10 Unconventional Pumpkin Recipes for Fall


It's pumpkin season which means spiced lattes and sweater weather is upon us. Pumpkin is a super nutrient-dense food, chock-full of vitamins and minerals, and low in calories. While we love a traditional pumpkin pie, we want to take advantage of this nutritious and delicious fall favorite in unconventional and creative dishes, from brunch to dessert. So skip the carving, and start cooking your pumpkin with these savory and satisfying pumpkin recipes.

Brown Butter Pumpkin Grits

Prep Time: 5 minutes Cook Time: 20 minutes Total Time: 25 minutes Servings: 4


  • 2 cups broth (veggie or chicken)
  • 1 cup old fashioned grits (not instant)
  • 1/4 tsp salt, to taste
  • 4 TBSP unsalted butter
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/8 tsp dried sage (or nutmeg!)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4-5 oz freshly grated sharp Cheddar


  1. Bring 2 cups broth [vegetable or chicken] to a rolling boil and add 1 cup old fashioned grits.
  2. Stir vigorously, then reduce heat to low and cover.
  3. Allow grits to simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. While your grits cook, brown your butter in a small sauce pot over medium heat.
  5. Let your butter melt untouched, then once it starts to simmer and brown, whisk constantly until butter is golden and fragrant. Remove from heat.
  6. Once the grits absorb the broth, add milk and pumpkin puree. Season to taste with 1/8-1/4 tsp salt and a pinch of dried sage (or nutmeg; both taste fantastic with pumpkin!) and continue to cook on lowest setting for 5-10 minutes.
  7. Lastly stir in 4 oz freshly grated cheddar cheese along with your browned butter and adjust seasoning to taste.

Top with fried eggs, cooking the yolks to your perfect degree of drippiness. Optional garnish: chopped parsley and/or green onion; or add a little freshly grated parmesan cheese.

Recipe by Jenn Laughlin of Peas and Crayons.

Pumpkin Goat Cheese Fettuccine Alfredo with Crispy Fried Sage
Pumpkin Goat Cheese Fettuccine Alfredo with Crispy Fried Sage 800 2677.jpg
Pumpkin Goat Cheese Fettuccine Alfredo with Crispy Fried Sage 800 2693.jpg

Prep Time: 5 minutes Cook Time: 10 minutes Total Time: 15 minutes Servings: 2


  • 6 ounces pasta (gluten free for gluten free)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 cup heavy cream or milk
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 4 ounces goat cheese
  • 1/4 cup parmigiano reggiano (parmesan), grated
  • 1 tablespoon sage, sliced thinly
  • 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 handful sage leaves


  1. Cook the pasta as directed on the package.
  2. Melt the butter in pan over medium heat, add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about a minute.
  3. Add the cream, pumpkin puree, goat cheese, parmesan, sage and pumpkin pie spice and simmer until the cheese has melted.
  4. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Melt the butter in a pan over medium heat, let it turn a light brown, add the sage and fry until crispy.
  6. Serve hot over the pasta garnished with more parmesan and crispy fried sage.

Recipe by Closet Cooking.

Pumpkin and Kale Pasta Bake

Prep Time: 20 minutes Cook Time: 30 minutes Total Time: 50 minutes Servings: 8-10


  • 16 oz. package of rigatoni
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 8 oz. cremini mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 bunch of kale (about 3 cups), roughly chopped
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • ½-3/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin puree
  • 1 large egg
  • 15 oz. container of part-skim ricotta
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 cups favorite tomato sauce (I used spicy marinara sauce)


  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until almost al dente. Drain and set aside.
  3. In the meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté until translucent, approximately 5-7 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, 2 minutes. Add mushroom and kale and cook for 5-7 minutes, or until slightly cooked down. Pour in wine and cook until reduced. Stir in herbs, season with salt and pepper, and turn off heat.
  4. Combine pumpkin, egg, ricotta cheese, 1½ cups mozzarella cheese, tomato sauce, kale mixture, and pasta in a large bowl. Stir until well combined. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Spray 9 x 13 baking dish with cooking spray. Pour in mixture and spread evenly. Top with remaining mozzarella.
  6. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 25-30 minutes. Remove foil and bake for additional 5 minutes, or until cheese is melted on top. Remove from oven and serve warm.

Recipe by MJ and Hungryman.

Pumpkin-Brie Quesadillas

Prep Time: 5 minutes Cook Time: 6 minutes Total Time: 11 minutes Servings: 4


  • 1-3/4 cups canned pure pumpkin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh sage
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 8 small flour tortillas
  • 5 ounces brie cheese, thinly sliced


  1. In small bowl, stir together pumpkin, chili powder, sage and cayenne.

  2. Heat griddle over medium heat; spray with cooking spray. Place 4 tortillas on griddle and top each with 1/4 of the pumpkin mixture, 1/4 of the cheese and a second tortilla. Cook 4 to 6 minutes or until tortillas are golden and cheese melts, turning quesadillas halfway through cooking. Cut each into quarters and serve warm.

