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How to Make Pumpkin Extract – #1 Best Definitive Guide

Don’t you find that pumpkins are one of those vegetables that are not necessarily strongly flavored, but do have a distinctive taste?

It’s also a flavor that can make or break a dish.

The thing is, to make sure the taste of the pumpkin is strong enough in a dish, you may need to add quite a lot of pumpkins.

Or you use pumpkin extract.

But how do to make pumpkin extract?

With just a little effort and a few weeks, you can make pumpkin essence of your own.

How to make pumpkin extract

Pumpkin extract is made by soaking chopped pumpkin in a liquid for a lengthy period so that the taste and aroma of the pumpkin are completely absorbed into the liquid. The pumpkin is chopped into small pieces, cooked slightly, and then soaked in vodka or a vegetable glycerine mixture. The mixture is left to stand for six weeks, after which it must be strained to remove the more solid pieces from the liquid and leave the essence behind.

How to Make Pumpkin Extract
How to Make Pumpkin Extract

Understanding the extract

The essence of something is, literally, the intrinsic nature of something: what something is like right deep inside.

In terms of cooking, the essence of vegetables is a concentrate obtained from the plant.

Essentially, you should think about the extract of a vegetable as being its essence, which is like the liquid form of its flavor and aroma.

Extracting the essence of a vegetable takes at least six weeks because the flavor will leach into the liquid very slowly.

The best alcohol to use to make a vegetable extract is vodka, which has quite a mild taste, but which mixes well with the flavor.

An alternative is to use bourbon, but it will give the essence a bit of its own taste.

Pumpkins consist of 90% water
Pumpkins consist of 90% water

Choosing the liquid

Water can be used as the base liquid for extracting the essence of a vegetable.

However, the parts of a vegetable that are water-soluble will dissolve into the water, which may taint the extraction.

The best liquid to use to create an extract is alcohol, which can extract all ingredients that aren’t water-soluble.

This includes essential oils and alkaloids. The essence created in this way is purer.

How to make pumpkin extract

Making pumpkin extract quite simply means allowing the flavor and aroma of pumpkin to pervade a liquid so that

Tip: According to the University of California a ripe pumpkin will have a slight discoloration of the rind (bright green – dull green) and a corking stem.


1 lb (500g) raw chopped pumpkin

1 ½ C (375 ml) vodka


1 ½ C (375 ml) vegetable glycerin and ½ C (125 ml) water

Optional: 1 tsp (5 ml) ground cinnamon

1 tsp (5 ml) sugar


Place the chopped pumpkin in a saucepan. Add water so that it just covers the pumpkin.

Bring the water to a boil and allow it to simmer for about 4 minutes.

Strain the water off the pumpkin.

Spread two sheets of roller towel on a wire cooling rack. Place the pieces of pumpkin on the rack.

Leave until the pumpkin has lost most of the water.

Put the pumpkin in a bowl.

Sprinkle the cinnamon and sugar over the pumpkin.

Using a wooden spoon, mix the pumpkin gently, so that all the pieces are covered with cinnamon and sugar.


Put the chopped pumpkin into a ½ pint (500 ml) jar. Let it settle to the bottom of the jar, do not force it down.

Pour the vodka or vegetable glycerin mixture over the pumpkin. It should fill the jar to about ½ inch (1.25 cm) below the top of the jar.

The liquid must cover the pumpkin.

Screw the lid onto the jar firmly.


Leave the bottle to stand for about six weeks so that the vodka will absorb the flavor of the pumpkin.

The jar should be kept in a cool place out of direct sunlight.


After a period of six weeks, open the jar of pumpkin and vodka/vegetable glycerin mixture.

Place a strainer over a bowl.

Pour the contents of the jar through the strainer. Let the pumpkin gather in the strainer. Do not force anything through the strainer.

When all the liquid has drained into the bowl, remove the strainer. Spread a piece of muslin over the mouth of the original jar.

Slowly pour the strained liquid over the muslin, so that the liquid drains into the jar, leaving behind any smaller particles.

Uses of pumpkin extract

The most popular use of vegetable extract is to flavor food.

It makes a great complement for Thai custard or can add a new flavor to steel-cut oats.

Pumpkin itself does not have a very strong flavor.

In fact, 90% of a pumpkin is water according to the University of Illinois.

Adding a bit of pumpkin extract to even a classic dish like pumpkin pie will enhance the experience.

Frequently Asked Questions About How to Make Pumpkin Extract

Can I use just any alcohol for pumpkin extract?

It’s better to use alcohol rather than water to extract the essence from a vegetable. The two best forms of alcohol to use are vodka and bourbon. Vodka will result in a more purely flavored essence.

How long should pumpkin extract stand before it can be used?

Pumpkin extract should be left to stand for at least six weeks before the flavor has been infused adequately into the alcohol. It can be left for up to 8 weeks to make the extract even stronger.

Conclusion About How to Make Pumpkin Extract

Creating a vegetable extract is like pulling out the best of the flavor and aroma from the plant and bottling it to be used whenever you need it.

Pumpkin extract is a flavor that complements many dishes and has a distinctive taste.

It’s quite easy to make pumpkin essence at home so that you always have some on hand for those special dishes.