Creative (And Completely Delicious) Ideas to Use Canned Pumpkin

By: Hilary Meyer, EatingWell Recipe Contributor

Find the best ways to use canned pumpkin, from the classic pumpkin pie and beyond. Plus, if you've got leftover canned pumpkin puree laying around, we'll show you exactly how to store it and give you ideas for how to use it up.

recipe with canned pumpkinPictured Recipe: Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake

Outside of pumpkin pie, it's hard to imagine what one could possibly do with canned pumpkin. Or when you open a can of pumpkin and only need a cup for your pumpkin bread recipe, what are you supposed to make with the rest? Well, we're here to tell you there's a lot you can do with it, that goes well beyond pie. To be clear, when we say canned pumpkin, we mean puree—not pumpkin pie filling that comes with added sugar and spices. From sweet to savory, you can find a place for canned pumpkin whether you need a lot, or just a little. Read on for recipes and inspiration for this sweet and mild fall favorite.

Related: All the Healthy Pumpkin Recipes You Need

What to Make With Canned Pumpkin:

1. Mix It With Boxed Cake Mix for an Easy Dessert

recipe with canned pumpkin

Pictured Recipe: Pumpkin Dump Cake

Whether you prefer cake, bars or pumpkin pie, combining canned pumpkin and boxed cake mix is a great hack when you're looking for a last minute dessert. To make a dump cake with pumpkin, combine the canned pumpkin in a gooey layer with a few other ingredients, like cream cheese. Sprinkle the cake mix overtop with melted butter to make a "crumble" topping and you're done! Or flip flop the two! Prepare the cake mix and spred it in a pan, then top it with a creamy canned pumpkin mixture make gooey butter cake that's similar to pumpkin pie bars.

2. Blend It Into a Savory Sauce

recipe with canned pumpkin

Pictured Recipe: EatingWell's Pepperoni Pizza

We often think of canned pumpkin as part of a sweet treat, but it's a great addition to savory foods too. Adding canned pumpkin to tomato sauce to top a pizza or pasta is a stealthy way to incorporate more fiber, vitamin A and beta carotene into an every-day dinner. The sweet, slightly acidic flavor from the tomato complements the mild pumpkin flavor and renders it almost undetectable. You can think beyond tomato sauce too. Try adding pumpkin puree to chili, curries or any other dish with bold flavors that could use the mellowing nature of canned pumpkin.

Related: Secrets to Perfect Homemade Tomato Sauce (with No Added Sugar)

3. Roll Some Into Hand Pies With This Baking Hack

recipe with canned pumpkin

Pictured Recipe: Pumpkin Pie Egg Rolls

Genius hack alert: you can turn store bought egg roll wrappers into pumpkin hand pies. No fussy crust, no rolling out dough. Just turn canned pumpkin into a creamy pie filling, place a little on an egg roll wrapper, roll and fry for a delicious, easy and impressive-looking dessert.

Related: How to Make the Best Vegan Pie

4. Add It to Your Favorite Healthy Snack

recipe with canned pumpkin

Pictured Recipe: Pumpkin Hummus

For a fall riff on classic hummus, add in some canned pumpkin. The beautiful color makes snack time even more fun, plus it couldn't be any easier with the help of canned chickpeas and a food processor or blender. Serve with a rainbow of veggie dippers and some whole-grain pita chips!

Related: The Amazing Health Benefits of Pumpkin

5. Whip Up a Flourless Pumpkin Dessert

recipe with canned pumpkin

Pictured Recipe: Pumpkin Spice Pudding

Canned pumpkin is a great healthy addition to creamy custard desserts. Whip up a batch of easy pumpkin pudding or creme brulee for cute crowd-pleasing desserts without the crust (a great way to save time and carbs!).

6. Stir It Into a Dinner Side to Add Creaminess

recipe with canned pumpkin

Pictured Recipe: Pumpkin Mashed Potatoes

Canned pumpkin purree doesn't just add beautiful color to classic beige side dishes like mashed potatoes and risotto, it also makes these dishes super creamy, without any cream! Plus, it gives the dish a little extra fiber and vitamin A for a nutrition boost.

