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How to Make Mini Pumpkin Bowls in Just 5 Easy Steps

Want an easy way to take your fall meals to a new level? Try serving food in mini pumpkin bowls. Perfect for soups, chili, desserts, or as part of a charcuterie or buffet display. They’re simple to make and add a great pop of color!

When I was growing up, my aunt and two of her best friends started a small catering business.

I can’t remember whether they catered full dinners or not, but I do remember them making all kinds of hors d’oeuvres and desserts.

Any time she hosted a family party she knew how to make the food she served look extra special.

She was making charcuterie boards long before they became a thing!

I can remember being so impressed when she did things like serving dips inside hollowed peppers.

My mom always had a gift for entertaining too, especially the way she created cookie displays for the holidays.

So you could say I came by my love of entertaining and making food look special naturally.

After all, I learned from some of the best!

Mini pumpkin bowl filled with pumpkin chili on a black plate on a table with amber bottles.

So when I came up with my Pumpkin Chili recipe, I knew I wanted to step things up a notch and serve it in bowls made from mini pumpkins.

Pumpkin bowls add a little something extra, don’t you think?

You can scrape the insides with your spoon and get a little extra pumpkin in each bite!

Mini pumpkins are a great way to serve all kinds of things during fall and even winter.

Mini pumpkins hollowed out into bowls on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper after being baked.

Obviously, using a small pumpkin bowl to serve stew, chili, or soup is a great option. This Autumn Squash soup would be amazing served in a pumpkin bowl!

But why stop there?

You can find all different sizes of mini pumpkins, so why not use them to hold dips like this Hot Corn Dip on a buffet?

Spreads, honey, or jellies on a charcuterie board.

Or you could even use a pumpkin bowl to serve dessert like a pudding, pumpkin mousse, or a caramel cheesecake.

Can I Use a Pumpkin as a Bowl?

The question isn’t really can you use pumpkins as bowls?

More like, why wouldn’t you use mini pumpkins as bowls?

There are some things that probably wouldn’t be great to serve from a pumpkin, like chips or a crunchy snack mix.

The natural moisture from the pumpkin would make those things get soggy, and nobody wants a soggy chip…

I’ve read that you can line the inside of a pumpkin with plastic wrap, but I’m suspicious about how well that would really work.

Of course, you don’t have to limit yourself to only using mini pumpkins as bowls! You could use any of the larger pumpkins as gorgeous soup tureens or to bake a variety of casseroles inside.

Are All Mini Pumpkins Edible?

I’m happy to report that not just all mini pumpkins, but all pumpkins are edible!

However, some pumpkins definitely taste better than others.

For instance, large carving pumpkins generally don’t have much flavor and the flesh is often watery or bland. They’re bred to have thinner flesh and are mostly hollow.

Pumpkins that are made for food are flavorful, many are naturally sweet, and they’re filled with vitamins, minerals, and nutrients.

Do You Need to Bake Pumpkin Bowls?

The short answer is no, you don’t need to bake pumpkins before using them as bowls.

The flesh of baked pumpkins is softer, sweeter, and easier to eat, while raw pumpkin flesh can be bitter and stringy. Raw pumpkin may also contain bacteria that can cause food poisoning.

Think about how you’re using the bowls when you decide whether to bake them first! If food safety is a concern, then be sure to bake them.

Source: Healthline

How to Pick the Best Pumpkins

Six mini pumpkins in a white kitchen sink.

Choose a mini pumpkin that’s firm to the touch and free from any soft spots or sunken areas.

If you’re planning to use the mini pumpkin bowls to serve soup or chili to a group, try to choose pumpkins that are uniform in size.

Depending on how you’re using the mini pumpkins, consider size, colors, shape, and how they’ll look on your table or display and with the food you plan to put inside them.

There are so many varieties of mini pumpkins to choose from that are all great options for pumpkin bowls!

You can even use some varieties of squash.

