The fall season brings a crisp breeze and a vibrant hue of colors as the leaves begin to change. But the most notable symbol of the season might be the pumpkin. A staple decoration for many holiday tables and a versatile ingredient in many traditional recipes, the pumpkin is a must-have for any fall gathering. If your autumn adventures bring you to the pumpkin patch, consider taking one home for your next falltime gathering.
But for those on a ketogenic diet or minding their blood glucose levels, is pumpkin low-carbohydrate? In this article, we’ll review the nutrition profile of the pumpkin and several low-carb pumpkin recipes to try this holiday season.
Is Pumpkin Low Carb?
Most varieties of winter squash tend to be carbohydrate-dense, but pumpkins are on the lower end of the spectrum. One cup of cubed pumpkin contains approximately 8 grams (g) of carbs, whereas the same serving size of butternut squash provides more than 16g.1, 2
Even though pumpkins have fewer carbs than other gourds, it’s essential to be mindful of your portion sizes. To keep the recipe keto diet-friendly, accent the pumpkin flavor with yummy spices like cinnamon and ginger instead of added sugars and starches.
Is Pumpkin Spice Healthy?
Monitoring your carb intake doesn’t mean you must miss out on pumpkin season's comforting flavors. Pumpkin spice can fit into a well-balanced, consistent carbohydrate diet, especially when consumed mindfully. However, store-bought pumpkin spice products typically contain significant amounts of added sugar. Instead of hitting the grocery store, consider making a homemade pumpkin spice blend to control the ingredients and keep it low-carb.
Pumpkin spice blends typically contain 4-5 types of ground spices. You can tweak recipes to meet your taste preferences, but this recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction is a great place to start:
In a mixing bowl, combine three tablespoons (Tbsp) of ground cinnamon, two teaspoons (tsp) of ground ginger, 1.5 tsp of ground nutmeg, 1 tsp of ground allspice, 1 tsp of ground cloves, and a pinch of black pepper. Whisk the ingredients thoroughly to avoid clumps, and store the blend in a dry place at room temperature.3
15 Low-Carb Pumpkin Recipes
Low-carb, keto pumpkin recipes can be a great way to enjoy the traditional flavors of fall without spiking your blood sugar levels. From low-carb pumpkin desserts to keto pumpkin spice lattes, the options are endless:
Low-Carb Pumpkin Baking Recipes
1. Low Carb Pumpkin Bread
Like the Keto Pumpkin Bread from Chocolate Covered Katie, a low-carb Pumpkin Loaf can be a delicious, fiber-rich pumpkin dessert. This recipe uses granulated erythritol or monk fruit sweetener instead of regular sugar, and it’s made with almond flour to keep the net carb content low. The dessert recipe advertises just 3g of net carbs per slice.4
You can use canned pumpkin or homemade pumpkin puree, depending on your preference and total time constraints. But don’t forget to add the cinnamon and the pumpkin pie spice to heighten those fall flavors!
2. Pumpkin Donuts
Who doesn’t love a donut? While the typical donut is fried and high in sugar, low-carb options can offer a more nutritious balance of nutrients. Life Made Sweeter puts a low-carb spin on a timeless classic with their Keto Pumpkin Donuts.
To make these sugar-free pumpkin donuts, you’ll need to whisk eggs, pure pumpkin puree, melted ghee, vanilla, monk fruit sweetener, and almond milk. Then, mix xantham gum, coconut flour, almond flour, pumpkin spice, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a separate mixing bowl. After combining the wet and dry ingredients, shape the donuts and bake them in the oven.5
3. Keto Pumpkin Cookies
Cookies are a year-round dessert, and Kirbie’s Cravings has a delicious three-ingredient Keto Pumpkin Cookie recipe for those who follow a low-carb diet. This keto pumpkin dessert only needs pumpkin puree, superfine almond flour, and granulated erythritol sweetener. However, if you don’t care for erythritol, you can use other sugar substitutes like Lakanto, Swerve, or monk fruit sweetener in its place. The best part? One cookie provides approximately 7g of carbs.6
4. Keto Pumpkin Cheesecake
Cheesecake is a decadent dessert, meaning many recipes tend to spike blood glucose levels. However, low-carb cheesecake, like the Keto Pumpkin Cheesecake from Gimme Delicious, can be enjoyed without causing an unwanted blood sugar spike. When prepared without added sugars, this cheesecake can have as few as 8g of carbs per serving.7
5. Keto Pumpkin Bars
Low-carb pumpkin bars can be a delicious and nutrient-dense snack for your next holiday party. The Easy Keto Pumpkin Bars from Curbing Carbs call for almond flour, keto-friendly sweetener, pumpkin puree, pumpkin spice, melted butter, vanilla extract, and eggs. Each bar provides around 6g of carbs before adding the cream cheese frosting.8
6. Keto Pumpkin Pie
Pumpkin Pie might be the most notable dessert on the Thanksgiving menu, but is it low-carb-friendly? Keto pumpkin pie, like the recipe from Healthy Recipes, puts a low-carb spin on a traditional holiday dessert. One serving can provide as little as 7g of total carbs.9
Other Low-Carb Pumpkin Desserts
7. Keto Pumpkin Ice Cream
Pumpkin desserts aren’t just for cold months. With the right keto pumpkin ice cream recipe, you can enjoy the seasonal flavor all year round. The Fit to Serve Group recipe offers savory and sweet flavors without the unwanted spike in blood sugar.
