Appetizer Side dish

Stuffed pumpkin with cheese, bacon and chipotle chiles

Stuffed pumpkin with cheese bacon and chipotle chiles DSC0461

The day before I left for my Texas tour, I made an incredible dish. It was a baked pumpkin stuffed with bread, Gruyere, sharp white cheddar, bacon, chipotle chiles, cream and garlic. After spending some time in the oven, it emerged filled with a rich, savory and spicy filling that was perfect for spooning onto a plate as an autumnal side dish. I was smitten.

After taking photos and writing down my changes to the two recipes I adapted (one from Dorie Greenspan and another from Ian Knauer), I packed my suitcases and focused on signing books instead of blogging. My goal had been to share this with you from the road, but between events I was simply too busy to write. Any mention of it would have to wait.

In my mind, pumpkins are most associated with Halloween and when October ended, I thought I’d missed my opportunity. But when I told my mom about the stuffed pumpkin she said, “We should serve that at Thanksgiving!” And she’s right—it’s not too late and indeed we do!

Stuffed pumpkin with cheese, bacon and chipotle chiles | Homesick Texan

Before we continue talking about this pumpkin, however, please allow me to say a few words about my time in Texas. I can’t tell you how incredible it was meeting so many of you! When you write for a living, you spend much of your time alone in front of a computer, so being able to go out and hear your stories and match faces to familiar names was extremely edifying. What a friendly, smart and generous bunch y’all are!

A big thank you to all who made it out to the events—seeing you definitely made my day! (If you weren’t able to attend and you’d like a signed copy of my book, head on over to my book page for information on how to order one.)

Now back to that pumpkin. They are still in season and if you’re looking for something dramatic to share at the table, then this cheese-stuffed pumpkin with bacon and chipotle chiles will definitely bring both smiles and sighs. Mom had suggested we serve it at Thanksgiving as an appetizer, which will work. But I think it could make for an unusual take on dressing, too.

Stuffed pumpkin with cheese, bacon and chipotle chiles | Homesick Texan

If you’re a fan of nutty melted cheese, crisp bacon and smoky chipotle chiles, then there’s no need to wait until Thanksgiving to enjoy this pumpkin. Sure, it takes some time to bake, but the preparation is a snap. And with just a little planning you can have a festive dish that will bring light and warmth to the table as the days grow shorter and darker.

Stuffed pumpkin with cheese bacon and chipotle chiles DSC0461
5 from 1 vote

Stuffed pumpkin with cheese, bacon and chipotle chiles

Servings 4
Author Adapted by Lisa Fain from recipes by Dorie Greenspan and Ian Knauer


  • One 3-to-4 pound pumpkin
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 4 ounces French bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1/4 pound (1 cup) Gruyere, shredded
  • 1/4 pound (1 cup) white cheddar, shredded
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 or 2 chipotle chiles en adobo, diced (depending on how fiery you want it)
  • 1/4 pound cooked bacon, crumbled
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Small pinch of nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream or half-and-half
  • French bread slices, for serving


  1. Arrange a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350° F. Line a 9×13 casserole pan or baking pan with foil or parchment paper.

  2. With a sharp knife, cut a circle around the pumpkin stem about 1 inch away from the stem. Remove the top and clean out the seeds and stringy bits from inside the pumpkin. (You can save the seeds for roasting, if you like.) Lightly salt and pepper the inside of the pumpkin.
  3. Toss together the bread cubes, shredded Gruyere, shredded cheddar, garlic, diced chipotle chiles and cooked bacon, and stuff into the pumpkin. Stir the cumin and nutmeg into the cream, adding a bit of salt and black pepper to taste. Pour cream mixture into pumpkin over bread and cheese.
  4. Place the top back on the pumpkin, and place the pumpkin into the baking pan. Bake for 1 1/2 hour to 2 hours or until filling is brown and bubbling. To serve, remove the top and spoon out portions of the filling along with bits of the cooked pumpkin. You can either leave it in the pan, or by using the foil or parchment paper, you can carefully lift it out of the pan and place it on a platter. Serve warm with sliced French bread for serving.

  1. katrynka

    Looks really yummy! Do you use an ordinary pumpkin, or a cooking pumpkin?

