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Pie Pumpkins vs. Carving Pumpkins: How They’re Different & Why It Matters

The 6 best pumpkins for baking

Now the distinction is clear — you’re never going to use a carving pumpkin for baking or a baking pumpkin for carving again. (How embarrassing.) But as you’re gathering up your ingredients to make your famous pumpkin pie this fall, you may come upon still more decisions to be made. Even among the pie pumpkins, you’ve got choices aplenty. It’s hard to know where to begin.

Here are some of our favorite sugar pumpkins and why:

  1. Baby Bear: Teeny-tiny and super-cute, this petite pumpkin has a deep orange color and is popularly used to make flavorful pies because of its fine-grained flesh.
  2. Baby Pam: When you’re looking for sugar pumpkins, you hear this name come up a lot. Baby Pam pumpkins are also deep orange and slightly larger than Baby Bears, with a sugary, string-less, dry flesh.
  3. Fairytale: As adorable as the name is, this sucker can get up to 30 pounds. And yes, it looks just like a pumpkin from the fairy tales, with a thick flesh that tastes more like winter squash.
  4. Cinderella: These names just keep getting cuter. Cinderella pumpkins are bright red-orange with a thick, moist flesh that has a sweet, custard-like flavor.
  5. New England Pie: Considered a classic fall baking pumpkin, the New England Pie pumpkin is round with a deep orange color, offering an almost perfect pumpkin pie taste.
  6. Winter Luxury: Now we’re pulling out the big guns. This heirloom pumpkin has orange and white skin, a smooth flesh and a more rustic flavor.

More: Martha Stewart Has Very Strong Feelings About Pumpkin Spice

To cook, or not to cook?

While many foodie enthusiasts tend to prefer cooking with a pie pumpkin over a carving pumpkin, you still can put your old jack-o’-lantern to use in recipes. The most common challenge with cooking a carving pumpkin is too much moisture. So after carving out the flesh, put it in a bowl, and let it sit in the fridge for a few hours. This should allow for water to separate from the flesh, which you can then drain before using.

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