Easily cook a pumpkin in your Instant Pot in only 20 minutes. There is no prep work- no chopping or peeling the pumpkin beforehand! Simply add the whole pumpkin to your pressure cooker and let it cook away! An Instant Pot Pumpkin can be eaten mashed or cubed, used in other recipes, or turned into homemade puree.
In October when pumpkin season is in full swing and you're inundated with pumpkin recipes, it's a great idea to know how to pressure cook a whole pumpkin- so you can use it to try out all of those fantastic recipes!
With this easy method, you'll have a cooked pumpkin in only 20 minutes. It's perfect for making homemade pumpkin puree, autumn-inspired side dishes, mashed pumpkin and so much more. This recipe also leaves very little waste if you roast your pumpkin seeds and use the skin to make pumpkin chips.
Once you follow this recipe for making Instant Pot pumpkin, you'll never cook it any other way. Unless you have an air fryer, of course, and want to try out roasting pumpkin in there too! You can use this pressure cooking method to cook other edible squashes, too. It works for butternut squash, acorn squash, sweet dumpling squash, and other plump winter squash.
Ingredients and Tools
With this easy method you need only:
- A Whole Pumpkin: a pie or sugar pumpkin is recommended. These pumpkin are about 2-3 pounds and you'll find them in the vegetable section of the grocery store, at local pumpkin patches and farmers markets in September or October. Long Island Cheese and New England Pie are also fantastic.
- Instant Pot: this works best in a 6 to 10 quart Instant Pot.
- Steamer basket: a trivet with handles also works. While I highly recommend using one of these to easily lift the pumpkin out of the Instant Pot, you can also cook it directly in the inner pot.
A whole pumpkin cooks for approximately 8 minutes per pound. I had a 2.6 pound pie pumpkin and pressure cooked it for 20 minutes, with a quick controlled release at the end. The result was a soft and tender pumpkin with skin that was beginning to peel off.
How Much Cooked Pumpkin Does This Recipe Yield?
You will get approximately 1 cup of cooked pumpkin per pound or pie pumpkin. So for a 2.5 lb pumpkin, this recipe created 2.5 cups of cooked pumpkin.
Step 1. Wash your pumpkin, scrubbing away any dirt. Add water to the inner pot and place the trivet or steamer basket inside. Put the washed pumpkin on the trivet or in the basket. The stem easily comes off once the pumpkin is cooked, so don't worry about removing it beforehand. If it's too tall for the lid to close, tilt the pumpkin on it's side or cut the stem off.
*For the pot to come to pressure correctly, use the amount of water according to the manual for your size. A 6 quart needs 1 cup of water, an 8 quart needs 1.5 cups water and a 10 quart needs 2 cups water.
Step 2. Close the lid, seal, and set to pressure cook on high for 8 minutes per pound (20 minutes for a standard 2.5 pound pie pumpkin). When done cooking, complete a controlled quick release by lightly pressing on the pressure releasing valve to prevent hot water from spraying out (rather than pressing all the way down on the valve to release the pressure at full force).
*Because the pumpkin will be soft after pressure cooking, a steamer basket makes removal from the inner pot the easiest. If very soft it could slide off a trivet, so be very careful!
Step 3. Transfer the pumpkin to a chopping board and let cool.
Step 4. Cut the pumpkin in half. Using a spoon, scoop out the fibers and seeds. Discard stringy fibers and reserve the seeds for later use if desired.
Step 5. Peel the skin off using your hands or tongs. Use a knife to cut away any skin that is hard to peel off with your fingers. Discard or reserve for later use. Cut into cubes, mash, or puree. For more ideas on how to use your pressure cooked pumpkin, see the section below.
How To Store
If not serving immediately, store in the fridge for up to 7 days in an airtight container or freeze in plastic freezer bags for up to 6 months.
What To Do With Cooked Pumpkin
There are many ways to use a whole pumpkin! Aside from making homemade puree, you can:
- Add to pastas and rice dishes, like this Instant Pot pumpkin pasta and Instant Pot pumpkin risotto to give them a thicker, creamier texture.
- Make pumpkin soup or a hearty pumpkin chili.
- Instant Pot pumpkin cheesecake or oven baked pumpkin cheesecake.
- Mash it like you would sweet potatoes and serve it with cinnamon, butter, and brown sugar. Mashed pumpkin is so sweet that it's even delicious served plain or with just a little salt and pepper.
- Make bread: chocolate pumpkin bread, Instant Pot pumpkin bread, and bread machine pumpkin cranberry bread.
- Muffins! Pumpkin cream cheese muffins and pumpkin spice muffins are delicious with fresh pumpkin.
- Make pumpkin cornbread for Thanksgiving dinner.
- Chewy pumpkin cookies
- Creamy pumpkin pudding
- Use as a substitution in recipes that call for sweet potatoes or butternut squash.
A whole pumpkin will take approximately 8 minutes per pound to pressure cook with a quick pressure release.
Maybe your pumpkin is a little too big to fit in your Instant Pot whole, or you'd just like to cut it before cooking to avoid doing so when it's warm. Not a problem at all! Slice the pumpkin into halves, quarters or cubes. Place into the Instant Pot with the water and pressure cook for an adjusted amount of time according to the table below.
Whole: 8 minutes per pound
Halved/Quartered: 15 minutes total
Cubes/Chunks: 5-7 minutes total
Field pumpkins, the "regular" pumpkins that are found in pumpkin patches and used for carving and decorating, are not ideal for cooking. Not only are they likely to be too large for your Instant Pot, they have watery, stringy flesh. These pumpkins are not recommended for eating.
Yes! Use this same method for pressure cooking other squash whole. Then turn into a puree, season and serve as a side dish or use in other recipes.
While I think a fresh cooked pumpkin is sweet and flavorful, much more so than canned pumpkin, some people find it to be bland. You can season pumpkin with a variety of spices and herbs to add some flavor. Some spices that pair well with pumpkin are nutmeg, cloves, allspice, ginger, cinnamon, cumin, and chili powder. It's also lovely drizzled with maple syrup or honey and sprinkled with brown sugar. Of course, the seasonings you use and if you choose any at all, depend on what you plan to use your fresh cooked pumpkin for.
Instant Pot Pumpkin
- 2.5 lb pie pumpkin see notes on pumpkin size
- water see notes for correct amount
- Wash your pumpkin, scrubbing away any dirt. Add water to the inner pot and place the trivet or steamer basket inside. Put the washed pumpkin on the trivet or in the basket.
- Close the lid, seal, and set to pressure cook on high for 20 minutes (*see notes). When done complete a controlled quick release by lightly pressing on the pressure releasing valve until all steam has been released.
- Remove the pumpkin to a chopping board and let cool. Cut in half and scoop out the fibers and seeds. Discard fibers and reserve seeds for later use if desired.
- Peel the skin off using your hands or tongs. Use a knife to cut away any skin that remains. Discard skin or reserve for cooking later.
- Cut into cubes, mash, or puree (see post for full suggestions).