Cooking a whole pumpkin in an instant pot is an easy and effortless way. Cooked pumpkin could be diced or pureed to use in pies, muffins, cakes, smoothies and curries.
Once you cook instant pot pumpkin, you will never cook a whole pumpkin any other way.
I have used sugar pumpkin that is sweeter, less fibrous and makes a great choice to use in various sweet and savoury dishes. The medium size pumpkin that weighs 2lb (1.2 kg) fits very well in my 6 quarts (5.7 litres) instant pot.
No wasting of time peeling the hard skin, no cutting, no mess, no fuss! Just pop the whole pumpkin in the pot and pressure cook. The perfectly steamed fork-tender pumpkin will be ready with zero monitoring.
The best part of cooking a whole pumpkin in an Instant is that most of the skin peels off right away after cooking. Only some parts of stubborn skin have to be peeled using a knife
Why you will love pressure-cooked whole pumpkins?
It is a hand down the easiest and most efficient method to cook a whole pumpkin.
It neither requires peeling the hard skin nor cutting the pumpkin prior to cooking unless the pumpkin is too large to fit inside the steel pot.
It doesn’t require any monitoring. It's literally a dump-and-go kind of process.
How to cook a whole pumpkin in an instant pot?
Pierce the pumpkin in several spots. Ensure not to cut through the vegetable.
The knife should pierce through the skin and the vegetable just about an inch.
Place the trivet (wire rack) in the steel pot.
Pour 2 cups of water inside the steel pot of the instant pot.
Now place the pumpkin on the trivet.
Close the pot with the lid and move the pressure valve to the SEALING position.
After 10 minutes of NPR, move the pressure valve to the VENT position and wait until the knob next to the pressure valve goes down.
Once the knob goes down, open the lid.
Press the PRESSURE COOK button and set the timer to 10 minutes at HIGH PRESSURE.
Once the timer counts down to 0, let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes.
Using oven mitts or gloves carefully remove the trivet along with the pumpkin and keep it on a plate or cooling tray to let it cool down completely.
Cut the pumpkin into half, scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Remove the rind.
Perfectly cooked pumpkin is ready to use.
Hint: Cook extra 3-4 minutes for an extremely soft and mushy texture.
Fridge: cooked pumpkin can last up to 5 days if stored properly in an airtight container.
Freezer: For a longer shelf life consider the freezing option. Dice the cooked pumpkin into chunks, divide them into the required portions, put them in a freezer-friendly container or zip-lock bag and pop them in the freezer.
Reheat: Take out a portion from the freezer, thaw it in the fridge overnight and either use it in the curry, soup or mash it and use it as normally you would normally use freshly pureed or canned pumpkin puree.
How to use steamed pumpkin?
Puree the cooked pumpkin and use it in pies, cakes, muffins, bread and cookies instead of store-bought canned pumpkin puree.
Dice the pumpkin into bite-size pieces and use it in curries, salads and smoothies. Pumpkin adds a fabulous fall flavour to curries such as chickpea spinach curry, black eyed peas curry. Just add them at the end.
Overnight oats or baked oats with pureed pumpkin make a perfect fall breakfast.
Make a delicious pumpkin oatmeal smoothie. Add the puree to a banana oatmeal smoothie for a healthy and filling pumpkin breakfast smoothie.
Tips and Tricks
To prevent burning your hands, always use oven mitts while removing the pumpkin from the pot.
Piercing the pumpkin helps with faster cooking.
Let the pumpkin cool to touch before handling it.
The pumpkin I used here is small so 10 minutes is good to cook perfectly without the flesh being neither too mushy nor hard. Just soft, fork tender yet retains shape when chopped and the skin peels off easily without putting too much effort.
You have to cook it a little longer for a mushy texture. For the small pumpkin, an extra 2-3 minutes and for the large pumpkin an extra 7-8 minutes.
If the pumpkin is not cooked well and is hard. Put the pumpkin back on the trivet, close the instant pot lid and set the pressure cook mode for 5 minutes on high pressure.
Using a trivet that comes with an instant pot is essential to handle the hot pumpkin. The handles help you lift the trivet along with the pumpkin out of the inner pot.
Trivet is also referred to as a steam rack or metal rack.
You may have to adjust the pressure cook time based on the size of the pumpkin you cook. Large pumpkins need extra time to cook than the smaller ones.
More Instant Pot Recipes
The pumpkin must be heavier for its size.
There shouldn't be any brown spots or sunken appearances on the skin.
The skin must be firm and hard when touched.
Generally, a good quality pumpkin will be a rich orange colour.
The stalk must feel firm and dry and should still be attached.
The whole pumpkin occupies a large space in the freezer and moreover storing it in an airtight container is essential. So it's not practically possible to store the whole pumpkin in a container.
The best option is to cut the cooked whole pumpkin into chunks, store them in a freezer-friendly container or in a ziplock bag and pop them in the freezer. I would suggest storing diced pumpkin as the whole pumpkin occupies a large space.
Since the whole pumpkin is kept open in the freezer as it's practically impossible to store it in a container, the chances of catching odour from other foods are higher.
Cut the pumpkin stem off if that's making it difficult to close the lid.
If the pumpkin is too big to fit inside the pot, cut it in half or quarters. Place the cut pumpkin on a trivet and follow the same instructions.
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How to cook whole pumpkin in instant pot
- 1 Instant Pot pressure cooker
- 1 Wooden Board
- 1 Knife
- 1 Trivet (wire rack) that came with Instant Pot
- 2 lb (or) 1.2 kg Pumpkin
- 1.5 cups Water
- Pierce the pumpkin in several spots. Ensure not to cut through the vegetable.2 lb (or) 1.2 kg Pumpkin
- The knife should pierce through the skin and the vegetable just about an inch.
- Place the trivet (wire rack) in the steel pot.
- Pour 2 cups of water inside the steel pot of the instant pot.1.5 cups Water
- Now place the pumpkin on the trivet.
- Close the pot with the lid and move the pressure valve to the SEALING position.
- Press the PRESSURE COOK button and set the timer to 10 minutes at HIGH PRESSURE.
- Once the timer counts down to 0, let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes.
- After 10 minutes of NPR, move the pressure valve to the VENT position and wait until the knob next to the pressure valve goes down.
- Once the knob goes down, open the lid.
- Using oven mitts or gloves carefully remove the trivet along with the pumpkin and keep it on a plate or cooling tray to let it cool down completely.
- Cut the pumpkin into half, scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Remove the rind.
- Perfectly cooked pumpkin is ready to use.