This delicious roasted pumpkin is seasoned with olive oil, garlic, and chili powder.
It's a wonderful side dish you can serve instead of roasted potatoes. Oven-baking is my favorite way to prepare this winter squash!
When you think about pumpkin, do you only think about pumpkin pie? If so, you're missing out! Pumpkin can take on sweet or savory flavors, and it makes a wonderful, hearty, and satisfying side dish, perfect for fall and winter.
There are two ways to roast a pumpkin. You can cube it, season the cubes, and bake them. Or you can halve the pumpkin and bake the halves. I discuss both methods below, so keep on reading!
You'll only need five simple ingredients to make this recipe. The exact measurements are included in the recipe card below. Here's an overview of what you'll need:
- Sugar pumpkin: Small pumpkins are more flavorful. They vary in size, from 2 pounds to 5 pounds, but whatever their size, as long as they are marked as "sugar pumpkin" or "sugar pie pumpkin," that's what you need.
- Olive oil: I use extra-virgin olive oil, but a light and fruity olive oil will also work.
- Seasonings: I use kosher salt, chili powder, and garlic powder. I prefer garlic powder to minced fresh garlic in this recipe because it more evenly coats the pumpkin.
- Sometimes, I replace the chili powder with smoked paprika. I love the smoky flavor it adds.
- You can add a pinch of dried thyme to the other spices.
- Melted butter or ghee can successfully replace the olive oil in this recipe.
Roasted Pumpkin Instructions
Scroll down to the recipe card for detailed instructions. Here are the basic steps for making this recipe:
Your first step is to slightly soften the pumpkin in the microwave, then carefully cut it in half.
Remove the pulp and seeds.
Cut each pumpkin half into four 1-inch-thick moon-shaped slices. Use a vegetable peeler to peel the skin off. Cut the peeled pumpkin slices into cubes.
Place the pumpkin cubes in a large bowl and toss them with olive oil and spices.
Transfer the seasoned pumpkin pieces to a parchment-paper-lined rimmed baking sheet.
Roast them until fork-tender, about 30 minutes at 425°F, tossing them halfway through.
An Alternative Method
Another option, shown in the video below, is to skip the peeling, slicing, and cubing.
In this method, you cut the pumpkin in half, remove the pulp and seeds, and place it cut-side-down on a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet.
It's best to use a small sugar pumpkin when making this recipe. The bigger the pumpkin, the less flavor it has. You want a small pumpkin with firm, deep orange flesh. It's best to use the big pumpkins for Jack-o-lanterns, not for cooking.
There's a reason the big pumpkins are often called "carving pumpkins" while the small ones are called "pie pumpkins!"
As mentioned above, sugar pumpkins come in various sizes. I wrote this recipe for a 2-pound pumpkin, which is quite small. But in the video below, I used a 5-pound pumpkin. It needed two minutes on each side in the microwave to soften enough to cut.
I used half of it for baking pumpkin chunks and roasted the second half whole:
To prevent sogginess, you'll want to cook the pumpkin at high heat. That's why I use a 425°F oven. It also helps to cube the pumpkin before baking it. This helps achieve crispy edges on the pumpkin pieces.
I'm a big fan of roasting it. Cooking the pumpkin in a hot oven creates the best texture, and it also caramelizes the pumpkin and brings out its mildly sweet flavor.
It depends. The first method I outlined here is to peel the pumpkin, cube it, and bake the cubes. The second method, of halving the pumpkin and then roasting the halves, leaves the peel on. You only remove it after cooking.
Using the Seeds
Whatever way you bake the pumpkin, don’t forget to keep the seeds! Wash them and roast them. Roasted pumpkin seeds are a wonderful treat. Cleaning them is a bit tedious, but it’s well worth the effort.
Anything goes with this side dish. It's as versatile as potatoes. Since I bake the pumpkin in a 425°F oven, I like to serve it with a main dish I can cook in the same oven. So, I often serve it with one of the following:
You can keep the leftovers in the fridge, in an airtight container, for 3-4 days. Reheat them gently in the microwave at 50% power. You can freeze the leftovers in freezer-safe containers or bags for up to three months.
More Pumpkin Recipes
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Perfectly Roasted Pumpkin
- 1 sugar pumpkin (2 pounds whole, 1.5 pounds cleaned)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil or melted butter
- 1 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt or ½ teaspoon of any other salt
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon chili powder or smoked paprika
- Preheat your oven to 425°F. Set an oven rack to the lowest position. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with high-heat-resistant parchment paper.
- Wash and dry the pumpkin. Microwave it for one minute on high to soften.
- Carefully, using a very sharp chef’s knife and back-and-forth sawing motions, cut the pumpkin in half. Slice a sliver from the stem side first if you don’t want to cut through the stem, which is difficult to do.
- Use a large metal spoon to remove the pulp and the seeds. If some stubborn pulp remains, cut it with kitchen scissors. If desired, save the seeds to make roasted pumpkin seeds.
- Back to using the sharp knife and the sawing motions, cut each pumpkin half into four one-inch-thick moon-shaped slices, discarding the ends.
- Using a vegetable peeler, peel the skin off, then cut each pumpkin slice into 1-inch cubes.
- Place the pumpkin cubes in a large bowl. Add the olive oil, kosher salt, garlic powder, and chili powder. Use a large spoon or your hands to evenly coat the pumpkin chunks.
- Arrange the pumpkin cubes in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Bake them until tender, about 30 minutes, tossing them halfway through. Serve immediately.
- It's best to use a small sugar pumpkin when making this recipe. The bigger the pumpkin, the less flavor it has. You want a small pumpkin with firm, deep orange flesh. It's best to use the big pumpkins for Jack-o-lanterns, not for cooking.
- If your sugar pumpkin is larger than 2 pounds, you'll need to microwave it for longer. In the video above, I used a 5-pound pumpkin and microwaved it for two minutes on each side.
- Another option, shown in the video, is to skip the peeling, slicing, and cubing. Simply cut the pumpkin in half, remove the pulp and seeds, and place it cut-side-down on a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet. Roast the pumpkin until fork-tender, about 30 minutes at 425°F. The result is not so much a side dish as a cooked pumpkin that you can mash and use in other recipes.
- You can keep the leftovers in the fridge, in an airtight container, for 3-4 days. Reheat them gently in the microwave at 50% power. You can freeze the leftovers in freezer-safe containers or bags for up to three months.