Pumpkin Recipes:
Pumpkin Supper Surprise

Looking for some unusual pumpkin recipes? Pumpkin Supper Surprise is a delicious baked stuffed pumpkin recipe. It's fun to cook and serve your dinner in a pumpkin shell!

pumpkin recipes

The first time I made this, we had two surprises: we were surprised at how delicious it was, and we were surprised that the pickiest eater in our family asked for seconds!

I use a small pumpkin, about 6 inches/15 cm in diameter. If your pumpkin is larger, you can double the amount of filling.

I wouldn't use a pumpkin much larger than a soccer ball. You need a pumpkin that will fit into your largest pot.

Be sure to cook the rice ahead of time - or use leftover rice.

Check that you have these staples at home

  • in the cupboard

    • olive oil
    • white basmati rice
    • cider vinegar
    • pepper
    • garlic
    • raisins

  • in the fridge or freezer

    • ground beef
    • onions
    • ketchup
    • eggs

Buy these fresh ingredients

  • a small pumpkin
  • apples

Get out your equipment

  • Essential

    • a sharp knife
    • a large spoon for scooping out the pulp
    • a large pot
    • a skillet
    • a mixing spoon
    • a cutting board
    • measuring cups and spoons
    • a small bowl and a fork (for beating the egg)
    • a roasting pan or large baking pan
    • aluminum foil (unless you use the pumpkin lid)
    • oven mitts

  • Nice to have but not necessary

    • a rice cooker (if not, cook the rice in a pot on the stove)

    The recipe

    1 small pumpkin

    1 tsp/5 mL olive oil

    1 lb/500 g ground beef

    1 cup/250 mL finely chopped onion

    1/2 cup/125 mL cooked rice

    1 tsp/5 mL olive oil

    1/2 tsp/2 mL cider vinegar

    1/2 tsp/2 mL pepper

    2 cloves garlic, pressed

    1/2 cup/125 mL raisins

    1/2 cup/125 mL diced apple

    1/4 cup/60 mL ketchup

    1 egg, beaten

    Cut off the top of the pumpkin as though you were planning to make a jack-o-lantern.

    Scoop out the seeds and pulp.
    Scrape most of the stringiness from the sides.

    Place the pumpkin in a large pot and cover it with water.
    If the pumpkin lid fits in the pot, put it in too.
    If it won't fit, discard it.

    Bring to a boil.
    Reduce heat and simmer until the pumpkin is quite tender but is still able to hold its shape well (about 30 minutes).

    While the pumpkin cooks...

    Preheat the oven to 350F/180C.

    Heat the first amount of oil in a large skillet.
    Add the ground beef and onion, and cook until the onion is tender and the beef is no longer pink.
    Add the cooked rice, second amount of oil, vinegar, pepper, garlic, raisins, apple and ketchup.
    Cook over low heat, stirring, for about 10 minutes.
    Add the egg.
    Mix well.

    When the pumpkin is ready, drain it (carefully!) and place it in a large baking pan or roasting pan.
    Fill the pumpkin with the beef mixture.
    Cover the opening with aluminum foil (or with the pumpkin lid, if you cooked it and if it will fit).
    Bake for one hour.

    To serve, cut the filled pumpkin into wedges and place each wedge (with filling) on a plate.
    Eat everything except the pumpkin skin.


    • Use another vegetable oil in place of the olive oil.

    • Use any variety of rice in place of the white basmati.

    • Use another vinegar in place of the cider vinegar.

    • Use plain tomato sauce, or diluted tomato paste, in place of the ketchup.

    Ideas for making this recipe your own

    • Try using another ground meat instead of ground beef. How about ground turkey or chicken, or ground pork? For a vegetarian option, you could even use a soy "just like ground meat" product.

    • Experiment with different dried fruit in place of the raisins. How about currants, or dried cranberries?


    • Don't have eggs on hand? You can leave out the beaten egg. The filling won't hold together as well, but it will still be delicious.

    • To drain the pumpkin, put on your oven mitts. Carry the large pot - very carefully! - to the sink and gently pour off the water. Still wearing the oven mitts, gently pick up the pumpkin and pour out any remaining water. (I've tried lifting the pumpkin out with large spoons, but it is so soft that it tears.) Your oven mitts will get damp, but that's okay. They will dry!

    • Pumpkins are usually plentiful and inexpensive at the end of October. Buy several, and store them in a cool place to use in this and other pumpkin recipes.

    This has become our favorite of all our pumpkin recipes.

    If you enjoy this recipe too, you may also like these other pumpkin recipes: