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The Best Canned Pumpkin Puree to Buy

It’s fall so besides it being sweater and flannel season, it’s also pumpkin season. And not just the pumpkins you put out for decoration, but the ones you bake and cook with too (yes, they’re different). While I wish I had the time to make my own homemade pumpkin puree for pumpkin pie and pumpkin bread, you can’t beat the convenience of a can.

Usually my choice of canned pumpkin is relegated to whatever is on sale but I started wondering, are all cans of pumpkin created equal? After trying 6 types, I can clearly state that the answer is no and there are only a few that will be in my pantry from now on.

How We Judged

Since all the cans had only one ingredient, pumpkin, I naively thought they would all be similar, but I was gravely wrong. All six looked and tasted drastically different. Along with being six shades of orange, each can had a different texture. Each can of pumpkin was judged on the following:




Since many people have preconceived notions on their favorite brands, we tried the canned pumpkin blindly, i.e. no one knew what can they were scooping from as they tasted. We tried them plain and each person gave their marks for color, texture, and flavor.

Best Canned Pumpkin for Baking: Libby’s 100% Pure Pumpkin

To state it simply, Libby’s tastes like how we all thought canned pumpkin should taste. Upon a bit of research, this would make sense as majority of canned pumpkin in the U.S. is produced in Morton, Illinois specifically for Libby’s. The mild flavor, smooth texture, and carrot-orange color made this the standout winner among the tasters with one even saying, “this tastes like pumpkin pie without the sugar and spices.” Pick up Libby’s if you are making Pumpkin Pie, Pumpkin Bars, or Pumpkin Cheesecake and aiming for the classic pumpkin color and flavor.

Best Canned Pumpkin for Savory Dishes: Farmer’s Market Organic Pumpkin

For those of us who prefer savory over sweet, the Farmer’s Market Organic Pumpkin was a favorite because of it’s slightly vegetal and squash flavor. The apricot-orange color and slightly thinner texture made this canned pumpkin taste more like butternut or acorn squash than pumpkin. Opt for this canned pumpkin when using it in savory applications, like in a Pumpkin Pasta or Pumpkin Mac and Cheese.

Best Canned Pumpkin for Non-Pumpkin Lovers : Trader Joe’s Organic Pumpkin

The Trader Joe’s canned pumpkin stood out for several reasons. It’s texture was the thinnest, the color the lightest, and the flavor the sweetest and least squash-tasting. None of these features were bad per se but they made this canned pumpkin feel unlike the canned pumpkin we are all accustomed to. That said, it still ranked highly among the tasters and I’d keep a can of it on hand for making dishes where I want to include pumpkin but not have the pumpkin be too prominent, such as my favorite Coconut Curry Pumpkin Soup.

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