These healthy pumpkin recipes are total crowd pleasers: from dessert recipes like oatmeal cookies to main dishes like pasta and soup!
Are you a pumpkin fan? Once cooler temperatures start to creep into the mornings, mania for that orange squash starts. So why not start the party with some pumpkin recipes? From creamy cheesy pasta to chewy oatmeal cookies with an icy drizzle, pumpkin is a truly versatile ingredient that makes satisfying flavors. Here’s a collection of our top pumpkin recipes that are both easy to make and relatively healthy. In this case, healthy is less about calorie count and more that each recipe is made with real, whole food ingredients. Ready to get started?
What is pumpkin puree?
But first, a bit about our ingredients! Pumpkin puree is cooked pumpkin that has been blended down into a puree. Note that for all of the recipes below, you’ll use pumpkin puree or canned pumpkin: do not accidentally grab pumpkin pie filling! It is sweetened and includes pumpkin spices. Since many of these recipes are savory, you’ll want plain old pumpkin. (Remind us to tell you the time we accidentally made our pumpkin Parmesan penne with pumpkin pie filling…!)
Also, did you know that most canned pumpkin also has butternut squash? (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. To us, it’s not cheating: we just want a creamy, sweet puree that we can call pumpkin!
What is pumpkin spice?
Some pumpkin recipes don’t have 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 recipes simply don’t work with actual pumpkin: like iced coffee or energy bars. Pumpkin spices stand in to evoke the flavor; adding the actual vegetable here would make for a gooey texture and bland flavor.
What spices are in pumpkin spice? Here’s our Pumpkin Pie Spice recipe. It’s a blend of:
Just saying the words feels cozy, right? Now that we’re in the right frame of mind…let’s get to those recipes!
And now, our best easy pumpkin recipes!
Looking for more pumpkin recipes?
Here are a few more ideas for inspiration:Print
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.