Total Time
Prep 25 mins
Cook 30 mins

I am often astounded at how few people know how to make pumpkin pie filling from scratch. In my opinion, it makes all the difference in the world when you're looking to make a truly spectacular pie for Thanksgiving or any autumnal dinner. Remember: A pumpkin is a squash, and the meat can be prepared in the same way any other large squash can. When shopping for your pumpkin, the standard "Veggie Rule" applies: Smaller specimens tend to pack a lot more flavor, and the heavier pumpkin will be denser. Little pie pumpkins are available in the fall, should weight about a pound and a half to two pounds a piece, and are the ones that you'll need for this recipe. You can use the big ones, but they just don't pack the same punch. Also, just as a tip, keep some exam gloves handy for easy clean-up after de-seeding your pumpkins.


  1. Cut the tops off of the pumpkins in a circle, just like you would for making a jack-o-lantern.
  2. Quarter the pumpkins from the top down and scoop out the seeds and tendrils. (Keep seeds for pepitas if you like.).
  3. Place the pumpkin shells meat-side up on a large cookie sheet or other sided baking dish.
  4. Smear the inner surfaces of the pumpkins with the butter.
  5. Sprinkle the brown sugar and spices, including a small bit of salt, over the shells.
  6. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 375 degrees for 30 minutes or until you can easily stab through the flesh with a fork.
  7. Let stand to cool.
  8. Gently cut away the outer skin. (This is great for compost!).
  9. Puree, mash, or process the meat to the desired consistency for the recipe you're preparing - very smooth for a mousse, less so for a standard pie.


Most Helpful

Yummy! My husband said I didn't have to wait for the the fall to make this again, and I agree!

mandave October 29, 2010

Thank you for saving the day! I wasn't sure how to do this, but when I got 40 free pie pumpkins, I had to find out! So easy and economical. I didn't cut mine in half, just hacked the top off and saved the seeds for pepitas. Mine weren't quite done after 30 minutes, but just turned off the oven and left them overnight. Now, on to search for what do with all this pumpkin!

MommaEllen October 27, 2008

this is really superior to using the canned stuff. my DH who doesn't like pumpkin pie, really liked the tarts I made with this recipe. 117531 - Light and Spicy Pumpkin Pie Tarts. Thanks for posting!!

Fynnie November 11, 2007

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