How (and Why!) to Roast a Pumpkin

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Forget the canned stuff. Learn how to roast a pumpkin for fresher flavor in these sweet and savory recipes from Food Network.

Even before what I’ll refer to as the Great Pumpkin Controversy of 2016 (which Snopes fact-checked and says originated when “a viral social media rumor suggested the pumpkin in pumpkin pie is secretly produced from other squash”), there was one very good reason to roast your own pumpkin instead of buying it canned: It simply tastes better.

Sure, roasting a pumpkin is an extra step when making pie, but the fresh flavor makes it totally worthwhile. (And it’s an essential skill to have to make a whole slew of amazing recipes that call for whole pumpkins or pumpkin chunks.) Plus, when you roast a pumpkin at home, you also get the bonus of being able to roast the seeds to make delicious, toasty snacks.

So whether you’re test-driving a pumpkin pie recipe to make for Thanksgiving dinner or you want to mix up your tired salad routine with chunks of perfectly roasted pumpkin and toasted pepitas, here’s what you need to know. Also, get the recipes for some of our favorite fresh pumpkin dishes.

To roast a 3-pound pumpkin, first preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Remove the stem from the pumpkin and scrape out the insides, reserving the seeds for another use if desired. Cut the pumpkin in half and lay the pieces cut-side down on a rimmed baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Rub canola oil all over the skin and bake until fork-tender, about 1 hour. Let cool before peeling the skin and using for purees, or cutting into wedges.

To make her From-Scratch Pumpkin Pie (pictured above), Nancy Fuller purees roasted pumpkin with sweetened condensed milk, whipping cream, molasses, cinnamon and ginger. Then she pours the deliciously scented filling into a flaky, homemade crust and bakes it to perfection.

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Aida Mollenkamp’s Creamy Baked Pumpkin Risotto comes together in under 40 minutes. It’s an easy option for a weeknight supper, but it is also impressive enough to serve at a dinner party.

Tyler Florence’s Roasted Pumpkin with Quinoa, Dates and Sage may be simple (it calls for just five ingredients), but it packs the best flavors of fall into one healthy bowl. “I serve this as a side, with slow-roasted pork shoulder or herb-roasted chicken and a glass of Pinot Noir,” says Tyler.

How do you “gild the lily” when it comes to warm pumpkin scones made with roasted pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice, cardamom and coriander? Drizzle them with a sugary glaze flavored by maple syrup and cinnamon.

Serve up our Squash Soup in Pumpkin Bowls for a sophisticated Allhallows Eve feast. Mini baking pumpkins such as Hooligan or Sugar Pie make beautiful and delicious edible vessels for the soup.