How to Cook a Whole Pumpkin and Recipe for Pumpkin Gut Bread

Pumpkin Gut Bread
Happy Halloween!  I know several of you are carving pumpkins today, tomorrow I’ll show you Eric’s and my amazing pumpkin carving job.  It’s awesome!  Maybe you’ve noticed that grocery stores are dropping the price of their pumpkins starting today.  We got a giant pumpkin for free from our CSA, but I also bought some smaller ones to use in the kitchen.  Did you know that you can use every part of the pumpkin?  If you want to make your own pumpkin puree, the small sugar pumpkins work best, but this year I even used a small carving pumpkin and found it still tasted pretty good in my pumpkin bars.

Pumpin Seeds for Roasting
If you want to cook a whole pumpkin, cut the pumpkin in half.  I set it on its side and stab a large knife into it.  I work the knife around through the side, then the base of the pumpkin and up the other side.  Go back to the original side and work from the cut up to the stem.  Pull the pumpkin apart into two halves.  Now you have two pumpkin parts to be scooped from inside the pumpkin, one is seeds, and the other is guts.  That’s right pumpkin guts.

Pumpkin Guts for Pumpkin Bread
I have to confess that I love playing with the pumpkin guts, they’re slimy and squishy and just feel good between my fingers.  Last year I first made pumpkin gut bread with the guts from our jack o’ lantern.  Now I always ask people for their pumpkin guts, partly in an effort to reduce waste, and partly because I love making the bread!  Whether you’re taking this out of the top of a pumpkin you’re carving, or from a pumpkin you’ve cut in half to roast, it’s easiest to have two bowls and separate the seeds and guts into them as you go.

Roasting pumpkin in the oven for pumpkin puree
The third part of the pumpkin you can use is the flesh, this is the part that makes puree like you can buy (highly processed) in a can.  Once you’ve scooped all the seeds and guts from the pumpkin halves, place the halves cut side down in a pan.  If you have a smaller pumpkin you may be able to use one pan.  Pour some water 1/4 high in the pan (about1 cup).  Place them in an oven preheated to 350 degrees and roast the pumpkin for 45-60 minutes (for a large pumpkin).  It’s done when you can easily pierce it with a fork.

Pureeing Fresh Pumpkin
Fresh pumpkin is much more fibrous then the highly processed pumpkin in a can, so you need to put it through a food processor before you can bake with it.  Simply puree it until it’s smooth and liquidy without any chunks (is liquidy a word?).  Next you want to strain it to drain off the excess water.  I just put a paper towel in a colander and dump the puree in.  Let it drain over a bowl in the fridge for a couple hours.  Then you can use it in any recipe that uses canned pumpkin.  I like to freeze mine in ziploc bags in one to two cup portions to make it easy to thaw the right amount (make sure you label it!).

Need some recipes to use your puree in?  How about Pumpkin Crunch Bars, Gingerbread Pumpkin Trifle, or a Pumpkin Bundt Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting?  I’ll have a twist on your basic roasted pumpkin seeds in my next post.  For now, here’s my famous pumpkin gut bread.  I sometimes try to be healthier by cutting the sugar down to two cups, it’s still good, but it’s killer with all three cups.  I call this bread famous because last year I brought it to several parties and everyone begged for the recipe, especially when they found out I made it with pumpkin guts.  This is the world’s best pumpkin bread recipe!
Pumpkin Bread Uses Up Pumpkin Guts

Diana’s Famous Pumpkin Gut Bread

makes 2 loaves


2 cups of fresh pumpkin guts (the stringy part separated from the seeds)
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. nutmeg
3 cups sugar
4 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup water
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup chopped pecans


Preheat oven to 350 F. Use your fingers and a pair of scissors to separate the pumpkin guts, making sure they’ll be able to mix well into the batter.
Combine flour, soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and sugar in large mixing bowl. Add eggs, water, oil and pumpkin. Stir until blended. Add nuts. Mix well. Pour into two 9×5″ loaf pans. Bake 1 hour. Cool slightly and take out of pans to let cool on a rack.
Approximate cost/serving: This bread is pretty affordable, especially if you buy your flour and sugar in bulk like I do.  Two loaves cost me around $2 to make, and I slice each one into 10 pieces.  So it comes out to only 10 cents a slice!
Vegetarian: This does have eggs, but it’s meatless!

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58 Responses to “How to Cook a Whole Pumpkin and Recipe for Pumpkin Gut Bread”

  1. Chou
    November 1, 2009 at 5:29 am #

    Sounds great! And it’s perfecty spooky.

