Pumpkin vs Sweet Potato: A Complete Comparison

Both pumpkin and sweet potato are versatile vegetables used in a variety of dishes. If you’re wondering which one to choose, let’s answer the question, what’s the difference between pumpkins and sweet potatoes?

Sweet potatoes come from the convolvulacea family while pumpkin comes from the winter squash family. Both go well with almost any type of dish but pumpkins are better used in desserts. Sweet potatoes are soft and stringy while pumpkins are creamier.

This article will dive deep into all the comparisons possible between the two. You won’t want to miss the nutritional comparison or find out which one is healthier or better for weight loss.

Pumpkin vs. Sweet Potato: Nutritional Values

Sweet potato on the left and pumpkin on the right.
Sweet potato on the left and pumpkin on the right

As a Certified Health Coach many clients ask me about food comparisons including sweet potatoes and pumpkin. Therefore, I have researched this topic in the past and present. I consume both of them myself. Let’s examine them closely starting with nutrients.

The nutritional value speaks more about the vegetable than anything else. Knowing what you can expect to get out of your vegetables can help you better plan your meals.

Therefore, let’s take a look at a quick rundown of the nutritional values between these two, and then we will discuss them in more detail1.

Pumpkin and Sweet Potato Nutritional Values

Nutrient Pumpkin
(1 Cup, raw)
Sweet Potato
(1 Cup, raw)
Calories 30.2 114
Fat 0.1g 0.1g
Protein 1.2g 2.1g
Carbohydrates 7.5g 26.8g
Fiber 0.6g 4.0g
Sugar 1.6g 5.6g
Vitamin A 8,567 IU 18,866 IU
Vitamin C 10.4mg 3.2mg
Vitamin B6 0.1mg 0.3mg
Magnesium 13.9mg 33.2mg
Potassium 394mg 448mg
Copper 0.1mg 0.2mg
Manganese 0.1mg 0.3mg
Iron 0.9mg 0.8mg

Sweet potato contains more vitamin A, Vitamin B6, magnesium, potassium, copper, manganese and fiber than pumpkins. Pumpkins contain more vitamin C and iron. 

Sweet potatoes contain many more calories and carbohydrates2. This may be important for those looking to consume a low-carb diet like Keto. 

On the other hand, healthy carbohydrates like the ones from sweet potatoes, brown rice and oatmeal are good for you3.

Pumpkin vs. Sweet Potato: Which is Healthier?

Both pumpkins and sweet potatoes have health benefits4. It is important to remember the nutritional values can seem misleading when you compare them with each other. Just because one has more sugar, fat or carbs than the other doesn’t make it bad for you.

This comparison leads us to the question, which is healthier, pumpkins or sweet potatoes?

Sweet potatoes are healthier than pumpkins because they contain more magnesium, potassium, fiber, copper and vitamins A and B6. Sweet potatoes provide antioxidants like beta-carotene which helps support the immune system.

While pumpkin may seem like the healthier option because it has fewer calories and carbs, it is vital to remember it has fewer vitamins than a sweet potato.

Although pumpkin is a healthy option also and provides a large amount of vitamin C and other minerals. For these reasons, it is recommended having a healthy portion of both sweet potato and pumpkin in your diet every week5.

Find out how Russet potatoes compared to red potatoes in my article, Red Potatoes vs Russet Potatoes: The Differences.

One of my favorite recipes, fries made with sweet potatoes.
One of my favorite recipes fries made with sweet potatoes

Pumpkin vs. Sweet Potato: Which is Best for Weight Loss?

Let’s examine whether or not you should eat pumpkin or sweet potato if you are trying to lose weight.

Pumpkin is better for weight loss because it contains less calories and sugar than sweet potatoes. One cup of pumpkin contains 30 calories while sweet potato contains 114. 

For calorie deficits, pumpkin is the better option. If you are on a diet resembling the keto diet, pumpkin has fewer carbs per 100 grams than sweet potato and is the better option.

In terms of fat, both sweet potato and pumpkin have similar values and you’ll get similar results in that respect6.

At the end of the day, if you are trying to lose weight, eating a healthy amount of pumpkin is a smart decision. At the same time, having sweet potatoes in moderation is not going to make someone gain weight7.

