Can You Freeze Canned Pumpkin?

Yes, but there are a few things to know first.

Pumpkin Puree Taste Test
Photo: Zoe Denenberg

Maybe you made a half-batch of your favorite Pumpkin Muffins, or you opened a can of pumpkin thinking you would have time to bake off a loaf of Pumpkin Bread before life got in the way. Whatever the reason, you have an open can of pumpkin and no plans to use it.

In the fridge, it will only last about five days, maybe a week, but for longer storage, freezing canned pumpkin is the best option. While you could just throw it in Tupperware and stash it in the freezer, there's a better way. Here are a few tips and tricks for freezing canned pumpkin.

How to Freeze Canned Pumpkin

The key to freezing canned pumpkin (and most things, really) is to freeze it in pre-measured portions. This way, you can thaw as much or as little as you need, and it will defrost faster when not frozen in a giant block. You can do this a few ways, depending on what best suits your needs.

Freezer Bags

You can freeze one-cup portions in small zip-top freezer bags flat on a baking sheet, and then stack the bags to save room once solid. This method is great because it allows you to thaw one cup at a time. If you think you'll use an entire can in one go, a 15-ounce can of pumpkin fits perfectly inside a quart-sized freezer bag.

Muffin Tins

You can also freeze smaller half-cup portions of canned pumpkin in a muffin tin. Just scoop half cups of the puree inside each cup of the muffin tin and freeze. Portions can be removed from the tray once solid and transferred to a freezer bag.

While this method saves plastic, it can sometimes be difficult to remove portions from the tray after freezing. One solution is to use silicone trays or muffins cups for easier release.

Ice Cube Tray

You can freeze a couple tablespoons of canned pumpkin at a time in an ice cube tray. They crack out just like ice and happen to be the perfect portions for our furry friends. Silicone ice cube molds also work well. Cubes can be transferred to a freezer bag for longer storage and to save space.

However you chose to freeze pumpkin, just don't do it in the can. The puree will expand when frozen and then you'll have an explosion on your hands.

Thawing Canned Pumpkin

Once frozen, you'll need to properly defrost the puree before using. The easiest way to do this is to let the puree thaw overnight in the fridge. If you froze the pumpkin in an ice tray, those portions should thaw in just a few hours or less.

If you're in rush, you can thaw frozen pumpkin in the microwave on the defrost setting. Like meat, you can also defrost the puree (still in its container or bag) by submerging it in water.

Note: It's normal for liquid to separate out of the puree once thawed, you can drain it off for a more concentrated puree.

Can You Cook With Pureed Pumpkin From Frozen?

No. Especially for baking, it's important that the puree is completely thawed so it can incorporate properly. Better yet, pumpkin puree should be room temperature for the best baking results.

If it smells off, is discolored, or there is mold, toss it out!

How Can You Tell if Frozen Pumpkin Has Gone Bad?

Ways to Use Canned Pumpkin

Now that you have a surplus of frozen canned pumpkin, here are a few fun ways to put it to use: Add some to biscuits with our Pumpkin-Buttermilk Biscuits with Crispy Ham and Honey Butter, or try out this Turkey Pumpkin Chili, another savory way to use canned pumpkin.

Of course, there's always baking with canned pumpkin from Pumpkin Pound Cake to a Pumpkin Spice-Heath Cake. It's good for so much more than just pie!

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