11 Creative (And Completely Delicious) Ideas to Use Canned Pumpkin
Pictured 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.
What to Make With Canned Pumpkin:
1. Mix It With Boxed Cake Mix for an Easy Dessert
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
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.
3. Roll Some Into Hand Pies With This Baking Hack
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
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!
5. Whip Up a Flourless Pumpkin Dessert
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
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.
7. Bake a Batch of Cookies
Pictured Recipe: Pumpkin Sugar Cookies
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.
8. Enjoy Canned Pumpkin at Breakfast
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
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
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!
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:
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, we have a few creative ideas for you:
- Stir into softened reduced-fat cream cheese along with cinnamon and honey for a bagel spread.
- Combine with minced chipotle in adobo, lime juice and sour cream for a creamy taco topping.
- Stir into applesauce with cinnamon and brown sugar for extra fall flavor.
- Making lasagna? Dollop over the ricotta.
- Add it to your favorite chili recipe to help thicken it up.
- Swirl into Banana Nice Cream with pumpkin pie spice for a healthy treat.
- Add a few tablespoons to your smoothie for a bit of earthy creaminess.
- Whisk with Dijon mustard, extra-virgin olive oil, cider vinegar and safe for a creamy (without the cream!) salad dressing.
- Wake up right by adding a little pumpkin to your smoothie or make your very own DIY pumpkin spice latte.
- Stir it into overnight oatmeal, or Greek yogurt for breakfast with a dash of pumpkin pie spice and a drizzle of honey.
- Mix with nut butter to spread on top of your waffles or pancakes. Drizzle with a touch of maple syrup.