  2. Lisa Fain

    Katrynka–A cooking pumpkin that was labelled a sugar pumpkin.

  3. I've made a version of this from Ruth Reichl's memoirs, and it was really tasty, but I think a nip of chile would give it the perfect jolt in flavor. And conveniently I have all the necessary ingredients in my kitchen right now- sounds like a great way to use up some of my CSA pumpkins.

    BTW, I got not one, but TWO copies of your cookbook for my birthday last month, and I'm really enjoying it! It's funny that two separate people saw it at the bookstore and thought it was the perfect gift for this Houstonian living in Cambridge MA.

  4. Rebecca Little

    Hi! I just found your site via Smitten Kitchen. I am also a homesick Texan. I used to love going to Neiman's downtown for tea, eating chili at Tolbert's, and having burgers and fries at Snuffer's. Can't wait to try your recipes and read along.

  5. Bettina

    Oh my goodness does this sound delicious. I'm already trying to scheme up how I can convince my family to eat this (they are far less into food than I)!

  6. Raquel.Somatra

    I literally encountered my first stuffed baked pumpkin recipe this morning at the library via Nigella's Christmas cookbook… and now this! It's a sign! Though I think I prefer yours… chipotle chilis have a special place in my heart.

  7. Gretchen

    I saw Dorie's stuffed pumpkin recipe in her cookbook that my sister gave me for Christmas last year, but haven't had the nerve to try it yet. I keep thinking of the weird "hen in a pumpkin" dish that one of the Hell's Kitchen contestants made awhile ago as his "signature dish."

  8. Anonymous

    Can't wait to make for company next week. Have wanted to bake something in a pumpkin for years, but never saw anything that grabbed me until this.

  9. Jenn in Philly

    This looks so delicious. I need to try it!

  10. Lisa Fain

    Cycler–Chiles make everything better! And if you have two copies of my book, you can do what my grandma does–she keeps one in the kitchen and one on the coffee table.

    Rebecca–Do you remember the Neiman Marcus Fortnights?

    Bettina–Tell them there's bacon in it! Everyone loves bacon!

    Raquel–It is a sign!

    Getchen–Apparently, people cook lots of things in pumpkins.

  11. Lisa Fain

    Giulia–Vous êtes les bienvenus.

  12. Lisa Fain

    Anon–Hope you enjoy it!

    Jenn–Yes, you do!

  13. Roasting the pumpkin seeds and putting them in the stuffing might be an interesting addition. For that matter, so would mushrooms.

  14. Lisa Fain

    Janus–Those are great ideas!

  15. Farmer Jen

    Fancy! Yum!

  16. Andrea the Kitchen Witch

    A friend of mine sent me a link to your site today for this pumpkin recipe. Immediately I knew I had to make it, it sounds amazing!! I'm making it tomorrow for lunch and I'm so excited 🙂 Thanks for sharing this recipe!

  17. Rebecca Little

    Oh my, Fortnight! I haven't thought of that in ages! I don't know if I ever experienced one though.

  18. I might also mention that my mom always makes cornbread dressing for Thanksgiving and Christmas, so cornbread would be a good addition, as well as whatever else you put in your dressing.

  19. Claudia

    I've come to you late! But currently making your carnitas with not much fat (I know – it'll work though) and your spicy buttermilk dressing for coleslaw (another thing I never make – but you do entice). Will be trying the pumpkin – it's so rich – it balances the gray and coming cold of winter.

  20. Wow, this lookss delicious. The Chipotle chilis make it look like every single bit would be a wonderful mouthful of flavors. Bravo!

  21. I have been wanting to stuff and bake a pumpkin for a while, and this recipe is teh perfect excuse to finally do it! I love the flavors here – sweet and spicy and rich and wonderful!

  22. Shannon

    This looks tasty! And what a showpiece this would be for Thanksgiving!

  23. Kathryn O

    I've been wanting to bake something in a pumpkin and your recipe is calling my name with the bacon and chiles. Stunning!

  24. Sassy Molassy

    I am adding this to our Thanksgiving menu! About how much of a baguette would 4 ounces be?

  25. Lisa Fain

    Farmer Jen–It is!

    Andrea–Hope you enjoyed it!

    Rebecca–It should definitely be experienced once!

