8 Best Pumpkin Substitutes 

pumpkin pie spice

If you open a recipe book or you look it up online you can find tons of recipes with pumpkin. There are many different types of soups, main dishes, desserts, and even hot drinks and cocktails made of pumpkin.

The best season to use pumpkin for your recipes is autumn. This part of the year you can easily find pumpkin in supermarkets cheap and in good quality. 

However, it can happen that you need a pumpkin for your recipe but you don’t have any. It might be out of season and you don’t want to buy a poor quality pumpkin. Or you just want to use something else for whatever reason. Is there anything you can substitute pumpkin with?

The best substitutes for pumpkin are butternut squash, acorn squash, sweet potato, carrot, zucchini, apple sauce, banana, and peanut butter.

In this article, you can find more detailed information about these pumpkin substitutes. You can read about when and how to use these alternatives to succeed in your favorite recipes without pumpkins. You might find them even better than the original ones.

Pumpkin Substitutes

So if you are looking for some ways to substitute pumpkin just keep reading. Below each alternative, I will explain what kind of recipes you can use it as a pumpkin substitute. This guide will help you make the best choice in choosing the right alternative.

1. Butternut squash

Butternut Squash

This is the best alternative to substitute pumpkin. It is very similar to pumpkin regarding the texture, color, and also taste. 

The butternut squash is a type of winter squash with plenty of health benefits. It has a low glycemic index so it can help to fight high blood pressure and excess body weight. 

Just like the pumpkin, you can use butternut squash in many different ways. You can boil it, roast it, and even eat it raw. 

The butternut squash is a great alternative for pumpkin in every kind of recipe. Whether you want to make a warm soup, roasted pumpkin, or a pumpkin pie you can just use butternut squash instead of pumpkin. Don’t worry the result will be exactly the same, you won’t be able to tell the difference. 

2. Acorn squash

Acorn squash

The acorn squash is also a type of winter squash and just like the butternut squash, it works well in every recipe in place of the pumpkin. It might be less popular than pumpkin or butternut squash but it tastes just as good if not better.

The taste of the acorn squash is sweet and flavoury. It is most commonly baked but you can make it in many different ways. And you can substitute pumpkin with it in basically every recipe. You don’t need to make any adjustments just do the same as you would with the pumpkin. 

The best thing about the acorn squash is that it is in the season for quite a bit longer than the pumpkin. So if you want to make something with pumpkin in the winter you might consider using acorn squash instead.

3. Sweet potato

Sweet Potato

Sweet potatoes aren’t biologically related to pumpkins yet it is a very good alternative to replace pumpkins. As its name suggests it is sweet so you won’t feel much of a difference in the taste.

Sweet potato is becoming more and more popular nowadays as it is considered to be healthier than white potatoes. You can enjoy it cooked, baked and you can even make delicious sweet potato fries.

To use it as a pumpkin substitute works best in salty recipes. You can make a creamy soup or a sweet potato puree just as you would do with pumpkin. And from the sweet potato puree, you can prepare a delicious quiche or any other salty tarts.

4. Carrot


You knew this one will be coming, right? Another orange vegetable that you can use to substitute pumpkin. 

Although the taste won’t be exactly the same as pumpkin, there are many advantages to choose carrots instead of pumpkin. Carrots are available all year round almost everywhere and it is cheaper than pumpkin. So if you don’t have access to pumpkin there is a big chance that you have some carrots in hand that you can use instead.

You can make a carrot puree as quickly if not quicker than pumpkin puree. And then it is up to you whether you use it as a dipping sauce, pasta sauce or you make a nice vegetable tart. It works best with salty recipes but if you are adventurous you can experiment with it in sweet muffins and cakes too.

5. Zucchini


If you don’t have pumpkins at home to make your favorite recipe I might still have an option for you. There are some recipes where you can use zucchinis instead of pumpkins.

However, on the contrary to the substitutes mentioned above, zucchini has quite a different taste and color to the pumpkin. But a homemade zucchini puree works exactly the same way in many recipes as a pumpkin puree. So you can still make your recipe from zucchini if you don’t mind that it will taste a bit different.

But make sure to use zucchini only in salty dishes. As it is less sweet than pumpkin it isn’t a great substitute for desserts.

6. Apple sauce


And now comes some weird alternatives for pumpkin. Yes, you can even use apple sauce instead of pumpkin in some recipes.

Obviously, apple sauce has a very sweet taste so it is a good substitute only for sweet recipes like cakes, muffins, and cookies. Just use the same amount of apple sauce as you would of pumpkin puree.

However, if you use apple sauce instead of pumpkin puree your result will be sweeter. So you might consider reducing the amount of sugar you put.

7. Banana

Mashed Bananas

Similarly to apple sauce, you can use bananas for your dessert recipes to substitute pumpkin puree. Of course, you have to mash your bananas before you mix them with the other ingredients.

If your recipe asks for 1 cup of pumpkin puree you can substitute it with 3 mashed bananas. Make sure to use ripe bananas for the best results. 

It works in any sweet recipe but the most common is to use this alternative for pumpkin bread. If you want the taste to be very similar to pumpkin you can add some pumpkin spice.

8. Peanut butter

Peanut Butter

Again, for sweet recipes, peanut butter can also be a good alternative to a pumpkin. Especially if you want your dessert to be more low-carb, peanut butter might be a good option for you.

If you have a food processor and some peanuts you can even make your own peanut butter at home. In sweet recipes, 1 cup of peanut butter equals 1.5 cups of pumpkin.

Related questions:

Can I use pumpkin pie filling instead of pumpkin puree?

Yes, you can, but only for sweet recipes as pumpkin pie filling already contains sugar. Also, you have to make some adjustments by using fewer sweeteners.

Can I use potato instead of pumpkin?

Yes, just like sweet potato, white potato can also be a substitute for pumpkin. However, if you want the taste to be more similar to pumpkin you would better go with sweet potato.

Can I use something in the pumpkin latte instead of pumpkin puree?

If you want to make a pumpkin latte at home and your recipe requires pumpkin puree you can easily leave it out. If you put pumpkin spice and cinnamon you will get the same result.

  1. Thank you! I didn’t have quite enough pumpkin for muffins so I boiled an apple to make up the difference. I appreciate your caution to decrease the sugar, so I did that, too. I haven’t eaten them yet (they’re for a get-together tomorrow) but I have no doubt your blog saved the day!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like