  2. Cookin' Canuck
    November 1, 2009 at 6:12 am #

    What a great way to use all of the parts of a pumpkin! I like the big does of nutmeg in this recipe.

  3. Andrea
    November 1, 2009 at 11:30 am #

    ok, so now i’m going to have to get a pumpkin so i can try this out. i can’t believe that i am getting a pumpkin ‘for’ the guts. you inspire me once again!

  4. Michelle N
    November 1, 2009 at 5:56 pm #

    I really enjoyed reading this post! The bread looks amazing! I must try it!

  5. Michelle N
    November 1, 2009 at 5:57 pm #

    I really enjoyed reading this post! The bread looks amazing! I will be trying your recipe. Thanks for sharing.

  6. ValleyWriter
    November 2, 2009 at 5:54 am #

    I never knew you could use the guts of the pumpkin, too – very cool. The bread looks delicious!

  7. lunes
    November 25, 2009 at 8:13 pm #

    Diana, thank you for your wonderful recipe ! It turned out great and everyone raved about it, I plan on making this again and again-lots of holiday parties. : )

  8. krissy
    October 1, 2010 at 9:15 pm #

    Great ideas! I love using pumpkin and Jamaican pumpkin with savory spices in rice and beans. Looking forward to using guts and seeds this time. I’m not letting any part of my pumpkins go to waste this year.

  9. diana
    October 4, 2010 at 11:33 am #

    I’m so glad this recipe is working out so well for everyone. Krissy, that sounds amazing, if you have a recipe I’d love to try it out!

  10. Jess
    October 17, 2010 at 5:35 pm #

    I made this bread w/raisins instead of nuts & I added 1 medium ‘smushed’ banana & it was delicious!!!

  11. Larisa
    October 22, 2010 at 8:28 pm #

    Loved it, but i was so busy reading your instructions I forgot to oil my pans (it’s not written in there…lol)! But the taste is the same even if my bread is all crumbled.

  12. Shelly
    October 31, 2010 at 6:42 am #

    We tried the pumpkin bread in Kazakhstan. We didn’t buy the nuts since they are more expensive and I didn’t have them in the house already. This recipe is great, even without the nuts!

  13. Laura
    October 31, 2010 at 4:15 pm #

    Loved this recipe since it was easy, quick, and a nice way to use my Jack O’ Lantern left-overs :)

  14. Amy
    November 8, 2010 at 9:29 am #

    I tried the pumpkin guts bread yesterday and it is so amazing!!! I couldn’t add the nuts because it has to be “nut-safe” for my kids to take to school, so I just have to imagine that there are nuts in it. This is going to be one recipe that I may have to buy pumpkins for JUST to make this bread. Thanks for the recipe!

  15. Kaila
    November 18, 2010 at 8:40 am #

    Tried it, turned out great! Can’t keep my hands off the loaves!

  16. Lucas Topham
    November 22, 2010 at 7:15 pm #

    I like how you have healthier recipes and how you do the cost breakdown because I’m working on getting the food budget under control

  17. Sayward
    September 27, 2011 at 10:00 am #

    I tried this recipe today. I didn’t adjust it at all. I AM THRILLED!!! Thank you so much for giving out this recipe. It’s really fantastic and I will totally be using it again and again. THANK YOU! :)

    • diana
      September 27, 2011 at 10:14 am #

      You are SO welcome! I’m really looking forward to pumpkin time here so I can make some again. Thanks for stopping by and commenting Sayward :)

  18. Maegan
    October 2, 2011 at 12:49 pm #

    Can I keep the “guts” overnight in the fridge, if I don’t have time to make the bread the day I use the pumpkin? I can’t wait to try this bread!

    • diana
      October 2, 2011 at 3:59 pm #

      You can! If you’re not going to use them within a couple days you can freeze them and just thaw when you’re ready to use.

  19. Sofie
    October 7, 2011 at 9:09 pm #

    I don’t eat eggs, so I didn’t follow your recipe at all, but thanks for the idea! I didn’t want to throw out all the guts.
    I just subbed pumpkin guts for bananas in my favorite vegan banana bread recipe. It turned out great, though not as pumpkiny as I expected.

    • diana
      October 18, 2011 at 8:48 am #

      You’re welcome! Yeah it’s not super pumpkiny, The guts don’t have a ton of flavor like a banana will. Glad you found a way to make it suit your dietary needs, that’s awesome!

