Pumpkin Butter is a healthy, creamy, homemade recipe that's easy to make and delicious slathered on toast and waffles or stirred into oatmeal and smoothies!
It should come as no surprise that the Homemade Pumpkin Puree I previously shared has since been transformed into today's Pumpkin Butter recipe. Not all of it, actually...I froze a baggie of purée for future pie-making merriment, but then I decided to turn the rest of it into this yummy, lightly-spiced, all-natural spread!
Pumpkin Purée vs. Pumpkin Butter
Right about now, you may be wondering what the difference is between Pumpkin Purée and Pumpkin Butter? Well, I'm so glad you asked. 😉
Pumpkin Purée is 100% pure pumpkin...just cooked and mashed/whipped/blended into a smooth purée with no additional ingredients.
Pumpkin Butter, on the other hand, is pumpkin purée that has been combined with a variety of other goodies -- such as maple syrup for unrefined sweetness and cinnamon and spices for flavor -- and then simmered and reduced until thick and creamy.
A handful of real ingredients and spices are all you need to whip up this from-scratch Pumpkin Butter recipe!
- Pumpkin purée. You may use homemade or purée from a can...either will work beautifully! The amount of canned purée will equal about two 15-ounce cans (or one 29-ounce can). Just be sure you don't use canned pumpkin pie filling, which already has sugar and spices added to it.
- Apple juice. I prefer using unsweetened juice so that I have more control over the ultimate sweetness of my Pumpkin Butter. You could also use apple cider. The apple juice/cider gives another fall layer of flavor, but the final product does not end up tasting "apple-y." That being said, you could also use water for the added liquid in this recipe, if you wish.
- Maple syrup. I decided to sweeten this recipe with 100% maple syrup to keep it free of refined sugars. If you prefer a sweeter Pumpkin Butter, feel free to add a bit more maple syrup. On the other hand, if you use sweetened apple juice or cider, you may want to slightly reduce the maple syrup. And if you don't have maple syrup on hand, you may sub ¾ to 1 cup of packed brown sugar instead.
- Warm spices. Specifically, ground cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, and cloves. Or if you already have some Pumpkin Pie Spice in your pantry, feel free to swap about 3 ½ teaspoons of that for the above individual spices. And you can always tweak any of the spices to your liking!
- Salt. Just a tad, to help the other flavors pop.
- Lemon juice. Balances the sweetness and adds brightness without actually being able to taste it. However, you may omit it if you don't have any.
- Pure vanilla extract. Because everything's better with vanilla!
How to Make Pumpkin Butter
This recipe is truly as simple as combining ingredients and simmering on the stove!
- In a large, deep pot, stir together the pumpkin purée, apple juice, maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, salt, and cloves until well combined.
- Bring to a low simmer over medium heat and cook, stirring frequently, until thickened to your desired consistency. This will probably take a total of 30 to 45 minutes.
- Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the lemon juice and the vanilla.
- Allow to cool a bit...and enjoy!
FDA guidelines deem it unsafe to can Pumpkin Butter since pumpkin is not acidic enough.
That being said, it will keep in the refrigerator in an airtight container for 2 to 3 weeks. Old glass jars work great for refrigerator storage.
And it's okay to freeze it (tightly sealed) for 6 months to a year.
Helpful Tips, Tricks, & Equipment
- This recipe splatters a lot at the beginning. I recommend making it in a big/deep pot (I used my favorite Dutch oven) and leaving the lid askew in between stirring to minimize splatters while still allowing steam to escape. The heat of the stove should be just enough the keep it bubbling, but it shouldn't be at a rapid boil. As the Pumpkin Butter cooks and thickens, the splattering should lessen.
- Total cooking time will depend on how watery your pumpkin purée was to start, and how thick you'd like your final Pumpkin Butter to be.
Slow Cooker Instructions
If you'd like to make this Pumpkin Butter recipe in the crockpot, that can be done, too! Just be aware that this is not a set-it-and-forget-it type of recipe...you'll need to stay nearby in order to stir it multiple times while cooking.
- In the crock of your slow cooker, stir together the ingredients until smooth (with the exception of the lemon juice and vanilla).
- Cover with the lid, but leave it cracked so that steam can escape. Cook on LOW for about 4 hours or until your desired consistency is reached, stirring every 45 minutes or so.
- Turn off the heat, stir in the lemon juice and vanilla, adjust the other spices to your liking, and allow to cool before storing.
Ways to Enjoy Pumpkin Butter
Because of its silky texture and already sweetened status, Pumpkin Butter can be enjoyed in so many tasty applications. Allow me to enumerate a few...
- Spread on toast or biscuits.
- Slather on waffles or pancakes.
- Blend into the egg custard for French toast.
- Stir into oatmeal or Greek yogurt.
- Whip into smoothies.
- Bake into cookies, muffins, or cakes.
- Smear onto baked Brie.
- Use as a dip for sliced apples or other fresh fruit.
Inspired, I hope? Get as creative as you like, though...the possibilities are endless!
So are you pumpkined-out yet? I try not to get ahead of myself with the seasons. But since I have this self-imposed rule that pumpkin should be appropriately enjoyed from September 1st through the end of November, I say that Pumpkin Butter is fair game for another month yet!
And if you happen to agree, I hope you have a chance to add this tasty fall recipe to your repertoire soon. 🙂
Recipes to Enjoy with Pumpkin Butter
- 3 ½ cups fresh Homemade Pumpkin Purée, OR store-bought canned pumpkin purée
- ¾ cup unsweetened apple juice/apple cider, OR water
- ⅔ cup pure maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 ½ teaspoons lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- In a large, deep pot set over medium heat, combine the pumpkin purée, apple juice, maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, salt, and cloves. Bring to a low simmer and cook, stirring frequently, for 30 to 45 minutes or until thickened to your desired consistency. (In between stirring, partially cover the pot with the lid to minimize splattering while allowing steam to escape.) Stir in the lemon juice and vanilla.
- Allow to cool a bit before transferring to an airtight container and storing in the refrigerator.
- Instead of homemade pumpkin purée, you may substitute 2 (15-ounce) cans of store-bought pumpkin purée.
- If you prefer sweeter pumpkin butter, feel free to increase the maple syrup. Alternatively, if you use sweetened apple juice or cider, you may want to slightly reduce the maple syrup.
- If you wish, you may replace the cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, and cloves with 3 ½ teaspoons Pumpkin Pie Spice.
- The lemon juice adds a brightness without actually being able to taste it. However, you may omit it if you don't have any.
- This recipe splatters a lot at the beginning. I recommend making it in a big/deep pot and leaving the lid askew in between stirring to minimize splatters while still allowing steam to escape. The heat of the stove should be just enough the keep it bubbling, but it shouldn't be at a rapid boil. As the pumpkin butter cooks and thickens, the splattering should lessen.
- Total cooking time will depend on how watery your pumpkin purée was to start, and how thick you'd like your final pumpkin butter to be.
- FDA guidelines deem it unsafe to can pumpkin butter. It will keep in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 weeks and it's okay to freeze it (tightly sealed) for 6 months to a year.
Post originally published on October 26, 2017, and updated on October 26, 2019, and October 20, 2022.