Gather unsweetened canned pumpkin puree, vanilla extract, heavy whipping cream, granulated sugar substitute, and pumpkin spices like cinnamon, ginger powder, and nutmeg powder. Once combined, put the ingredients through an ice cream mixer or place them in the freezer in a metal dish. A 2/3 cup serving provides less than 7g of carbs, making it a low-carb pumpkin dessert.10
8. Keto Pumpkin Mousse
The Keto Pumpkin Mousse from Joy Filled Eats is a fluffy and creamy keto dessert that requires five ingredients and five minutes of prep time. You’ll need 8 oz cream cheese, 8 oz heavy cream, 1/2 cup powdered sweetener, 1/2 cup pumpkin puree, and 2 tsp pumpkin spice. The recipe makes four servings with 6g of carbs each.11
9. Pumpkin Fudge
Sugar-free pumpkin fudge puts a low-carb spin on a traditional dessert, but can it satisfy a sweet tooth? Low Carb Yum has a sugar- and dairy-free recipe that can satisfy your tastebuds without skewing your blood sugar levels. You need pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling), dairy-free coconut oil and butter, coconut flour, stevia liquid, and spices to make their fudge. Each serving provides approximately 4g of carbohydrates.12
Low-Carb Pumpkin Savoury Dishes
10. Masala Pumpkin Seeds
Roasted pumpkin seeds can make a yummy addition to many holiday dishes, and masala pumpkin seeds kick the flavor up a notch. Food52’s recipe calls for one cup of pumpkin seeds, 3 Tbsp of melted butter, 2 tsp of garam masala, 1/3 tsp of chili powder, 1/4 tsp of salt, and 1/4 tsp of turmeric.
After washing the seeds thoroughly and allowing them to dry, mix them with the other ingredients. Then, roast the seasoned pumpkin seeds for approximately 20 minutes at 350 degrees.13 One ounce of roasted pumpkin seeds provides about 15g of carbs.14
11. Low-Carb Squash Soup
Soup is a fall staple for many, but not all soups are low-carb-friendly. The Keto Butternut Squash Soup from Joy Filled Eats only uses a handful of ingredients, including pumpkin seeds for garnish. It only requires 30 minutes of cook time and can easily be changed to fit dairy, grain, and gluten-free dietary needs. The soup is packed with nutrients, but each serving only contains 9g of carbs.15
12. Low-Carb Pumpkin Casserole
Savory casseroles are an excellent side dish for holiday meals but can be loaded with carbohydrates. However, including pumpkin in your recipe can help add flavor and keep carbs low. Recipes like the Savory Pumpkin Casserole from Low Carb Yum harness the nutritional impact of pumpkins to deliver a wide range of nutrients with as little as 8g of carbs per serving.16
Healthy Pumpkin Drinks
13. Healthy Pumpkin Spice Latte
If you want to skip the coffee shop before work, consider making your own pumpkin spice latte recipe at home. It can save you time, money, and carbohydrates! In as little as five minutes of prep time, you can whip up a fall favorite using a healthy recipe like that from Eating Bird Food.
You’ll need 8 ounces (oz) of brewed coffee, 1/2 cup of unsweetened vanilla almond milk, 3 Tbsp of canned pumpkin puree, 1/2 tsp of pumpkin pie spice, 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract, 2 tsp of maple syrup, and a dash of cinnamon. In all, you’ll consume approximately 13g of carbs.17 However, if you prefer to make it sugar-free, consider replacing the maple syrup with stevia or another sugar substitute.
