How To Majorly Upgrade Your Canned Pumpkin

If you love autumnal flavors like pumpkin, there's a good chance you've purchased a can or two of the silky smooth canned pumpkin puree that's used for classic pumpkin pies, as well as a wide variety of other recipes. Yes, you can certainly make your own puree from a whole pumpkin, but that involves a considerably larger amount of effort. And, it's not necessarily even the better choice — Taste of Home did a taste test of two pumpkin pies made with fresh and canned pumpkin, respectively, and found that the canned version won out.

That's right — canned pumpkin definitely shouldn't be considered inferior to homemade pumpkin puree. However, if you're looking to upgrade that canned pumpkin, there's a very simple addition you should consider, as Julie's Cafe Bakery reports. Of course, your recipe may include a few of these already, but if not, you know which direction to go in.

If you're using the pumpkin for a dessert, from pumpkin muffins to pumpkin scones, a teaspoon each of sugar and cinnamon will help to bring out the pumpkin's sweetness and zap any bitterness. Those who find canned pumpkin bitter in general can consider essentially soaking slices of green apple in the pumpkin puree for a few hours. And, if you're looking for a decadent, creamy texture in whatever you're making, a little bit of butter may go a long way to upgrading that canned pumpkin puree.

Other tips for leveling up your canned pumpkin

Similar to mixing in additions, if you're tempted to add in extra flavoring but don't want it to be overwhelming, simply infuse your ingredients of choice (via Julie's Cafe Bakery). Whether it's a stick of cinnamon for a sweet dish or a sprig of fresh herbs for a savory dish, it'll allow you to bring in a very subtle hint of added flavor.

Finally, if you're putting together a dish with a very delicate balance of flavors, and you fear adding any other seasonings or spices might jeopardize how it all turns out, there's one key tip for leveling up your canned pumpkin that's all about how you treat the ingredient itself. You can level up your pumpkin-based dish by simply roasting the canned pumpkin before using it. As per The Kitchn, all you have to do is spread a thin layer of the canned pumpkin puree on a baking sheet, and then pop it in the oven to roast for a few minutes. As anyone who has ever roasted vegetables or toasted nuts knows, that little bit of heat helps bring out all the flavors beautifully. As a bonus, it'll even create a more velvety texture, since some of the water will evaporate in the oven. If the idea of dirtying up an entire baking sheet sounds like too much, you can also cook it on the stovetop for a few minutes to achieve a similar effect, as Craftsy suggests.