These healthy and easy pumpkin recipes are all the best ways to use this nutritious orange squash! Use it in cookies, pasta, soup, and more.
Once cooler temperatures start to creep into the mornings, it starts: pumpkin mania. Yes, this nutritious orange squash has a cult-like following starting in September. It’s a short season, so the time is here. Let’s make all the pumpkin recipes!
Pumpkin is extremely versatile: it’s most popularly used in desserts, but it’s so much more than that. Try it in a creamy pasta sauce with Parmesan cheese, or even a bright orange hummus that’s perfect for fall parties. Here are all the top pumpkin recipes that are easy to make with healthy, whole food ingredients. Ready to get started?
And now, our best easy pumpkin recipes!
Pumpkin puree vs pumpkin pie filling
Let’s get technical for a moment. What’s the difference between pumpkin, pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie filling?
- Pumpkin refers the fresh pumpkin squash! All of the pumpkin recipes above don’t call for this because it’s easiest to find and work with pumpkin puree.
- Pumpkin puree is cooked pumpkin that has been blended down into a puree and canned. It is unflavored. Take a taste out of the can, and it tastes very bland. When you’re shopping, do not accidentally grab pumpkin pie filling because…
- Pumpkin pie filling is sweetened and includes pumpkin spices. Many of the pumpkin recipes above are savory, so you’ll want plain old pumpkin puree. (Remind us to tell you the time we accidentally made our pumpkin Parmesan penne with pumpkin pie filling…!)
Canned pumpkin can contain butternut squash, too
That can of pumpkin puree sometimes has other squashes too! Here’s what’s really in your canned pumpkin puree. Butternut squash is sweeter and creamier than pumpkin, which can be bitter and stringy. So many times manufacturers add butternut squash. Don’t worry, it’s not cheating: it’s just the best way to that creamy, sweet puree that we can call pumpkin!
What is pumpkin spice?
Now, some pumpkin recipes don’t even use that bright orange puree at all. They rely solely on pumpkin spices! Pumpkin has a fairly neutral flavor: our brains just associate the flavor of pumpkin with the spices in pumpkin pie. Some types of recipes simply don’t work with actual pumpkin: like iced coffee or energy bars.
Pumpkin spice can stand in to evoke the flavor in a pumpkin recipe where adding the actual vegetable would be too gooey. What spices are in pumpkin spice? Here’s our Pumpkin Pie Spice recipe. It’s a blend of:
More pumpkin recipes
There are so many ways to include pumpkin in recipes! Here are some more serving ideas:
- Use it in soups, stews, and curries
- Bake it into cakes
- Add it to your breakfast routine with pumpkin oatmeal
- Cozy up with pumpkin frozen yogurt or pumpkin parfaits
These chewy pumpkin oatmeal cookies are over the top delicious: they’re vegan, full of pumpkin spices and drizzled with a simple powdered sugar icing.
For the cookies
- 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup coconut oil, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
For the powdered sugar icing
- 3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons milk or almond milk
- In a medium bowl, combine the rolled oats, all-purpose flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and kosher salt.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix the coconut oil, brown sugar, and granulated sugar on medium high for about 30 seconds, scraping the bowl as necessary, until well combined. Add in pumpkin and vanilla and combine on low for a few seconds until fully combined. Gradually add in the bowl with the dry ingredients, mixing on low, until combined into a dough.
- Place the bowl in the refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Remove the bowl with the dough from the refrigerator. Make 24 1 1/2 tablespoon-sized balls (a size 40 cookie scoop, if you have it) and place them onto the baking sheet. Lightly flatten the tops of each cookie with your hand.
- Bake for 11 minutes until lightly browned on the bottom. Remove from the oven and allow to set on the baking sheet; after 2 minutes, transfer to a wire baking rack. For best results, bake in 2 batches (refrigerate the dough in between baking); this gets the most even bake. If making the glaze, allow to cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes.
- To make the powdered sugar icing, stir together the confectioners’ sugar and milk until a smooth sauce forms and all lumps are dissolved (if using a thin consistency almond milk, start with 1 tablespoon and increase by little bits until it is smooth). Place the cookies on parchment paper, dip a fork into the glaze and drizzle in a zigzag pattern. Let the cookies sit at room temperature until the glaze is dry, about 20 minutes.
- Category: Dessert
- Method: Baked
- Cuisine: Cookies
Keywords: Pumpkin Recipes
About the Authors
Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.
Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.