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Peeling Pumpkin Easily for Cooking

Pumpkins can be used for cooking and also for carving jack-o-lanterns around Halloween time.  Since the shell can be quite tough, learn here how peeling a pumpkin easily for cooking in just 4 quick steps — 1. Slice in half and Clean, 2. Cook, 3. Let Cool, 4. PEEL.

Peeling a pumpkin easily for cooking

To make peeling the shell easier and faster, it is best to cook it first! Yes, that’s right!!!!!!  Cooking it — either in the microwave or oven– will make the outer skin soft enough to peel with just one’s fingers.

Try out our method and simplify your life!  After all, who could ever imagine that peeling a member of the squash family could become such a simple task no matter its size…

As if that wasn’t enough, you can use cooked pumpkin to prepare your favorite dishes and treats.  If you would like a few more suggestions, here are some others to diversify your table:

PUMPKIN BRIGADEIROS (Great for Halloween)

CHICKEN STEW IN A PUMPKIN SHELL (Use turkey leftovers or others)


CHOCOLATE-PUMPKIN-PECAN BREAD PUDDING (Not your average bread pudding)

…and soon, our very own creamy pumpkin soup!!!


Peeling pumpkin easily for cooking

Print Recipe
How to Peel a Pumpkin Easily
Peeling pumpkin easily for cooking (microwave and oven methods).
Votes: 4
Rating: 5
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Course How-to
Course How-to
Votes: 4
Rating: 5
Rate this recipe!
  1. SLICE pumpkin in half AND CLEAN it, removing all the seeds and fibrous strings using a large metal spoon or ice cream scoop.
  2. COOK it! This is the best way to make all the peeling go much easier and quicker. If cooking in a MICROWAVE, place pumpkin half cut-side-down on a microwave-safe dish with a bit of water in it. Microwave one of the halves until the skin can be sliced away easily. Time varies depending on the size of the pumpkin as well as microwave wattage. My medium-size pumpkin took 18 minutes (100 % cooking power) in a 1100 watts microwave. It is fully cooked when fork tender (or it can be easily pricked with a toothpick).
  3. If cooking in the OVEN, place clean pumpkin half or halves cut side up on a baking sheet (if pumpkin is large, you will have to bake halves separately) and bake in a preheated oven at 375º F for about 15 minutes (small), 30 minutes (medium), 45 minutes (large), or until fork tender.
  4. LET COOL just enough to handle without burning your fingers.
  5. PEEL it using a knife or your fingers. Either chop or purée the pumpkin flesh, depending what you are using it for. If you intend to purée, pumpkin can be cooked longer, making it much, much easier to peel the skin.

36 Responses to Peeling Pumpkin Easily for Cooking

  1. Liz October 7, 2014 at 8:07 pm #

    Oh, my gosh, what an easy way to remove the peel! Thanks for the tip!

  2. marcela October 8, 2014 at 9:21 am #

    Oh! so good!:) I love this post!

  3. [email protected] Riffs October 8, 2014 at 11:55 am #

    I’ve tried this method and it really works! I usually use the microwave, unless I have the oven on for something else. Such a terrific post — thanks so much.

    • Denise Browning October 8, 2014 at 4:10 pm #

      We’re welcome, John! Cooking a pumpkin before peeling makes the task much easier.

  4. Sugar et al. October 8, 2014 at 11:05 pm #

    What a timely post, my friend! I am going to try this out very soon. (You already know how much I love pumpkin) This is certainly going to make my life easier as I have quite a few recipes in mind and didn’t know too well how to tackle this monster:-)

    • Denise Browning October 9, 2014 at 9:28 am #

      Sonali: I have struggled to peel pumpkin for many years because I tried to peel it before cooking. It used to take all my energy and patience away — no matter the size of the pumpkin. But this method can really help to make things much easier.

  5. Kathleen October 9, 2014 at 7:07 am #

    WOW–this is great! Thanks so much for sharing Denise….you’ve made my life alot easier!

