How to Cook a Whole Pumpkin in the Instant Pot

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Want to make fresh pumpkin puree with all those beautiful fall pumpkins? Use these easy instructions to cook a whole pumpkin in the Instant Pot in under 25 minutes.

» This is 1 of 15 Magical Ways to Use an Instant Pot. You can use the pumpkin to make Pumpkin Soup.

Cooked pumpkin hollowed out
 

So many delicious fall recipes call for pumpkin puree – from pumpkin soup to pumpkin pie – so you’ll want to be prepared with the easiest method for cooking a whole pumpkin, and that’s definitely in the Instant Pot.

The only prep involved is scooping out the seeds and pulp from the pumpkin. Then it takes about 5 minutes to come up to pressure, 7-12 minutes to cook, and another 5 minutes to depressurize. You’ll be able to scoop out the flesh, with no need to peel the pumpkin.

pumpkin

What You’ll Need

  • Pumpkin – You can cook any type of pumpkin that will fit inside your Instant Pot. It can be a carving pumpkin, although the texture and flavor isn’t as good as a sugar pumpkin or pie pumpkin. We like to use little baby pumpkins to serve pumpkin soup in, or as a serving vessel for other fall foods like stuffing.
  • Water

Equipment Information

  • Trivet
  • Spoon/Knife – This task is quite easy. All you will need to do to prepare the pumpkin is cut off the top and scoop out the pulp and seeds. You can usually accomplish this rather easily just with a spoon to scrape the sides.

Reserve the seeds for later. We’ve been roasting ours in the air fryer and they turn out just the way we like them a lot faster than they would in the oven.

What Type of Pumpkin to Use

You can eat any type of pumpkin, however they vary quite a bit in flavor and texture. Carving pumpkins tend to be more watery and fibrous than other types of pumpkins. If you’re getting your pumpkin from a farm, ask the grower which one is best for cooking with.

Raw whole pumpkin in the Instant Pot

In the store, you might not find a label on the pumpkin that says what type it is, but if you’re lucky look for a Cinderella pumpkin or a pie pumpkin. I’ve been lucky to find a display of pumpkins inside the store that are clearly labeled as cooking pumpkins.

Read more about eating pumpkins.

Why Use An Instant Pot?

The Instant Pot is one of the most useful kitchen appliances you can buy, because it drastically cuts down on the cooking time for developing flavors in soups and stews, getting tough cuts of meat tender, and even baking a cheesecake. And there are many accessories that will help you get more out of your Instant Pot.

If you don’t have one yet, check out our guide on which one to buy. Also see our guide to How to Use an Instant Pot for more information.

How to Make a Whole Pumpkin in the Instant Pot

You can make a small whole pumpkin to use as a bowl to serve soup in. We love doing that for dinner parties. It’s an impressive serving display that everyone loves.

You can also cook a whole pumpkin to use as puree for the soup, or for whatever recipe you need puree for. It’s a simple technique that doesn’t even require cleaning out the pumpkin beforehand.

Prepping a Pumpkin to Use as a Bowl

pumpkin as a bowl

Cut the top off of the pumpkin and remove the seeds and pulp. As the pumpkin cooks it gets soft and pliable. If you are using it as a bowl to serve soup then the less you have to maneuver it around after it is cooked the better. If you plan on using the top from the pumpkin then add it to the pot as well.

Add a cup of water to the pot and set the trivet inside. The trivet that came with the Instant Pot is perfect because it has handles to pick it up out of the pot after it’s done.

Raw pumpkin hollowed out in an Instant Pot

Place the pumpkin on the trivet, then put the lid on the Instant Pot. Pressure cook on high for 7-10 minutes (depending on the size) and then do a 5 min natural pressure release, before releasing the remaining pressure and removing the pumpkin and set it aside to cool slightly.

Prepping the Pumpkin to Use for the Flesh

Cooked pumpkin in the instant pot

If you are just cooking the pumpkin to make pumpkin puree then we recommend cooking the pumpkin whole. It alleviates the need to get messy scooping the seeds out and peeling the hard skin off the outside.

As the pumpkin cooks the skin starts to separate from the flesh making it easy to peel and you can take a fork and easily scoop out the seeds and fibrous guts.

