Every fall we line our pantries with can after can of pumpkin purée. We have every intention to make the most of the fall pantry staple, but we're lacking the creativity that puts it to good use. And TBH any pie we try to make won't compare to grandma's, so what's the point? Now it's time to think beyond pie because there are endless ways to use that unassuming can. From the fairly common recipes (such as risotto or pasta) to the less expected (pumpkin martinis, anyone?), canned pumpkin is a surprisingly versatile product that's packed with vitamins A, C, K, and fiber. Let's spread the word: Pumpkin makes everything more delicious, so here’s a list of unconventional ways to use it up so that your cans don't sit on your shelves until next fall rolls around.


pumpkin pineapple cocktail
Photo: Cookie + Kate

Pumpkin has a smooth, warming quality that typically lends itself to creamier dishes, but it also works well in this sweet, citrus-y cocktail that you'll probably find yourself craving in the summer.

Pumpkin Pie Protein Smoothie
Photo: Nutritionist in the Kitch

Get jacked-o’-lantern with this muscle-building smoothie—the perfect way to end a brisk outdoor workout or to begin your day with a little energizing spice.

pumpkin banana smoothie
Photo: Chef Savvy

Tired of your same old strawberry-banana smoothie? Give it a fall-inspired twist with this super-easy recipe. Other than the canned pumpkin, we bet you already have all the ingredients in your kitchen.

pumpkin-nog shake
Photo: i heart naptime

An awesome twist on the holiday staple, this is how to start a December morning. Or if it's later in the day, feel free to add rum, brandy, or bourbon (or all three).

pumpkin chai tea latte
Photo: Mama Mommy Mom

What could be better to sip on in front of a crackling fireplace? This no-frills recipe simply adds pumpkin to chai tea, but it bestows a warming smoothness that will make you think "cozy" is a new flavor.


pumpkin chai tea latte
Photo: Love Food Eat

Savory muffins just don’t get enough play, but this is a simple, delicious way to bring them to the table. Made with oats, olive oil, herbs, and apple cider vinegar, they’ve got no added sugar and will warm you from the inside out.

crock pot apple pumpkin butter
Photo: Teacher by Day Chef by Night

This is one of those recipes you'll want to put on everything in sight. Spread it on top of a muffin, pancake, or a piece of toast, or let's be serious... just dig your spoon into the mix and go nuts.

soft pumpkin granola bars
Photo: My Name is Yeh

Who knew a granola bar could bring this much excitement to a mid-afternoon snack? Packed with pumpkin, cinnamon, nuts, and oats, these bars are so much better than any you buy at the store.

pumpkin scones
Photo: The Healthy Chef

Who says scones are only for a weekend indulgence? Not us, especially when they're packed with roasted pumpkin, spelt flour, cinnamon, and a touch of honey. This American twist on the British staple is the perfect accompaniment to a cup of tea and a good book.

White Bean Pumpkin Hummus
Photo: My Bacon Wrapped Life

The recipe for this unusual dip has just one step: Throw everything in a food processor. The mixture of cannellini beans, pumpkin, and lots of spices creates a rich, Middle Eastern flavor well suited for any dish, from pita to salad topper to directly on the finger.


Healthy Pumpkin Pancakes
Photo: Desserts With Benefits

With no added sugar, these rich pancakes are a healthier option for kids and adults alike. They also pair beautifully with fruit, yogurt, nut butters—you name it. We wouldn't judge if you threw some dark chocolate chips in the batter too.

Pumpkin Maple Pecan Granola
Photo: Minimalist Baker

Roasting granola has to be one of the best ways to spend a fall afternoon. The smell alone is worth the effort, and cooking up a big batch for the week ahead can make anyone look forward to waking up in the morning.

crockpot pumpkin oatmeal
Photo: Show me the Yummy

There’s something magical about the way Crock-Pots make healthy food even more delicious. Put everything in the slow cooker before heading to bed, and you’ll wake up to the smell of a cozy fall morning that will stay with you until the afternoon.

Healthy Spiced Pumpkin Yogurt Granola Parfait
Photo: Cookin Canuck

This parfait only takes 10 minutes to prepare and makes breakfast feel like dessert. Full of Greek yogurt, granola, cinnamon, and nutmeg, this dish is so simple and delicious it’s sure to become a staple... all year long.

