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Best Pumpkin Varieties for Pumpkin Pie and Pumpkin Recipes

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There are about 100 varieties of pumpkins on the market each Fall.  How do you pick the best one to make a REAL homemade pumpkin pie, from a real pumpkins  (It is incredibly easy to do, see this page) do and the pumpkin pie will taste superior to anything you've had before! No problem, we have tested dozens of the best and found which pumpkins and winter squash make the very best pumpkin pies, pumpkin spice muffins, pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin bread, pumpkin butter, pumpkin soup and more.

The pumpkin varieties below are the pumpkins that are best for eating because they have:

  • smooth-grained flesh - you don't want a tough, grainy. stringy flesh in a pie!
  • Sweetness, a high natural sugar content, reducing the need to add sugar,
  • A full flavor - a pumpkin that makes a pie, soup, muffin or cookie that pops with flavor.

Don't expect them to be a round, orange pumpkin; the best tasting pumpkins are usually mutant looking things in shades of gray, blue, green with a lumpy exterior... and bright orange, dense flesh inside.

The Top 10 pumpkins for eating, cooking and making pies

Brief description below!  See the alphabetized table following the list for details and where to get seeds if you want to grow your own!

 

  1. Jarrahdale Jarrahdale pumpkin-
    Number one on my list, this deep-ribbed, blue-gray colored heirloom pumpkin, originally from New Zealand,
    has a deep orange, dense flesh that is sweet, smooth-grained and packed with pumpkin flavor.
    And they store in a cool garage, basement or shed for months.  I've had them keep for a full year. 
    They typically weigh between 6 and 10 lbs.
  2. Kabocha pumpkinsKabocha inside -
    These are a Japanese variety with dark green skin, yellow sweet, firm flesh 
     that is common to the Far East and Australia. 
    You can save the seeds to plant next year. 
    Just clean them off, let them dry on a paper towel, then put them inside a paper envelope
    (don't use a plastic bag, the will rot if the container traps moisture. )
  3. Lakota Lakota-
    An heirloom variety more common in the midwestern states with great flavor and sweet.
    This pear-shaped pumpkin has red skin and black-green striping along with the mild ribbing.
    These are small to medium sized pumpkins weigh in around 6lbs.
    They have a sweet, dense flesh, similar to butternut squash.
  4. KakaiKakai pumpkin -
    This pumpkin has thick orange stripes on the skin.
    Kakai is a variety of that is popular in Australia and Japan, a type that yields the valuable green pumpkin seed oil that some European studies show promotes prostate health.  You can not only eat the flesh, but also scoop out the large, dark green, completely hull-less seeds, which are delicious roasted. 
    The seeds are a bright blue color. Kakai also  carves very well making it a real multt-purpose pumpkin.
    These pumpkins on the medium size, typically weigh in the region of 6 lbs.

  5. CinderellaRouge Vif d'Etampes (a.k.a., Rouge Vif d'Etampes)
    These French pumpkins have a fairytale look about them that reminds you of Cinderella’s pumpkin carriage.
    They have moist flesh, sweet, dense that is ideal for use in pies.
    You can use them as decoration (uncut or painted) and then eat them at Thanksgiving or Christmas

  6. Neck pumpkinsNeck Pumpkin
    These heirloom pumpkins are like a giant, mutant butternut squash, with smooth, sweet orange flesh.
    Neck, sometimes called "crockneck pumpkin" is a relative of butternut types.
    It has sweet tasting, very smooth, stringless, bright orange flesh. It matures quite late and is a full vining type.
    It curls when growing and can get 24 to 30" long.
  7. Fairytale fairytale pumpkin-
    Medium to large, dense (heavy for their size) with a  flattened, deeply ridged shape; deep tan or orangish at maturity.
    Inside, the flesh is sweet, dense, deep orange and can be used for any pumpkin or winter squash recipe.
    It pairs well with strong flavors, too, like curries or soups as the flesh holds up well.
    Fairytale are typically 2-18" across and about 15 lbs.
  8. Long Island CheeseLong Island Cheese -
    It looks like a flattened wheel of cheese, hence the name.
    The skin is pale orange,
    but the flesh is deep orange, dense and sweet.
    It gained popularity in New York for pumpkin pies.
  9. New England Pie PumpkinTypical pie pumpkin -
    OK, this is the traditional pie pumpkin that most people think of and used traditionally. 
    It's a good pumpkin, much less stringy than larger Jack O' Lantern carving pumpkins.
    There are many, many variants of the New England Pie Pumpkin, like Sugar Pie, Sugar Snack, Small Sugar, Sugar Bush, Pam Pie, etc.
    While I think the other squash (above) are better, pie pumpkins have the advantage of being universally available, even sold in grocery stores and Wal-Mart.