    • Denise Browning October 9, 2014 at 9:29 am #

      My struggle trying to peel a pumpkin is over and I hope others’ as well.

  6. Deb|EastofEdenCooking October 9, 2014 at 7:49 am #

    A much better way to clean a pumpkin! It’s moving quickly into that extra busy time of year when we can use every tip we can find to help us through the busy holiday season. Thank you Denise!

    • Denise Browning October 9, 2014 at 9:31 am #

      Thank you, Deb! Sometimes what seems so simple like peeling a pumpkin can become a hard task… but cooking it first really simplify our lives.

  7. Little Cooking Tips October 9, 2014 at 8:04 am #

    Fantastic idea Denise! Never thought of cooking it before peeling it:) Does that work with squash as well? Have you tried it?
    Thank you for another wonderful post!

    • Denise Browning October 9, 2014 at 12:07 pm #

      Hi, Panos and Mirella! This technique works well with any kind of squash. xoxo

      • Little Cooking Tips October 10, 2014 at 12:05 am #

        Thank you Denise! That’s really great to know, ’cause Panos’s parents in Evia island have lots of them every year.

        • Denise Browning October 10, 2014 at 7:00 am #

          I hope they apply this technique and peel squash easily. Since squash will be already cooked, it can be used for many dishes.

  8. Miss Kim @ behgopa October 9, 2014 at 3:19 pm #

    Cool! One time, my boss gave me a bunch of pumpkin to use. I don’t even remember how I dealt with the pumpkin peeling, but it was not fun…there was just so many of them and I only had a tiny little oven at the time…and really HUGE pumpkin. Sometimes I wonder if he did that to punish me lol jk. Of course, we didn’t have a microwave there. Gosh…even slicing through all those huge pumpkins was aggravating just cuz there were so many. But anyways…after that part was over, the fun part was cooking with them. I love pumpkin!

    • Denise Browning October 9, 2014 at 4:43 pm #

      Hi, Miss Kim! I am so sorry that you had that kind of experience. Pumpkin is tasty yet hard to peel. Like you said, it is not fun having to peel it. But this method it really makes life easy.

  9. Juliana October 9, 2014 at 11:01 pm #

    Oh Denise…this is such a great post…love the instructive pictures…this make peeling pumpkin so easy…thanks!
    Hope you are enjoying your week 😀

  10. Kiran @ October 10, 2014 at 9:09 pm #

    That’s another reason why I love roasting and peeling pumpkins, all on my own. So freaking easy and therapeutic 🙂

    • Denise Browning October 10, 2014 at 10:13 pm #

      Thanks, Kiran!!!! This is the easiest way to peel a pumpkin.

  11. Mi Vida en un Dulce October 11, 2014 at 6:41 am #

    You are right, that is the better way to peel a pumpkin: cooked!!!

  12. Francesca October 12, 2014 at 4:09 am #

    When I moved to Holland, I was missing canned pumpkin so badly. I had a few trial and errors before getting this method down. You just reminded me of first kitchen forays 🙂

    • Denise Browning October 12, 2014 at 7:54 am #

      Hi, Francesca! I also had hard times trying to peel pumpkins for years. Cooking them first is really the best. Storing mashing pumpkins can be quite useful since one can use it to make pumpkin pies and other sweet treats, creamy soups, mashed pumpkin, and others.

  13. Chris @ The Café Sucré Farine October 12, 2014 at 3:13 pm #

    This is a great post Denise, so many people are intimidated by pumpkins because they’re so difficult to peel. Pinning to my “tips and tricks” board!

  14. Coffee and Crumpets October 12, 2014 at 3:29 pm #

    Great post Denise! You know my love for pumpkin 😉 But seriously, they are a headache to peel and this really helps!

  15. Raymund October 13, 2014 at 3:51 pm #

    Wow thanks for this tip, I always find it hard to peel pumpkins now theres an easy way. Really happy with this post

    • Denise Browning October 13, 2014 at 5:57 pm #

      Thanks, Raymund! I don’t know any other way better than this one to peel a pumpkin.


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