Related: 5 Ways to Get More Vegetables Into Family Meals

7. Bake a Batch of Cookies

recipe with canned pumpkin

Pictured Recipe: Pumpkin Cookie Crescents

Cookies are the new fall baking must-make. They're easier than pie and there are so many ways to do it. Add some canned pumpkin in place of some of the fat in your favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe, make some into mini pumpkin pie cookies, chewy cookies with apple and even pumpkin spice cookies.

Related: These Pumpkin Spice Recipes Have Us Dreaming of Fall

8. Enjoy Canned Pumpkin at Breakfast

recipe with canned pumpkin

Pictured Recipe: Protein Pumpkin Waffles

You can jazz up pancakes and waffles by adding canned pumpkin to the mix! Not only does canned pumpkin add its own sweet mild flavor, but it will give your stack of pancakes (or waffles) a bright orange hue. Try complementing the flavor with toasted nuts, chocolate chips or chopped apple and of course, a pinch of cinnamon or other fall spice is always welcome.

9. Make a Frozen Dessert

recipe with canned pumpkin

Pictured Recipe: Frozen Pumpkin Mousse Pie

You might not think of making ice cream pie in the fall, but Frozen Pumpkin Mousse Pie is the exception to that rule. Combine it with softened low-fat ice cream to enjoy on its own or use the mixture as the batter for a frozen pie with a cookie crust. Two things to keep in mind when using canned pumpkin in frozen desserts: One, make sure the ice cream is softened before you stir in the pumpkin so it distributes evenly. Two, since canned pumpkin holds a lot of wate,r make sure you have plenty of creamy ingredients (like ice cream or frozen yogurt) to counteract the iciness that you may get when you freeze canned pumpkin.

10. Bake a Loaf of Quick Pumpkin Bread

recipe with canned pumpkin

Pictured Recipe: Pumpkin Banana Bread

Canned pumpkin is super easy to bake with. Adding it to baked goods like quick breads and muffins helps keep them tender and moist. We especially like how canned pumpkin pairs with the subtle nutty flavor of whole-grain flours, which gives you an added boost of fiber to boot.

Try these: Easy, Healthy Pumpkin Bread Recipes

11. And of Course, Make Pie!

recipe with canned pumpkin

Pictured Recipe: Our Best Traditional Pumpkin Pie

We would be remiss not to mention the all-time classic way to use canned pumpkin: pumpkin pie! Canned pumpkin is front in center in this classic holiday dessert and we love pumpkin pie not just for the pumpkin, but for how easy it is to pull together. You can purchase a ready-made crust or make one yourself. After that, all you need is a can of pumpkin puree, sweetened condensed milk, eggs and spices and you have yourself a pie.

Try these: Delious Pumpkin Pie Recipes

What to Do With Leftover Canned Pumpkin:

recipe with canned pumpkin

Pictured Recipe: Pumpkin Spice Latte

How to Store Leftover Pumpkin

Leftover canned pumpkin keeps for about 5 days in a covered storage container in the refrigerator. You can freeze it in storage bags, or in ice cube trays if you want to use a little at a time for up to 3 months. One standard ice cube is about 2 tablespoons of pumpkin puree.

How to Use Up Leftover Pumpkin

If you've got extra canned pumpkin hanging around and you just want to use it up a little at a time, try stirring it into overnight oatmeal, or Greek yogurt for breakfast with a dash of pumpkin pie spice and a drizzle of honey. Wake up right by adding a little pumpkin to your smoothie or make your very own DIY pumpkin spice latte.

Watch: How to Make Glazed Chocolate-Pumpkin Bundt Cake

More Pumpkin:
How to Pick the Right Pumpkin for Cooking
How to Cook Pumpkin
How to Roast Pumpkin Seeds