  10. Flat White Boer FordFlat White Boer Ford -
    This is a flat pumpkin that looks as though it has been squashed under a a truck.
    They keep for months in a cool, dark, dry place, have a very small seed cavity and dense, sweet flesh.
    The skin starts out bright white  and turns slightly pink during storage.
    3 to 5 inches tall, 8 to 12 inches wide and weighs an average of 10 to 15 pounds.

Honorable mention

Butternut squash - Butternut-squashYep, the common butternut squash, available in almost every grocery store in North American makes a pumpkin pie that is superior to anything made with that gray glop from a can!

It has a very smooth texture, is easy to cook, and following our pie directions, takes only 5 minutes of prep time.

Just bake in an oven, cool, lift the skin off and mush it up)

See this page for our easy pumpkin pie from a real pumpkin (or butternut squash) recipe.

 

The full list of pumpkins and squash for cooking, eating and making pies 

Pumpkin Variety Name Best uses Description -
number of days is minimum to grow one from seed under best conditions

Seed Suppliers

Baby Bear Baby Bear pumpkin Eating, decor  105 days. All-America Selections winner. Deep orange, 1 ½ - 2 ½ lb fruits are half the size of normal pie pumpkins with flesh that is sweet and moist.. Ave 8 pumpkins per vine. Excellent storage quality. Between a pie and a mini-pumpkin, flattened, medium orange.  Good for pies.  The seeds have no hulls, they are great to roast.

Johnny's
Baby PamBaby Pam pumpkin all-purpose 105 day. Best quality for pie pumpkin. Bright, deep orange skin and thick tan handle. 4lb. Seed treated with thiram. 4-5 fruits per plant. Johnny's
Blue dollBlue Doll pumpkin eating A greenish-blue pumpkin that grows from 15 to 20lbs in weight. A deep orange flesh good for pies and soups. Very similar to Jarrahdale.
Harris Seeds
Blue HubbardBlue Hubbard winter squash eating,
Great for pumpkin pies
  100 days. An heirloom dating to 1909 by Gregory as Symmes Blue Hubbard. Averages 30 - 40 lbs. Excellent flavor, productivity and storage qualities. It is high in dietary fiber and rich in Vitamin A & C Used in pies, vegetarian stews, cakes, and candies.
Butternut SquashButternut-squash eating -
Makes excellent pumpkin pies
105 days. Beige skin,  with deep orange, smooth-textured seetw, nutty-tasting flesh that improves with a couple months' storage. Fruits avgerage 9" long and weigh 4 to5 lb. Each plant produces 4 or 5 squash.  When ripe, it turns increasingly deep orange, and becomes sweeter and richer. It is a good source of fiber, vitamin C, magnesium, and potassium; and it is a source of vitamin A. Butternut squash can be roasted, sautéed, toasted, puréed for soups such as squash soup, or mashed to be used in casseroles, breads, muffins, and pies. The squash is also used as an alternative diet for Monarch butterfly caterpillars alongside cucumbers. Butternut inside
CarnivalCarnival squash Eating Mottled green, yellow and orange acorn squash with excellent flavor. Carnival squash is small to medium in size, 12-17 centimeters in diameter. The flesh is firm, dry, coarse, and pale orange in color with a large and fibrous seed cavity with stringy pulp and many flat, beige seeds. Cooked squash is soft and tender with a fragrant aroma and is slightly nutty, buttery, and sweet, similar to butternut squash. Vigorous, semi-bush vines yield a large number of fruits. Jung
CinderellaRouge Vif d'Etampes (a.k.a., Rouge Vif d'Etampes) decor, eating The classic fairytale pumpkin that looks like Cinderella’s pumpkin carriage. They stack well, and have deep ribbing with a bright orange-red skin. They also have moist flesh that is great for pies. It is also called Rouge Vif d'Etampes.
Connecticut FieldConnecticut Field all-purpose A large, all purpose pumpkin, good for carving and pies.
Reimer Seeds
Crown PrinceCrown Prince all-purpose With a glossy gray-blue skin, and sweet flavorful orange flesh, it is good for decor or eating. It keeps very well and can keep for up to a year in a cool , dark place, like a garage, basement or shed. Crown Prince cut open Marshall Gardens 
Dickinson Pumpkin
Dickinson Pumpkin
eating 100 days. Famous for being the main variety that Libbey's uses in its canned pumpkin pie filling. Medium to large beige squash. Average weight 10 to 40 pounds. Roundish elongated shape, 18 inches long by 14 inch diameter.

