Home / Apple / What is the difference between a Carving Pumpkin and a Pie Pumpkin? – LifeSavvy

What is the difference between a Carving Pumpkin and a Pie Pumpkin? – LifeSavvy

selection of pumpkins and squash posted for fall viewing
Jacqui Martin / Shutterstock

You have gone to the pumpkin patch to choose the perfect shape and size for your carving extravaganza, but is this the same type of pumpkin you want to use for baking?

There is actually a difference between a pumpkin you cut and a pumpkin you can eat. Learn all about what sets these two types of winter squash apart, and whether you can use them interchangeably or not.

What is a Carving Pumpkin?

Carving pumpkins are used to make fun or scary jack-o̵

7;-lanterns. They have a much thinner outer shell and less flesh on the inside. It makes them easier to cut and create all kinds of fun and scary designs.

You will also notice that they are tighter than pie pumpkins and contain more water, making them less ideal for making sweet treats. So choose the most giant pumpkin you can find and get your carving tools because Halloween is almost here!

What is a Pie Pumpkin?

A pie pumpkin in the middle, with a basket of gourds, and a large cut-out pumpkin in the background.
Emilee Unterkoefler

Pie pumpkins are used for cooking or baking and are also called sugar pumpkins. They are more petite and are often used to decorate or paint instead of cutting. Although they make sweet porches, they are best when baked in the oven and baked into your favorite fall desserts.

You can find sugar pumpkins at the supermarket or a farmer’s market stall. They have more meat, are not as tight as carving pumpkins, and contain less water, which gives them a sweeter and more delicious taste.

So if you have baking plans, you can grab some sugar pumpkins and preheat the oven. Roasting a pumpkin can be done in just a few simple steps.

Can you use one for the other?

By all means, you are more than welcome to use a large carving pumpkin to fry and puree, but we do not recommend it. Because the larger pumpkins are full of water, you need to get rid of all the liquid before making most dishes.

Carving pumpkins are not as high in sugar as pie pumpkins, so they are not ideal for all the sweet treats you want to make. The thicker amount of pumpkin flesh inside a sugar pumpkin is exactly what you want and need.

As far as cutting a sugar pumpkin, we would not recommend it either. Sugar pumpkins are denser and have thicker skin, which makes cutting out more difficult and dangerous. For safety’s sake, stick to carving pumpkins for, well, carving.

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