14. Healthy Pumpkin Martini
The pumpkin spice latte gets a lot of hype during the fall season, but a pumpkin martini can be a staple for many holiday celebrations. The Sugar-Free Pumpkin Pie Martini from the Savvy Saving Couple brings fall flavors without overdoing it on the sugar.
The recipe calls for vodka, unsweetened almond milk, pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, and pumpkin pie sugar-free syrup. Plus, you can really dress it up by adorning the rim of your martini glasses with the crumbs of crushed sugar-free vanilla wafers. Each drink provides approximately 5g of carbs, but drink responsibly nonetheless.18
15. Keto Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew
Just because fall is in full swing doesn’t mean it’s too late to enjoy a delectable cold-brew coffee. Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew, like that from Gnom-Gnom, is a fluffy and creamy way to get your caffeine fix while only consuming around 3g of carbs per serving.19 Instead of sugar, these keto-friendly options use alternative sweeteners like allulose to give the drink that sweet taste.
Learn More About Healthy Nutrition with Signos’ Expert Advice
The holidays bring the opportunity to celebrate and enjoy many seasonal foods, like the pumpkin in its many forms. While a healthy diet can include all foods, it’s essential to consume them mindfully. Continuous glucose monitoring is a valuable tool in understanding the impact of foods on our systems. Learn more about nutrition and how Signos can improve health through evidence-based technology and expert advice.
Topics discussed in this article:
- FoodData Central. Pumpkin.
- FoodData Central. Butternut Squash.
- Sally. (2022, September 9). Homemade pumpkin pie spice (recipe). Sally’s Baking Addiction. https://sallysbakingaddiction.com/pumpkin-pie-spice/
- Chocolate Covered Katie. (2023, July 13). Keto Pumpkin Bread - the best low carb recipe! https://chocolatecoveredkatie.com/keto-pumpkin-bread/
- Kelly. (2019, September 28). Keto pumpkin donuts - best low carb recipe / paleo / sugar free. Life Made Sweeter. https://lifemadesweeter.com/pumpkin-donuts/
- Kirbie. (2021, December 1). 3 ingredient Keto Pumpkin Cookies. Kirbie’s Cravings. https://kirbiecravings.com/keto-pumpkin-cookies/
- Keto Pumpkin Cheesecake. Gimme Delicious. (2023, October 14). https://gimmedelicious.com/keto-pumpkin-cheesecake/
- Easy Keto Pumpkin Bars. Curbing Carbs. (2021, October 19). https://curbingcarbs.com/keto-pumpkin-bars/
- DeLeeuw, V. (2023, October 9). Keto Pumpkin Pie. Healthy Recipes Blog. https://healthyrecipesblogs.com/keto-crustless-pumpkin-pie/
- Solares, H. (2023, October 13). Keto pumpkin spice ice cream. Fittoserve Group. https://www.fittoservegroup.com/keto-pumpkin-ice-cream/
- Taryn. (2021, October 5). Keto Pumpkin Mousse - low carb, sugar-free, gluten-free, easy. Joy Filled Eats. https://joyfilledeats.com/keto-pumpkin-mousse/#recipe
- MarcAurele, L. (2023, October 23). Easy pumpkin fudge recipe - sugar free and Paleo. Low Carb Yum. https://lowcarbyum.com/easy-pumpkin-fudge-recipe-sugar-free-paleo/
- Agrawal, C. (2019, August 20). Masala roasted pumpkin seeds. Food52. https://food52.com/recipes/19463-masala-roasted-pumpkin-seeds
- FoodData Central. Pumpkin Seeds.
- Taryn. (2022, June 6). Keto butternut squash soup - low carb, gluten-free, 5 ingredients. Joy Filled Eats. https://joyfilledeats.com/keto-butternut-squash-soup/
- MarcAurele, L. (2020, July 3). Savory pumpkin casserole recipe with herbs. Low Carb Yum. https://lowcarbyum.com/savory-pumpkin-casserole-recipe/
- Mullins, B. (2023, June 12). Healthy Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte. Eating Bird Food. https://www.eatingbirdfood.com/healthy-homemade-pumpkin-spice-latte/
- Desrosiers, A. (2022, September 5). Sugar free pumpkin pie martini. Savvy Saving Couple. https://www.savvysavingcouple.net/sugar-free-pumpkin-pie-martini/
- Hulst, P. van der. (2022, September 6). Keto pumpkin cream cold brew. gnom. https://www.gnom-gnom.com/keto-pumpkin-cream-cold-brew/