5 Easy Ways to Make Canned Pumpkin Taste Better

bowl of canned pumpkin

There’s no denying canned pumpkin purée is more convenient than making it yourself, but let’s be real: you’re sacrificing how tasty your pumpkin pies can really be. But there’s good news: you can turn to the convenient canned stuff without skimping on flavor, so long as you use these make-it-better tricks.

1. Cook It on the Stove

Cooking pumpkin puree

Why It Works

Briefly cooking your canned pumpkin purée on the stove can help improve both the flavor and texture. This method helps reduce excess moisture, which gives the pumpkin a superior texture. It also releases the natural pumpkin flavor and helps reduce the metallic taste from the can.

How to Do It

Simply transfer the purée into a saucepan or large skillet and cook for about five minutes on medium-low heat, stirring frequently to prevent scorching and sticking. You don’t want to cook or reduce the pumpkin too much — you’re just releasing its flavor a bit. Once it’s steamy and fragrant, you’re done. Let the pumpkin cool to room temperature before proceeding with your recipe.

2. (Briefly) Roast It

Pumpkin puree on a sheet

Why It Works

The overall idea is similar to cooking it on the stove, but some find that roasting the pumpkin yields a superior, slightly toasty and nutty flavor to finished baked goods.

How to Do It

Spread the purée on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat and roast in an oven heated to 400 F for several minutes. Keep a close eye on it — you don’t want the pumpkin to burn or even to “set.” Once fragrant, remove the pumpkin and let it cool to room temperature before proceeding with your recipe.


3. Add a DIY Spice Mix

Spices in pumpkin puree

Why It Works

Pumpkin loves spice. But if your canned pumpkin is pre-mixed with spices, they won’t do much to combat the meh flavor. You can use store-bough pumpkin pie spice mix, but these pre-mixed spices can lose thier luster if they’ve been sitting on a shelf for months. Your best bet is to DIY a fresh mixture yourself.

How to Do It

Pumpkin Spice Mix Recipe

  • ⅓ cup ground cinnamon
  • 1½ tablespoons ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon ground nutmeg
  • 1½ teaspoons ground cloves
  • 1½ teaspoons ground allspice

Mix the above together until completely combined, then place in an airtight jar until you’re ready to use.

4. Infuse It With Flavor

Why It Works

Combining your canned pumpkin with other flavorings found in your recipe and letting them sit for an hour or two will infuse the pumpkin with said flavor, elevating the pumpkin from its straight-from-the-can taste.

How to Do It

Before baking or cooking, mix the pumpkin with any spices or flavorings called for in the recipe. For example, if you’re making a simple pumpkin pie, mix the filling ingredients and let it sit in the fridge for an hour or so before filling the pie shell and baking.

This works for savory recipes, too. If you’re making, say, a pumpkin ravioli, mix the pumpkin, cheese and any other needed spices together. Let the mixture sit in the fridge while you cut out your pasta, then assemble.

5. Use Quality Ingredients

slice of pumpkin pie on a plate

How It Works

Regardless of how you’re using canned pumpkin, combining it with the highest quality ingredients helps improve the overall flavor. For instance, say you’re making a class pumpkin pie. Combining canned pumpkin with a pre-made pie crust and canned whipped cream can yield “blah” results.

How to Do It

It’s simple! Opt for fresh and homemade whenever you can. Making your own pie crust and DIYing your own whipped cream will take your pie to an entirely new level.

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4 Responses to “5 Easy Ways to Make Canned Pumpkin Taste Better”

  1. Kris

    I already baked my crustless pie and didn’t use enough spices. What can I do with it now?

  2. Amber C

    I thought the amount of cinnamon seemed over the top (1/3 cup) compared to the original amount on the can (1 tsp) so I only added 1/4 cup. The mix is overpowering with cinnamon, but I haven’t baked yet, also taking into consideration letting it sit for an hour so the flavors have a chance to blend. So here’s hoping for a delicious pie! 🤞

  3. Linda

    How much of the spice mix do you use for a large can of pumpkin

  4. Javier Justiniano-Alayon

    Can adding sugar make canned pumpkin pie mix sweeter?