Leftover Canned Pumpkin Is a Very Good Thing

From biscuits to stew, here are 9 ways to use it.

September 24, 2021
Photo by Rocky Luten

Long live this season’s favorite squash: pumpkin! As a baker and pie fanatic, I love keeping a few cans of pumpkin in my pantry at all times and stock up each year when it comes into season (and goes on sale at the grocery store!). It’s versatile, can skew sweet or savory, and is useful for so much more than pie. While most pumpkin pie recipes will call for an entire can, many recipes do not, and there’s nothing worse than ending up with a half-empty can sitting in your fridge untouched. So I present to you this collection of recipes for that leftover pumpkin, whether it’s a full can or just a few tablespoons at the bottom. And remember, you can always decant pumpkin into freezer-safe containers and keep it for several months or up to a year, or treat canine companions to a spoonful—or even these sourdough pumpkin peanut butter treats; pumpkin is a superfood for dogs!

P.S. Somehow end up with leftover pumpkin pie filling? Take a tip from this pumpkin pudding recipe and bake it off in a ramekin or small casserole dish.

If You Have Just a Little Left in the Can

Honey Pumpkin Biscuits

If you have self-proclaimed pumpkin haters in your home, try these biscuits out. Pumpkin lends much-needed moisture to biscuits, and honey sweetens them just a little, enough that these could sway savory or sweet at breakfast time. Top with pumpkin or apple butter for full-force fall flavor, or split and stuff with scrambled eggs or breakfast sausage for a killer breakfast sandwich.

Pumpkin Brownies

Here’s another pumpkin-hater-friendly recipe to use up that last little bit in the can. No one will know that there’s pumpkin in these brownies, but they lend moistness and help create that picture-perfect crackly top.

Salted Pumpkin Caramels

These homemade caramels employ pumpkin, pumpkin spice, and pepitas to create a perfect fall treat that’s balanced and earthy, and not cloyingly sweet. Even better: It puts any corn syrup left over from Thanksgiving’s pecan pie to good use.

If You Have About Half a Can

Vegan Pumpkin Pancakes

Canned pumpkin is a brilliant pantry pull for vegan baking and cooking. Its water content helps provide the bounce and moistness that eggs would typically bring, and that’s exactly what they do in these superbly spiced pancakes.

One-Pot Penne With Sausage, Pumpkin & Fennel

Of this recipe, one reviewer writes, “Factoring prep and cook time, cost of ingredients, and flavor delivered, this is the best recipe on this website. Fight me.” High praise for this one-pot pasta that is balanced, comforting, and easy enough to add to your weeknight rotation this fall.

Sheet-Pan Mac & Cheese With Pumpkin & Brown Butter

Columnist and mac and cheese enthusiast Ella Quitner developed this fall spin on Amanda Hesser’s brilliant Sheet Pan Mac & Cheese recipe and made it infinitely adaptable. Only have a little pumpkin left over? That works! Want to add cubed squash or other herbs? All good. It will still end up tasting like two of the best fall pastas had a baby; think mac and cheese meets pumpkin ravioli in brown-butter-sage sauce.

If You Have an Extra Can or Two

Birthday Pumpkin Muffins

Everyone needs a good pumpkin bread or muffin recipe, and this one certainly fits the bill. Author Sadassa Ulna writes, “Out of all my personal recipes, this one is The Recipe I Want to Be Remembered For, because it is so loved by my husband and kids.” Simple and hearty enough to enjoy for breakfast, they can also be frosted with cream cheese frosting, mascarpone, or lightly sweetened Greek yogurt for special occasions.

Chickpea, Pumpkin & Sage Stew

Dinner doesn’t get much easier than this. A few pantry staples come together to create a cozy stew in under 30 minutes that’s filling enough for dinner, but light enough to enjoy the leftovers at lunch the next day without falling asleep at your desk. To easily make this vegan-friendly, simply swap in vegetable or mushroom broth for the chicken stock.

Pumpkin Cheesecake With Gingersnap Crust

All pied out with lots of pumpkin left? Try this dessert on for size. It has all the warming spices of pumpkin pie with the added richness of cheesecake, but the best part is undoubtedly its brilliant gingersnap crust; you may never go back to graham cracker crust again.

What would you do with leftover pumpkin filling? Tell us in the comments!

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

I want to eat everything crackly, chewy, salty & sweet.

1 Comment

butterscotch September 27, 2021
There is a lovely recipe for pumpkin madeleines on the great baking web site pastrystudio.com. That's my preferred way to use up a little bit of pumpkin.