Fruits That Look Like Pumpkins


Fruit that looks like pumpkin, but there are a few. Pumpkins themselves are fruits anyway! These fruits may look like they have more in common with the orange, yellow, and greenish-orange vegetable pumpkins than another fruit you would eat on its own or incorporate into your favorite recipes. But pumpkins do fall into the cucurbit family of vegetables and melons which includes squash, cucumbers, gourds, and watermelons. The parts of pumpkins that can be eaten are the same as other squashes and melons too.


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Fruits Like Pumpkin

Do you look forward to pumpkin spice season every autumn? Or are you more of a pumpkin soup lover? However you like this amazing gourd, you’re in luck: we’ve put together a list of 10 fruits like pumpkin for you to fall in love with too.


Kabocha is a delicious, firm-fleshed squash that tastes like sweet pumpkin. Since it holds its shape when cooked, it’s ideal for tempura or stir-fried dishes, and is as good with savory seasonings as it is in baked goods.

If you’d rather put its sweetness to good use in desserts, try it as a substitute in your favorite pumpkin pie recipe. Alternatively, you can try using it in vegan pumpkin ice cream.


This is one of the most delicious winter squashes around. Its skin is a fascinating gray-blue color, which juxtaposes amazingly against the bright orange interior. The flesh tastes a lot like pumpkin, only with a deeper, nuttier flavor.

You don’t need to add many seasonings when you cook this squash. Just roast the slices with a bit of Earth Balance and salt, then mash them, or puree them into soup with your favorite vegetable stock.


Butternut is one of the most common winter squashes you’re likely to find. It’s available in supermarkets worldwide, and is as versatile as it is delicious.

Most people can’t tell the difference between this squash and pumpkin when it’s cooked. Try it in a curry with spinach, or sauteed with garlic and salt as a filling in ravioli.


This enormous, blue-green, warty squash hails from Bolivia and Peru. It’s an ancient variety that grows well just about everywhere, and can reach up to 20lbs in size.

Crespo tastes the same way large pumpkins do: less sweet, and more savory and watery. You can carve this variety into Jack o’Lanterns for Halloween, and then transform the insides into soup or stew.


Originally grown by the Lakota Sioux people, this pear-shaped, bright orange squash was traded with European settlers and naturalized all over the country. Most notably, it was established at Fort Atkinson in Nebraska during the early 1800s, where it became a beloved staple food.

It has sweet, pumpkin-like flesh with a rich, nutty flavor. Although it can be used in sweet dishes, it really shines in soups, stews, and other savory meals.


Okay, so this Chinese gourd is fascinating because you can eat it two different ways. When it’s immature, it’s bright lime green and looks like a spray-painted pumpkin. At this stage of development, it’s quite soft and tastes like zucchini when you cook it.

In contrast, it darkens to a beige-orange hue when mature, at which point it tastes just like pumpkin. Isn’t that amazing? One squash, two different ways. Best of all? It thrives in growing zones 4-11, so you can grow it just about anywhere.


This North African fruit is part pumpkin, part squash, yet neither. It tastes like a cross between pumpkin and acorn squash, with rich, tender, sweet flesh that lends well to just about any recipe.

Just know that if you grow it yourself, you’ll need to grant it a LOT of space. These plants get absolutely huge, and produce rather prolifically. This is good news for pumpkin lovers, but don’t expect to be able to walk around your yard until they’re all harvested.


As its name indicates, the Iran squash hails from Persia. If you like sweet pumpkin dishes, then definitely add this rare heirloom to your growing list. It’s one of the sweetest edible gourds out there, so you’ll either need to use it in desserts, or counteract its sweetness in savory dishes.

Try it in vegan pumpkin “cheesecake”, or pudding, or fudge. Or anything else that will satisfy your sweet tooth!


This pink squash comes from Brazil, where it’s treasured for its use in all manner of savory dishes. In fact, many stews are cooked inside the hollowed-out shell! The flesh is seasoned and mixed with various ingredients, which are then baked (and served) right in it

Although most traditional moranga stews incorporate seafood, you can make vegan versions with hearts of palm, potatoes, and fried plantains instead.


Last but not least, we have Marina Di Chioggia. This winter gourd is one of the weirdest fruits you’ll ever come across. It has bumpy, toad-like green skin and deep reddish-orange flesh that’s deliciously sweet and “meaty”.

It’s known as “sea squash” because it was grown in lagoon-rich areas around Venice. It thrived in the regions where salt marshes were drained, and the fruits were sold right out of people’s gondolas and other boats to those waiting for it on the boardwalk. It’s an extraordinary heirloom variety that tastes much better than it looks!

How excited are you to try out these varieties? Additionally, there are some honorable mentions that you may want to taste while you’re at it.

Although they’re not fruits (so they didn’t make their way onto this list), check out sweet potatoes, yams, yucca, and cassava roots. They all have a similar mealy texture to pumpkins, and can be used alongside them, or as an alternative to them. Try them roasted, mashed, baked into pies and muffins, or any other way you can imagine.

Gourd Family (Cucurbitaceae)

Assorted Melons & Squash

Assorted melons & squash: A. Pumpkin, B. Watermelon, C. Crenshaw Melon, D. Cantaloupe, E. Honeydew Melon, F. Spaghetti Squash. The squash and pumpkin are varieties of Cucurbita pepo, while the melons & canteloupe are varieties of Cucumis melo. The watermelon is a variety of Citrullus lanatus (var. lanatus).

Cucumis: Cucumbers, Teasel Gourd & Horned Cucumber

Ripe pickle cucumbers (Cucumis sativus). Pickles are made from cucumber varieties such as the “gherkin” which have smaller fruits, a thin flesh and numerous seeds. The fruits are soaked in a brine soltion. Depending on the type of pickles, a boiling water-vinegar solution (containing other spices) is poured over the pickles. [Lactic acid fermentation by bacteria (Lactobacillus plantarum) is also responsible for the acidity and flavor of some pickles as well as sauerkraut.] In dill pickles, the spice dill (Anethum graveolens, Apiaceae) is also added to give them a special flavor. Sugar is added to the boiling water-vinegar solution in sweet pickles.

Teasel cucumber or teasel gourd (Cucumis dipsaceus), another curious species of Cucumis with yellowish fruits covered with a dense layer of soft spines. The common name is derived from its superficial resemblance to the spiny fruit bur of the teasel plant (Dipsacus sativus), a member of the teasel family (Dipsacaceae) shown in next photo. The teasel gourd is native to northeastern tropical Africa and is cultivated throught the world as an ornamental. It is naturalized in the Hawaiian islands and in the Cape region of Baja California. The spiny African horned cucumber or hedgehog gourd (C. metuliferus) is another species of Cucumis grown as an ornamental and as food. The numerous varieties of delicious melons also belong to the genus Cucumis. Most melons are considered to be varieties of Cucumis melo.

Teasel burs (Dipsacus sativus). In real life they do not hatch from eggs. This plant does not belong to the gourd family (Cucurbitaceae) and is not related to the teasel cucumber.

The spiny African horned cucumber or hedgehog gourd (Cucumis metuliferus) is also grown as a decorative ornamental gourd and as food. The exocarp is covered with distinctive spiny protuberances. It is often sold in supermarkets in the United States. It supposedly has a banana-lime flavor and is used in fruit salads, sundaes and drinks.

Is Pumpkin a Fruit? Here’s Everything You Need to Know

While pumpkin may be one of the most beloved fall foods, you can be forgiven for not knowing whether pumpkin is a fruit or a vegetable. Whether you love pumpkin for your blue-ribbon pumpkin pie recipe every Thanksgiving, crave it for your near-perfect pumpkin bread recipe, or let it serve as the key ingredient in your go-to fall drink—the fan-favorite pumpkin spice latte—pumpkin is as ubiquitous with fall as any other food. But is pumpkin a fruit or vegetable?

What makes pumpkin a fruit?

According to Encyclopedia Britannica, fruit is defined “in its strict botanical sense” as “the fleshy or dry ripened ovary of a plant, enclosing the seed or seeds.”

Frankly—and at the risk of being labeled as pumpkin conspiracy theorists—we’re here to confess that we’re just not buying it. Sure, fine, we get it. Pumpkin does fit that scientific encyclopedic description to a tee. Fleshy: check. Contains seeds: check. But does that really mean we should run around calling our round jack-o-lantern friends fruit?

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One last thing: If pumpkins are fruit, that would mean practically anything with an enclosed seed would qualify as a fruit, right? We’re looking at you, avocados, olives, peppers, and beans. What’s that, you say? All those foods are fruits, too? Mind. Blown.

What’s the difference between a gourd and a pumpkin?

The thing we call a pumpkin is, in fact, a type of squash. But it’s also a gourd, mainly due to the fact that it’s used as both an ingredient and as a decorative piece.

