What Goes With Pumpkin?

Wondering what goes with pumpkin? Learn the best ingredient pairings, meal ideas, popular flavor combinations, and other helpful tips.

Knowing what goes well with pumpkin gives you a starting point for putting meals together using the ingredients you already have on hand.

Whether you want to reduce food waste, get more creative in the kitchen, or improve your cooking skills, it starts with understanding what flavors pair well together.

What Are Pumpkins?

Pumpkins are winter squash (and technically also fall into the category of gourds) in the Cucurbitaceae plant family along with watermelon, canteloupe, cucumber, and over 900 other species.

Pumpkins come in a variety of shapes and sizes and range in color from orange to green with varying sizes of pumpkin seeds and colors of flesh.

When To Buy

Pumpkins are in peak season from September through March. Look at the seasonal produce guide to see what’s in season right now.

What To Look For

Look for pumpkins that have firm, hard skin avoiding any soft spots or sunken areas.

How To Store

Store whole pumpkins in a cool dry place. Once cut, remove the seeds and store them in an airtight container or tightly sealed bag in the fridge for up to 5 days.

What Goes Well With Pumpkin?


Carrots, chile peppers, garlic, ginger, mushrooms, onions: red, white, and yellow, potatoes, radicchio, sweet potatoes, and turnips.


Apples, cranberries, kumquats, lemons, limes, and oranges.


Allspice, bay leaf, cayenne, cinnamon, cloves, cumin, kosher salt, mace, nutmeg, and pepper: black and white.


Cilantro, marjoram, rosemary, sage, and thyme.

Nuts & Seeds

Hazelnuts, pecans, pine nuts, pumpkin seeds, and walnuts.


Unsalted butter: or vegan butter, cheese: feta or parmesan, cream: cashew cream or coconut cream for dairy-free, cream cheese: or dairy-free cream cheese, sour cream: or dairy-free sour cream, and yogurt: or dairy-free yogurt.


Duck, lobster, oysters, pork, scallops, and shrimp.

Pantry Items

Apple brandy, balsamic vinegar, caramel, chicken stock, cognac, coconut, curry, honey, maple syrup, molasses, oatmeal, olive oil, sesame oil, orange liqueur, pasta, raisins, rum, sugar: brown and white, vanilla, white chocolate, and white wine.

Popular Pumpkin Pairings

  • allspice + bay leaf + cinnamon + salt
  • cinnamon + allspice + ginger
  • pasta + butter + sage
  • apples + curry
  • brown sugar + pine nuts
  • garlic + butter + chicken stock + thyme
  • chile peppers + garlic
  • cream cheese + orange + rum
  • pumpkin seeds + cream cheese + sugar
  • honey + balsamic vinegar
  • olive oil + rosemary

What To Make With Pumpkin

Pumpkin is most notably associated with the fall/autumn season and Thanksgiving, however, you can do much more with pumpkin besides pumpkin spice lattes and pumpkin pie.

Instead of buying canned pumpkin, you can easily make homemade pumpkin puree as well as roasted pumpkin seeds to utilize the whole vegetable.

Pumpkin works well in savory dishes such as risotto, soups, stews, curries, and pasta such as ravioli, chili, and more.

You can substitute pumpkin whenever a recipe calls for another winter squash such as butternut, acorn, kabocha, delicata, buttercup, etc. in baby kale salad, pizza, vegan mac and cheese, butternut squash risotto, or cubed and roasted with spices.

Replace the sweet potatoes with pumpkin in vegan mashed sweet potatoes to make mashed pumpkin.

Use as a substitute for mashed bananas in breads or pancakes for a seasonal twist, but you’ll want to also add in ground cinnamon and a bit more sweetener since pumpkin isn’t nearly as sweet.

You can also make pumpkin seed milk with pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds) in the same way that you’d make almond milk or cashew milk for a dairy-free milk alternative. And similarly to how you make cashew butter, you can make pumpkin seed butter.

To grab more inspiration, look in your fridge and see what ingredients you have from the above lists to create something.

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