Chef John's 12 Best Pumpkin Recipes

FIve of Chef John's Pumpkin Spice Snickerdoodles on a white dish
Photo: Chef John

Don't miss this autumn collection of Chef John's favorite pumpkin recipes, featuring all of his top-rated hits, like pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin cinnamon rolls, pumpkin bread, and his savory pork shoulder braised inside a pumpkin! And here's more good news for pumpkin people — many of these recipes call for pumpkin puree, so you can thrill to your favorite pumpkin treats all year long.

01 of 12

Chef John's Pumpkin Pie

Chef John's Pumpkin Pie topped with whipped cream and pie crust leaves

Let's kick this off with a classic. "After many years of experimentation, I've finally perfected what I think is the ideal formula for a rich pumpkin pie that's also much less likely to crack on top," says Chef John. "Serve garnished with whipped cream and freshly grated nutmeg."

02 of 12

Chef John's Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

Chef John's Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls in a pan
Kathy Morgan

These sinfully delicious pumpkin cinnamon rolls are filled with cinnamon sugar and topped with a cream cheese glaze. They're the ultimate fall treat. "The addition of pumpkin puree made these the best cinnamon rolls I've ever tasted," says Chef John.

03 of 12

Pumpkin Zeppole

Pumpkin Zeppole sprinkled with sugar

These light, not-too-sweet Italian doughnuts are made with a thick batter of flour, cinnamon, ricotta cheese, sugar, and pumpkin puree. You'll drop spoonfuls of batter into hot oil and fry them up for two to three minutes. "I usually toss these in cinnamon sugar when they're still slightly warm," says Chef John. "As in virtually every other pumpkin dessert, I think using pure canned pumpkin will give you the best results."

04 of 12

Chef John's Pumpkin Scones

Chef John's Pumpkin Scones on a plate with pumpkin decor in the background
Chef Dantastic

Have a little leftover pumpkin puree? This delicious recipe for pumpkin scones with toasted pine nuts and a super-simple maple glaze is a terrific way to use it up. "Here's an example of how I would convince the public that pumpkin is great for any time of the year. Ironically, I did this because I had leftover pumpkin from Thanksgiving," Chef John says.

05 of 12

Chef John's Pumpkin-Braised Pork

Chef John's Pumpkin-Braised Pork on a white dish with pumpkin
Chef John

This has to be the most autumn-appropriate way to cook pork shoulder ever. You'll marinate pieces of pork shoulder in a simple spice rub and brown them before cooking them in a large cooking pumpkin, like a sugar or pie pumpkin, with some hard cider to cover. "Season the pork any way you want," says Chef John. "I plated mine up with buttery mashed potatoes and Brussels sprouts."

06 of 12

Chef John's Pumpkin Pancakes

stack of Chef John's Pumpkin Pancakes

Meet the perfect holiday brunch recipe. These pancakes are made with pumpkin puree and seasoned with cinnamon, ginger, and allspice. "This basic pancake recipe turns into a delicious holiday breakfast simply by adding pumpkin and some fall spices!" says Chef John.

07 of 12

Chef John's Holiday Pumpkin Bread

Chef John's Holiday Pumpkin Bread sliced
Amanda Winner

Perfect with a hot cup of coffee, this pumpkin bread puts a fall-friendly twist on banana bread. Delicious and super easy. "A quick bread would make a handsome addition to any holiday dessert table. It is almost like banana bread, but uses pumpkin puree instead," Chef John says.

08 of 12

Low-Fat Pumpkin Flan

Low-Fat Pumpkin Flan on a white plate with caramel sauce drizzle

A rich and delicious custard dessert, pumpkin flan is perfect for fall dinner parties and an amazing dessert for Thanksgiving dinner. "This delicious pumpkin flan is the result of an experiment in replacing the recipe's usual cream and half-and-half with low-fat milk," says Chef John.

09 of 12

Holiday No Knead Pumpkin Bread

Holiday No Knead Pumpkin Bread sliced
Holiday Baker

"The flavor is very subtle, just a slight earthy undertone, and the tiny dash of spice is perceivable only to the nose," says Chef John. "For plain bread, just use water in place of the pumpkin puree, and follow the steps the same way."

10 of 12

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Chef John's Pumpkin Cheesecake with pumpkins on a granite countertop

"We're combining America's favorite cheese-based dessert with America's favorite gourd!" says Chef John. "There's a lot of ingredients, but the good news is it's super-easy to do. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkling of toasted pumpkin seeds."

11 of 12

Chef John's Pumpkin Creme Brulee

Six servings of Chef John's Pumpkin Creme Brulee

"This is a great seasonal twist on the restaurant classic. The texture is actually closer to a pudding than a classic creme Brulee, and of course, the star of the dish is the crisp sugar top. This is great for your busy holiday schedule since you can make them the day before and then finish the sugar torching before you serve," Chef John says.

12 of 12

Chef John's Pumpkin Spice Snickerdoodles

FIve of Chef John's Pumpkin Spice Snickerdoodles on a white dish
Chef John

"I'm usually not a big fan of snickerdoodles, but I had a feeling the pumpkin spice would work perfectly with the buttery, cinnamon sugar cookie, and it did," Chef John says.

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