Pumpkin Spice Quinoa Breakfast Casserole
Photo: Healthful Pursuit

The name might sound like a game of Mad Libs, but this gluten-free breakfast is no joke. Flawlessly melding the flavors of coconut, pecans, maple, and vanilla, this breakfast seems like it'd be unhealthy (but it's really not!). Just make sure you're ready to practice some patience while waiting for it to cook in the oven.

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Yeast Waffles
Photo: Barbara Bakes

The batter can be made the night before, so it’s easy for this tasty, crispy breakfast to become a morning mainstay. Try them topped with fresh berries and Greek yogurt, or a big drizzle of pure maple syrup.


Pumpkin Black Bean Burgers
Photo: Back to Her Roots

Pumpkin has never really found a home between bread, but these patties will change the way you think about veggie burgers. Be sure to remember the chili powder and cumin to give this dish a kick.

Pumpkin Meatloaf with Pumpkin BBQ Sauce
Photo: Kath Eats

Double pumpkin means double the fun. This smoky, flavorful loaf is ideal for a chilly fall evening. The pumpkin BBQ sauce adds an extra dimension to the savory-sweet dynamic.

Creamy Pumpkin Alfredo Penne Pasta
Photo: Jessica in the Kitchen

This innovative recipe uses coconut milk as a base for the “creamy” sauce (just sub out the cheese if you want to make it fully vegan). If you're not in a pasta mood, this blogger says using quinoa tastes great too.

Chipotle Pumpkin Veggie Burgers
Photo: Peas & Crayons

For a flavorful patty, try this smoky concoction that comes alive with Chipotle sauce and smashed avocado. If you're gluten-free, try serving the burger on a bed of vegetables or mashing it up to make a veggie-burger salad.

Pumpkin and Prawns Curry
Photo: The Gastronomic Bong

Pumpkin is synonymous with fall, chilly breezes, and Thanksgiving fare, but this dish adds an unusual dimension to the orange vegetable. It drops a can into a traditional curry and pairs it with a big helping of the seafood favorite.


dairy free pumpkin ice cream
Photo: Happy Food Healthy Life

If you're vegan or trying to avoid dairy because it's not so pleasant on your stomach, you're going to love this version of ice cream. The recipe uses coconut milk and nuts for a rich creaminess and packs in one cup of broken-up graham crackers for added crunch.

Chocolate Pumpkin Protein Fudge
Photo: Sugar Free Mom

Smooth, decadent, and protein-packed, this healthy dessert is also sugar-free. The coconut oil and almond milk provide filling fats to help give this treat a super-satisfying consistency.

pumpkin pie frozen yogurt
Photo: A Kitchen Addiction

You'll never want to buy fro-yo in the fall again... only because you can make it so much better right in your own kitchen. This recipe shocks the taste buds by adding homemade pie crust pieces to the top of this chilling treat. OK, fine. It may not be totally sugar-free, but man, sometimes you just can't say no to a little sugar in your life.

soft pumpkin cookies
Photo: Tessa the Domestic Diva

Baking these delicious vegan cookies is a great way to spend an autumn afternoon. It’s wise to cook in small batches, though—it’s a little too easy to eat an entire tray.

baked pumpkin donuts
Photo: Alice and Lois

Is there anything more fall-like than eating donuts with apple cider? Go ahead and add an extra dusting of cinnamon and sugar to really up this recipe to absolute perfection.

Pumpkin Chia Pudding
Photo: The Awesome Green

Packing the trifecta of protein, fiber, and omega-3s, chia also forms a goopy gel when combined with a liquid. This makes it perfect for making healthy puddings, and this pumpkin flavored variation is no exception.

Pumpkin Custard
Photo: Sugar Free Mom

Whip it good. Eggs, that is. Then add them to some pumpkin purée, milk, and spices, and bake until your rich yet healthy dessert is ready to be devoured.

For the Dog

Pumpkin Cookie Dog Treats
Photo: My Kids Have Fur

It turns out pumpkin purée is a great way to help with canine constipation, and pooches will love these fall cookies. Why should Bark Ruffalo be the only one without a holiday treat? Go ahead and sneak in a taste for yourself too.

Originally published October 2013. Updated October 2016.

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