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Can You Substitute Pumpkin? Absolutely, and Here’s How!

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Although we connect pumpkin with the cool weather and cozy fashion of Fall, it is not technically a cold weather plant! Pumpkins are harvested in the fall, which means they must be grown in the summer!

So, if you want to make a dish featuring pumpkin at any other time of the year besides Fall, you may have some difficulty finding this ingredient! That’s why we’ve provided you with five awesome pumpkin alternatives!

So, come on, folks! Let’s get pumped for pumpkin (and it’s alternatives)!

pumpkin substitutes

Best substitutes for pumpkin

The best substitutes for pumpkin are canned pumpkin, acorn squash, butternut squash, hubbard, and sweet potatoes. Since the mighty pumpkin is a gourd, most of our favorite substitutes are also gourds! Not only do they all have a similar consistency, but most gourds have quite similar flavors! That means that most of them can be substituted at a one for one ratio!

In fact, these substitutes may very well be the best substitutes you’ll ever be able to make for any ingredient! Feel free to use any of them to replace any other in the future!

#1. Canned Pumpkin Puree or Pumpkin Pie Filling

Of course, this one is going to be basically the same thing as a regular pumpkin. There is no shame in using a canned version of pumpkin to make your holiday recipes; in fact, they taste more or less the same! So you’re getting the same thing for a lot less time and effort!

The only thing to remember with this tip is that you should only use pumpkin pie filling if you’re making something sweet. That is due to the fact that pumpkin pie filling contains the sugar and spices traditionally used in pumpkin pie.

So, if you’re making something savory, steer clear of that one and opt for plain pumpkin puree instead. If you’d like to add your own spices, this is the better option for both sweet and savory dishes.

Read Also:Raisin Substitutes

#2. Acorn Squash

Also known as Des Moines squash or pepper squash, acorn squash is so named due to its characteristic acorn shape, albeit much larger than your traditional teeny tiny acorn.

acorn squash

Acorn squash is an excellent substitute for pumpkin! It has a very similar taste, texture, and color! In fact, you may not even realize a difference when replacing it for pumpkin!

The major difference is that it’s slightly more mild in flavor than pumpkin. So, just keep that in mind when adding seasonings to your dish!

#3. Butternut Squash

This beautiful, long orange squash is another winter squash that is very similar to pumpkin. In fact, in some parts of the world, Butternut squash is actually called Butternut pumpkin!

The major difference between Butternut squash and pumpkin is that the squash tastes a bit sweeter and a whole lot nuttier (hence, the name!). This is actually a very nice flavor in your typical autumnal dishes, especially if you’re averse to nuts; using Butternut squash instead in a dish calling for nuts and pumpkin will kill two birds with one stone!

#4. Hubbard Squash

This one could be a bit of a mystery to some folks out there. After all, Hubbard Squash sounds more like a fictional vegetable out of a children’s book!

But, don’t you worry, Hubbard squash is very real! In fact, it comes in two different varieties: blue and golden!

Although it might be a bit more difficult to find in your local grocery store, Hubbard squash may very well be your best choice for substituting pumpkin. Why? Because it tastes like pumpkin more than any other gourd!

The flavor of Hubbard Squash is most commonly described as tasting like pumpkin, but slightly sweeter! That’s excellent for those looking to make a sweet dish: less added sugar!

Read also: Can You Freeze Pumpkin? 

#5. Sweet Potatoes

Now, this one may seem a bit outlandish to some. After all, sweet potatoes are obviously not gourds.

However, their flavor and texture is not all that different from those of pumpkin! Plus, their mashability is much better and their availability is more widespread! Many even enjoy sweet potatoes more than pumpkin!

sweet potatoes

Sweet potatoes are slightly nutty, slightly sweet, and have the ability to become caramelized when roasted slowly! Not to mention, they’re much easier to prepare than their gourd friends! That’s why sweet potatoes make an excellent replacement for pumpkin!

Read also: Pumpkin Pie Without Evaporated Milk 

What is pumpkin used for?

Primarily, we all know of pumpkin as the main ingredient in sweet, autumn treats! You’ve got your holiday pumpkin pie, your pumpkin spice this, that, and the other thing, and of course, your Halloween jack-o-lanterns, which are probably more of a trick than a treat!

But, there are other ways you can use pumpkin in a dish! Sometimes, it might be savory pumpkin soup or peppery pumpkin cubes. It could be a nice hearty pumpkin loaf or even simply roasted pumpkin!

And, if you can’t find or don’t like pumpkin, you may have a difficult time figuring out how to replace it in a recipe.

Well, don’t fret, folks! We’ve provided you with all you need to know about replacing pumpkin right here. Just keep reading to find out why and how to do it!

Why might you need to substitute pumpkin?

Around the fall holidays, it is not so rare to find pumpkins galore at your local supermarket! After all, they are required for many an autumnal tradition.

But, if the peak of pumpkin season has ended, and you are still finding yourself making recipes featuring pumpkin, you may have hit a roadblock: no more pumpkin. If this sounds like your problem, keep reading; we’ve got the alternatives for you!

However, you may simply not enjoy the flavor of pumpkin. If this is the case, why not try out some of our pumpkin substitutes? They’re all healthy options, and you just might find one you really like!

Now, if you’re allergic to pumpkin, you should really make sure to check with an allergist before trying those alternatives. If your doctor says you’re not allergic to ’em, give them a go!

What’s the takeaway?

No matter which pumpkin alternative you choose, you can rest assured knowing that each is just as healthy and basically the same taste and texture as pumpkin!

So, there’s really no reason to skip a dish that calls for pumpkin when you have so many other great ideas for alternatives!


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