How to Cook a Whole Pumpkin in a Pressure Cooker

Homemade pumpkin purée tastes so much better than store-bought. For several years now, I had been roasting small whole pumpkins to make purée. That works well. Basically, you stab the pumpkin a few times around the top, roast it for about 45 minutes and purée the flesh. You can read a post about that here. However you cook your pumpkin, save the seeds and roast them for a tasty, seasonal treat. Go here for the pumpkin seed recipe.

Today I cooked a whole pumpkin in my pressure cooker in a mere 8 minutes. Life-changing.

Here’s the short version of this post

1. Scrub the outside of a sugar pie pumpkin.

2. Place the pumpkin in the pressure cooker and pour in about 2 inches of water.

3. Cook the pumpkin 8 to 10 minutes.

4. After the pumpkin has cooled somewhat, halve it, peel it and purée it.

And here’s the longer version


I bought a couple of organic sugar pie pumpkins at the farmer’s market last week. They each weighed about three pounds.


I scrubbed one of the pumpkins, plopped it into my pressure cooker and poured in water. I didn’t even bother to stab the pumpkin. Initially I couldn’t get the lid on the pressure cooker—the pumpkin stem stuck out taller than the pot so I trimmed that off. I replaced the lid, turned on the heat and once the regulator (the heavy weight on the top of the pressure cooker lid) started swaying, set my timer for 8 minutes.


When I could safely remove the pressure cooker lid (after the pressure valves sank back down into the lid of my cooker), I checked my pumpkin. I could tell simply by looking at it that it was cooked (the skin had wrinkled all over) but stuck a knife into it just to be sure. The knife slid in easily.


After my pumpkin cooled a bit, I cut it in half and scooped out the seeds. I’ll roast those later. I then peeled the pumpkin halves. Most of the skin peeled right off.


A knife made peeling off some sections of skin easier.


I cut each half into three or four smaller pieces and ran them through my food processor. After I puréed my pumpkin, I remembered I usually use a food mill to purée pumpkin. Oops. The food processor worked well though.


One pumpkin rendered about 2 1/2 cups of pumpkin purée, over 1/2 cup more than a 15-ounce can. The purée is ready for this very fresh pumpkin pie recipe.

Buy my award-winning cookbook!

Learn more here.

US Cover

17 Replies to “How to Cook a Whole Pumpkin in a Pressure Cooker”

  1. Mmmmm love pumpkins and love squash! Just made some puree the other day 🙂 Much better use than just carving and tossing!

    1. Me too Nadine. And they are so good for you. I’m slow at peeling raw squash and pumpkins but no more! This was SO easy. ~ Anne Marie

  2. I did the same but I just cut it up and ate it steamed with the skin with some tahini sauce over it!

    1. The Zero-Waste Chef says: Reply

      Mmmm, tahini sauce. That sounds delicious. How do you make that? I just bought a bunch of tahini.

  3. […] open a can of pumpkin puree again after following The Zero Waste Chef’s directions on how to cook a pumpkin under pressure. It’s so quick and easy and the flavor and freshness is far superior to the canned variety. […]

  4. That’s a great tip, can’t wait to get my own pressure cooker ! 🙂 My questions is : how do you then store the puree ? Do you use it straight in a recipe ? Do you freeze it ? If yes, how do you portion it ? Thanks in advance ! 🙂

    1. The Zero-Waste Chef says: Reply

      I usually use it either right away or within a few days. I have also frozen it. I get about 2 cups out of a 3-lb sugar pie pumpkin. The last one was bigger though, so I used the 2 cups for a pie and froze the rest in a glass jar. I like two-cup glass jars for freezing stuff (I leave headspace at the top though so the jar doesn’t break when the food freezes). I hope you get your pressure cooker. I love, love, love mine. I cooked more chickpeas the other night it it. We eat a lot of beans. It’s so fast.

  5. […] for decoration, you can eat them! Head over to the Zero Waste Chef’s blog, she can tell you How to Cook a Whole Pumpkin in a Pressure Cooker. You can enjoy your lovely fall decorations, then turn them in to fresh pumpkin […]

  6. […] my pressure cooker. If it were a man, I would marry it. It cooks soaked chickpeas in 3 minutes, whole pie pumpkins in 8 minutes and whole beets in 15 minutes. Food also tastes delicious cooked in a pressure cooker. If you go […]

  7. […] In order to make pumpkin puree you can either use a pressure cooker as illustrated by the lovely Zero Waste Chef here. […]

  8. Inspired by this technique, I had success cooking a monster swede/rutabaga in my pressure cooker. I hacked it into 4 pieces and gave it 5 mins on high pressure. The skin slid off with no loss to my fingers – always a hazard with these uncompromising roots – and the flesh mashed down for soup, with coconut and chilli. Next up, scary celeriac.

  9. chandra nicola says: Reply

    Thanks Zero Waste Chef for the supper fast pumpkin cooking tips! YOU ROCK.

  10. […] pumpkin purée tastes so much better than store-bought,” we learn from The Zero-Waste Chef, not only for pies, but in roasted and purée […]

Leave a Reply