La Citrouille vs. Le Potiron: What’s the Difference?


Last Updated: August 29, 2022

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Got questions about French language and culture? Every week on the Talk in French newsletter, I answer questions sent by readers.

Here I’m sharing one that I answered a while ago, but it’s quite relevant at this time of the year. 

Let’s check out the question:

la citrouille vs le potiron

« What is the difference between the two different words for pumpkin, la citrouille and le potiron? Are they synonymous, or is there a difference? » Kaleigh

Here’s my answer:

La citrouille and le potiron are very similar actually. But there are some differences.


First, le potiron is a bit smaller and flat. La Citrouille, on the other hand, is bigger--it is the one you use for Halloween.

citrouille potiron


While both, potiron and citrouille, are varieties of squash, the scientific name of la citrouille is cucurbita pepo and it is often referred to as citrouille véritable (true pumpkin). Le potiron is cucurbita maxima or winter squash. 


Le potiron tastes a bit sweeter and in general, tastier than citrouille. La citrouille is stringier (fliandreux) than le potiron. Le potiron is more popular for cooking in France. In fact, I am a big fan of « la soupe de potiron ».


I hope this clarifies the difference between la citrouille and le potiron. Just remember, le potiron is smaller and more elongated while la citrouille is bigger and rounder. La citrouille is often used for Halloween while le potiron is popular for cooking different dishes such as la soupe de potiron.

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About the author 

Frederic Bibard is the founder of Talk in French, a company that helps french learners to practice and improve their french. Macaron addict. Jacques Audiard fan. You can contact him on Instagram

  • Thank you for the clear explanation. it’s my first year teaching french for an elementay school and I found this info very useful to be prepared for all kind of questions from my students. I’m subscribing to your social media pages right now. Merci beacoup!

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