baked mini pumpkins

Mini Pumpkins Recipe: They’re Cute AND Delicious

Mini pumpkins make great fall decorations, but what do you do with them afterwords? How about making them into a delicious, and really easy, side dish? Just bake them with a little Boursin cheese and some Parmesan, and you have a festive addition to any fall meal. They also re-heat really well, and will cook at any temperature. If you’re still looking for something to bring to Thanksgiving dinner, mini pumpkins might be the answer.

mini pumpkins decoration to side dish

Here’s what you need:

  • Mini pumpkins, 1 per person
  • Boursin cheese in garlic and herb flavor
  • Grated Parmesan cheese
  • Tin foil (if baking at high temp)

How to prepare mini pumpkins

The first step in preparing mini pumpkins is washing the outsides thoroughly. When they’re nice and clean, cut the tops off just below the stems. That’s about 1/2″ (1 cm) from the top. If your pumpkins are on the taller side (mine were really squat), you can make the cut lower:

mini pumpkin with top cut off

Be really careful cutting, and use a sharp knife. Mini pumpkins are surprisingly hard. Maybe that’s why they last so long. Also, don’t worry if the cut is a little slanted. You’re not going to fill the inside completely.

Next, scoop out the seeds and stringy fibers:

scoop out seeds and strings from pumpkin

Then, add about 1 Tablespoon of Boursin cheese and 1 teaspoon of grated Parmesan cheese:

add boursin cheese

It’s not really important to be exact with the quantities of the cheeses. Just make sure they don’t fill the hollow by more than about half. I’ve tried more than that, and they overflow.

mini pumpkin with boursin cheese inside

Next, pop the lids back on, and put them on a baking tray:

mini pumpkins ready for baking

It may take a minute to get the lids aligned with the bases. Just keep twisting them around and they’ll eventually end up in the right place.

Baking

Now that your mini pumpkins are half-filled with delicious cheeses, it’s time to put them in the oven. One of the best parts about this side dish is that you can bake it at nearly any temperature. I love it because I can just stick these in the oven with whatever else I’m making for dinner.

Here are some basic temperature and time guidelines:

  • 375 degrees Fahrenheit (190 C), bake for about 50-60 minutes
  • 400 degrees Fahrenheit (200 C), bake for about 40-50 minutes
  • 425 degrees Fahrenheit (210 C), bake for about 30-40 minutes

When I bake them at 400 degrees Fahrenheit or above, I like to cover each pumpkin with tin foil:

cover with tin foil to protect while baking at high temp

This keeps the lids from getting too brown.

How do you know when your delicious mini pumpkins are done? Just remove a lid (carefully), and stick the flesh in the lower part with a fork. If it’s soft, they’re done.

remove lid and test with fork

The cheeses inside will be nice and bubbly:

cheeses inside mini pumpkin bubbled up the sides

See how the cheeses bubbled-up the sides? Half-full is definitely the right amount.

You can’t really overcook them either, so if you’re unsure, just put them back in the oven for another few minutes.

Serving mini pumpkins

Serving mini pumpkins is probably the most fun part because they’re just so cute. I like to put one on each plate with the lid still on:

plate with chicken and mini pumpkin

When they’re cool enough, scoop the flesh out of the lid, and mix everything together in the lower part. They go really well with Roasted Brussels Sprouts (recipe here), too.

Baked mini pumpkins are also fun for a buffet. You can prepare them a day in advance and bake them when you’re ready. They reheat well, either in a low oven or the microwave.

Have fun turning these cute fall decorations into a delicious side dish. I haven’t tried the other flavors of Boursin cheese, but I might give the Red Pepper Chili flavor a try one of these days. Of course, I could also just add a little chili powder to the mix before baking instead. There’s a lot of room to play around with this fun dish.

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