Last updated: February 20, 2024
Pumpkins are everywhere as we get ready for Halloween and many people are already trying to decide what to do with leftover pumpkin.
The scent of pumpkins is in candles, stores are full of real and plastic ones, and pumpkin spice lattes are all over coffee shop billboards.
Every fall season we all carve our Halloween pumpkins and are left with a huge amount of pumpkin filling to use up. Lots of us also buy cans of pumpkin puree and end up with a ton of leftover canned pumpkin in the refrigerator.
If you’ve already been to the pumpkin patch or are planning to, then it’s important to know what to do with leftover pumpkin once it’s been scooped out so you don’t waste anything.
It turns out there are many more uses for leftover pumpkin than just in delicious recipes. You can also use pumpkin in beauty products and around the home.
Here’s my pick of the best ways to use your pumpkins after the Halloween party is over.
Eating the pumpkin is of course the most obvious way to use up a can of pumpkin or scooped out pumpkin from jack-o’-lanterns. Pumpkins are healthy to eat because they contain a lot of vitamins, especially Vitamin C, and antioxidants.
These recipes are all suitable for vegetarians, and many of them are also vegan. Get some fall flavor with this collection of recipes and delicious desserts all using leftover pumpkin.
Note: A lot of these recipes use pumpkin puree. This method for making pumpkin puree from your own pumpkins is easy and uses only pumpkin and oil.
Savory Pumpkin Pancakes: these beautiful looking pumpkin pancakes from Ruchis Kitchen are packed full of other veggies for a healthy and filling breakfast.
Spicy Roasted Pumpkin Wedges: I’m obsessed with wedges of the potato kind but am going to branch out to these spicy and customizable beauties from Where Is My Spoon.
Pumpkin Pie Overnight Oats: this creation from Jessica In The Kitchen is perfect for preparing the night before and taking in to work.
Loaded Vegetarian Pumpkin Nachos: Brewing Happiness’ healthier version of one of my favourite dishes uses roasted pumpkin chunks as well as homemade dressing.
Vegan Pumpkin Cheesecake: no need to explain why I included this. I’ll let the photos from this pumpkin cheesecake recipe from 40 Aprons speak for themselves. Delicious.
Pumpkin Gnocchi: there’s not a potato in sight in this recipe from Avocado Pesto. It’s a lower calorie and lower carb version of a comfort food classic.
Stuffed Pumpkin: looking for something to do with the whole pumpkin itself? This fantastic looking recipe from The View From Great Island is a real showstopper. You bake the whole pumpkin in the oven, and cut it open to reveal the glorious contents.
Tuscan Pumpkin Pasta Sauce: a creamy and comforting sauce which can be stirred into your favourite pasta or zucchini noodles. Detoxinista has added a warming cinnamon and maple syrup twist to this sauce.
Pumpkin Spice Latte: it wouldn’t be fall without a pumpkin spice latte in a recipe round up. You can make your own at home instead of going to Starbucks. I love this recipe from Abbey’s Kitchen.
Pumpkin Bread: this easy recipe from Once Upon A Chef gives you a gorgeous orange-tinted loaf of bread the whole family will enjoy.
Pumpkin Ravioli: This is an excellent way to use up leftover canned pumpkin puree. If you’re a dab hand at making your own pasta, give this recipe from King Arthur Baking a try.
Homemade Pumpkin Pie: everyone’s favorite use for a can of leftover pumpkin or fresh pumpkin is to throw it in a pumpkin pie recipe. It’s a classic for a reason. You can make pumpkin pie spice year round too.
Pumpkin Smoothies: if you love pumpkin flavors but need something a little more refreshing in your life, this beautiful recipe from Budget Bytes fits the bill.
Frozen Pumpkin Dog Treats: don’t forget your four-legged friend. These adorable frozen treats require just two simple ingredients and some ice cube trays, and are a delicious way for your dog to enjoy the health benefits of a cup of leftover pumpkin puree.
Pumpkin also has lots of external beauty benefits if used in beauty products. Many beauty brands have indeed started included pumpkin in their products.
You can add your leftover pumpkin to homemade beauty treatments too to put it to good use. Pumpkin is high in alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) which naturally exfoliate skin.
Pumpkin Body Moisturiser: combined with coconut oil, pumpkin makes a beautiful body butter which locks in moisture and exfoliates gently to remove dry skin. This Spa Index beauty recipe is perfect for colder months.
Pumpkin Honey Brightening Face Mask: the AHAs and Vitamin C in Gimme Some Oven’s homemade face mask will brighten the skin and tackle hyperpigmentation. This mask contains only three ingredients, all of which you can find in the kitchen.
Pumpkin Pie Lip Balm: lip balms are one of my favourite beauty products and I have loads of them. I’ve never tried making my own, however. This lovely sounding lip balm from Jenni Raincloud uses leftover pumpkin pie spice mix from the kitchen.
Pumpkin Seed Exfoliating Mask: this hard working mask from Soap Queen uses ground up pumpkin seeds and oils to create an exfoliating and moisturising scrub for face and body.
Pumpkin Spice Homemade Hair Mask: Naturally Curly know all about hair, and their DIY hair mask using fresh pumpkin is great for dry and damaged hair. The pumpkin is also great for the scalp.
If you love making your own beauty products then just blend your leftover fresh pumpkin in a food processor and incorporate it into your homemade products to get the benefits of this incredible fruit.
It’s also a great way to reduce food waste.
Around the home
Did you know you can also use the pumpkin skin and the seeds once you’ve scooped out the flesh?
Once you’ve eaten the inside of the pumpkin and used any leftovers for beauty treatments, you can still make use of the pumpkin shell and any leftover seeds. Here are the best tips for what to do with leftover pumpkin rind once you’ve used the middle of it.
Pumpkin Succulent Planter: Simply Happenstance shows you how to turn your pumpkin into a planter. This is a great decor tip to keep your home looking cosy for fall for longer.
Pumpkin Bird Feeder: even carved up pumpkins will work as a bird feeder. They’re easy to make and carry on the spooky Halloween theme in the garden.
Pumpkin Bowl: Taste uses the pumpkin shell to serve food at dinner parties. You could serve stew, hearty soup recipes, chilli and other warming foods. It adds a twist to the table and is a great talking point.
Pumpkin Candles: these adorable DIY candles are easy to make and make lovely centerpieces. The Caterpillar Years also has a tip for preserving the life of the pumpkins so you can enjoy the candles for longer.
Plant The Seeds: you can save the raw pumpkin seeds and get them ready to be planted in the ground. You’ll be able to enjoy carving and eating your own homegrown pumpkins next year.
This pumpkin season, make use of the whole pumpkin from the flesh to the seeds to the skin. When it comes to what to do with leftover pumpkin you have so many great options, whether that’s putting it in to a great recipe for your family, applying it to your skin or decorating your home.
Frequently asked questions
While is generally safe for certain wildlife to eat discarded pumpkins, as long as they are not rotting and do not contain any bleached wax, there are important things to keep in mind if you are considering putting your pumpkin out for wildlife. Hedgehogs can get very ill from eating pumpkins, so if in doubt just don’t put pumpkin out for wildlife. Pumpkins can also attract pests, such as rats and mice.
There are many ways to reuse a pumpkin after Halloween. For example, you can compost it, make a pumpkin planter or bird feeder, plant the seeds, make some delicious pumpkin recipes and use leftover pumpkin to make homemade beauty products.
A great way to make use of the small decorative pumpkins we have at Halloween is to dry them and use them as decoration. Simply cut them in half and remove the seeds. Then, place them in a sunny spot and let them dry for a few weeks. Once they are dry, you can paint them or decorate them however you like. They make a great Thanksgiving centerpiece.