Fairytale fairytale pumpkin

decor, eating  Medium to large, heavy for size, flattened, heavily ridged, deep tan at maturity. Vigorous vines had white markings on leaves and showed very little powdery mildew.
Reimers
Flat White Boer FordFlat White Boer Ford decor, eating   a flat pumpkin that looks like it has been squashed under a truck! Wider than it is tall and an asymmetrical shape. They keep well, have a very small seed cavity and dense flesh
Rupp
Futsu Black Futsu Black eating  105 days. This very deep green ribbed and warted squash appears to be almost black. The golden orange flesh is delicious with a strong taste similar to hazelnuts. Fruits are large with weights close to 10 pounds a possibility. An excellent storage variety.  Flavor develops in storage. Black Futsu is an heirloom Japanese pumpkin. Great roasted, fried in tempura, pureed in pies or soups, or pickled! 3-5 fruits per plant, averaging 3 lbs. each. Uprising Organics
Golden HubbardGolden Harvest eating  90-105 day. Deep golden-yellow flesh has excellent flavor and a fine-grained texture. Nubbly skin 12-14 lb and hubbard shape.
Jung,
Urban Farmer
Hybrid PamBaby Pam pumpkin eating, decor 100 days. Pie size, slightly wider than tall, dark orange, thick long peduncle.Flat-round fruit, 7" in diameter and averaging 4 to 5 lbs.  Harris Seed
Jarrahdale Excellent for cooking and pies!  100 days This Australian variety is very unusual. The skin is a very attractive ribbed blue-gray. Ten pound fruit can be 34 inches around and the flesh is orange and sweet. Stores well. Medium size, flattened and ridged, dull blue-green.
This makes the best pumpkin pies!

Johnny's,
Pinetree
KakaiKakai pumpkin all-purpose. 100 days - Striking, medium-small, avg. 5-8 lb., black-striped pumpkins. Kakai is a variety of the Austrian type that yields the valuable green pumpkin seed oil that some European studies show promotes prostate health. Semi-bush, short-vine plants. Avg. yield: 2-3 fruits/plant. After displaying the (un-carved) pumpkins next fall, you can scoop out the large, dark green, completely hull-less seeds, which are delicious roasted. 
Johnny's
Kabocha pumpkins Kabocka pumpkin Eating
Very popular for pies


 These are a Japanese variety with dark green skin, yellow sweet, firm flesh  that is common to the Far East and Australia. Kabocha inside
Kentucky Field Kentucky Field pumpkin Eating  113 days. Traditional heirloom beigh-skin, orange flesh, perfect for pies and canning. The vines are extremely prolific
Also excellent in storage.
Lakota Lakota eating 100 days. A pear-shaped heirloom variety from  the midwestern United States.  Both decorative and good for eating. The pear shaped fruit can go as large as 7 pounds. The flesh is a golden hue with a fine flavor. The skin color is a variegated green and orange although some fruit will be entirely orange and others entirely green.  They have a sweet taste like a butternut squash. Burpee
Long Island Cheese Long Island Cheese Eating - heirloom pumpkin for pies 90 days. This East Coast heirloom is thought of as a great pie squash. The name comes from the similarity in shade and shape to a big wheel of cheese. The buff colored skin reveals attractive, firm orange flesh. Fruits are 6-8 pounds and storage qualities are excellent.
Johnny's
Pinetree
Marina di ChioggiaMarina di Chioggia eating, decor Blistery, bubbled, slate blue-green rind. Avg. 6-12 lb. bumpy squashes make a wild yet subdued ornamental statement for fall. Amy Goldman in her new book, The Compleat Squash, describes this Italian seaside specialty as deliziosa, especially for gnocchi and ravioli, and a culinary revelation. 
Johnny's 
Musque de ProvenceMusque de Provence eating, decor 125 day. Ribbed, flat, tan fruits 8-15 lb. Thick, deep orange moderately sweet flesh. Sold in cut wedges in the South of France. 2 fruits per plant. .
Reimers,
Johnny's
NeckNeck Pumpkin eating
Heirloom, great for pies
 120 days. Neck, sometimes called "crockneck pumpkin" is a relative of butternut types. It has sweet tasting, very smooth, stringless, bright orange flesh. It matures quite late and is a full vining type. It curls when growing and can get 24 to 30" long. It is a high yielding, vining pumpkin.
Harris Seed
New England PieNew England Pie eating, decor The classic New England pie pumpkin. Dark orange-skinned pumpkins in a range of small sizes, typically 4-6 lb. Although not as sweet as squash, the well-colored, orange flesh is relatively starchy, dry, and stringless. A well-known mini Jack O'Lantern type for pies.
Johnny's
Peanut Pumpkin (a.k.a, Galeux D' Eysines Squash) Peanut pumpkin eating, decor
100 days.  From Tranzault, France. Pink, shaped like a wheel of cheese, covered with beige bumps that look like peanuts. The bumps are actually deposits of sugar in the skin which indicates how sweet the flesh is when cooked. In France, it is used for soups, sauces, and sautéed. Average weight 15 to 25 lbs. Stores very well, for months.
Jung's Seeds

