It’s that time of year when we all go crazy for pumpkin recipes. From a classic pumpkin pie to pumpkin bread, soups, pumpkin cookies, and more, we love to use this versatile vegetable in all our favorite fall recipes.
Most of the pumpkin recipes you’ll see either call for pumpkin puree or pumpkin pie filling, and you might be wondering what’s the difference, whether you can use them interchangeably, or which one will work best in your favorite recipe. Will cover all these topics and more in this handy guide, and we’ll even share some of our favorite pumpkin recipes, so you can put your newfound knowledge to the test. Let’s dive into all things pumpkin as we discuss the difference between pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie filling.
Both canned and homemade pumpkin puree are made by cooking and mashing the flesh of a pumpkin. It typically contains only pumpkin and has no other additives. Also sometimes labeled as pure pumpkin, 100 percent pumpkin, solid pack pumpkin, or pure canned pumpkin, It’s a versatile ingredient that can be used in a variety of different recipes. It works equally well in sweet treats like pies, cookies, and pumpkin butter and savory dishes like soups and risotto.
Most pumpkin recipes call for canned pumpkin puree which can be found in any grocery store. It has a deep orange color and a smooth texture. You can also make your own fresh pumpkin puree using small baking or pie pumpkins. Fresh puree can be used in place of canned pumpkin puree in most recipes and is super easy to prepare. Simply remove the seeds from your pumpkin and place it on a baking sheet, then roast it until the flesh is soft. Finally, scoop it into a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.
Pumpkin Pie Filling
Pumpkin pie filling (also sometimes called pumpkin pie mix) is meant to be a shortcut for making your own quick pumpkin pie. The main difference between pie filling and pumpkin puree is that the pie filling has added sugar and a variety of spices typically found in pumpkin pie, such as cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves. Because of the added ingredients, pumpkin filling has a much higher sugar content and a slightly thicker consistency, similar to that of a pudding. It also has a much sweeter and earthier flavor than that of plain pumpkin puree.
Which One is the Right Ingredient for my Recipe?
Typically, your recipe will specify either pumpkin puree or pumpkin pie filling. If you’re unsure of which to use, a good rule of thumb is to always use pumpkin puree if you’re making a savory recipe, since you won’t want added spices and sugar in your soups and other savory dishes.
So what do you do if your recipe calls for pumpkin pie filling and you only have pumpkin puree, or vice versa? Well, if you’ve got pumpkin puree, you’re in luck, because you can add some sugar and spices and use it in place of pumpkin pie filling. For each cup of puree that your recipe calls for, add about 1/3 cup of sugar and 1½ teaspoons of either pumpkin pie spice or a mix of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.
However, if you need pumpkin puree and only have pumpkin pie filling, you won’t want to make the swap, as your recipe will end up with too much sugar. The only exception to this would be if you’re making a sweet recipe that calls for pumpkin puree and additional sugar and spices, you may be able to use the pumpkin pie filling in place of pumpkin puree and omit the sugar and spices.
Don’t have any pumpkin at all? Try substituting a winter squash like roasted pureed acorn or butternut squash in place of pureed pumpkin. These have a similar texture, color, and natural sweetness that makes them suitable substitutes for pumpkin.
The delicious fall flavor isn’t the only thing we love about pumpkin. You’ll also be happy to know that it’s an incredibly nutritious treat. Pumpkin is high in fiber and low in calories, making it a great option to keep you full and fit into any healthy diet. It’s also rich in beta carotene and vitamin C, which helps protect your vision, and it’s full of cancer fighting antioxidants and vitamins that help boost your immune system.
Our Favorite Pumpkin Recipes
Now that you’ve got all the info on how to use pumpkin puree and pie filling, it’s time to get cooking with some of our favorite easy fall recipes, starting with the most delicious pumpkin pie recipe. You’ll note that this pie calls for pumpkin puree and not pumpkin pie filling, as this allows you to be able to control the amount of sugar and spices that go into the dish. This pie has the perfect sweet and creamy texture, it’s easy to make, and it will make your kitchen smell amazing while it’s baking!
Other Uses for Pumpkin Puree
There are even more uses for this versatile veggie that you may not be aware of. Beyond pumpkin pie and muffins, here are some other great and creative ways to use pumpkin puree.
Sneak some into your smoothie – With its natural sweetness and creamy texture, pumpkin is a great healthy addition to your morning smoothie. It’s an ideal way to get some veggies into your diet to start your day, and it mixes well with almond, coconut, and daily milk. Blend with some ice, frozen banana and protein powder and you’ve got a delicious meal that will keep you full for hours.
A Treat for your furry friends – Did you know that pumpkin is great for dogs? Pumpkin puree is a delicious treat that’s easy for them to digest and helps keep their coat healthy. You can put a few spoonfuls on top of their regular food and it will help to settle an upset stomach. Just be sure that you use pure pumpkin puree and not pumpkin pie filling, as the added sugar and spices are not good for dogs to consume.
Pumpkin hummus – If you love making hummus, you’ll love it even more with the addition of pumpkin puree. It blends well with traditional hummus ingredients and it lends the best flavor and a wonderful extra creamy texture to the dish. We love this easy recipe for pumpkin hummus during the fall season.
Pumpkin Cream Cheese – Sure, you buy the premade kind from the store, but this homemade pumpkin cream cheese is free of chemicals and preservatives, super easy to make, and packed with pumpkin flavor. If you’ve never considered making your own, give this delicious recipe a try.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this guide to all things pumpkin. Now that you know the difference between pumpkin puree and pie filling, and how to use each one, you’ve got everything you need for the most delicious pumpkin season ever. Now it’s time to get cooking with this tasty, healthy, and versatile seasonal veggie.
More Pumpkin Recipes
- Pumpkin Lush (popular recipe!)
- Cool Whip Pumpkin Pie
- Pumpkin Hand Pies
- Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Pumpkin Whoopie Pies
- Pumpkin Snickerdoodles
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