    Janus–Yes it would!

    Claudia–I'm all for anything to combat the grey of winter!

    Dee–There's very little not improved with some chipotle.

    Katie–Have fun with it!

    Shannon–That's what my mom said!

    Kathryn–You can never go wrong with bacon and chipotles!

    Sassy Molassy–About 8 inches or so.

  26. How the heck can anyone say no to something like this? Bacon, cheese, chipotles? Yes, please.

    Thanksgiving appetizer or side dish? Heck, I'm thinking this looks like a meal to me 😉

  27. This looks divine! And I also wanted to tell you that I heard you on a podcast…I think it was the KCRW podcast but I might be getting my wires crossed. Regardless, I loved hearing about your yearning for Tex Mex when you moved to New York. And I also wanted to tell you that I recently went to a high school band competition to watch my daughter perform. It was in Southwestern Ohio and they had FRITO PIES there. I had to ask someone what they were because I'd never heard of them, and now I've seen them several places since. I hope they aren't a dying breed because I thought they were great.

  28. I have 2 pie pumpkins right now. Maybe I'll stuff one and try it now and see if my family likes it. Not sure if they will last until Thanksgiving.

  29. Anonymous

    This was so delicious! Another homesick Texan in Montreal approves!

  30. the actor's diet

    i've been thinking a lot lately about stuffing a pumpkin. would make such an impressive t'giving veggie main course!

  31. Mad North Northwest

    I also found you via Smitten Kitchen, and I want to try to make this recipe ASAP! One question–I'm gluten-free, so what might be a good substitute for the French bread?

  32. Lisa Fain

    Mad North Northwest–You could use gluten-free bread, gluten-free cornbread or rice, i reckon.

  33. Anonymous


    Not a big fan of Pumpkin as a savoury dish ususally, but the adding of cumin, chili, bacon & cheese raise it to a rather yummmy flavour.
    Our pumpkins here in England though are a tad on the small side (3 lbs if I'm lucky) so had to cut the amount put in, but now I'm a pumpkin savoury convert!
    Thanks muchly for the recipe!

    Jerry Hendy

  34. Anonymous

    I just made a vegetarian version of this for a Friendsgiving potluck (I left out the bacon and upped the chipotles) – sooo delicious, and the first dish cleared off the table!

  35. Anonymous

    I made this a couple of weeks ago for my husband and I – we had a small baking pumpkin so I cut the recipe in half and it was an awesome side dish for our smoked baby back ribs. I am doing another one for Thanksgiving and plan to add dired cranberries, I think it will pair well with the chipolte! Its also a very pretty dish!!

  36. We made this for the first time and were so pleased with the results. I like the suggestions above to add in the roasted seeds or cranberries. May make one of those updates next time! Thanks for this wonderful recipe!

  37. Emily, Dallas,TX

    This was an EXCELLENT addition to our Thanksgiving dinner. My husband gave it to my mom as her contribution recipe for the meal – so yummy and good leftovers at brunch this morning too. Plus, you get roasted pumpkin seeds to boot!

    Thank you!!

  38. Anonymous

    made it for thanksgiving and it was visually stunning AND tasty! thanks (hope Santa brings me your book)

  39. Josie Decker, RN

    Wow! this was awesome! We've had this sugar pumpkin sitting in our kitchen for a month and I just wasn't into baking with it. So tried out your recipe and am blown away! It's delicious! Thank you!

  40. Nickie H

    Hi! I stumbled on your website and I cannot wait to make this! I LOVE how elegant it looks and the flavors sound amazing. I now have one more reason to be excited over our trip to the pumpkin patch!

    In fact I loved it so much I featured it on my Top 15 easiest, cheapest, and quickest Fall recipes list.

  41. Texan in Deutschland

    Wow, just now finding this! Sounds amazing, and I love cooking with pumpkin. In Germany they have a pumpkin they love cooking with, can't remember the name of it, but it is more tall, rather than round. If it will stand up well, I am thinking it would be great for this. You don't have to peel it normally when cooking for soups and such, so I am thinking it could just be sliced up into servings once done. I am looking forward to trying it! Thanks for all the wonderful recipes. I tend to put a Texan twist to just about everything I cook.

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