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20 Ways to Use That Random Half Cup of Pumpkin

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20 Ways to Use A Half Cup of Pumpkin

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 cook and puree 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.

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

Got some extra pumpkin sitting in the fridge? Here are easy ways to use up that last bit of pumpkin-- not all recipes, so no extra work!

Simple Uses for Pumpkin

1. Stir into warm oatmeal with some cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice, a tablespoon at a time and taste as you go with my pumpkin spice oatmeal.

2. Make an 8×8 dish of Pumpkin Pie Baked Oatmeal.

pumpkin pie baked oatmeal

3. Pumpkin smoothies – just toss the pumpkin into any smoothie. It’s so mild it practically dissapears.

4. Freeze it for later – start a container or bag in your freezer and add your random half cups until you have enough for a whole recipe. Sometimes I freeze pumpkin in ice cube trays and then pop the cubes into a plastic bag after they’ve frozen. Pumpkin cubes are very versatile:

  • You can use them for pumpkin recipes (about 8 cubes makes a cup at my house, but you’ll have to measure your own).
  • You can substitute part of the oil/fat in zucchini bread without changing the flavor very much. Many people do this with applesauce, so try pumpkin next time – a lot more nutrition and fewer carbs!
  • Toss a cube or two into your spaghetti sauce for pumped-up nutrition.
  • Mix a few cubes into a soup.
  • You could even try pumpkin oatmeal with one cube (cools it down for the kids and makes orange stripes by stirring).

5. Stir into chili, like this taco quinoa chili or cheesy white chicken 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).

5 reasons cabbage is awesome

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.

12. Bake a batch of grain-free pumpkin muffins from Healthy Snacks to Go

Easy Gluten free Pumpkin Muffins 19 Resized

13. Add to homemade popsicles along with orange juice and coconut milk like this.

14. Add to homemade hummus, either just adding it in or using it in place of the sweet potatoes in a recipe like this one from MOMables.

15. 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

16. Beef stew will also hide a half cup of orange vegetable without a problem.

17. Whisk it into a creamy stir-fry or alfredo sauce.

18. 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 Pumpkin Pancakes

19. Make 4 mugs of this pumpkin spice latte.

20. Make my Grain-Free Pumpkin Breakfast Porridge made with coconut flour (recipe found in The Healthy Breakfast Book).

Grain Free pumpkin pie breakfast porridge

21. This Instant Pot mac n cheese recipe gets its orange color from pumpkin puree, and you’d never know it by the way it tastes. Pure cheesy goodness.

22. Add nutrients to these gluten-free biscuits with pumpkin or squash.

23. These meatballs are cooked in a sweet and sour sauce made with pumpkin puree.

Instant Pot Sweet And Sour Meatballs
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!
20 Ways to Use a Random Half Cup of Pumpkin

Disclosure: There are affiliate links in this post to MOMables and Amazon from which I will earn some commission if you make a purchase. See my full disclosure statement here.

Unless otherwise credited, photos are owned by the author or used with a license from Canva or Deposit Photos.

24 thoughts on “20 Ways to Use That Random Half Cup of Pumpkin”

  1. Pingback: Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer | My Foodie Noodie

  2. Shannon L. Buck

    I had about 5 tablespoons of pumpkin puree left after a baking day. I put it in the refrigerator and used it the next week in the filling for stuffed squash.

  3. Pingback: Cutting Food Waste at Home and Worldwide | The Earthling's Handbook

  4. 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.

  5. Wow, that’s a lot of great ideas!

    My favorite way to use leftover pumpkin is just to warm it up and mix in some butter, cinnamon, and maybe a little honey, and eat it!

    Another option is to combine it with your other random leftover fruit in a cooked fruit sauce for breakfast or dessert topping.

  6. 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. Adrienne @ Whole New Mom

    I feel like a genius! I do almost all of these. Can’! I’ll share on Fb now :).

  8. 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!

  9. 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.

  10. Feed it to the dog. Works well for settling their stomach issues whether it be stopped up or going too much.

    1. 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.

  11. 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.

    1. 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

      1. 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. 🙂

  12. suzyhomemaker

    I just opened a can to make pumpkin gingerbread and now I have probably a cup and a half left over. Thanks for the list. Perfect timing.

  13. 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!

  14. 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

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