by Kae Lani Palmisano for USA TODAY 10Best

What types of pumpkins can you cook with?

Pumpkins are part of the squash and gourd family, but which are good for cooking? You can’t just roll up to a garden center or farm stand and grab a decorative pumpkin. Here are ten varieties that are meant for the kitchen.

Baby Bear

The Baby Bear pumpkin is a classic small pumpkin. It's perfect to cook with if you’re planning on roasting a whole pumpkin, stuffing the pumpkin or using it as a bowl for soup, since it has such an iconic appearance.

Sugar pumpkins

Also known as pie pumpkins or sweet pumpkins, the sugar pumpkin is perfect for pies because they're quite sweet, aren’t as stringy as other pumpkins and contain less water.


A cross between a butternut squash and a pumpkin, the butterkin stays relatively small. They’re great for roasting whole, cutting open and adding to salads or casseroles, and can be blended perfectly to make a creamy pumpkin soup.


Despite being white on the outside, Casper pumpkins are actually bright orange on the inside! They can grow as large as 10 to 16 pounds, so if you’re making a pumpkin feast for a large family, a Casper pumpkin will have you covered.

Long Island Cheese

There’s nothing cheesy about the Long Island Cheese pumpkin – it just looks kind of like a wheel of cheese. They’re not commonly found at grocery stores, but you can grow them from seeds in your own garden.


The Cinderella pumpkin is quite wide and flat, with a more exaggerated shape than the Long Island Cheese, and it’s a very bright orange color. They’re quite moist, so they’re perfect for pumpkin soup.

Pepitas Hybrid

Pepitas Hybrids are really grown for the hull-less or naked seeds, meaning they produce seeds that aren’t hard to remove. If you’re a fan of eating pumpkin seeds, this pumpkin is wonderful for slow-roasting tasty seeds.

Dill's Atlantic

Cultivated by Howard Dill, this gigantic pumpkin was bred specifically to win a giant pumpkin contest. To get them to grow so big, they need extra water, which means their creamy flesh is great for purees, soups and stews.


The Jarrahdale is squat like the Cinderella and Long Island Cheese pumpkins, but has blue-green skin. Jarrahdale pumpkins are not stringy at all, making them an incredible pumpkin for roasting.

Red Warty Thing

The bumpy red skin is quite hard and difficult to remove, but the flesh is incredibly dense, making it a good pumpkin to roast whole or cook in chunks. Because it's such a hard and dense pumpkin, it stays fresh for a few months as long as it's stored properly.

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