How to Make Canned Pumpkin Taste Better? 7 Ideas

Improved Canned Pumpkin
Share on:

Canned pumpkin is essentially mashed and pasteurized pumpkin intended to be used as an ingredient in another dish, though you can also consume it straight from the can. It is a creamy pumpkin puree with many applications, offering many experimentation opportunities. But did you know that you can make canned pumpkin taste better? 

Adding spices and herbs is always a good idea to improve the canned pumpkin taste. Also, roasting or sizzling it on the stove can significantly change its taste. Butter, olive, or coconut oil are great ideas to make it creamier, and nuts are an excellent solution to make it crunchier. 

Since it offers a wide range of experimentation possibilities, in the following paragraphs, I will share some helpful information about how to improve the taste of this treat, what it tastes like, and whether you can have it as is. 

How to Make Canned Pumpkin Taste Better?

The taste of canned pumpkin is earthy sweet with a whiff of bitterness. There’s nothing wrong with a touch of bitterness, but many find that flavor a bit off, especially when mixed with the other flavors of the canned pumpkin. The longer the pumpkin has been canned, the more expressive the bitterness is. 

Luckily, there are a few ways to improve the canned pumpkin taste. 

Add Sugar and Cinnamon

If you plan to use your canned pumpkin to make something sweet, adding one teaspoon of sugar and one teaspoon of cinnamon is a great idea to neutralize the bitterness of the pumpkin and accentuate that earthy sweetness. This way, your pumpkin pie or muffins will taste much better

Add a Green Apple 

Green apple has the power to neutralize bitterness and not overwhelm the canned pumpkin with its flavor. You can put thin slices of green apple in the can and leave them to do their magic for a couple of hours. After that, you can take them out, or leave them in, your choice. 

Your canned pumpkin will taste fresher, and you can use it for both sweet and savory dishes. However, mixing apple and pumpkin proved to be an excellent combination for pumpkin pie.

Add Spices and Herbs

Adding spices to your canned pumpkin is especially effective if you plan to make something savory. You can add some salt, sugar, curry, and lemon zest and let it season for about half an hour. 

If you season your canned pumpkin using herbs, you can experiment with a few drops of balsamic vinegar or balsamic cream. You can also add black pepper, dry basil, parsley, or dry mint. It sounds odd in theory, but it works great in practice.

If you will serve your canned pumpkin in the savory combination, mix the pumpkin with one tablespoon of olive oil and 2 cloves of garlic, then roast the mixture for 10 minutes

How to Make Canned Pumpkin Taste Better

Add Butter 

You can never go wrong with butter. It is the perfect addition to almost any food. Whether you plan on making something sweet or savory with your canned pumpkin, the butter will add creaminess, milkiness, and refinement. 

The butter will also increase the canned pumpkin’s fat content, which will make it perfect as filling or sauce. 

Add Coconut Oil

The coconut aroma will mash perfectly with your canned pumpkin and alter its consistency, making it creamier and easier to work with. 

Coconut oil is very nutritious, so in addition to giving your canned pumpkin a new aroma and flavor, you will make it healthier. 

Add Honey and Crushed Nuts

Honey and crushed nuts are a dessert by themselves but add this mixture to your canned pumpkin, and you have a perfect creamy delight. Moreover, you can use your honey, pumpkin, and nuts mixture to fill, dip, or sauce for sweet and savory food. 

Roast or Sizzle 

The dehydration from the heat processing, whether roasting or sizzling your canned pumpkin on the stove, will significantly improve its flavor. Depending on what you are planning to make with the canned pumpkin, you can add sweet or savory seasoning while roasting or sizzling it. It is also a good idea to put a piece of butter and let it melt in there.

How to Make Canned Pumpkin Puree Better?

Can You Eat Canned Pumpkin Without Cooking It? 

You can eat canned pumpkin without cooking it. Since canned pumpkin has already been pasteurized, it is perfectly safe to eat as is. However, the taste is an entirely different story. 

Canned pumpkin is primarily intended to be used as an ingredient in another dish, not to be eaten on its own. If you want to eat canned pumpkin straight from the can, you can add some seasoning and make it tastier, or combine it with some cinnamon rolls or fresh fruit. 

What Does Pumpkin Puree Taste Like without Add-Ins?

Pumpkin puree tastes more blander than fresh pumpkin, which is understandable since it’s gone through a pasteurization process. The earthy aroma is the one that is neutralized the most, but the pumpkin puree still retains its sweetness and mild bitterness. The closest description would be baby food- not too flavorful, but not too bland either. 

 Do You Have to Add Anything to Canned Pumpkin? 

Technically, you don’t have to add anything to canned pumpkin. Since canned pumpkin is nothing more than cooked and blended pumpkin, meaning there are no added spices, it gravitates toward neutralness. However, it isn’t entirely tasteless; you would recognize it if you taste it blindfolded, as it does have a very slight touch of sweetness, earthiness, and bitterness. 

Still, it is intended to use with added flavors. Depending on your taste, you can have canned pumpkin unseasoned because the worst that could taste is bland, and if you like that, then go for it. 

On the other hand, adding some extra flavor is a great idea if you are a fan of stronger-tasting food. Since it is mild-tasting, canned pumpkin is very receptive to anything you mix it with, and therefore it is the perfect blank canvas. 

improved pumpkin puree from a can

Improved Canned Pumpkin

Author: Laura Bais
Adding spices and herbs is always a good idea to improve the canned pumpkin taste as well as adding butter to make it creamier.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 4 people
Calories 49.5 kcal


  • 1 can pumpkin puree
  • 1 tsp flaky salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp lemon zest


  • So pour the puree from the can into the bowl, and add the rest of ingredients
  • Mix until well blended and use in the wanted recipe.


Serving: 1personCalories: 49.5kcalCarbohydrates: 12.2gProtein: 1.2gFat: 0.3gSaturated Fat: 0.2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.01gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.04gSodium: 586.9mgPotassium: 224.1mgFiber: 3.4gSugar: 6.5gVitamin A: 16537.4IUVitamin C: 5.2mgCalcium: 33.8mgIron: 1.5mg
Keyword canned pumpkin, hacks, How to Make Canned Pumpkin Taste Better

Before diving into the nutritional details, please review our Nutritional Disclaimer page for important context and clarifications.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments