Here's What You Can Substitute For Canned Pumpkin

'Tis the season for all things pumpkin. Pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, pumpkin spice lattes — it doesn't matter what form it's in. If it's orange, spicy, and packed with all of our favorite fall flavors, we'll take it. Not only will we take it, we'll bake it, too. While there's hundreds of delicious recipes to choose from (which is why you should never search Pinterest for "pumpkin recipes" when you're hungry), almost all of them have one ingredient in common: canned pumpkin.

That's all fine and dandy if you have a can or two leftover in your pantry from last November, but what if you're all out? Even worse, what if you can't find any at the store? (According to The Pioneer Woman, there are currently rumors swirling around that there's a nationwide shortage of canned pumpkin amid the pandemic.) Whether your local grocery store is all sold out or you simply don't feel like leaving your house, there are a few ingredients you can substitute for that trusty can of orange puree.

The best canned pumpkin substitutes

To get the same flavor profile and texture of canned pumpkin, you'll want to stick with vegetables that are similar in taste and consistency, like sweet potatoes, yams, or winter squash such as acorn or butternut. Better Homes & Gardens recommends replacing equal parts canned pumpkin with mashed sweet potatoes or mashed butternut squash (a.k.a. if your recipe calls for one cup of canned pumpkin, you'll substitute 1 cup of the mash of your choosing). Don't worry if you don't have fresh produce at home, either. You can mash up frozen veggies or use a can of pre-mashed sweet potatoes, for instance.

If you have a fresh pumpkin laying around, you can also use that instead of canned pumpkin. To make your own pumpkin puree, you can follow Alton Brown's favorite recipe from Food Network, which simply involves roasting the pumpkin, before scooping out the flesh and pureeing it in your food processor. Note that fresh pumpkin is much wetter than its canned counterpart, however, so while you can use the same 1:1 ratio, you'll want to thoroughly drain the excess moisture from the fresh pumpkin before adding it into your recipe.