Recipe by Foxes Love Lemons.

Pumpkin & Spinach Lasagna Rolls

Total Time: 50 minutes Servings: 4-6


  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • ½ onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree
  • ¾ cup chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt & pepper, to taste
  • 10 oz pkg frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and squeezed in a dish towel
  • 15 oz ricotta cheese
  • ½ cup grate Parmesan cheese
  • 1 large egg
  • 9 lasagna noodles, cooked according to package directions
  • ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and saute until softened, about 5 minutes. Add pumpkin and chicken stock, stir everything together and cook 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in 2 tbsp Parmesan cheese, season with salt & pepper, and removed from heat.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine spinach, ricotta, ½ cup Parmesan and egg. Season with salt & pepper and stir until well combined.
  4. Spread about ½ cup of the pumpkin sauce in the bottom of an 8-inch square baking dish.
  5. Spread a thin layer of ricotta mixture along each lasagna noodle. Starting at one end, roll the ricotta-covered noodles up. Place rolls into the baking dish.
  6. Cover rolls with remaining pumpkin sauce, then sprinkle mozzarella cheese over top.
  7. Cover with tin foil and bake 40 minutes, until cheese is melted and bubbly.

Recipe by Flying on Jess Fuel.

Pumpkin Chili

Prep Time: 20 minutes Cook Time: 2 hours Total Time: 2 hours 20 minutes Servings: 10


  • 1.3 lbs ground turkey (extra lean)
  • 6 small links (9oz) chicken maple sausage
  • 1 sweet onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 1 orange bell pepper, diced
  • 1 15.5oz can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 15.5oz can red kidney beans
  • 1 29oz can pumpkin purée
  • 1 28oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 12 fl. Oz. bottle pumpkin beer
  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil
  • Sea Salt and pepper to taste

To garnish:

  • Sour cream
  • Grated cheddar cheese
  • Green onions, sliced


  1. Start by thinly slicing your sausages or taking it off the casing, if you can. Reserve with the ground turkey.
  2. In a large heavy bottomed pot, add 2 Tbsp of olive oil and sauté the garlic and the onion until translucent. Add the bell peppers and sauté for about 5 minutes. Reserve.
  3. In the same pot, add 2 more Tbsp of olive oil and brown the ground turkey and sausage. That should take about 10 minutes. Season with sea salt and black pepper.
  4. Once the meat is browned, add back the vegetables and then add the diced tomatoes, the pumpkin, the beans and all the spices. Add the pumpkin beer and the chicken broth and stir.
  5. Lower the heat to low and simmer for 1.5-2 hours, stirring occasionally. Adjust salt and pepper, if necessary.
  6. Serve it with some grated cheddar cheese, some sliced green onions and a dollop of sour cream.


To make this recipe vegetarian, simply omit the meat and substitute the chicken broth for vegetable broth!

Recipe by Olivia's Cuisine.

Chicken Bacon Pumpkin Gnocchi

Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 20 minutes Total Time: 30 minutes Servings: 4-6


  • 2 packages gnocchi (about 2 pounds)
  • 8 strips bacon, diced
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, diced
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, cut into cubes
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 cup half and half (or whole milk)
  • Kosher salt and pepper, to taste
  • 3 green onions, sliced


  1. Bring a large pot of water to boil over high heat. Add gnocchi and cook according to package directions. 
  2. Once cooked drain, drizzle with a little olive oil (to keep moist and from sticking together) and set aside. 
  3. Set a large skillet over medium heat and add bacon. Fry until crispy and remove from pan to a paper towel lined plate to help drain off any remaining fat. 
  4. To the pan add diced chicken and season with kosher salt and pepper. Cook until no longer pink. Remove chicken from the pan and set aside. 
  5. If there is a lot (more than a tablespoon) of fat remaining in the pan, drain and then add cream cheese.. If not skip the draining and directly add in cream cheese. Stir gently until it starts to melt. 
  6. Add in pumpkin puree, Parmesan cheese, smoked paprika, chipotle chile powder and garlic powder. Stir to combine. 
  7. Add in half and half and stir until combined. 
  8. Add gnocchi, chicken and bacon to the pan. Stir together and let sauce cook for 5 minutes to warm the gnocchi and chicken throughout. At this point the sauce should have thickened up nicely. If the sauce is too thick add a little more half and half, if it's too thick let it cook down just a little more. 
  9. Season with kosher salt and pepper if needed, and sprinkle the finished dish with green onions and serve immediately.

