Don't Toss Those Pumpkin Guts—Here Are 7 Ways to Use 'Em

Guts, innards, pulp—we've got a use for every name.

October 23, 2020
Photo by Food52

If you ask me, it's never too early to start thinking about pumpkins: how to roast and purée the flesh for your go-to recipes (think: cakes, pies, even ice cream); how to roast the seeds for snacking; and how to use it in all manner of savory pumpkin dinners

However, in our endless quest for ways in which to make a pumpkin disappear, we often forgot to talk about one part: its goopy, orange innards. Once we’re done carving pumpkins with the kids and roasting the seeds for an anytime snack, we’re pretty stuck on what to do with the stringy pulp we’ve scraped out. 

Until now that is. In our efforts to tackle pumpkin guts, we’ve found a bunch of creative ideas, including a couple of nifty solutions from our readers via the Hotline.

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What to Do With Pumpkin Guts

1. Stockpile it for Broth

Food52's Food Editor, Emma Laperruque, suggests adding a bag of pulp to a stock pile in the fridge or freezer with other vegetable scraps like onion peels and celery butts. Turns out pumpkin guts are deeply flavorful and can also be used in any recipe that calls for chicken or vegetable broth. Sauté the pulp with diced onions and other vegetable scraps, then add water and let the mixture simmer for 30 to 60 minutes before straining.

2. Purée the Pulp

Thinking along those lines, you can also try puréeing the pulp to add to rice or risotto for added flavor.

3. Turn it Into Chutney

Try this fourth-generation South Indian chutney recipe from longtime community member Panfusine—it makes great use of the guts.

4. Make a Creamy Pumpkin Hummus

Panfusine also suggests sautéing pumpkin pulp with oil and puréeing with canned chickpeas to make a unique riff on hummus.

5. Use It To Power Up Breakfast

Reader Jaime likes to purée the pulp with a little water before adding it to her morning oatmeal, along with warm spices and chopped apple.

6. Juice It

Any Harry Potter fans here? Add apple cider, pear juice, and spices like nutmeg and cinnamon to juiced pumpkin guts for a fall-perfect version of the boy wizard’s favorite drink.

When you're making a juice from pumpkin, you might want to follow these steps. Here's the gist: Place the pulpy bits in a bowl and pour boiling water over them to help soften. Using a fork, mash it all up, and strain to get a bright orange juice that you can add to other juices and smoothies.

7. Make A Face Mask

Those "gross" guts? Turns out they are packed with vitamins, zinc, and antioxidants that will leave your skin glowing. And who doesn't love simple, effective skincare made from stuff that's lying around the kitchen

If all else fails, instead of tossing it out, use it as compost—or cook it and grind it up for your dog's food. You can also, like BerryBaby suggests, try leaving it out for the birds. 

More Pumpkin Recipes for Fall 

Pumpkin Soup With Porcini Crostini

This creamy pumpkin soup—complete with lots of garlic and an earthy kick of rosemary and thyme—wouldn't be complete without the porcini crostini. To make it, you sear the mushrooms till they're browned and tender before drizzling with white truffle oil, shaved Parmesan, and a flurry of herbs. 

Our Best Pumpkin Roll

The trick to making this pumpkin roll work: developing a cake that's sturdy enough to roll (and layer with an apple cider- and ginger-flavored cream cheese frosting), but not so sturdy that the texture becomes tough. Luckily, this recipe nails just the right balance—and is a showstopper, to boot. 

No-Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

The best part about these silky pumpkin cheesecake bars? (Aside from their rich pumpkin-y flavor, balancing tang from the cream cheese, and buttery graham cracker crust.) They're totally make ahead-friendly. Oh, and you don't even need to turn on the oven. 

Do you have any clever uses for pumpkin guts? Tell us in the comments below! 

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Sheela Prakash is a food and wine writer, recipe developer, and the author of Salad Seasons: Vegetable-Forward Dishes All Year and Mediterranean Every Day: Simple, Inspired Recipes for Feel-Good Food. Her writing and recipes can be found in numerous online and print publications, including Kitchn, Epicurious, Food52, Serious Eats, Tasting Table, The Splendid Table, Simply Recipes, Culture Cheese Magazine, Clean Plates, and Slow Food USA. She received her master's degree from the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Italy, holds Level 2 and Level 3 Awards in Wines from the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET), graduated from New York University's Department of Nutrition and Food Studies, and is also a Registered Dietitian.


Sam E. November 2, 2014
I actually just made pumpkin coconut macaroons and drizzed some salted caramel chocolate hazelnut over those babies! Delish!!!
ika November 1, 2014
steph November 1, 2014
You can also use the guts to make bread! :)