Add a cup of water to the pot and set the trivet inside. The trivet that came with the Instant Pot is perfect because it has handles to pick it up out of the pot after it’s done.

Cooked pumpkin with the seeds still in

Place the pumpkin on the trivet, then put the lid on the Instant Pot. Pressure cook on high for 10-12 minutes (depending on the size) and then do a 5 min natural pressure release, before releasing the remaining pressure and removing the pumpkin.

For puree, you’ll probably want to let it cool for about 10 minutes before scooping the flesh out and removing the skin.

Size Variations Affecting Cook Time

If you’ve scooped out the seeds and pulp from the pumpkin, it should only take 7 minutes to cook with a 5 minute pressure release. This time has worked for us for a pumpkin that’s approximately 2 -3 pounds. If you are cooking a much larger pumpkin, or don’t want to take the pulp out first, you will need to increase the cook time.

If you open the lid after the 12 minutes (7 + 5) and it’s not soft enough to scoop easily, put the lid back on the Instant Pot and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.

What to Do With Pumpkin Puree

A bowl of pumpkin soup with pumpkin seeds on top

There are so many uses for pumpkin puree. You can use it to make deliciously creamy pumpkin soup, which is our go-to soup for fall. You can use it make pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving.

Use it as a ravioli filling, make pumpkin spice muffins, or mix it into your French toast. You can also use the pumpkin itself as a serving vessel.

The pumpkin puree will keep for up to 5 days. If you don’t use it by then, you can freeze it for 3-4 months. 

Tips & Notes

  • If you are using the pumpkin as a bowl, choose a serving-size pumpkin.
  • If you are using the pumpkin for puree, you can use a larger pumpkin, as long as it fits inside the Instant Pot. The skin of the pumpkin will pull free of the outside as it cooks and the insides easily scoop out with a spoon.
  • The pumpkin puree will keep for up to 5 days. If you don’t use it by then, you can freeze it for 3-4 months. 

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Cooked pumpkin on a plate

Instant Pot Whole Pumpkin

Easy instructions to cook a whole pumpkin in the Instant Pot in under 25 minutes.

Note: Made in a 6-qt Instant Pot

5 from 20 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 7 mins
Pressurize Time 15 mins
Total Time 27 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 1 Pumpkin
Calories 236 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 2 pound pumpkin
  • 1 cup water

Instructions
 

  • Add water to the pot and insert the trivet.

For a pumpkin bowl

  • Cut the top off of the pumpkin and remove the seeds and pulp. Set the seeds aside to roast, if desired. Place the pumpkin on the trivet and lock the lid.
  • Press the pressure cook button and set the time to 7 minutes. When the time is up, do a 5 min natural release before releasing the remaining pressure.

For pumpkin puree

  • Place the whole pumpkin (no need to cut off the stem or dig out the seeds) onto the trivet and lock the lid.
  • Press the pressure cook button and set the time to 12 minutes. When the time is up, do a 5 min natural release before releasing the remaining pressure.
  • Remove the pumpkin from the Instant Pot and allow it to cool slightly before scooping out the flesh.

Notes

  • If you are using the pumpkin as a bowl, choose a serving-size pumpkin.
  • If you are using the pumpkin for puree, you can use a larger pumpkin, as long as it fits inside the Instant Pot. The skin of the pumpkin will pull free of the outside as it cooks and the insides easily scoop out with a spoon.
  • The pumpkin puree will keep for up to 5 days. If you don’t use it by then, you can freeze it for 3-4 months. 

Nutrition

Calories: 236kcalCarbohydrates: 59gProtein: 9gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 21mgPotassium: 3084mgFiber: 5gSugar: 25gVitamin A: 77229IUVitamin C: 82mgCalcium: 198mgIron: 7mg
Keyword Pumpkin
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Cooked pumpkin hollowed out

One thought on “How to Cook a Whole Pumpkin in the Instant Pot

  1. Lacey Wilson says:

    5 stars
    A very nice soup! While the recipe is great as is I have made variations of it for the past 3 years. Guests are always pleased with the results as am I. The one thing I have found is that the flavours come out really nice when the soup is left overnight to “marinate” before the second boil and simmer. Thank you for sharing.

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