color
Jacob Fox

Best for: Fresh pumpkin pies. The high sugar content of this variety satisfies any sweet tooth.

A medium-sized variety that grows fruits around 15 pounds, 'New England Cheddar' gets its name from its appearance: The pumpkin's shape resembles a cheese wheel. Despite its "cheesy" name, you can use this pumpkin variety in your favorite pumpkin pie or quick bread recipe.

02 of 10

'Porcelain Doll'

unique pink 'porcelain doll' pumpkin
Jacob Fox

Best for: Soups. The sweet, creamy flesh is perfect for making a smooth, puréed soup.

In addition to being a tasty eating variety, 'Porcelain Doll' has a unique pink color with deep ribs, so it also looks pretty on a front porch with other fall decorations. The blocky-shaped pumpkins can weigh over 20 pounds.

03 of 10

'Hybrid Pam'

'hybrid pam' medium-sized pumpkin near straw
Jacob Fox

Best for: Painting and crafting. The small size and relatively smooth skin make it ideal for art projects with the kiddos.

'Hybrid Pam' pumpkins are bright orange and round. Reaching 7 pounds on average, they're the perfect size for a pie and have a sweet flavor, too.

04 of 10

'Crystal Star'

large white globular-shaped 'crystal star' pumpkin
Jacob Fox

Best for: Jack-'o-lanterns. Their white rind appears ghostly!

'Crystal Star' keeps its spooky white appearance as it ages, making these pumpkins a fun choice for carving and decorating (it's perfect for painting a buffalo check pattern to go with your fall farmhouse display). The large, rounded pumpkins tend to be about 25-35 pounds.

05 of 10

'Blue Doll'

green 'blue doll' pumpkin variety on straw
Jacob Fox

Best for: Roasting. The exceptionally sweet flesh tastes delicious when served in salads and pasta dishes.

Don't be fooled by the blue-green skin; 'Blue Doll' has a bright orange interior. You can use this variety in your favorite pumpkin recipes that benefit from the fruit's warm hues.

06 of 10


small white 'casperita' pumpkin on straw
Jacob Fox

Best for: Tablescapes. These pint-size pumpkins make an adorable addition to your dining table centerpieces and counter-top fall displays.

'Casperita' is a small white pumpkin variety that is a top choice for indoor decorating. Or use them as a finishing touch for a fall window box arrangement.

07 of 10


'orangita' mini pumpkin with sharp ribs on rind
Jacob Fox

Best for: Indoor decor. Pair 'Orangita' with 'Casperita' for contrast.

'Orangita' is an orange mini pumpkin with deep ribs on its rind. Use 'Orangita' to set off bigger squash varieties, container gardens, and hay bales for a stunning fall porch display.

08 of 10

'Flat White Boer Ford'

flat white boer 'ford' pumpkin on sisal rug
Jacob Fox

Best for: Baking and pies. This thick-fleshed pumpkin has a small seed cavity, so you'll get plenty of puree out of it.

'Flat White Boer Ford' appears precisely as its name indicates, featuring a flattened shape and white rind. These pumpkins grow wider than tall and are perfect for adding a diverse look to a porch when paired with other pumpkin varieties. 'Flat White Boer Ford' also keeps well, so should last through the season.

09 of 10


'cinderella' rouge vif d'etampes french heirloom pumpkin
Jacob Fox

Best for: Savory pumpkin dishes. Use this variety to add fall flavor to your favorite entree.

Known as the Cinderella pumpkin after the carriage that took the fairy-tale princess to the ball, this French heirloom variety is also called Rouge Vif d'Etampes. It has a flat shape, reddish-orange skin, and weighs around 10-15 pounds.

10 of 10


'knucklehead' orange pumpkin with green warts
Jacob Fox

Best for: The scariest jack-'o-lanterns EVER.

Nope, there's nothing wrong with this pumpkin. 'Knucklehead' gets its name from its naturally warty skin. The fruit is orange, dotted with greenish bumps. This pumpkin ranges from 10-20 pounds once ripe and is excellent for carving spooky jack-'o-lanterns.

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