Some types of mini pumpkins that work well include:

Mini Pumpkin Varieties

Baby Boo (white) 3 inches
Tiger Stripe (striped, variety of oranges, white, yellow, and green markings) 4 inches
Jack-Be-Little (orange) 3-4 inches
Wee Be Little (bright orange) 3.5 inches
Small Sugar Pumpkins (orange) 3-4 inches
Baby Bear (orange) 3-6 inches
Bat Wing (dark green and orange) 3 inches
Hooligan (mottled orange and white) 3-4 inches
Sweet Lightening (mottle orange and white) 3-5 inches

If you don’t have access to a wide variety of mini pumpkins, just look for small pumpkins ranging from 3 to 5 inches in diameter.

What You Need to Make Pumpkin Bowls

You don’t need a lot of special tools to make bowls out of mini pumpkins, but you’ll definitely want a good sharp knife.

Some people prefer using a set of pumpkin carving tools.

Over the years, I’ve tried a variety of tools to scoop the seeds and pulp out of pumpkins. My favorite for small pumpkins is a serrated grapefruit spoon!

They’re the perfect size to get inside the little pumpkin, and the serrated edges do a great job of scooping away all the fibrous pulp.

You’ll also want a sturdy baking sheet, and I love lining it with parchment paper for easy clean-up.

Step-by-Step Pumpkin Bowl Process

Preparing mini pumpkins to make them into bowls is very simple.

1. Wash the outside of the pumpkins well, then dry them off.

2. If needed, trim the bottoms so they sit flat

Be careful not to cut off too much from the bottom!

You don’t want to cut open the bottom of the pumpkin’s cavity or else it won’t be able to hold the soup or chili.

If you do accidentally cut too much and make a hole, you may be able to use some foil to line the bottom of the pumpkin.

3. Cut the top of the mini pumpkins.

If the pumpkins are taller, you may want to cut about an inch off the top like I did in the images above.

However, if the pumpkins are shorter, cut around the stem instead, leaving about 1/2-inch border around the top.

Even after cutting the top off of my pumpkins, I still needed to cut an opening to form the bowl because the flesh was very thick.

4. Scrape out the pulp and seeds.

Use a sharp spoon (grapefruit spoons work best!) to scoop out the pulp and seeds.

Be sure to scrape away any loose fibers.

Even though the seeds may be small, you can still save them and roast them the same as you would roast larger pumpkin seeds!

Roasted pumpkin seeds would be great to use as a garnish.

Mini pumpkins hollowed out into bowls on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper before being baked.

5. Season the mini pumpkins.

Place the hollowed-out pumpkins and the tops on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

If desired, lightly brush the insides of the pumpkins with light olive oil or refined coconut oil.

Be careful to not get any of the oil on the outer skin because that can cause the skin to char.

I opted to skip this step because I didn’t want to add any fat. I didn’t notice any loss in flavor.

If you’re making the pumpkins for a savory dish, you can also lightly sprinkle the insides with salt, pepper, or other seasonings that compliment the dish you’ll be serving inside them.

If you plan to use the mini pumpkin bowls to serve a dessert or something sweet, you can sprinkle the insides with brown sugar (or Swerve Brown), cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, or pumpkin pie spice.

Mini pumpkins hollowed out into bowls on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper after being baked.

6. Bake the mini pumpkins.

Bake the pumpkins at 375 degrees F for 20-35 minutes. The correct length of time depends on the size of the pumpkin.

Do not overcook the pumpkins!

The insides should just be fork-tender. If you bake them too long, they’ll begin to collapse in on themselves and won’t work as a bowl.

I begin checking them to see if they’re getting tender at 15 minutes, and then check again every 5 minutes until they’re done.

Can Baked Mini Pumpkin Bowls Be Made in Advance?

Mini pumpkin made into a bowl with the top on like a lid sitting on a black plate on a Falloween tablescape.

I’m all about recipes that can be made ahead when I’m entertaining!

You have two options when it comes to making mini pumpkin bowls in advance.

First, you can completely make them, including baking them, and then refrigerate them for up to three days in an airtight container.

