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Food Lover Friday: 12 Creative Pumpkin Recipes

Pumpkin recipes have evolved quite a bit since the days of early American cooking. Imagine, if you will, that you’re an early American settler. You’ve arrived in this new land, where the produce is quite different from what you had back home. Some of it might seem unusual, especially that large orange gourd called pumpkin (or “pompkin” in the early days). But since you don’t want to starve, you decide to get creative with the native crops. Pumpkin is stewed, sweetened and spiced, and, as it turns out, can be quite palatable. It quickly becomes a valued ingredient.

Cartoon of Pumpkin Smiling at Piece of Pumpkin Pie
Illustration via CakeSpy

We’ve come a long way in terms of methods of preparation for pumpkin. Even so, most people will most readily think of pie when they think of pumpkin. This is a shame, because there are many other ways to enjoy pumpkin, both sweet and savory.

Perfect Pumpkin Hat photo via Bluprint member AuntJanet

Here are 12 crave-worthy pumpkin recipes to inspire your fall cooking.

So put on your pumpkin hat and let’s get cooking!


Close-Up on Cranberry Pumpkin Upside Down Cake
Photo via Bluprint member kraftlover

Cranberry-pumpkin almond upside-down cake:

This upside-down cake is like the equivalent of putting a fall sweater on a pineapple upside-down cake. Start with your favorite upside-down cake recipe, then simply swap the pineapple for cranberries, pumpkin pie filling and toasted almonds (pecans would work, too). You’ll have a warm and cozy cake that goes great with morning coffee, but can hold its own as a dessert course, too.

Pumpkin Babka Bread
Photo via Bluprint member Heirloomimprint

Free-range pumpkin-chocolate babka:

After taking the Artisan Bread Making class, Bluprint member Heirloomimprint was inspired to create this delicious fall treat, which includes pumpkin in the sourdough base. She then braided in a ribbon of chocolate and baked her babka to perfection.

Milkshake with Chocolate Syrup and Whipped Cream
Photo via Baking Bytes

Frozen pumpkin mudslide milkshake:

What’s not to love? Pumpkin gets a sweet treatment with ice cream, spices, chocolate sauce and, of course, vodka and various liqueurs, making for a positively tipsy indulgence. Recipe here.

Pumpkin Cream Tart with a Piece Missing
Photo via CakeSpy

Pumpkin-banana-cream tart:

You know pumpkin pie. You know banana cream pie. But have you ever thought of combining them in a tart crust? The light, tropical flavor of banana works surprisingly well with earthy pumpkin, and a thick topping of brandy whipped cream certainly doesn’t hurt. Recipe here.

Pumpkin bread stuffed with cookie dough:

It’s a well-known fact: cookie dough makes everything better. In this case, it’s pumpkin bread, which is improved by a center filled with gooey chocolate chip cookie dough. Decadent and delicious. Recipe here.

Toasted Pumpkin Seeds Next to Sewn Pumpkins
Photo via Suzy’s Artsy-Bluprint Sitcom

Candied pumpkin seeds:

Looking for a sweet treat that’s a bit lighter? Candied pumpkin seeds are crunchy and satisfying, but won’t weigh you down. Easy to make, they are an ideal addition to trail mix recipes, too. Recipe here.


Pumpkin Soup in White Bowl
Photo via J. Kenji Lopez-Alt for Serious Eats

Pumpkin soup with brown butter and thyme:

This recipe focuses on the natural flavor of pumpkin, which is expertly heightened by the addition of brown butter, thyme, pepper, and rounded out with chicken stock. It’s a satisfying soup, and with some homemade bread, could make a light meal. Recipe here

Pumpkin biscuits:

These biscuits have a touch of sweetness owing to the pumpkin’s natural flavor and a kiss of honey, but are perfect to be served as a savory accompaniment. A strong suggestion? Use these biscuits as bookends to a filling of salty ham and egg for a perfect brunch dish. Recipe here.

Pumpkin-mushroom lasagna:

There’s no tomato sauce in sight in this Italian-inspired delight, but there’s plenty to love. Lasagna noodles layered with three types of cheese, pumpkin, spices and mushrooms make for a memorable and soul-satisfying meal.  Recipe here.

Pumpkin Pizza Topped with Basil
Photo via Two Peas & Their Pod

Pumpkin pizza:

Pizza gets an autumn makeover. This is a family-friendly recipe, in which homemade pizza is tastily topped with pumpkin and gouda, and spiced up with nutmeg and black pepper. But what really brings it all home is the fried sage leaves, which add a perfect crispy crunch and rich flavor to the finished pie. Recipe here.

Pumpkin Pulled Pork
Photo via Coconut & Lime

Pumpkin pulled pork:

This pumpkin is spiced, but not with the typical pumpkin pie seasonings. In this case, it’s Jamaican spices (with a definite kick) that bring out the natural sweet earthiness of the pumpkin, which pairs beautifully with tender pulled pork. Recipe here.

And for the dogs

Dog Treats Lined up on a White Plate
Photo via Bluprint member Its Done JJ

Pumpkin and fruit dog treats:

Don’t forget Fido! These treats, made with pumpkin puree, fruit, cinnamon, whole oats and whole wheat flour, may look like fancy hors d’oeuvres, but they’re designed for dogs. Recipe here.

For more fall cooking inspiration, see our recipes for a fall harvest salad, classic apple pie and apple-cider doughnuts.

Pumpkin — it’s for more than just pie and spiced lattes. Do you prefer pumpkin in sweet or savory recipes?

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