It’s pumpkin time, if you hadn’t noticed, and I’m ready for some creative pumpkin recipes — you know beyond pumpkin soup and pumpkin bread.
With fresh pumpkins now in season, and canned pumpkin filling the shelves at our supermarkets, I’ve found so many recipes — from sweet to savory — that use this quintessential fall ingredient that will really help change things up from our usual seasonal pumpkin mainstays.
Need more encouragement to get cooking with pumpkin? It’s a terrific way to get some extra potassium into your diet, along with vitamins A, E, C, and B. It even has calcium, which is not only good for kids, but smart for those of us parents starting to think a little more about bone health as we get older.
Whether you’re Team Pumpkin Spice or not, we hope you’ll find several creative pumpkin recipes here that make it into your fall rotation.
Note: Several of these recipes call for canned pumpkin, and while we’re all about convenience, be sure to take a look at the easy, two-step pumpkin puree recipe from Everyday Delicious, should you want to make your own from scratch.
Creative Pumpkin Recipes for Breakfast
Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew
To start off the day, we couldn’t skip a new pumpkin spice coffee recipe, could we? This pumpkin cream cold brew at Herbs & Flour is a copycat Starbucks recipe, and I love that you can make the pumpkin cream then store it in the fridge. One batch will doctor up six full cups of coffee, so you’ll be good for the week — provided you really like pumpkin spice coffee!
Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
I love the idea of adding pumpkin spice to our breakfast pastries, and these pumpkin cinnamon rolls with cream cheese icing (yum) from I Heart Recipes are speaking to me. The best part: these are semi-homemade, thanks to the use of ready-made crescent roll dough. So easy! Saturday morning just got a serious upgrade.
Pumpkin Spice Donuts
Another breakfast option are these incredible Pumpkin Spice Old Fashioned Donuts at Good Things Baking. It’s a creative pumpkin recipe if you tend to go classic with cider donuts if you make them homemade. Yes, these do take some extra effort (3 mixing bowls, and they have to be fried) but OMG they’re worth it for a special weekend morning. Maybe fall break?
Creative Pumpkin Recipes for Lunch and Dinner
Pumpkin Chorizo Chili
Adding some pumpkin to your chili may not be something you ever considered but, wow! So smart! Not only do the flavors blend well in this pumpkin chorizo chili recipe from The Original Dis, but it’s an easy way to sneak some extra vitamins into your lunch or dinner. The recipes calls for chorizo sausage along with beef which makes it extra delectable, and her spice mix just makes it warm and cozy, whether you’re eating it in front of the fireplace or taking advantage of a comfortable fall evening on the porch.
Pumpkin, Broccolini, and Pomegranate Salad
Creative pumpkin recipes don’t have to be heavy, as they often are . Case in point: this light pumpkin, broccolini and pomegranate salad at Tsp.It’s a creative way to take advantage of that savory, spicy pumpkin flavor on the table, without feeling stuffed afterward. To save yourself a bit of effort, I’d suggest using rotisserie chicken from the grocer instead of poaching your own. It’s one of our favorite dinner-time shortcuts.
Butternut squash soup (which is basically pumpkin, in my opinion) always looks so pretty in photos, but if you want to change up the texture and flavor profile, check out pumpkin soup wiith cannellini beans and spinach from Posh Plate. It offers a bit more variety into your fall recipe stash, by adding beans and greens in there. Bonus: It happens to be vegan, which makes it a smart recipe to keep on hand when you’re serving family members on a plant-based diet.
If you’ve ever fallen in love with a pumpkin or squash-filled ravioli, you must give this handmade pumpkin gnocchi recipe a try, courtesy of Page & Plate. The pumpkin is mixed directly into the gnocchi dough, not served as part of the sauce, which should yield a subtly tasty main. I think it’s a particularly good “hide the veggies” option for particular kids who don’t love their veggies chunky. Top with brown butter and sage — or hey, just butter for the kids, and a sprinkle of salt. However Laura gives several ideas for toppings, from crispy bacon to kale to charred onions. Mmmm.
PS if you’ve never made gnocchi by hand, know this recipe requires only 15 minutes of prep time before cooking It’s that easy!
Pumpkin and Sausage Pasta Bake
Even with schooling from home and working from home, I still find myself cramming when it comes to dinnertime. But this pumpkin and sausage pasta bake at A Nerd Cooks is a creative pumpkin recipe you can easily prepare ahead of time, then pop the dish right in the oven when you’re ready to feed your family. The pumpkin sauce is made with Greek yogurt, giving it more of a savory, tangy flavor than a sweet one, which is a nice change from all the spice that goes with all that pumpkin this time of year.
Pumpkin Pretzel Sticks
To change things up from a side of bread, these slightly sweet Pumpkin Pretzel Sticks at A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures are phenomenal with any protein main. Or hey, just serve with a bowl of chili, or alongside a sheet pan of roasted veggies for a lighter but truly satisfying dinner idea. For a fun appetizer or snack, I’d make them bite-sized instead of in loaves, and serve with cheese sauce or mustard for dipping.
Creative Pumpkin Recipes for Dessert
Pumpkin Swirl Brownies
Definitely don’t forget pumpkin when it comes to dessert time (Not that you would!) If you tend to default to pumpkin bread or pumpkin muffins, get creative with a pumpkin swirl brownie recipe from our friends at Lil’ Luna. It’s like pumpkin spice cake swirled with brownie, and it looks incredible.
Annnnddd, there goes my diet.
Pumpkin Pie Bars
If you’re gearing up mentally for Thanksgiving dinner, but you aren’t quite ready to go full pumpkin pie yet, then these Pumpkin Pie Bars at Choosing Chia may be just what you’re craving. It turns the Thanksgiving dessert staple an easy, finger-food alternative that we can enjoy any day of the week.
Bonus: This recipe is both vegan and paleo, so everyone can partake.