These adorable little ground beef stuffed pumpkins are so delicious! They make the perfect fall entree and a complete meal.
These delicious pumpkins are easy to make, and they are a complete meal. Serve them with a simple green salad (such as this arugula salad) for an easy dinner that you can make in advance and keep in a warm oven for an hour or so before serving.
I usually make stuffed peppers, but this time of year, I really like to make stuffed pumpkin instead. We often think about pumpkins in terms of something sweet such as pumpkin pie, but savory pumpkin dishes are actually very good, and this recipe is a very good example.
The ingredients you’ll need
You’ll only need a few simple ingredients to make this tasty entree. The exact measurements are included in the recipe card below. Here’s an overview of what you’ll need:
Ground beef: I use lean ground beef. I don’t recommend going any leaner than that.
Kosher salt and black pepper: If using fine salt, you might want to reduce the amount you use.
Spices: Garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, cumin, dried thyme, and cinnamon. Make sure they are fresh! A stale spice can ruin a dish.
How to make stuffed pumpkin
It’s so easy! Scroll down to the recipe card for the detailed instructions. Here are the basic steps:
1. Start by baking the pumpkins in your oven until tender.
2. While the pumpkins are baking, cook the meat and the spices in olive oil.
3. Stuff the pumpkins with the meat filling. Return to the oven to heat through.
Use small pumpkins
It’s a good idea to use small sugar pumpkins when making this recipe. Sugar pumpkins are delicious, while large pumpkins are stringy and more suitable for carving than for eating.
Tips for making this recipe a success
I don’t add rice to these pumpkins. I don’t think it’s necessary. If you wish, you could add 2 cups of riced cauliflower and cook it with the ground beef. But as I said, I just skip the non-meat filler.
I also don’t add cheese, but if you’d like, you can absolutely mix 1/2 cup of shredded cheese into the beef mixture after cooking it, and sprinkle 1/2 more cup on top of the pumpkins before baking them in the oven.
I can imagine that mixing 4 oz of cream cheese into the ground beef would also be a nice, creamy variation.
How to eat stuffed pumpkin
Simply use your fork to scoop out some pumpkin flesh with some of the ground beef filling in each bite. It’s a really good combination!
What to do with leftovers?
Keep the leftovers in the fridge, in an airtight container, for 3-4 days. Reheat them gently, in the microwave on 50% power.
More pumpkin recipes that you might enjoy
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- 2 sugar pumpkins, about 2 lb. each
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 lb. lean ground beef
- 1 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt plus extra for pumpkins (not fine table salt!)
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, plus extra for pumpkins
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 350 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, 45-50 minutes.
- While the pumpkins are baking, prepare the filling. Heat the olive oil in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef and cook until no longer raw, stirring to break the meat up as it cooks, about 5 minutes.
- Stir in the salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, cumin, thyme and cinnamon. Cook, stirring, 2 more minutes.
- Remove the filling from heat. When the pumpkins are ready, sprinkle them with a little kosher salt and black pepper, then stuff them with the filling.
- Return the stuffed pumpkins to the oven. If you plan to serve right away, bake 10 more minutes, just until heated through. If you plan to serve later, lower oven heat to 200 degrees F and keep the stuffed pumpkins in the warm oven for up to 1 hour before serving.