It may be pumpkin spice latte season, but we know that the tastiest fall treats are made right in your kitchen. Even the pickiest eaters can’t resist a slice of homemade pumpkin pie, cake, and even pancakes. We love the vitamin-rich vegetable so much, we’ve rounded up eight kid-friendly pumpkin baking recipes made with canned pumpkin purée. It’s our go-to shortcut for easy, quick pumpkin desserts, any day of the week. Just be careful and don’t confuse it with pumpkin pie filling that’s already sweetened.
Fresh Pumpkin or Canned?
Short on time? Canned pumpkin is the way to go. Baking pumpkins are picked, cooked, and canned at the height of the season, preserving the best of the patch for big, harvest flavour year-round. It’s our favourite go-to when we need a quick fix, and it’s a time-saver for seasonal baking. Fresh pumpkin purée is earthy and buttery with mild caramel notes.
How to Make Pumpkin Purée
Start by halving and seeding a sugar pumpkin and prick it all over with a fork. Set your oven to 375°F and roast, cut side down on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet until tender when pierced with a paring knife, about 45 to 60 minutes. Let it cool a bit, then scoop the flesh into a food processor and have the kids whirl it till smooth. Pumpkin is naturally full of water, so you’ll need to drain your purée in a cheesecloth-lined sieve set over a bowl for about an hour and a half. Then you can keep in the fridge for four to five days. Don’t forget to save the seeds for roasting!
Ready in: 1 hour
Why we love it: Cozy up to classic pumpkin pie for fall comfort food at its best. This spiced slice is almost too good. The medley of sweet baking spices highlight the fresh earthy flavour of pumpkin, the harbinger of autumn. Kids will flip for the silky, creamy texture of this family-friendly dessert.
How kids can help: Little ones will get a kick out of making dough from scratch, blending the flour mixture with their hands and shaping the dough ball. Be sure to go over good hygiene practices, washing and drying hands thoroughly beforehand.
Ready in: 30 minutes
Why we love it: Let little hands get creative with these fun, easy-to-make pumpkin cookies. Super-moist and cakey, these cuties are so good you’ll be tempted to make them for any occasion. Just switch up the icing sugar pattern on top to suit all your moods and holidays.
How kids can help: Cookie cutters are the secret to creating sweet sugar designs. Let kids choose their favourite shape, place it on top of the cookie, and lightly dust icing sugar over the top. Once the cutter is removed, watch their amazed little smiles as the pattern is revealed.
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Ready in: 35 minutes
Why we love it: Dessert for breakfast? We can make an exception for these delicious little flapjacks. We can’t get over how much we love this made-from-scratch version over a packaged mix. Leave a towering pile on the counter and let the family snack on them throughout the day; they’re irresistible!
How kids can help: Mixing and whisking is all fun and games for kids. Just make sure the bowl is heavy to avoid any flipping mishaps during the excitable stirring moments.
Ready in: 6 hours 15 minutes
Why we love it: This silken pumpkin dessert is the ultimate make-ahead with a choose-your-adventure option of refrigeration or freezing. With a creamy decadence adults love, and the chocolate-caramel goodness kids adore, this cheesecake is perfect for kiddos of all ages. Omit the cayenne for the little ones, and we promise this super light, dreamy dessert will become an instant fall classic.
How kids can help: Get cracking with the tots and teach them how to crack eggs into a bowl so you can see any little eggshell bits on the bottom.
Ready in: 1 hour 20 minutes
Why we love it: We can’t stop making this kid-friendly loaf. Topped with the prettiest whipped cream cheese frosting and sprinkled with crunchy pepitas, this small, mighty cake is fit for breakfast, lunch, snacking, or dessert.
How kids can help: Take this as a tasty opportunity to sneak in some simple math lessons. Let the kiddos measure the cut the parchment paper lining for the loaf pan, then measure out wet and dry ingredients. The secret school session complete!
Ready in: 22 minutes
Why we love it: Rise and shine! Whip up a double batch of these yummy pumpkin muffins on the weekend. Freeze them and enjoy all week long for breakfast and after-school snacks for the whole family. This not-too-sweet recipe is about healthy ingredients that don’t sacrifice flavour. Maple syrup, brown sugar and molasses are a tasty combo and sure to win over your harshest little critic.
How kids can help: Baking is magical and fun, like a science project. Let kids whisk chia and water in a bowl to watch as the mixture thickens. Once the mixture meets a hot oven, baking soda and baking powder react and rise, while the spices create the most incredible gingerbread house aromas.
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Ready in: 4 hours 35 minutes
Why we love it: Since pumpkin pie is everyone’s absolute favourite fall dessert, why not double-down and make a frozen pumpkin ice cream version? This one gets it right with a quick graham cracker crust. Just soften vanilla ice cream and mix in pumpkin purée, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Freeze, and voilà, you have a dessert for the week. We can’t guarantee leftovers, though!
How kids can help: Let kids help toss the graham crackers crumbs with margarine and sugar and press into a pie plate. Little hands are genius at getting into those shallow crevices.
Ready in: 40 minutes
Why we love it: Avoid hangry kiddie episodes by whipping up these vegan, gluten-free and oil-free cookie squares. They’re full of all the right things so you won’t feel guilty about eating them for breakfast. Portable and tasty, these alternatives to everyday squares only take 18 minutes to bake and are packed with rolled oats, almond flour and pumpkin purée. They double as a healthy snack, but no need to tell the little ones (wink).
How kids can help: Let the kiddos get messy, spooning and spreading the batter. They can even lick the spoon as a treat. Their last fun task can be sprinkling the chocolate chips over the top before the big bake.
Shop Pumpkin Recipe Ingredients
- Berkeley Health. Pumpkin: One Nutritious Gourd.
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