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Make Creamy Pumpkin Pasta Sauce to serve over spaghetti or to give your favorite recipes a fall twist! This delicious sauce takes 10 minutes to make and uses pantry staples.
This easy pumpkin sauce gives an autumn makeover to dishes like lasagna and mac and cheese. Or, use it to make pumpkin pizza.
The pumpkin flavor is subtle, so kids love it too, especially if they're fans of fettuccine Alfredo. Add extra Parmesan cheese and buttery skillet shrimp for a quick, comforting dinner.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- It calls for just 5 ingredients.
- It takes about 10 minutes to make.
- It can be made ahead and frozen.
- The sauce is low in carbs and gets a nutritional boost from pumpkin.
- It's versatile and can be used in any recipe in place of traditional sauce.
Ingredients and Substitutions
Here's what you'll need to make creamy pumpkin pasta sauce:
- Pumpkin Puree - You'll only use part of a can. Make a double batch to use it all, or save the other portion to make another recipe.
- Heavy Cream - Half and half and whole milk work nicely too. As you use less milk fat, it becomes less creamy.
- Olive Oil - Is used to sauté the garlic. Butter may be used instead.
- Garlic - Fresh is best and recommended. A shallot or minced onion may be substituted. If you try garlic powder, add a dash and taste the sauce before adding more.
- Nutmeg - Substitute cinnamon for a change of flavor.
- Parmesan Cheese - Leave this out if desired, or double it for pumpkin Alfredo sauce.
Please see the recipe card at the bottom of this post for the complete list of ingredients with measurements plus recipe instructions.
To make a dairy-free pumpkin sauce, use soy milk. Also, leave off the Parmesan cheese or replace it with nutritional yeast.
Make Butternut Squash Spaghetti Sauce by swapping pumpkin for butternut squash puree in this recipe.
Low-Carb Pasta Options
If you're counting your carbs, don't despair. This pumpkin sauce won't break the bank. But, what you serve it with just might.
When I'm not serving it with spaghetti squash, I enjoy it with Carba-Nada noodles. Shirataki noodles are another great option.
Directions with Pictures
Here's how to make pumpkin pasta sauce:
- Heat olive oil over medium heat in a medium-sized saucepan. Add garlic and sauté for about 1 minute to soften.
- Add pumpkin puree, heavy cream, nutmeg, salt, and pepper to the pan and whisk until smooth.
- Bring pumpkin sauce to the point where it's just about to boil and then reduce heat to simmer and cook for about 4-5 minutes. Stir in Parmesan cheese.
- If making pasta, cook it while you're making the sauce.
Tip: This pumpkin sauce has a rich, thick texture and really sticks to the noodles. If you prefer a slightly thinner consistency, save some pasta water and stir it into the sauce. Water and additional cream may be used as well.
The yield is about 2 cups. The serving size is ⅓ cup.
What Goes Well With Pumpkin Pasta Sauce?
Use it just like any jar of spaghetti or marinara sauce.
I love to pair it with browned chicken and apple sausage and stir in chopped spinach. Here are some more ideas to get you started:
- Any type of pasta noodle
- Any kind of spiralized vegetable including zucchini or sweet potato
- Ravioli and tortellini
- Baked Ziti
- Macaroni and Cheese
- Spoon over vegetables like cauliflower or broccoli
Refrigerator: Store in a covered container for 3-4 days.
Freezer: Store in a covered container for up to 3 months.
One of the best things about this creamy pumpkin pasta sauce is that you can make a large batch and freeze it for pumpkin-infused dinners all season long! Pictured is a small mason jar without a neck. If you use a glass jar, allow room for the sauce to expand. Leave about ¾ of an inch at the top.
For the best results, lift the container into the refrigerator the night before. When ready to serve, heat it in a pan over medium-low heat on the stovetop, stirring to reincorporate the ingredients. If necessary, add pasta water, broth, or cream to return to the desired consistency.
More Pumpkin Recipes
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Creamy Pasta Pumpkin Sauce
- 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil unsalted
- 2 Garlic cloves pressed or minced
- 1 cup Pumpkin puree
- 1 cup Heavy Cream or half and half or whole milk
- ¼ teaspoon Ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon Salt
- ¼ teaspoon Pepper
- 2 Tablespoons Parmesan cheese grated or shredded
- Melt olive oil over medium heat in a saucepan. Add garlic and sauté for about 1 minute.
- Add pumpkin, nutmeg, and cream to saucepan and whisk to combine.
- Raise heat and cook until mixture is just about to boil, stirring occasionally.
- Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 4-5 minutes. Mixture will begin to thicken. See notes to thin the consistency if desired.
- Stir in cheese if using.
- Enjoy! Use the same way you would use any recipe that calls for pasta sauce.
This post was originally published on 9/25/14 and has been updated to improve the reader experience.