Pik-a-Pie New England Pie

eating, decor, 95 - 100 days. Pie size, round, medium orange, with somewhat thick peduncle. Short vines. Vines all dead at harvest.  
 Porcelain DollPorcelain Doll eating, decor  110 days. Light pink skin with deep orange sweet, dense flesh. Excellent for baking, pies.
Orange Hokkaido (also called Red Kuri)Orange Hokkaido eating  92 days. A teardrop-shaped, thin skinned orange colored winter squash, related to Hubbard squash. Orange Hokkaido inside
Rouge Vif d'Etampes Rouge Vif d'Etampes eating, decor 95 day. Deeply ribbed flat Cinderella style pumpkin. Can reach 25 lbs. Deep orange-red skin with outstanding sweet moist thick flesh, Very flattened, ridged, bright reddish-orange, with thin peduncle.
Jung
Johnny's
RumboRumbo pumpkin eating, decor 100-120 days. 14-15 lb, looks like a Cinderella pumpkin with superior flavored dark orange-yellow flesh and deeply ribbed orange-yellow shiny skin Jung,
Park
Small SugarSmall sugar pumpkin eating, decor 105 days. An older, heirloom pie pumpkin, said to be a smaller variety of the Connecticut Field pumpkin. Mr. Burpee introduced it in 1887. About 10" in diameter; 5 to 8 lbs.  The skin is a deep orange-yellow  with very fine-grained, sweet and sugary flesh. It keeps well.
Snack Jack Harvest Moon pumpkin eating  95 day. Pie size, slightly taller than wide, medium orange, slightly thin peduncle. Hull-less seeds good for roasting. Bright orange 2 to 3 pounds (1 to 2 kg) pumpkins with good flavor for pies. Semi-bush vines Jung
Speckled HoundSpeckled Hound pumpkin eating, decor 100 days. Orange skin with green splotches. Yellow-orange, dense flesh. High yielding. Oblate shape with shallow ribbing.  Averages 3-6 lb. and about 8 per plant.
Speckled Hound inside
SpiritSpirit pumpkin all-purpose, eating, carving, decor  100 days 100 day. 10-12 lb bright orange-gold. Short 4-5 foot vines. Flesh good for pies and canning. 1997 AAS Winner. Reimer,
Jung
Sunshine Hybrid eating, decor 80-95 day. Vitamin-rich bright orange flesh of this Kobocha-type winter squash is thick, creamy-smooth, stringless with an outstanding sweet, nutty flavor. Space saving 6-8 ft vines yield good supply of 3-4 lb fruit. 2004 AAS Winner.
Jung
Sweet LightningSweet Lightning pumpkin eating, decor 100 day. 1lb, edible ornamental, creamy-yellow, orange-striped 3"x5" fruit. Semi-bush vines  Flavor is very sweet . The flesh is smooth and creamy when baked. Jung
Sweet Sugar Piepie pumpkin eating

90 - 115 day. Excellent for pies and canning . Orange-yellow thick meaty flesh. Small, round, dark orange skin 6-8 lb.


Johnny's, Jung, Burpee
Turk's TurbanTurk's Turban pumpkin  eating, decor 95 Days.  multi-colored, buttercup-type squash striped with silver, green, and white with a orange-red base 7-9" across. Averages 3-5 lb with  2 or 3 fruits per plant

 

Johnny's Seeds 
White PieWhite Pie pumpkin all-purpose, eating, decor  A round or oval-shaped pumpkin with a slightly off-white skin. Sweet, smooth-textured  flesh that good for pies.  
Winter LuxuryWinter Luxury eating, decor 85-100 day. Very productive medium 10 inch diameter with finely netted golden russet color. Deep golden thick sweet flesh is rated among best for taste and texture. Winter Luxury is an heirloom variety that dates back to the late 1800s.
Jung

 

 

 

 

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