20 Ways to use that Random Half Cup of Pumpkin

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20 ways to use up leftover pumpkin (not all recipes, some simple toss it in stuff so you don't have to work hard to avoid waste)

Whether you’re in the canned or home-pureed pumpkin camp, sometimes you have just a little bit of pumpkin puree left over after a recipe. It’s too sad to waste even a half cup, especially if you took the time to roast your own, but sometimes it’s too difficult to think of ways to use every little bit of leftover vegetable that lands in your fridge.

20 ways to use up leftover pumpkin (not all recipes, some simple toss it in stuff so you don't have to work hard to avoid waste)

When it comes to pumpkin, I got you covered. Here are 20 ideas that will use up a half cup of pumpkin (some can adapt to a bit less or more):

    1. Stir into warm oatmeal with some cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice, a tablespoon at a time and taste as you go.
    2. Make an 8×8 dish of Pumpkin Pie Baked Oatmeal.
      20 ways to use up leftover pumpkin (not all recipes, some simple toss it in stuff so you don't have to work hard to avoid waste)
    3. Pumpkin smoothies – try Shaina’s recipe or just toss the pumpkin into any smoothie.
    4. Freeze it for later – start a container or bag and add your random half cups until you have enough for a whole recipe.
    5. Stir into chili – it will disappear with no one being any the wiser, and you get a little boost of vegetables at dinner.
    6. Add to spaghetti sauce or any red sauce, boosting the veggies without changing the taste hardly at all.
    7. Stir into a chicken broth based soup, like this cabbage soup (but you could add it to many soups and get away with it).
      Cabbage Secret Superfood Soup
    8. Make a single batch of granola and add the pumpkin to the liquid mixture. You can cut down a little on the fat or water, but this recipe can also handle the extra pumpkin without getting too crazy.
    9. Stir a tablespoon at a time into homemade yogurt; add cinnamon for a nice touch. You might not even need sweetener with this, mmmm….
    10. Use in place of half cup of fat in many muffin and quick bread recipes. Not that fat is bad for you, but veggies are always good, and definitely better than the added carbs of subbing applesauce for the fat.
    11. Make a small batch of 6 Gluten-free Pumpkin Muffins or the original Healthy Pumpkin Muffins, or add that half cup to the next full batch. The recipe can handle it.
      20 ways to use up leftover pumpkin (not all recipes, some simple toss it in stuff so you don't have to work hard to avoid waste)

    1. Bake a batch of grain-free pumpkin muffins from Healthy Snacks to Go.
    2. Add to homemade popsicles along with orange juice and coconut milk like this.
    3. Add to homemade hummus, either just adding it in or going with an autumn-spiced version like this one from my affiliate partner MOMables.


  1. Stir into black bean soup. (Guessing any pureed soup more than 6 cups would hide a half cup pumpkin without anyone even noticing. I love my immersion blender (at Amazon) for pureeing both pumpkins and soup.)
    black bean soup
  2. Beef stew will also hide a half cup of orange vegetable without a problem.
  3. Whisk it into a creamy stir fry or alfredo sauce.
  4. Add it to another can for 2.5 batches (barely enough for a hungry family of 4) of my awesome grain-free pumpkin pancakes (can be made with wheat flour or sourdough too) OR stick it in some grain-free banana pancakes in place of 1 banana. (PS – if you’re low on pumpkin by just a bit for the pumpkin pancakes, you can add a half or whole banana and you don’t even taste it.)
    Grain-free Paleo Pumpkin Pancakes
  5. Make 4 mugs of this pumpkin spice latte.
  6. Use in the pumpkin pie version of my Tropical Grain-Free Porridge made with coconut flour (recipe found in The Healthy Breakfast!)
    Grain-free Tropical Banana Pineapple Breakfast Porridge

Bonus: For more great pumpkin ideas, be sure to browse my “Pumpkin Recipes” board on Pinterest.

And more Bonus, check out all of Kitchen Stewardship’s other pumpkin recipes:

What are your favorite uses for just a bit of pumpkin? Please leave ideas and links in the comments so this post is even more helpful!

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20 Bites of Conversation So Far

  1. Lindsey says

    Great ideas; I hate it when I find a container of moldy pumpkin in the back of the fridge. Here is another awesome recipe that my friend gave me; they are a delicious dessert that I don’t mind eating for breakfast too:

    Nut Butter Squash Brownies

    1 C nut butter (peanut or almond).

    ½ C honey

    ½ tsp baking soda

    ½ tsp baking powder

    1 egg

    3 T cocoa

    ½ C cooked butternut squash or pumpkin

    Mix ingredients well. Pour into greased baking pan, bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes

  2. says

    This is hilarious! I think I’ve done every one of these.
    In fact, just yesterday I had that half cup sitting in my fridge. I added it to a smoothie.
    It’s also great as an addition to a regular chocolate cake recipe. There is no change in the taste, but it makes the cake moist and rich.
    Great, it’s only six am and now I want cake!

  3. Claire says

    These are great ideas, thanks! But I’m a little confused by you saying that adding pumpkin was a good alternative to added carbs from subbing applesauce in baking. Maybe the paleo understanding of carbs is different (I don’t know; I’m a low-fat high-raw vegan), but pumpkin is a carbohydrate, too. Just a little confused there.

    • says

      Claire,
      You took me by surprise! I never looked it up, just always thought of applesauce as a fruity thing pretty high in natural sugar, and pumpkin not as much.

      I looked it up now and pumpkin is still less carby – 18g carbs/8g sugar in a cup vs 27.5g carbs in a cup of unsweetened applesauce. Still a good trade off in my book. :) Katie

      • Claire says

        Yeah, true, I guess there are more carbs in the applesauce. I just don’t see it as a huge amount more. Then again, I’m really pro-carb so what I see as a lot of carbohydrate is probably different from what you see as a lot. :) Either way, pumpkin or applesauce, the recipe sounds good! And paleo or vegan or otherwise, I enjoy your blog a lot. :)

    • Johnnie says

      Yep…we freeze plops of pumpkin purée …any time they have tummy problems we just grab a few and pop them in the microwave for a few seconds to soften…they gobble them up like candy.

  4. Mary West says

    Canned pumpkin is good to give to overweight dogs to stretch out their canned dog food without too many calories. As the owner of two rather chubby basset hounds I need to do this more often.

  5. Erin Ziliak says

    It’s suppose to be good for the skin. I put it on as a facial. Leave on for about ten minutes and wash off. It feels so cool and refreshing!

  6. Norma says

    once a month, the first tbsp from an open can gets mixed in our cat’s canned food to help prevent hairballs. Then onto the people recipes.

  7. Tawnya says

    Such a helpful list! When I actually get around to it, I like to use leftover pumpkin in the egg batter for french toast. Baked, it makes a nice crust and then I freeze them for quick breakfasts.

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