Mashed pumpkin has a creamy texture and delicate flavor. It’s a delicious alternative to mashed potatoes or sweet potatoes.
How I discovered this recipe
I was completely unaware that one could make a pumpkin mash until I had dinner at a friend’s house. She served a bowl with an innocent-looking pile of what appeared to be mashed sweet potatoes.
Upon inquiring, she informed me that this was in fact not sweet potatoes, but pumpkin.
I took a tentative taste and was completely and hopelessly enamored with the delicate creaminess of the dish. Now, every year when these cute small pumpkins show up at the grocery store, I add this recipe to my weekly rotation.
The ingredients you’ll need
You’ll only need six simple ingredients to make this tasty side dish (exact measurements are listed in the recipe card below):
Small pumpkin: The small ones taste way better than the large ones.
Heavy cream: Only 1/4 cup, and it adds wonderful creaminess and flavor. So please use it!
Grated Parmesan: Make sure you use finely grated, not coarsely shredded parmesan. The parmesan does a really good job of thickening the mash.
Minced garlic: Mince it by yourself or use the stuff that comes in a jar.
Kosher salt and black pepper: If using fine salt, reduce the amount you use.
How to make mashed pumpkin
It’s very easy! Scroll down to the recipe card for the detailed instructions. Here are the basic steps:
You start by cubing the pumpkin and cooking it in the microwave.
Then mash it in your food processor with a little heavy cream, Parmesan and spices. That’s it! I told you it was easy!
I like to flavor this mash with garlic and Parmesan. And I add just enough heavy cream to achieve a smooth, creamy texture.
What pumpkin to use?
Use small sugar pumpkins to make mashed pumpkin. The large pumpkins have watery, stringy flesh and are not very flavorful. They’re great for carving, not for eating.
Can I microwave pumpkin?
Yes! For this recipe, I cut it first into cubes and then microwave the cubes (see recipe card for full instructions). I never tried microwaving it whole (like I do with microwave spaghetti squash).
What about leftovers?
Unlike mashed potatoes, one of the best things about this recipe is that leftovers keep very well in the fridge, in a sealed container, for 3-4 days. Gently reheat them in the microwave, covered, on 50% power.
Sometimes the mash becomes a bit too thick after 2-3 days in the fridge. So I simply stir in a bit more heavy cream, or even just water, to return it to the right consistency.
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- 1 small pumpkin, 3 lb. whole, 2 lb. peeled and cleaned
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 2 teaspoons Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Wash and dry the pumpkin. Using a very sharp chef’s knife and a back-and-forth sawing motion, cut a thin slice off the stem end. Place the pumpkin on this newly formed flat area and, again using a back-and-forth sawing motion, cut it in half.
- Use an ice cream scoop to scoop out the seeds and the pulp, saving the seeds and washing them to make delicious roasted pumpkin seeds.
- Using a vegetable peeler, peel each pumpkin half, then slice it into 1-inch-thick slices. Cube the slices into 1-inch cubes.
- Place the pumpkin cubes in a large, microwave-safe bowl. Cover with cling wrap and microwave on high for 15 minutes, stopping once to stir the pieces, until very tender.
- Transfer half the cooked pumpkin cubes to your food processor. Process briefly, until finely chopped. Transfer to a bowl. Add the remaining pumpkin cubes and process them too until finely chopped.
- Return the first batch of finely chopped pumpkin to the food processor. Add the heavy cream, Parmesan, minced garlic, salt, and pepper. Process until smooth, about 1 minute, stopping once to scrape the sides with a spatula. Serve immediately.