  20. Katie
    October 19, 2011 at 12:12 pm #

    Just made a double batch of this last night and was thrilled to be able to use everything from the inside of our jack o’ lantern. I was amazed at how great it was. I thought it was a perfect pumpkiny spicy bread cake. I added a bit of vanilla and only did the 2 c sugar vs 3 for each part of the batch. I have already sent out emails requesting people’s guts in exchange for some bartered bread! I used mini loaf containers for gifts and the double batch made 9 perfect mini loafs. I’ll be getting another pumpkin at the farmers market this weekend and doing all of the pumpkin along with preserving/canning the pumpkin for future use. Thanks for this great recipe.

    • diana
      October 20, 2011 at 3:52 pm #

      You’re so welcome Katie! I think I’ll be making mini loafs this year as well. We’re carving pumpkins on Saturday and I can’t wait to make my bread!

  21. Jennifer
    October 23, 2011 at 2:03 pm #

    Ok, so nobody’s ever accused me of knowing anything about cooking, but my family carved jack-o-lanterns last night, and I had the bright idea to make pumpkin bread. I have to admit I was getting a little discouraged when all the recipes I could find said to throw out the part I saved. Thank you a million times over for coming up with this and saving my dream of yummy pumpkin bread!

    • diana
      October 23, 2011 at 7:52 pm #

      You’re so welcome! That’s why I came up with this recipe, I couldn’t stand throwing those guts away!

      • Jennifer
        November 24, 2011 at 8:32 am #

        The pumpkin gut bread I made at Halloween went over so well, I made some more for Thanksgiving with the frozen remains of my husband’s jack-o-lantern. It’s SO good and everyone loves it! I didn’t care for the big chunks of pumpkin, so I beat the guts with a mixer so it was smoother… much better! Thank you again! :)

        • diana
          November 25, 2011 at 7:05 pm #

          Glad it worked out. You’re welcome!

  22. Jessica
    October 28, 2011 at 11:07 pm #

    As a broke college student, I felt bad about throwing away the “guts” of the pumpkin, after I carved it and took the seeds. I was very happy with this recipe and how it turned out. I now have a carved pumpkin for my Halloween party, bread, and pumpkin seeds as well. Thank you for your recipe.

  23. Nikki
    October 30, 2011 at 7:41 pm #

    We added Heath Bar junks to the bread i lieu of walnuts It is so delicious. Thanks Diana!!!!!!

  24. Joellen JK
    November 1, 2011 at 6:53 am #

    Just made a batch of this yesterday for Halloween. Thought it would be fun to do with my little girl…and it was:) Had to substitute in some light brown sugar with reg sugar since I did not have enough and it still turned out great. Added golden raisins instead of nuts and used a bundt cake pan since I didn’t have any bread pans. It was Delicious and we could not stop eating it! Thanks Diana. I will keep coming back to this recipe and want to go pick up another pumpkin to make some more this Thanksgiving! Love that we used the whole pumpkin including the seeds (roasted) this year as well. Fantastic!!

  25. Kristen
    November 22, 2011 at 8:50 pm #

    I made this bread at Halloween and we loved it. I later made pumpkin bread with canned pumpkin and a different recipe and it was not nearly as good. I am wondering if you think this recipe will work with canned pumpkin, I don’t have any guts right now but the bread was so good am hoping to get a similar result. Don’t know if it has to be guts.

    • diana
      November 23, 2011 at 11:29 am #

      Hi Kristen, I haven’t tried using canned pumpkin before. I think it might work but the texture would be different. With the pumpkin gut bread you’ve got actual pieces of pumpkin spread throughout the batter. With using canned pumpkin it would be mixed into the batter. But you can always give it a try and definitely let us know how it turns out!

  26. Cindy
    December 9, 2011 at 6:08 am #

    I notice you use Ziplocs for freezer storage? I’d love to find a way to reduce THAT waste, but just can’t figure out another way to store things “flat” without using them. Any alternatives anyone can think of would be helpful!

    • diana
      December 9, 2011 at 9:15 am #

      I’d love to know that too! I’ve started saving plastic containers from sour cream and things to use in the freezer, and I try to reuse the Ziplocs if possible, but yeah, I’d be excited to learn a way to reduce that waste!

  27. Amanda
    October 25, 2012 at 8:48 am #

    Do you also puree the outer skin from the pumpkin after roasting it?

    • Diana
      October 30, 2012 at 3:39 pm #

      Nope, I just scoop the flesh out of the skin. Good questions!