Recipe by Nutmeg Nanny.

Pumpkin Bread Rolls with Cinnamon Butter

Prep Time: 20 minutes Cook Time: 2 hours 40 minutes Total Time: 3 hours Servings: 15 rolls


For the bread:

  • 1 packet (2 1/4 teaspoons) instant yeast
  • 1 cup whole milk, scalded and cooled to lukewarm
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons (1 1/2 ounces or 43 grams) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces or 113 grams) pumpkin puree
  • 2 large eggs, divided
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 3/4 cups (16.88 ounces or 479 grams) all-purpose flour
  • Sliced pecan pieces, for the “stems”

For the butter:

  • 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon


For the bread rolls:

  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, stir the yeast, milk, sugar, butter, pumpkin, one egg, and salt until well combined. Gradually add the flour and knead on medium-low speed until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Turn off the mixer and let the dough rest for 3 to 5 minutes. Continue to knead the dough on medium-low speed for another 5 minutes, or until the dough is soft and smooth. If it seems too sticky, add more flour, 1 tablespoon at a time.
  2. Transfer the dough to a large greased bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise until doubled in size, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  3. Punch the dough down and turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface. Divide the dough into 15 equal pieces and shape into balls. Use the palm of your hand to flatten each ball slightly. With a pairing knife, cut 8 slices around each ball, being careful not to slice all the way into the center, to make the pumpkin shape. Cover and let rise until doubled in size, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  4. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°F. Using the wooden end of a small utensil or your finger to poke an indentation in the center of each roll to create a space for the “stem.” In a small bowl beat the remaining egg with 2 teaspoons of water and brush all over the rolls. Bake the rolls for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Place a sliced pecan piece into the indentation of each roll.

For the cinnamon butter:

  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the butter for 30 seconds, or until pale in color. Add the powdered sugar, honey, and cinnamon and beat until well combined, light, and fluffy, about 1 to 2 minutes. Serve immediately or store, covered, in the fridge for up to 1 week. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Serve the rolls warm with the cinnamon butter.

Recipe By Tessa Arias of Handle the Heat.

Pumpkin Cannelloni with Sage Brown-Butter Sauce

Total Time: 80 minutes Servings: 6 cannelloni


  • 1½ lb. pumpkin
  • 1½ tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 large Garlic cloves
  • ½ c. ricotta
  • ½ c. grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 1½ tsp. finely chopped fresh sage
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 package oven-ready lasagna sheets
  • 6 tbsp. unsalted butter


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Place pumpkin, along with 3/4 cup water, in a large skillet over medium heat. Cover and steam until tender, 20 minutes. Remove to a medium bowl and mash until smooth.
  3. Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil in a small skillet and sauté garlic until golden. Transfer garlic to a mortar and pestle, then crush to a paste. Stir cheeses, chopped sage, salt, pepper, and garlic paste into mashed pumpkin. Set aside.
  4. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Cook lasagna sheets until tender, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate and drizzle with olive oil to prevent pasta from sticking together. Reserve 1/4 cup pasta water.
  5. Liberally brush a medium baking dish with oil. Place a lasagna sheet on a clean work surface. Add 4 tablespoons pumpkin mixture to center of lasagna, roll into a cannelloni tube, then transfer to prepared baking dish. Repeat with remaining sheets.
  6. Pour reserved pasta water over lasagna and cover tightly with foil. Bake until heated through and pasta is tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Cook butter and sage leaves in small skillet over medium-high heat until golden-brown. Drizzle over pumpkin cannelloni and serve immediately.

Recipe by Country Living.

Pumpkin Sopapilla Cheesecake Bars


  • 2 cans Crescent Rolls
  • 2 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup granulated sugar 
  • 1 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) salted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 TBS pumpkin pie spice


  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Unroll one can of crescent rolls in the bottom of a 9x13 glass baking dish, spreading to fit and pinching seams together.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, 1 cup sugar, and vanilla on medium speed until smooth. Fold in pumpkin puree and spread evenly over dough in pan.
  4. Unroll the second can of crescent roll dough over filling carefully, pinching seams closed.
  5. In a small bowl, combine 1/2 cup sugar and pumpkin pie spice. Pour butter evenly over bars and top with sugar/spice mixture.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes or until top is golden brown -- the cinnamon might make them look browner than they are, so keep an eye for edges of dough to start getting dark - that's when they are done.
  7. Let cool for 30 minutes, then cover and place in the refrigerator. Serve chilled.

Recipe by Confessions of a Cookbook Queen.