How to roast a pumpkin? Easy! Pre-soften it in the microwave, cut it in half, then let the oven do all the work!
It’s one of the highlights of my year, each year when October comes and the grocery stores replace summer fruit with winter stuff such as pumpkins and apples. I love fall – it’s always been my favorite season. 🍂
And as soon as pumpkins become available at the store, I start cooking them! I do love roast pumpkin. It smells so good as it bakes, and its flesh becomes tender and buttery. All it needs is a sprinkle of coarse salt, maybe a drizzle of sweet butter. Yum!
It’s better to use small sugar pumpkins
Make sure you use sugar pumpkin when making this recipe. Reserve large pumpkins for carving jack-o-lanterns – their flesh is watery, stringy and not very flavorful. 🎃
Small sugar pumpkins have a sweet, smooth and very flavorful flesh. As the pumpkin bakes, its skin and flesh soften.
The flesh of a tender baked sugar pumpkin is extremely flavorful. In fact, I think it’s very tasty just as it is, with no added seasonings whatsoever!
How to roast a pumpkin
It’s very easy! Despite its thick skin and hard-as-rock flesh when raw, all you need to do is microwave the pumpkin for 2 minutes, to make cutting it easier.
After microwaving, you cut the pumpkin in half (it does make cooking it faster and more even). Remove the seeds and pulp, then roast it in a 400°F oven for 30 minutes.
This was just an overview – the detailed instructions are included in the recipe card below.
Why not just use canned pumpkin?
This is a valid question. Why should you roast a pumpkin, when canned puree is readily available?
In addition, I often make this recipe not as a base for other recipes, but as a tasty side dish. A drizzle of sweet butter and a sprinkle of coarse salt are all it takes to make this into a delicious side dish that my entire family enjoys.
Roasted pumpkin slices
Sometimes, instead of making this recipe, I brush pumpkin slices with olive oil, sprinkle them with salt, garlic powder and chili powder, then bake them.
These slices come out incredible. So if you don’t want to cook a whole pumpkin, you should definitely give them a try. They need about 30 minutes in a 425°F oven.
Don’t discard the pumpkin seeds!
Whichever way you decide to cook your pumpkin, don’t forget to keep the seeds! Wash them and roast them. Spicy pumpkin seeds are such a wonderful treat. Yes, cleaning them is tedious, but I think it’s well worth the trouble.
What to do with leftovers
Leftovers can be kept in the fridge, in an airtight container, for 3-4 days. They keep quite well, actually, and taste almost as good as the freshly made dish. Reheat them gently, in the microwave on 50% power.
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- 2 small sugar pumpkins, about 2 lb. each
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Wipe the pumpkins clean with a wet paper towel.
- Microwave each pumpkin for 2 minutes (1 minute on each side), to make them just a little softer and easier to cut.
- Using a sharp chef’s knife, cut the pumpkins in half. Scoop out the pulp and seeds, reserving the seeds for roasted pumpkin seeds.
- Place the pumpkins, cut side down, on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until fork tender, about 30 minutes.