  28. Haritha
    November 2, 2012 at 8:17 am #

    I tried your recipe and it worked great! I didn’t have any nuts and I used crushed cardamom instead of nutmeg. Thank you very much for the recipe!

    • Diana
      November 4, 2012 at 4:23 pm #

      You’re so welcome Haritha, cardamom sounds lovely!

  29. Stephanie Kelsey
    November 4, 2012 at 3:02 pm #

    I loved this recipe! It worked beautifully. I only had a cup of guts, so I halved the recipe. In the process, I goofed and didn’t half the amount of water. The loaves came out very moist that way.

    I’m making the puree now. The seeds are already roasted. I got the pumpkin free at a local festival, so all this food is a bonus. (.:

    • Diana
      November 4, 2012 at 4:24 pm #

      Awesome Stephanie, sometimes my mistakes in the kitchen make the best surprises!

  30. Elise
    November 11, 2012 at 7:11 am #

    Thank you! This year is my first time cooking pumpkins and up until now I was just throwing the guts away, feeling a little guilty each time I did. You are the first person I’ve found who talks about actually using them. The recipe looks delicious.

    How well do you think this bread would keep? Long enough to pack up and send through the post in cold weather?

  31. Toni
    October 26, 2013 at 8:57 am #

    I’m so glad I found a recipe that uses the stringy guts! I always feel terrible wasting them. I was wondering if this could maybe be easily modified into muffins, as well? I’m going to contact my dormant inner baker for this. I’m also planning to use the excess juice from the guts to make Harry Potter style Pumpkin Juice. Very excited!

    • Toni
      October 27, 2013 at 7:17 am #

      I tried it as muffins as well. All I did was put the mix into a muffin tin instead, and I cut the time about in half, maybe a little bit longer. It isn’t fluffy, but it makes a delicious dessert and/or breakfast option! I used whole wheat flour, which made it somewhat dense. The loaves turned out perfect, too! Fantastic recipe!

      • Diana
        October 31, 2013 at 6:47 pm #

        That’s cool that it worked for muffins. I created this before I switched my kitchen to all whole wheat flour and, you’re right, whole wheat does make it denser. But so good! Thanks for letting me know.

    • Diana
      October 31, 2013 at 6:46 pm #

      What a fun pumpkin adventure Toni. I’d love to hear how your pumpkin juice tastes!

  32. Nikki
    November 11, 2013 at 3:22 pm #

    Thank you so much for this recipe! EVERYONE who tries it absolutely raves about it, and now, they’re even donating pumpkins for more :)

    • Diana
      November 11, 2013 at 3:25 pm #

      You are so welcome Nikki. Glad I could help bring more pumpkins into your life :)

  33. Michelle
    November 12, 2013 at 7:51 pm #

    Hi, Diana! I made your Pumpkin Gut Bread, substituting nuts for chocolate chips, and it was fantastic!! I can’t stop eating it!
    Now I need to make more bread, in muffin form, for the kids cross country meet. But, now I have no pumpkin guts. How do I modify the Pumpkin Gut recipe with the home made pumpkin puree I just made? Any ideas?

    • Diana
      November 12, 2013 at 8:17 pm #

      Hi Michelle, I haven’t tried this, so it would be an experiment for you. I’m guessing that because the canned pumpkin is so wet and will blend into the batter rather than be chunks in it, I would try substituting the pumpkin for the oil. Maybe still use a couple Tablespoons of oil with one and a half cups of pumpkin puree. Haven’t tried this myself so play around with the amounts a little to try and get the right texture. Let me know how it goes!

      • Michelle
        November 13, 2013 at 1:54 am #

        Hi, Diana! I will try your suggestions. I plan to make the muffins in a few days, so I’ll let you know next week how they turn out.
        Mahalo in advance,

        • Michelle
          November 23, 2013 at 4:20 pm #

          I made the muffins and they turned out great! I had portioned out 2 Cups of Pumpkin Puree into plastic bags, so in each batch I used the 2 Cups of Pumpkin Puree, 1/2 Cup of Veg. Oil, and enough water to make the batter to a cake mix like consistently. I also adjusted the amount of nutmeg because I’m not used to that much nutmeg.
          Thank you, Diana, for the recipe and help with the adjustments!
          Aloha, Michelle

  34. kylene larson
    November 7, 2014 at 12:43 am #

    hello, i was wondering how can i use the skin also in the puree? i did it by mistake and it is all mixed together. also how about high altitude?


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