When making pies, breads, and other baked goods in which the pumpkin is pureed, or fashioned into a thick paste, then what is a reasonable culinary substitute for Cucurbita maxima of similar flavor?


3 Answers 3


Sweet potato is similar to pumpkin in pies (and some feel superior), and would probably work well in quick breads and muffins as well. Spices in these types of baked goods are generally predominant and may obscure any differences in flavor between the two.


It depends why you are substituting. Many other winter squashes (butternut, acorn, delicata) will probably do, if it's an issue of availability in your area.

  • Libby's canned pumpkin is a variety of Dickenson pumpkin, which is most closely related to butternut squash. It was bred because it supposedly tastes more like "pumpkin" than actual pumpkins.
    – Esther
    Commented Nov 6, 2023 at 15:41

I find that hominy (also known as maiz de pozole or dent corn) can be boiled and mashed into a paste reminiscent of pumpkin paste.

In order to replicate the flavor, I found that mixing soy bean oil with the mashed hominy replicates the flavor of Cucurbita maxima. The more the oil tastes like oily fish, then the closer the similarity of the flavor profile is.

I have not perfected the ratio of fish-flavored oil to mashed hominy.

I hope that other users of this website will write better answers. If someone finds an ideal ratio of hominy to fish-flavored oil, then their answer will undoubtedly receive more upvotes than this preliminary answer.

I hope to see your answers rise above mine.

  • 2
    Can you explain what you mean by fish flavored oil? To me soy oil is rather neutral and I don’t associate it with fish.
    – jmk
    Commented Nov 4, 2023 at 22:19
  • @jmk good quality soy oil is neutral tasting. However, I have purchased brands of soy oil that were of poor quality and had a slightly fish-like taste. Also oxidation and age can contribute to a fish-like flavor in soy oil. Commented Jul 11 at 4:12

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