Find out how potato and rice nutritional values compared in my article, Potato vs. Rice Nutrition: Which is Better?

Sweet Potato vs. Pumpkin Taste and Texture

Both of these vegetables are healthy and contain many nutrients. Therefore, the taste and texture of each one may make a difference to you when choosing one for a meal. 

  • Sweet Potatoes have a soft stringy texture. When boiled or baked without seasoning, sweet potatoes have a sweet, starchy flavor. 
  • Pumpkins are usually smooth and creamy. They can be bitter. It is for this reason that most people add sugar or other spices when used for desserts.

My Taste Test at Home

To compare the taste of both I set up a blind taste test at home. Both foods were cooked and seasoned the same way.

The taste test consisted of four people. Three people, 75%, chose the taste of sweet potatoes over pumpkin.

chopped pumpkin

A popular debate about sweet potatoes is if it’s better than regular. Find out the answer in my article, Are Sweet Potatoes Healthier Than Regular Potatoes?

Can You Substitute Sweet Potato for Pumpkin?

There may come a time when you are looking to make a dish requiring either pumpkin or sweet potato but you don’t have all the ingredients you need.

This will make you wonder, can you can substitute pumpkin for sweet potato or sweet potatoes for pumpkin?

Pumpkin and sweet potato can be substituted for each other. The taste of the dish will change, but the texture will remain close.

Pumpkin alone doesn’t have much flavor which is why cinnamon and nutmeg are used a lot with it, especially around Thanksgiving time. Substituting sweet potato will increase the nutrients and won’t minimize the flavor.

If you’re out of sweet potatoes and only have pumpkin, they both have similar cooking times and can be cooked the same way.

If you’re looking to match the sweetness of the sweet potato, remove the slightly bitter pumpkin skin.

Find out how sweet potato and purple sweet potato compared in my article, Purple Sweet Potato vs Sweet Potato: What’s The Difference?

Pumpkins vs Sweet Potatoes: Storage

Both pumpkin and sweet potatoes have similar storage methods8. Although larger pumpkins need more room, they can both be stored in the same places9

How to Store Pumpkins

  1. Cured pumpkins should be stored in a single layer and not piled on top of each other.
  2. They shouldn’t be touching each other.
  3. Keep them in temperatures of 50-55 degrees Fahrenheit and away from heat.
  4. Discard any showing signs of decay or rot.

How to Store Sweet Potatoes

  1. Don’t store sweet potatoes in the refrigerator.
  2. Store them in a cool, ventilated container.
  3. Basements or other places away from heat are ideal.

Find out how white sweet potato compared to sweet potato in my article, White Sweet Potato vs Sweet Potato: What’s The Difference?

If you have any questions to ask me about this article don’t hesitate to comment below or email us. You can find an email on our contact page.

Read Next – More Potato vs Food Articles!

Taro vs. Potato – A Complete Comparison

Sweet Potato vs. Butternut Squash: A Comparison

Sweet Potato vs. Russet Potato: What’s The Difference?

Yukon Gold Potato vs Russet Potato: What’s The Difference?

Idaho vs Russet Potatoes – Are They The Same? Let’s Compare

Red Potatoes vs Yukon Gold Potatoes: What’s The Difference?

Sweet Potato vs Yam Nutrition and Benefit Differences

Turnip vs. Potato: What’s The Difference? Let’s Compare

  1. NutritionData: Pumpkin, raw []
  2. NutritionData: Sweet potato, raw []
  3. Cleveland Clinic: Carbohydrates []
  4. Library Of Congress: What is the difference between sweet potatoes and yams? []
  5. National Center for Biotechnology Information: Anticancer effects of sweet potato protein on human colorectal cancer cells []
  6. National Center for Biotechnology Information: Medicinal and biological potential of pumpkin: an updated review []
  7. National Center for Biotechnology Information: Sweet potato (Ipomoea balatas [L.] Lam)–a valuable medicinal food: a review []
  8. North Carolina Sweet Potatoes: How To Store Sweetpotatoes []
  9. Iowa State University: What is the proper way to store pumpkins? []

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *