Easy-cheesy pumpkin dip

Guest post by RedSquirrel (Marisa)
A kabocha squash. Photo by Joi Ito - CC BY 2.0
A kabocha squash. Photo by Joi ItoCC BY 2.0

Since it’s that time of year when squash is cheap and plentiful, I picked up a kabocha squash (a.k.a. Japanese pumpkin) and decided to make something with it for Thanksgiving dinner.

Maybe I’m a weirdo, but I don’t like pumpkin pie or any other vegetable-as-dessert type things, so I figured I’d make something savoury. Anything with cheese tends to be a winner, and with the stripe-y pumpkin-bowl the dip is baked in, you can gain bonus points for fancy-ass presentation.

This dip is easy to make, but takes a bit longer due to roasting a whole squash. I made it a day in advance, then just popped it into the oven to heat it until it was a bubbling cauldron of cheesy goodness.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 small pie pumpkin or kabocha (Japanese pumpkin)
  • 1 brick (250g) cream cheese
  • 1 cup parmesan or asiago cheese, grated
  • 5 cloves garlic, roasted
  • 1 tbsp butter or margarine
  • 3/4 cup finely diced mushrooms
  • 1/2 an onion, finely diced
  • 1 tsp thyme or sage
  • 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup milk
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Slice the top off the pumpkin, scoop out the seeds and goopy stuff.
  3. Spritz inside of the pumpkin and its top with oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  4. Place pumpkin and lid onto foil-covered baking sheet, cut side down.
  5. Roast for 20-45 minutes (depending on the size of the pumpkin) until tender.
  6. While pumpkin is roasting, saute mushrooms, onions and thyme in butter until golden brown.
  7. Scoop out approximately 1 cup’s worth of cooked pumpkin into a large mixing bowl.
  8. Cut cream cheese into chunks, microwave until softened (about 1 minute)
  9. Add cream cheese, mushroom/onion mix, roasted garlic, milk and parmesan to the mashed pumpkin, and stir together until well-combined. Add more milk if needed.
  10. Season with salt and pepper, and pour mixture into the hollowed-out pumpkin.
  11. Bake at 400 degrees for 30-45 minutes until bubbling, then broil on high for 5 minutes until browned.
  12. Serve with crackers or crusty bread.

Comments on Easy-cheesy pumpkin dip

  1. I was planning on bringing a cheese ball or dip to our Halloween potluck and was wondering what flavors could make it yummy. Now I’m thinking of pairing it with that acorn squash I had already picked up. Thanks for the idea! 🙂

  2. Ok, some technial questions because I’m having trouble visualizing this:

    “2.Slice the top off the pumpkin, scoop out the seeds and goopy stuff.”
    Just like you would a Halloween pumpkin for carving? I think I’m being confused by the image at the top which shows a kabocha cut lenghtwise.

    “4.Place pumpkin and lid onto foil-covered baking sheet, cut side down. ”
    You mean we replace the lid on the pumpkin and then turn the whole thing upside down to put on the baking sheet? So we have to cut the pumpkin’s stem off before we can do that, right? So it will actually hold in place.

    A minimum of 50 minutes of cooking for a small pumpkin seems like a lot. Is the end result overall squishy? Would it be difficult to transfer to a plate?

    I’m sorry for all the questions; I need a lot of precisions for recipes like this. It sounds so yummy, I want to make it for our party on Saturday.

    • I’m not sure (didn’t write the recipe, have never done this), but for #2 I envision, just like for pumpkin carving.

      For #4, I envision placing the lid cut side down on the baking sheet, and probably place the body of the pumpkin next to it, probably upside down so that cut side is down. However, I could see placing the body right side up too.

    • Sorry for the confusion! This recipe was sort of made up as I went along, and I may have forgotten crucial info due to my winging-it-and-writing-it-down-later style of cooking, haha!

      2. Yes, slice the top off the pumpkin like you’re going to carve it, and scoop out the seeds and stringy stuff. The editors picked that picture because the ones I submitted didn’t turn out so well!

      4. I flipped the pumpkin upside down on the baking sheet, and placed the lid cut-side down beside it…you don’t need to roast the lid, I just did because it had a lot of pumpkin-meat on it and mashed it up.

      Regarding timing…it really varies depending on how big the pumpkin is. The one I picked was about 10″ in diameter (was feeding a crowd of about 20 people with big appetites), and took around 45 minutes to roast until it was soft enough to mash but not too mushy.

      Hope this helps! 😀

  3. I want to eat this so much all the time. I love love love kabocha and all types of squash, but I am not a huge fan of pumpkin desserts.

    I did southwestern stuffed acorn squash for dinner last night. They were stuffed with a combination of turkey sausage, black beans, tomatoes, and cheese. We then used tortillas to eat out the squash and filling together and it was sooo delicious.

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