At Taste of Home, we love everything pumpkin: pumpkin pie, pumpkin bars—even savory pumpkin recipes. And while these recipes run the gamut of flavor, they all start with one staple ingredient: canned pumpkin.
Despite making all these amazing recipes, chances are you don’t think twice about what brand of pumpkin puree you grab at the store—I certainly don’t. But since many of these treats are so beloved at my house—particularly this chocolate chip pumpkin bread—I want to make sure they taste their best. In comes a Taste of Home taste test to save the day (and to make these cozy bakes and dishes even better).
How We Found the Best Canned Pumpkin Puree
To find the best canned pumpkin to add to all these amazing fall and winter treats, our Test Kitchen whipped up six pies using this classic pumpkin pie recipe without spices (we didn’t want to cover up the pumpkin flavor here). Each pie was filled with a different brand of solid-pack pumpkin filling, baked and served up to a panel of experts (read: Taste of Home‘s most enthusiastic pumpkin pie fanatics) all with these criteria in mind:
- Appearance: How does the pie look? Does it have the deep pumpkin hue we all look for on the dessert table?
- Texture: What’s the texture of the pie like? Is it smooth and silky? Pulpy? Gritty?
- Flavor: Does the pie taste of real pumpkin? Do you pick up any additional tastes (like spice or other squashes)?
The brands were kept secret until all the scores were tallied. We take our pumpkin tasting very seriously!
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The winner of the taste test came in first by a landslide and shocked many tasters (myself included!): Great Value. This Walmart-exclusive brand outranked five other options and scored significantly higher than even the closest contender.
What made Great Value canned pumpkin so special? First and foremost it was the texture of the pie. The Great Value pie was silky and smooth—not gritty or pulpy like a few other brands. It made for a really satisfying, custard-like pie filling. As one tester remarked, “This is what you want in a pumpkin pie.”
As for the flavor, even without spice, this canned pumpkin had us feeling those cozy, fall feelings. This canned pumpkin was rich and satisfying. It tasted of true pumpkin while some other contenders tasted more like butternut squash. And to top it all off, this pie was a perfect shade of autumnal orange. Testers were eager to slice into the pie (but wished we had some fresh whipped cream to top it all off).
The Bottom Line
This test had a clear winner. Great Value was highly ranked for its texture and flavor—plus it’s budget-friendly at only 78 cents per can. For me, that’s all I need to make the switch from my previous go-to brand. I’m already picturing satisfied smiles on Thanksgiving when I bake up this gingery pumpkin pie with streusel.
However, if you’re set on your preferred option (though, I recommend you give this tester-approved favorite a try), don’t be too discouraged by the results. The pies we tested were made without cinnamon, ginger and other warming spices that give our favorite pumpkin bakes their signature flavor.
This blind taste test was performed by our staff and was not part of a sponsorship. All opinions shared are our own and have not been influenced by advertisers.
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