What Are Pumpkin Fritters?

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  • Written By: Angie Bates
  • Edited By: John Allen
  • Last Modified Date: 11 January 2020
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Pumpkin fritters are chunks of pumpkin combined with seasonings in a batter and then deep fried. A version called Peruvian picarones creates a more dough-like batter and shapes the fritters into rings before deep frying. Pumpkin fritters can be sweet or spicy and are often served with syrup or dipping sauce.

Mashed, grated, or pureed pumpkin is normally used for pumpkin fritters. Although canned pumpkin can be used, fresh pumpkin is often suggested. When fresh pumpkin is used, it is usually grated and then may be sprinkled with salt and allowed to rest. This step removes some excess water from the pumpkin and helps to avoid runny fritters. Additional water can be squeezed out of the pumpkin before its mixed with the other ingredients.

In addition to pumpkin, flour, baking powder, eggs, and spices are normally included in pumpkin fritters. Spice choices determine whether the fritter will be sweet or spicy. Cinnamon, cloves, and sugar can be included for sweet fritters, whereas curry, cilantro, black pepper, and jalapeños can be used for spicy versions. Some versions may also include walnuts, raisins, milk, or orange zest. Doughier versions will add yeast.


To make non-yeast pumpkin fritters, the chosen ingredients are thoroughly mixed together. The resulting batter is then dropped, usually by the spoonful, into hot oil and deep fried. Yeast-based fritters require first dissolving the yeast in warm water, then combining the flour, baking powder, and sugar if used. After those ingredients are mixed, the rest can be added and a dough is formed. The dough is covered and allowed to rise before it can be shaped into rings or into balls and fried.

Vegetable, canola, or sunflower oil are all options in which to fry pumpkin fritters. Olive oil is not normally suggested because it has its own distinct flavor which can affect the flavor of the finished product. To deep fry, the oil should be extremely hot before the batter is spooned into the pot. The fritters are normally completely submerged in the oil while cooking.

Frying takes several minutes, and the resulting fritters should be a golden brown when complete. Once cooked, pumpkin fritters should be removed with a slotted spoon and placed on a paper towel to drain. They are best when served immediately. Sweet fritters can be served with syrups, such as maple, or cinnamon and sugar. Spicier versions are better paired with dipping sauces such as tomato chutney or baconnaise.


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