Easily cook a whole pie 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! 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 cook a whole pumpkin- so you can use it to try out all of those fantastic recipes!
Using a pressure cooker to roast deliciously sweet pie pumpkins is incredibly easy and quick. 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!
What To Do With A Whole Pumpkin
There are many ways to use a whole pumpkin! Using it in soup and chili, and making homemade pumpkin puree are just some of the many ways. You can also:
- 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 baby food.
- Cut the pumpkin into cubes and drizzle it with a little butter. Serve both mashed and cubed pumpkin as a side dish with your dinner.
- Add to soups that call for sweet potatoes or butternut squash.
- Make pumpkin baked oatmeal.
- Cut it up, blend it into a homemade puree and use to make your favorite pumpkin desserts: pumpkin pie, pumpkin spice cheesecake, pumpkin cream cheese muffins, chocolate pumpkin bread or pumpkin quick bread.
And don't forget to save the pumpkin seeds to roast in your air fryer!
- Pie pumpkin, also called sugar or sweet pumpkin
You always need to add water to the bottom of the pot when pressure cooking a whole pumpkin. Use the minimum amount of water required for your size Instant Pot.
3 and 6 Quarts: 1 ½ cups water
8 Quart: 2 cups water
10 Quart: 2 ½ cups water
The water is not being used to do anything other than let the pot come to pressure correctly and then steam the pumpkin. If you realize you put the incorrect amount of water in, don't worry. As long as you have between 1 and 2 cups of water, there won't be significant changes in how the pumpkin cooks.
In addition to your Instant Pot, you'll need a trivet with handles or steamer basket, slicing knife, and chopping board. Any size Instant Pot works for this recipe, but you want to make sure the pumpkin fits inside while placed on the trivet or in the steamer basket.
If you're turning your pumpkin into a puree, you'll also need a blender. I use my Ace Nova cooking blender, and it does a great job at smoothly blending the pumpkin into a creamy puree.
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.
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.
Step 2. Close the lid, seal, and set to pressure cook on high for 20 minutes (for a 2.5 pound pumpkin). If using a smaller or larger pumpkin, pressure cook for 8 minutes per pound. When done, 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 the full force).
Step 3. Remove the pumpkin to a chopping board and let cool. Then cut the pumpkin in half.
Step 4. Scoop out the fibers and seeds. Reserve the seeds for roasting.
Step 5. Peel the skin off using your hands. Use a knife to cut away any skin that is hard to peel off with your fingers. Bonus- use the skin to make pumpkin chips!
Cut into cubes, mash, or puree (see above for suggestions on how to use cooked pumpkin).
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.
*You will get approximately 1 cup of cooked pumpkin per pound. So for a 2.5 lb pumpkin, this recipe created 2.5 cups of cooked pumpkin (that I turned into a puree).
- Pick pumpkins that are firm and free from too many brown spots. A lot of pumpkins have some brown spots so if yours does, don't worry too much about it. Once the pumpkin is cooked, they will come off with the skin and won't have affected the flesh underneath.
- 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.
- Wait until the pumpkin cools to peel off the skin and remove the seeds and stringy fibers.
- 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!
- While pie pumpkins (or sugar) are one of the best for cooking because of their sweetness and availability, Long Island Cheese and New England Pie are also fantastic.
Field pumpkins, the "regular" pumpkins that are found in pumpkin patches and used for carving and decorating, are not ideal for cooking. They tend to be large (too big to fit in the pressure cooker) and have watery, string flesh. These pumpkins are not recommended for eating.
Instant Pot Pumpkin
- pressure cooker
- Trivet or steamer basket
- Large spoon
- 2.5 lb pie pumpkin see notes for smaller or larger pumpkins
- 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.
- Remove the pumpkin to a chopping board and let cool. Cut the pumpkin in half and scoop out the fibers and seeds.
- Peel the skin off using your hands. Use a knife to cut away any skin that remains.
- Cut into cubes, mash, or puree (see post for full suggestions).
If you've cooked a whole pumpkin in your Instant Pot let me know how it turned out in the comments below!