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How To Cook A Whole Pumpkin In The Instant Pot

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Find out the easiest way to cook a whole pumpkin in the Instant Pot. In just 15 minutes you can have homemade pumpkin puree without any hard peeling or chopping!

I love growing pie pumpkins in our garden every year. I’ve always roasted the pumpkins to make a puree to put up for the winter.

But over time I’ve developed some problems with my hands that make cutting pumpkins and other winter squash hard. Thankfully, I found a much easier way to cook pumpkins after I got my Instant Pot.

Pressure cooking pie pumpkins is just so quick and easy! You don’t have to cut the top off and slice the pumpkins in half before cooking. Simply cook them whole and slice and peel after when they are nice and soft.

How To Select A Pumpkin

If you want to cook a pumpkin whole in your Instant Pot then you will want to make sure the pumpkin is small enough to fit into the model you have.

Thankfully most small sugar pie pumpkins are between 2 and 3 pounds. I’ve found these fit easily in both my 6 qt Instant Pot and my 8 qt.

You can use any variety of pumpkin for making puree, but the best tasting ones are pie pumpkins. They have been bred to have a higher sugar content than the huge decorative pumpkins sold in the fall.

Do I Have To Cut Off The Stem?

No, it’s ok to pressure cook your pumpkin with the stem on. But if you have a large pumpkin you might have to trim the stem back or remove it so the lid on your Instant Pot can close safely.

Collage image, top is a pie pumpkin in the Instant Pot, bottom is a spoonful of pumpkin puree.

How To Cook A Whole Pumpkin In The Instant Pot

Wash your pumpkin to remove any dirt, then pat dry.

Pour 1 to 2 cups of water into your Instant Pot (use the minimum required for your model) then place the trivet that has handles and comes with your Instant Pot or steamer basket inside.

You can use any other trivet you like as long as it’s flat on the bottom and has handles to help you lift out the pumpkin.

A pie pumpkin inside an Instant Pot.

Place your pie pumpkin into the instant pot and lock the lid, remember to turn the switch to pressure.

Set it to cook on high pressure for 15 minutes. When done do a natural pressure release.

When the pressure has fully dropped remove the lid.

Pushing a knife through the pumpkin to see if it's done cooking.

Check to see if your pumpkin is cooked by inserting a paring knife through the skin. If it’s well cooked the knife should slide in very easily and the pumpkin flesh with be very soft.

If your pumpkin isn’t fully cooked place the lid back on your Instant Pot and cook on high for another 3 to 5 minutes.

A cooked whole pumpkin on a wooden cutting board cooling.

When done lift out the trivet being careful not to drop your pumpkin and place it on a cutting board or plate.

A fully cooked pumpkin cut in half showing the seeds and pulp.

Allow it to cool slightly then cut the pumpkin in half and scoop out the seeds and strings. Make sure you save the pumpkin seeds for roasting!

Pumpkin skin on a cutting board with bowls of pumpkin seeds and mashed pumpkin.

The skin will start peeling off while you’re working with the pumpkin. Either peel the skin off the pumpkin flesh or use a spoon to scrape the flesh away from the skin.

Both ways work well.

Holding up a spoonful of homemade pumpkin puree over a food processor.

Transfer the pumpkin flesh to a bowl and puree with an immersion blender. If you don’t have one place it into a food processor or blender and process.

If the puree is to dry you can add about 1 tablespoon of water to help it mix better.

A white bowl filled with homemade pumpkin puree. In the background is a small pie pumpkin.

Do I Have To Drain The Pumpkin?

Pumpkin puree can contain a lot of water, especially when you cook it in a pressure cooker. When you roast pumpkin in the oven a lot of the moisture will evaporate, but this doesn’t happen in the Instant Pot.

If you plan on using your pumpkin puree for baking and it’s really watery then it’s a good idea to drain it first.

An easy way is to line a fine mesh strainer with a coffee filter or cheesecloth. Then pour in your pumpkin puree. Let it sit over a bowl to drip for a few hours or overnight in your fridge.

Storage

You can keep fresh puréed pumpkin in your fridge for up to 4 days. For longer storage, you can freeze pumpkin puree for up to a year. I like to place it in 2-cup portions in freezer bags. Press the bags flat for easy stacking in your freezer.

Another great option is to dehydrate your pumpkin.

Yield: About 4 cups

How To Cook A Whole Pumpkin In The Instant Pot

A whole pumpkin in the Instant Pot.

How to cook a whole pumpkin in your Instant Pot to make easy homemade pumpkin puree without any hard peeling or cutting.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Depressurizing Time 10 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 Pie Pumpkin
  • 1 to 2 cups of Water

Instructions

  1. Wash your pumpkin and pat dry.
  2. Pour 1 cup of water into your Instant Pot, then place the trivet inside.
  3. Set the pie pumpkin onto the trivet.
  4. Lock the lid in place and turn the valve to pressure. Set the timer for 15 minutes on high pressure.
  5. When done cooking let the Instant Pot do a natural pressure release.
  6. Once the pressure has fully dropped remove the lid. Check to see if the pumpkin is fully cooked by inserting a knife into the skin. If the pumpkin is done it will go through easily if the flesh is still hard place the lid back on and cook on for another 3 to 5 minutes.
  7. When done carefully lift out the trivet and place the pumpkin on a cutting board. Let it cool until it's comfortable to handle.
  8. Cut it in half and scoop out the seeds and strings.
  9. Either peel the skin off the pumpkin flesh or scoop the pumpkin off the skin.
  10. Serve with some butter and seasonings or puree in a food processor for homemade pumpkin puree.

Notes

Use the minimum amount of water for your Instant Pot. For my 6 qt model this is 1 cup, for my 8 qt model it's 2 cups.

If your pumpkin puree is watery you can strain it through a fine mesh strainer lined with cheesecloth or a coffee filter for a few hours. This will help it to be thicker like canned pumpkin.

Store in your fridge for up to 4 days or freeze for a year.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 81Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 9mgSodium: 84mgCarbohydrates: 12gFiber: 1gSugar: 6gProtein: 1g

Nutrition information isn't always accurate, this information is for informational purposes only please consult a nutritionist for more information and guidance.

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