How To Steam Pumpkins Without A Steamer

Are you looking for tips on how to steam pumpkins without a steamer? Well, you’ve come to the right place.

Steaming pumpkin is a great way to cook winter squash without losing its natural flavor and nutrients, but what if you don’t have a steamer?

Don’t worry – it’s still possible to steam pumpkin without one.

This article will show you how to get perfectly cooked pumpkins using four steaming methods – from the pot to the oven.

We’ll also provide tips on which types of pumpkins are best for steaming and considerations for adding extra flavor and deliciousness.

Let’s get started!

Choosing And Preparing Your Pumpkins

Good pumpkins

When selecting pumpkins for steaming, look for firm ones free of soft spots or wrinkles. A good indication of a ripe pumpkin is one whose skin has a glossy sheen.

Small to medium-sized pumpkins are best as they have the sweetest, most flavorful flesh.  Avoid any with soft spots or blemishes.

Be sure to select organically-grown pumpkins whenever available, as they will be free from pesticides and other contaminants.

Start by cutting the pumpkin into small pieces – about 2 inches square is best. If your pumpkin is very large, it may be easiest to cut it in half before cutting it into smaller pieces. 

When the pumpkins are ready, now it’s time to get cooking! 

How To Steam Pumpkins Without A Steamer

There are several methods to steam pumpkins without a steamer.

Method 1: Steaming Pumpkins In A Pot

Firstly, fill your pot with enough water to reach just below the rim when placed upside down onto the lid.

Place the lid onto the pot and bring the water to a boil over medium heat, then reduce it to low heat so that it is at a gentle simmer. 

Carefully place your chosen pumpkin onto the pot lid upside down so that it doesn’t come into contact with any boiling water below (you may want to use oven mitts for added protection).

Cover it with another pot lid or aluminum foil before setting your timer for 10 minutes. As steam builds inside the covered pumpkin, its outer skin will soften and easily peel away from its fleshy center.

When finished, remove the softened pumpkin from your pot using oven mitts and let it cool before slicing into it or serving.  

Once cooled down, you can enjoy your perfectly steamed pumpkin either as-is or by adding other ingredients such as butter, cinnamon, or nutmeg – whatever tickles your fancy.

Method 2: Steaming Pumpkins In A Microwave

Put your cubed or sliced pumpkin into the bowl or plate you chose earlier. Pour enough water into the dish to cover most of the pieces.

Then place in the microwave with medium-high heat for 5 minutes (or longer if needed). Keep an eye on it—you don’t want it to overcook.

When finished cooking, let it cool before eating.

Method 3: Steaming Pumpkins In An Instant Pot

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Instant Pot Ultra (See this item on Amazon)

Grab your Instant Pot and set it up according to manufacturer instructions. Place your quartered pumpkins into the inner pot.

Pour in 1 cup of water or broth (optional). Please put on the lid and close it until it locks into place. Make sure that your venting knob remains sealed throughout this process.

Now turn on your Instant Pot by pressing “Steam” or “Manual,” depending on the model type, and set the timer for 15 minutes at high pressure.

Once finished cooking, release pressure by turning off the heat and carefully remove the lid using hot pads or oven mitts. 

Carefully remove cooked pumpkins, let cool slightly before handling, then scoop out cooked flesh from the skin using a spoon or fork, discarding the skin when finished.


Method 4: Steaming Pumpkins In An Oven

The first thing you’ll need to do is preheat your oven to 300°F. Make sure it’s set on “bake” or “roast” mode and not “broil.”

Once your oven is hot, cut your pumpkin into large chunks. It should have a more cubed shape rather than slices so that it will cook evenly. Place the chunks of pumpkin onto a greased baking sheet or a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. 

Next, cover the pan with aluminum foil, ensuring all pieces are wrapped up nicely and tightly.

This will trap moisture while allowing heat to penetrate to steam your pumpkin chunks.

Place the baking sheet into the preheated oven for about 40 minutes or until you notice that the edges of each piece are beginning to brown slightly. 

At this point, remove the aluminum foil from the pan and use a fork or knife to test how tender each piece of pumpkin is.

If necessary, put them back in for another 10 minutes or so until they’re cooked through thoroughly yet still very soft (this will depend on how large your chunks were). 

What to serve with steamed pumpkins?

Serving with pumpkins

Steamed pumpkins are incredibly versatile and can be served with various sides.

Try adding a light green salad to the dish, as the greens’ sharpness helps balance out the pumpkin’s sweetness.

For a heartier meal, serve steamed pumpkin alongside roasted vegetables like sweet potatoes and carrots or top with grilled proteins such as chicken or fish.

Alternatively, you can mash or puree your steamed pumpkin and serve it over grains like quinoa, couscous, or wild rice.

Lastly, for extra flavor, you could also season your steamed pumpkin with herbs and spices like rosemary, sage, nutmeg, cinnamon, or garam masala.


Here are frequently asked questions about steaming the pumpkins.

Can I Use A Strainer As A Steamer?

Yes, you can use a strainer as a steamer. Just place the pumpkin in a bowl or plate beneath the strainer.

Pour enough water into it to cover most of the pumpkin chunks before placing it inside your microwave.

Can I Steam Pumpkins Without Adding Any Water?

No, you cannot steam pumpkins without adding any water. Steaming requires using a small amount of water to create heat and steam.

The pumpkins will not cook properly without water, leaving them dry and unappetizing.

How Do I Know When My Pumpkin Is Done Steaming?

Knowing when your pumpkin is done steaming can be tricky. The best test method is using a fork or knife to poke the pumpkin pieces.

If the fork or knife passes through easily, your pumpkin is done and ready to be served. You can also look for tenderness in texture and color change for another indication that your pumpkin is cooked properly.

Can I Steam Pumpkin With Skin On?

Yes, you can steam pumpkins with the skin on. However, it is important to note that the pumpkin skin will become very soft and mushy, making it difficult to eat.

To avoid this, you may wish to peel the skin before steaming, resulting in a firmer texture.


Steaming pumpkins is a great way to enjoy their sweet and savory flavor without investing in an expensive steamer.

With the proper techniques, you can easily get perfectly cooked pumpkins every time. Whether in the microwave, Instant Pot, or oven, steamed pumpkin is always sure to satisfy.

Remember to season your pumpkins with herbs, spices, and other ingredients for even more flavor.

Lastly, test the texture when checking if your pumpkins are steaming, as overcooking can lead to undesirable results.

Happy cooking!