Let them sit on the counter and come to room temperature about an hour before you’re ready to serve them.

You can warm them in the oven at 300 degrees F, being careful to not let them overcook.

The second option is to prep the pumpkins in advance but wait to cook them until just before you’re ready to use them.

Store the prepped pumpkin bowls in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days.

If you bring them to room temperature before baking them, the same cooking times as above apply. If you put them in the oven cold from the fridge, you may need to add five minutes to the overall cooking time.

Printable Recipe

Mini pumpkins hollowed out into bowls on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper after being baked.

Mini Pumpkin Bowls

Yield: 6
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

Elevate your fall table by serving soups and chili in edible mini pumpkin bowls. Perfect for buffet tables and charcuterie displays too.

I share more tips and trouble-shooting in the article above.


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Wash the outside of the pumpkins and pat them dry.
  3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  4. The cuts you make will depend on the size and shape of your pumpkins. If the pumpkins can't sit flat, use a sharp knife to cut a bit off the bottoms to make a base. Do not cut too much off or you may end up cutting away the bottom of the bowl and it won't be able to hold anything.
  5. If the pumpkins are tall, you can use a sharp knife to cut about an inch off the top. Woman using a chef's knife to cut the top off a mini pumpkin to make a pumpkin bowl for soup. If the mini pumpkins are short and squatty, use the knife to cut a 3- to 4-inch diameter opening in the top. Woman cutting a circle out of the top of a mini pumpkin to make a bowl after cutting off the top. If you cut the tops off, you may also need to cut into the flesh to get to the hollow center.
  6. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and pulp, being careful not to pierce through the base of the mini pumpkin. Woman's hands using a serrated grapefruit spoon to scoop seeds and pulp out of a mini pumpkin to make a bowl. If you accidentally make a hole, you can use aluminum foil to line the bottom if necessary.
  7. The pumpkin seeds can also be roasted if desired.
  8. Once the insides of the pumpkins are cleaned out, lightly brush about 1/4 teaspoon of olive oil or coconut oil around the inside of the cavity. Be careful not to get any oil on the outer skin or it may leave charred marks on the pumpkins.
  9. If you're using the pumpkins for something savory, you can sprinkle them lightly with salt and pepper. If you're filling the pumpkins with something sweet, you can sprinkle them with a bit of cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice.
  10. Place the mini pumpkins and the tops on the baking sheet. Mini pumpkins hollowed out into bowls on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper before being baked. Bake at 375 degrees F for 20-35 minutes, depending on the size of the pumpkin. The insides should be just fork-tender. Be careful not to overcook them or they won't hold their shape. Begin checking for doneness after 15 minutes and add more time as needed.
  11. Use immediately for soups, stews, or chili. Or let the pumpkins cool and fill them as desired with dips, pimento cheese, pudding, mousse, ice cream, or cheesecake.

Make Ahead Tips:

  1. Pumpkin Bowls can be made up to three days in advance and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. You can bake them before refrigerating them and then warm them up if using them to serve a hot dish. If you wait to bake them, you may need to adjust the cooking time if they go into the oven cold from the refrigerator.


  1. This recipe is based on using mini pumpkins that are about 4-5 inches in diameter.

Recommended pumpkins to try: small sugar pumpkins, dumpling pumpkins, mini squash. Some varieties to try: Night Bron, White Bron, Jessica, Flare, Baby Bear, Jack Be Little, Gold Nugget, Wee-B-Little

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Nutrition Information
Yield 6 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 35Total Fat .5gSaturated Fat 0gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 0gCholesterol 0mgSodium 0mgCarbohydrates 9gFiber 1gSugar 0gProtein 1.5g

Nutritional analysis is for one baked mini pumpkin. Please note that we are not medical or nutritional professionals. We include nutrition information for our recipes as a courtesy to our readers. However, due to wide variations in brands, nutrition data is subject to change for every user. Nutrition data is calculated using My Fitness Pal Pro. All sugar alcohols are subtracted from the final carb count. Please refer to our complete Nutritional Disclosure for more details.

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