Freezing Pumpkins

Fill your freezer with healthy portions of everyone’s autumn favorite: the pumpkin. Learn how easy it is to freeze this superfood.
Small Fall Pumpkins

Basket of Small Pumpkins for Fall

This collection of small pumpkins will put anyone in the mood for fall. Some pumpkins display a perfect orange skin, while others have an earthy green, spotted skin, and a singular white pumpkin sticks out in the middle.

© Emily Smallcomb Photography

Emily Smallcomb Photography

Can you freeze pumpkin? Absolutely! This autumn icon is easy to grow, and it’s so packed with good-for-you nutrition that it’s worth filling freezer space with it. Pumpkin freezer prep is pretty quick—you can definitely tackle it in a few hours. Freezing pumpkin makes this nutrient-rich vegetable available well beyond the traditional sales season. Learn how to freeze pumpkin, and you’ll make your best holiday pies ever.

Why consider freezing pumpkin? When you eat this orange vegetable, you’re feasting on carotenoid compounds that are anti-inflammatory, antioxidant-rich, cancer-fighting, and cholesterol-lowering. One serving of pumpkin contains 5 grams of fiber—that’s more than many breakfast cereals.

You can freeze any kind of pumpkin, but small, pie-type pumpkins yield the most flesh per inch. Pie pumpkins are typically small—6 to 8 inches in diameter—and usually yield two to three cups of pumpkin puree. Choose pumpkins that feel solid and weighty for their size. There shouldn’t be any bruises or soft spots. If you’re growing your own, harvest before frost, when stems start to shrivel.

To start freezing pumpkins, remove stems and wash fruits. Use warm water only; soap isn’t necessary unless the pumpkin is very dirty. If that’s the case, use a gentle detergent and a soft brush to remove dirt.

Slice open the pumpkin—easier said than done. Use a serrated knife and a sawing, back-and-forth motion. Sometimes it helps to cut a thin slice off the pumpkin near the top, followed by slicing down through the opening you’ve created. Remove seeds and strings. Some people recommend using a hard ice cream scoop to remove seeds. You can also use a spoon, hard plastic pan scraper, or a paring knife used in a scraping motion. Save seeds for roasting or planting.

Cook the pumpkin flesh before freezing. You can do this in the microwave, standard oven, or on a grill. To use the microwave, cut the pumpkin into pieces and place in a microwaveable bowl. Add some water, cover, cook for 15 minutes, and check to see if flesh is soft. If not, continue cooking in smaller time increments until flesh softens. Most pumpkins cook in 20 to 30 minutes.

To cook pumpkin in the oven, cut fruits into pieces and place them in a parchment-lined pan with sides. Pumpkin juice as it cooks; using a pan with sides protects your oven from spills. Bake at 350°F for 45 minutes or so—until flesh is easily pierced with a fork. Grill pumpkin at medium heat on foil or in a grill basket. Choose grilling only if your intended final use for the puree benefits from the flavor that grilling imparts.

Freeze Vegetables From Your Garden

See All Photos

Shop This Look

After pumpkin is cooked and softened, separate the flesh from the rind with a spoon or paring knife. Puree chunks in a blender or food processor; add just a smidge of water if the pumpkin is dry. Conversely, if the flesh is really moist, you may need to strain it before freezing. A potato ricer, potato masher, or food mill also works well to process pumpkin.

Place pumpkin puree into freezer bags in appropriate serving-size portions. Remove as much air as possible before sealing bags. For efficient freezing, flatten bagged puree before freezing. Use frozen pumpkin puree within nine to 14 months. You also freeze leftover canned pumpkin in freezer bags.

Serve your frozen pumpkin puree in more than pies and desserts. Pumpkin is a happy team player in the kitchen, blending well with other flavors. Use it to create healthy versions of family favorites. You can find recipes for pumpkin mac and cheese, enchiladas and bean dip, soup and chili, biscuits and waffles, and creamy pasta sauce.

Next Up

Freezing Cabbage

Scratch store-bought cabbage off your grocery list—and fill your freezer with homegrown cabbage instead.

Freezing Cherry Tomatoes

Keep fresh cherry tomato flavor on your meal-time menu well beyond the garden season by preserving excess fruits in the freezer.

How to Freeze Okra

Okra is a Southern favorite, thanks to its heat-loving disposition. Stock up on okra in season and freeze it for later use.

How to Freeze Corn on the Cob

Whether you're freezing your garden crop or just want to preserve the bounty from the farmers' market, this easy step-by-step guide will give you the tips you need to freeze corn on the cob.

How to Freeze Tomatoes From Your Garden

Extend your garden harvest by putting your tomatoes in the deep freeze.

5 Ways to Freeze Fresh Herbs

Learn how to prepare chives, parsley and other herbs for the deep freeze.

How to Freeze Apples

Save that apple bounty for the months ahead.

Can You Freeze Watermelon?

Leftover watermelon doesn't have to spoil. Preserve the excess in the freezer for a summery treat this winter. We'll show you how.

3 Ways to Freeze Peaches

Get our step-by-step tips for freezing fresh peaches so you can enjoy them year-round.

How to Can Spaghetti Sauce

Learn how to can homemade spaghetti sauce that will allow you to savor ripe summer tomatoes all year long.

Go Shopping

Get product recommendations from HGTV editors, plus can’t-miss sales and deals.


Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.