Skip to Content

The 5 Best Substitutes for Pumpkin

If you enjoy pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, and other dishes made with pumpkins, you may be curious about cooking and eating pumpkins.

You may even want to substitute pumpkin for something else to try a new recipe, such as pumpkin soup.

However, you should consider what other ingredients can be substituted for pumpkin because there are many reasons why it is not the ideal ingredient.

Pumpkin’s flavor can be quickly described as sweet and slightly nutty with a touch of earthy pumpkin flavor, but it’s best described by experiencing it yourself.

Pumpkin’s texture is also distinctive, soft, and pulpy, ideal for purees or salsas.

While pumpkins are readily available during the fall, you will need to rely on canned pumpkins for the rest of the year.

Even though these reasons can prevent you from using pumpkin as a substitute in some recipes, there are many foods with similar flavors, textures, and availability that you can use as a substitute.

In this article, we will explore five alternative foods that can be used as a substitute for pumpkin.

We will provide you with information about the food’s flavor, texture, availability, and how it fares in certain recipes.

What is Pumpkin?

what is pumpkin

As the name suggests, pumpkin is a type of squash often associated with autumn and Halloween.

Pumpkin can range from small to large and maybe orange or yellow.

The inside of the pumpkin is typically made up of seeds, pulp, and flesh—similar to butternut squash.

The pulp makes its way into many different recipes and acts as a food coloring agent.

A common way to cook a pumpkin is by roasting the seeds, which are then often salted and eaten.

Pumpkin can be used for many things around Halloween, including pumpkin pie, pumpkin candles, Halloween crafts, etc.

Pumpkin has a distinct flavor, unlike any other squash in terms of taste.

It can be described as being sweet, rich, and earthy.

Typically, pumpkins can be found at the grocery store from September through December.

If you have trouble locating pumpkin at your local grocery store, you can also find it at many farmer’s markets.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Pumpkin

If you aren’t able to find pumpkins at the grocery store, here are five substitutes that can be used as a replacement.

1 – Acorn Squash

acorn squash

Acorn squash is a winter squash that can be found in various colors, including green and orange.

This vegetable has a very sweet flavor and, when cooked, can have a creamy texture.

Acorn squash tastes great with brown sugar when being baked in the oven.

In addition to this, it may also add a crunchy texture when paired with items like pecans.

This squash is often found in grocery stores from September through November.

The acorn squash can be cooked in various ways, including roasting, sautéing, boiling, and microwaving.

2 – Sweet Potatoes

sweet potatoes

For many individuals, sweet potatoes and yams are interchangeable.

However, there is a difference: sweet potatoes typically have a red or orange tint to them, while yams tend to be darker in color, making them appear browner.

This vegetable tastes great when prepared as fries or mashed with cinnamon and butter (or a vegan alternative such as coconut oil instead of butter).

Sweet potatoes can be found in grocery stores year-round.

This vegetable can make soups, casseroles, fries, etc.

3 – Butternut Squash

butternut squash

If you are looking for a squash with a nuttier flavor, butternut squash is a perfect choice.

They can be found in multiple sizes and colors, including orange and yellow.

It may also have green patches throughout its surface that do not affect the taste or quality of the vegetable.

This squash tastes great when roasted with things like garlic and onion.

This vegetable can be found in grocery stores year-round.

Butternut squash can be used to make soups, stews, and roasts.

It may also add a creamy texture when paired with pasta or rice dishes.

4 – Hubbard Squash

hubbard squash

Hubbard squash is a winter squash typically has a green and yellow color.

They can also be found in smaller sizes and may appear more round than other types of winter squashes.

This squash has a nutty flavor and, when cooked, has a sweet taste.

Hubbard squash tastes great in soups, stews, or casseroles.

It can also be roasted or sautéed with other vegetables.

This vegetable can be found at grocery stores year-round.

It is important to note that there are many varieties of this squash.

If you cannot find a hubbard squash at your grocery store, try substituting a butternut or acorn squash instead.

5 – Canned Pumpkin

canned pumpkin

Canned pumpkin can be found at grocery stores year-round and is typically used as a baking ingredient.

When cooked, it has a sweet taste and creamy texture.

This canned product may pair nicely with other ingredients such as spices, sugar, oil, and fruit.

The mixture can then be cooked or baked before being served as a dessert or side dish.

Canned pumpkin can make soups, stews, and other dishes.

It may also add a sweet flavor to pasta or rice dishes.

Remember to avoid using this ingredient for pumpkin pies because it will not give the same taste.


Pumpkin is a versatile vegetable that works well in desserts, side dishes, and main courses.

If you cannot find this ingredient at your grocery store, don’t worry.

There are several substitutes for pumpkin, including acorn squash, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, hubbard squash, and canned pumpkin.

Depending on the recipe, acorn squash may taste better than butternut or hubbard.

The same goes for other substitutes like sweet potatoes or canned pumpkin.

If possible, try using a couple of types and see which one works best with your dish.

Yield: 4 Servings

The 5 Best Substitutes for Pumpkin

The 5 Best Substitutes for Pumpkin
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


  • Acorn Squash
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Butternut Squash
  • Hubbard Squash
  • Canned Pumpkin


  1. Pick your favorite substitute from the list above.
  2. Follow cooking directions for your selected substitute with the proper ratio of ingredients.
    Skip to Recipe