Puerto Rican Pumpkin Fritters

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These amazing Pumpkin Fritters are so easy to prepare. Made with fresh pumpkin puree and aromatic spices, these pumpkin fritters are perfect for breakfast plus they are vegan and gluten-free. 

Puerto Rican Pumpkin Fritters


Yesterday, a reader asked me to share a recipe for Puerto Rican pumpkin fritters using ‘calabaza’ pumpkin, I remembered that I had a slice in my refrigerator that I needed to use. 

Puerto Rican pumpkin fritters are also called ‘Barriguitas de Vieja’ which translates ‘the belly of an old lady’ and they are popular treats in Puerto Rico. 

I decided to make it similar to my Banana Fritters recipe[, at first I was contemplating making baked pumpkin fritters but I decided to go ahead and fry it in my non-stick skillet.

Pumpkin Fritters Pumpkin Slice

Pumpkin Fritters Ingredients

  1. Pumpkin – The traditional variety used for Puerto Rican Pumpkin fritters is the ‘calabaza’ or the West Indian pumpkin, it is green skin or yellow skin with orange flesh. Its flesh is firmer than the American red skinned pumpkin when cooked. 
  2. All-purpose Gluten-Free Flour – I substituted gluten-free flour for traditional wheat flour but regular flour will work. I used Knusteaz All-purpose Gluten-Free Flour.
  3. Ground Flaxseeds – I used ground flaxseeds as an egg-replacer, Combine 1 tablespoon ground flaxseeds plus quarter cup water or almond milk and let it sit for 5 minutes. You can make your own ground flaxseed by blending flaxseeds in a high-speed blender and store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.
  4. Sugar – I used Florida Crystals cane sugar but you can substitute with maple syrup, coconut sugar or your favorite sweetener. 
  5. Baking powder – I used Rumford aluminum-free and gluten-free baking powder
  6. Spices – I used a combination of vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg but a blend of cardamom and coriander would work for those avoiding cinnamon and nutmeg.
  7. Salt – I love Himalayan Pink Salt.
  8. Coconut oil for frying may substitute with grapeseed oil or your favorite.

Pumpkin Fritters Steps

How To Make Pumpkin Fritters?

If using fresh pumpkin, you need 2 pounds pumpkin, peel and scoop out the seeds and membrane. I usually save my seeds, dry them and save to grow in the springtime. 

Chop pumpkin and place in steamer basket, add water to the steamer,  cover and cook pumpkin until the flesh is tender. Remove from the heat and transfer to a bowl and mash with a fork and set aside. 

In the meantime mix water or almond milk with ground flaxseeds, add to the mashed pumpkin with vanilla and mix well. 

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in another bowl and mix well. Add dry ingredients to pumpkin mixture and mix until batter is smooth.

Heat non-stick skillet on medium-high, add large heaping tablespoons of pumpkin batter and cook for 2-3 minutes until golden brown, turn over and cook the other sides until golden brown, repeat until all the batter is done.

Other Caribbean Breakfast Recipes To Try

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Per serving

Energy: 160 kcal / 669 kJ
Fat: 7 g
Protein: 2 g
Carbs: 22 g

Cooking Time

Preparation: 20 min
Cooking: 12 min
Ready in: 32 min
For: 8 Fritters



  1. Peel pumpkin, scoop out seeds and membrane. Chop pumpkin and steam in a steamer basket for 25 minutes or until tender. Remove from stove, mashed with a fork.
  2. Mix water, flaxseeds and vanilla and set aside for 5 minutes. In a large bowl combine all purpose gluten-free flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon nutmeg and salt.
  3. Combine flaxseed mixture with pumpkin puree and add to dry ingredients. Mix to combine until smooth.
  4. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add a large heaping tablespoon of pumpkin fritters batter and cook on one side for about 2-3 minutes. flip with a spatula and cook on the other side for 2-3 minutes or until golden brown. Serve immediately.
Recipe author's Gravatar image

Michelle Blackwood, RN

Hi, I’m Michelle, I’m the voice, content creator and photographer behind Healthier Steps. I share vegan and gluten-free recipes because of past health issues. My goal is to help you make healthier choices and show you how healthy eating is easy and delicious.

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  1. Micheless Lawrence
    December 18, 2019

    Do you have to use pumpkin?

  2. Zory
    December 24, 2018

    Thank you so much! Do you know the Trinidadian version as well? It didn’t have sugar, only the syrup we would put on it. I am half Trinidadian and Half Puertorican :-)

    • Michelle Blackwood
      December 24, 2018

      No, but sounds interesting. I’m only familiar with pholourie and tamarind sauce but the next time I’ll do a savory kind similar to Jamaican salt fish fritters without saltfish.

      • Zory
        December 25, 2018

        The “salt fish” fritters sounds good, l faintly remember those from when l was a child! Of course now l am vegan but look forward to your creation!