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4 Smart Ways to Make Canned Pumpkin Taste Better

What are your thoughts on canned pumpkin puree? On the one hand, it’s convenient: There’s no need to slow-roast a huge pumpkin and no pulpy-seedy mess to clean up. On the other hand, it is a canned food, and can sometimes taste a little…well, tinny. 

How to make canned pumpkin taste better

Try one of these easy methods for making canned pumpkin taste better!

Photos via CakeSpy

Happily, if you’re a baker or cook who doesn’t want to sacrifice flavor, there are some quick and easy tricks for making canned pumpkin taste better.

Here, we’ll guide you through four easy methods that’ll amp up the natural pumpkin flavor and banish any tinny aftertaste. 

1. Cook it on the stovetop.

Pumpkin on the stovetop

Why it works:

Briefly cooking your canned pumpkin puree on the stovetop can help improve both the flavor and texture. Two things happen: First, it helps reduce excess moisture, which gives the pumpkin a superior texture. Second, it can release the natural pumpkin flavor and help reduce the metallic flavor that the can tends to impart.

How to do it:

Simply transfer the puree into a saucepan or large skillet and cook for about five minutes on medium-low heat, stirring frequently to prevent scorching and sticking. You’re not looking to cook or reduce the pumpkin too much, just to release its flavor a little 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 on silicone-lined sheet

Why it works:

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

How to do it:

Simply spread the puree 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,” just to release a fragrance. Let the pumpkin cool to room temperature before proceeding with your recipe. 

3. Combine it with a DIY spice mix

Pumpkin with DIY spice

Why it works:

Pumpkin loves spice. But if your canned pumpkin is pre-mixed with spices, the spices won’t do much to combat the tinny flavor. At the same time, pre-mixed pumpkin pie spice mix can lose its luster if it’s been sitting on a grocery store shelf for months. To really make your canned pumpkin shine, combine it with a fresh, homemade DIY spice mix. 

Pumpkin Spice up your life

How to do it:

Here’s an easy recipe for DIY pumpkin spice mix.  

Pumpkin Spice Recipe

  • 1/3 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, and place in an airtight jar. Use as garnish, as part of recipes calling for pumpkin pie spice or to sprinkle atop lattes

4. Infuse it with flavor. 

Pre mixed filling

Why it works:

Combining your canned pumpkin with flavorings and letting them sit together for an hour or two will infuse the pumpkin with flavor. A little extra flavor elevates the pumpkin from its taste straight from the can.

How to do it:

Before baking or cooking, mix the pumpkin with any spices or flavorings called for in the recipe. Let the mixture sit for a few hours in the refrigerator.

For instance, if you’re making a pumpkin pie: mix the filling ingredients and let the mixture 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 a pumpkin ravioli, mix the pumpkin, cheese and any other spices together. Then let the mixture sit in the fridge for a while before assembling. 

Pumpkin pie

Bonus tip: Use other quality ingredients 

Consider this a “common sense” bonus tip. Regardless of how you’re using your 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.

However, combining your canned pumpkin with a homemade pie crust, DIY pumpkin spice mix and topping it with freshly whipped cream will improve the overall quality and heighten the pumpkin flavor, canned or not. 

Put your pumped-up pumpkin to the test! Try these two easy pumpkin pie recipes. Then, continue your pie education by studying up with the Craftsy course Classic Pies Made Easy.


Rose Majgier

Would like to be able to copy & paste all this great information like I used to be able to. Any way of making this available again?


Rose, I’ve noticed that for a while too. Have you tried copying from the bottom up? I do that and it works for me. Robin


And if that doesn’t work, I’ll put the cursor at the end (sometimes it doesn’t look like it’s there) and then hold down the Control+ Shift+ Home buttons at once. That should highlight everything (more than you want), then you can right-click, copy. Then go to your document and right-click, paste. Then take out whatever you don’t want that copied at the top. (This is better than copying from top down cause then you can get a LOT of stuff at the end that you may not want.)


Rose, click on printfriendly. you can create a pdf instead of cut and paste. Before you download the pdf, go through it. You can click on the ads to remove them from your final document! This is OH SO MUCH BETTER than cut and paste!

Nancy Hunter

I do this method plus add 1/3 cup bourbon or very good dark rum. The alcohol disappears in baking and
Leaves a nice, more flavorful taste to the pie. I personally prefer the rum.

Janis S. TheCookieMomster

Really like the idea to mix flavors/ingredients into the pumpkin and letting it sit for a few hours. I am definitely trying this. 🙂


I made a pumpkin pie last year from, get this…a PUMPKIN! It was easy and delicious. I made whipped cream and caramel. No need for canned pumpkin.

Sabrina B.

what about making puree out of pumpkin-carving residual? thanks for these tips!


Hello! I love this! Thank you!


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