Pumpkin Substitutes to Finish Your Recipes in a Pinch

Pumpkin is an extremely popular fall flavor, especially around Thanksgiving. Get easy pumpkin substitutes including the best way to substitute pumpkin puree for canned pumpkin in your recipes.

As soon as the hot summer turns to cooler autumn temps, we're ready to cook all things pumpkin with favorites such as spiced pumpkin bread and our favorite seasonal latte. But when you're grocery store shelves are empty or realize you accidentally bought pumpkin pie filling (which has pie spices already in the can) instead of pumpkin puree for the savory pumpkin dish you're about to make, there's no need to panic. With the help of our Test Kitchen, you can find a pumpkin substitute and be back in business in no time. Once you know these canned pumpkin substitutes, you can easily swap in those ingredients whenever you're in a pinch.

open can of pumpkin puree
Scott Little

Pumpkin Puree Substitutes

Even though pumpkin is synonymous with fall baking, it's a good idea to keep a can on hand to make delicious sweet or savory dishes such as brownies or mac and cheese. If you don't have any canned pumpkin or fresh pumpkin isn't in season, follow use one of these pumpkin substitutes.

Butternut Squash and Sweet Potatoes

Butternut squash and our favorite orange spuds (sweet potatoes) can save the day when needing a quick alternative to pumpkin. These ingredients, in these amounts, are interchangeable in most recipes to achieve the same texture and most similar flavor.

  • For 1 cup canned pumpkin or pumpkin puree, substitute 1 cup cooked, mashed sweet potato or butternut squash.

Replacing Canned Pumpkin with Pumpkin Puree

It's actually pretty easy to make your own pumpkin puree at home, and the fresh puree can be used as a canned pumpkin substitute for any recipe calling for it. After cooking and draining, this is what to expect from a typical cooking pumpkin:

  • 2½-pound pumpkin = 1¾ cups puree
  • 3½-pound pumpkin = 2½ cups puree
  • 5-pound pumpkin = 2¾ cups puree
  • 6-pound pumpkin = 2¾ cups puree

With all the pumpkin puree substitutes handy, use it to make spiced pumpkin butter, a classic pie, or a new pumpkin dessert recipe.

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