Here’s the gist of what you should know: Many squashes are gourds. But not all gourds are squashes.

is a pumpkin a fruit

Gourds are usually smaller and harder-skinned, and are more often used for decoration than as a cooking ingredient. But squash (aka pumpkins) and gourds both belong to the Cucurbitaceae family, which includes almost 1,000 species, including the winter and summer squashes you know and love, as well as cucumbers, watermelon, honeydew, and more.

So are gourds fruit?

Yes, all gourds are fruit. In fact, all the name really means is that the specific flowering plant species to which it refers often (but not always!) share a hard, dried-out shell. We repeat: All gourds are fruits.

is a pumpkin a fruit

Is pumpkin a berry?

You’re one step ahead of us. But, yes. A pumpkin is technically a berry. The word “berry” is define as “simple, fleshy fruit that usually has many seeds” and actually encompasses a whole lot more than you may have previously thought. Pumpkins aren’t the only surprising member of this delicious family: Under that definition, watermelon, cucumbers, bananas, and tomatoes are also berries.

What is the Difference Between Pumpkin and Squash

The main difference between pumpkin and squash is that the pumpkin stem is hard and jagged, while the squash stem is light and hollow.

There are more than a hundred different varieties of edible pumpkins and squashes grown in the world. Both pumpkins and squashes belong to the genus Cucurbita. Both are fruits growing on vines. Therefore, if you want to identify the difference between pumpkin and squash, you have to look closely.

What is Pumpkin

Pumpkin is an orange or yellow fruit that is popular worldwide due to its hundreds of culinary uses. It is a delicious autumn fruit that is extremely nutritious. Pumpkin flesh, seeds, and leaves are all edible. In fact, pumpkin seeds are an excellent source of fatty acids, and they render energy necessary for body metabolism and muscle contractions. Besides, it is low in calories. Also, pumpkin is an extremely versatile fruit, and it can be cooked into both sweet and savoury dishes. 

Pumpkin vs Squash

Farmers all over the world grow different varieties of pumpkins except in Antarctica. There are many pumpkin varieties across the globe. Jack-o’-lantern, pie pumpkins, miniature pumpkins, white pumpkins and giant pumpkins are some of them.

Furthermore, in the United States, many pumpkin varieties are canned and sold. Pumpkins are native to North America, and they are craved into jack-o’-lanterns for Halloween and cooked into delicious pies as a traditional Thanksgiving dessert in Canada and the United States.

What is Squash

Squash is a fruit similar to pumpkins. However, squash has a light and hollow stem when compared to pumpkin. There are different winter and summer squashes such as butternut, acorn, delicata, hubbard, kabocha, spaghetti squashes, and zucchini. 

Compare Pumpkin and Squash

Most varieties of squash have bright colours. They taste both mild or savoury. Therefore, they are used both as fruits and vegetables. Some species of squash share a mild sweetness, although they are not as sweet as typical fruits. Most squash varieties possess an earthy flavour and are prepared as a savoury ingredient alongside other vegetables. Apart from zucchini and yellow summer squash, other squash types are not usually consumed raw. However, summer squash is frequently used in baked food items and also as a low-carb alternative for noodles. In brief, both winter and summer squashes are packed with nutrients such as fibre, vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin C, and potassium.

Similarities Between Pumpkin and Squash

  • Pumpkins and squash both belong to the genus Cucurbita of the family Cucurbitaceae.
  • Both Eastern and Western chefs use these fruits to make various types of sweet and savoury dishes.
  • These fruits give you high nutrients beneficial for your overall health.
  • Both pumpkins and squashes grow on vines.

Difference Between Pumpkin and Squash


Pumpkin is a fruit of the genus Cucurbita with a hard and jagged stem, while squash is a fruit from the same genus with a less firm and hollow stem.


While pumpkin seeds are a rich source of fatty acids, squash seeds are rich in fibre and protein content.


There are many pumpkin varieties across the world, such as jack-o’-lantern, pie pumpkins, miniature pumpkins, white pumpkins and giant pumpkins. There are different winter and summer squashes such as butternut, acorn, delicata, pumpkin, hubbard, kabocha and spaghetti squashes.

Sweet or Savory

Pumpkins are equally used in both savoury and sweet dishes like soups, pies, curries, cakes, puddings, etc. However, apart from summer squash varieties, others are usually served as savoury ingredients alongside other vegetables.

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