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Pumpkin Butter

November 9, 2008


When I was in elementary school, the family of one of my friends owned a local orchard. I used to look forward to going over to her house — she always seemed to have some exciting “nature-y” or “farm-y” thing going on there.Β  At one point they owned a go-cart, and she and I piled on it together and sped through the grassy paths between the rows of apple trees in their orchards. I seem to remember them having a pet chicken for a period of time, and I remember holding it in my lap and thinking “whoa, this is so cool.” She and I teamed up one year for a science fair project, where we fed two mice two different diets to see if they gained weight differently. I don’t think her mom was very pleased when the mice escaped…oops! They lived right down the road from their orchard store, where lots of good things like apples, jams & jellies, vegetables, pies and other baked goods were sold. I thought I had died and gone to heaven one day when she brought me in the back of the store, where all the baking action went on, and we got some apple cider donuts to munch on…mmm! Such were the perks of having the daughter of an orchard owner for a friend (but besides that, she was just a truly nice, fun person to be around – one of those very “genuine” people you come across in life and count yourself the luckier for it.)


As I grew older, I still stopped by the store to pick up apples or pies — and much to my delight, I discovered jars of pumpkin butter. Pumpkin butter! It was kind of a revelation when I realized what it was. I positively adore apple butter, and I love any edible goodies remotely incorporating pumpkin, so the idea that there was a spread that combined the idea of pumpkin, warm spices like cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves, and the smooth, velvety consistency of apple butter was a dream come true for me (I kid you not; these kinds of things just make me giddy!)



The good news is, for those of you who, like me, adore fruit butters and pumpkin, pumpkin butter really couldn’t be easier to make. I made some the other week with a pumpkin I had from our CSA share, roasting it until tender, scooping out the soft flesh, pureeing it and draining it in cheesecloth overnight (Kristin has a nice step-by-step pictorial post about making your own pumpkin puree.) If you don’t have a little pumpkin sitting around, waiting to roast, I suspect you could start with good-quality canned pumpkin and this butter would still be pretty darn good.


Into a saucepan I put the pumpkin puree along with some apple cider, brown sugar and a variety of spices.



A short simmer later, the mixture smooths into a velvety spread, perfect on toast, stirred into yogurt with granola, spread onto nibbles of scone, stirred into oatmeal, or just eaten by the spoonful. You should keep the jars in the refrigerator since the spread isn’t high enough in acid to preserve, but don’t count on it lasting long – we’ve been going through this latest batch at an alarming rate!


Pumpkin Butter

view printable recipe

2 1/2 cups cooked pureed pumpkin (from a 3-4 pound pumpkin)
1 cup apple cider
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan and stir together to combine. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Keep in an airtight container in the fridge.

25 Comments leave one →
  1. November 9, 2008 2:11 pm

    Oh my, I think I’m hooked from just looking!

  2. November 9, 2008 2:27 pm

    ha, that looks like caramel πŸ™‚ delish!! i loved that you did an experiment with mice… hehe

  3. November 9, 2008 10:00 pm

    The squash butter looks wonderful. A month ago I made a fabulous spiced pear butter with pears from our own NH pear tree and canned it for Christmas gifts. I did, of course, keep out a jar for us to eat before then! I think the recipe was from Epicurious.

  4. November 9, 2008 11:23 pm

    This looks so delicious I have to try to make some myself! And the pear idea is fantastic as well. I love pear.

  5. November 10, 2008 5:33 am

    I have to admit I grew up in upstate New York and never tried apple butter or pumpkin butter – I think I’ll have to have a talk with my mom. This looks delicious, and I am wondering if it would be a good binding ingredient for granola bars?

  6. November 10, 2008 7:07 am

    Sylvie – it is quite tempting, isn’t it?

    ttfn300 — ha! I wasn’t even thinking of that, but now that you mention it, it kind of does look like caramel. Ooh, can you imagine a caramel pumpkin butter?? Even better!

    Jean – that sounds delicious!

    Geri – thanks; hope you enjoy!

    sue bette – oh, you poor deprived soul…I think you should get thee to a local orchard and pick up a jar of both and do a little tasting! Yes, I think either apple butter or pumpkin butter would be a great binder for granola bars…great idea!!

  7. November 10, 2008 9:19 am

    Oh, I can’t even wait to make this. I love pumpkin and anything made with it! Hope there are more pumpkin recipes to come….

    I just got back from Italy where I took a regional cooking class with 18 other good friends. We used butternut squash in the pasta recipe, but I bet pumpkin would work well in place of the butternut.

    Thanks for such wonderful recipes all the time!


  8. November 10, 2008 11:09 am

    I’ve been wanting to try this, and your photos have only strengthened my resolve. I love the idea of swirling it into yogurt …

  9. November 10, 2008 12:28 pm

    The pumpkin butter looks heavenly to me. There are times when I have a desire to recreate a recipe the instant I stumble upon it, and this, is one of those times.
    Thank you!

  10. November 10, 2008 4:04 pm

    what a creamy, wonderful, decadent spread! yes…this would make a stellar christmas gift for my co-workers. πŸ™‚

  11. November 10, 2008 7:32 pm

    I keep seeing so many tempting recipes for pumpkin but this one really gets my interest. I just might turn my two little pumpkins into some butter!

  12. November 10, 2008 7:47 pm

    That looks so good! I want to try it immediately, only I lack a pumpkin. Thank you for the inspiration!

  13. November 10, 2008 10:46 pm

    Wow, as another apple butter lover, this is an awesome way to try out new fruit butters. (And to feel like you’re eating pumpkin pie with your morning toast!) A great idea to gift this, if only I don’t eat it all myself first. Thanks for the post!

  14. November 11, 2008 7:46 am

    Thank you for this recipe!
    I just roasted and purred a pumpkin yesterday and remembered having “stumbled” on this recipe so I made this last night…


    As a real treat while it was still warm I scooped some on some vanilla Ice cream… wow…

  15. November 11, 2008 4:33 pm

    I have two wee pumpkins just waiting to be made into something yummy.I think I have found it…thank you!

  16. November 11, 2008 9:09 pm

    Hi! I’ve been reading your blog for a while now and I’ve never commented… but I have to say something about you being in Ithaca! I’m from Elmira (know it?), about 45 min away, and my sister goes to Cornell. I miss the area so much! Just wanted to drop you a line from a fellow (former) upstate NYer πŸ™‚

  17. Meredith permalink
    November 11, 2008 9:52 pm

    I’m so excited about this pumpkin butter recipe! I’ve heard about it before, but I never knew where I could buy it — I don’t know why I didn’t just think about MAKING it lol. Thanks πŸ™‚

  18. November 12, 2008 3:39 pm

    DELISH! UMMM.. I LOVE PUMPKIN BUTTER! I can’t wait to make some of my own! I found your site from KathEats, and its awesome, thanks! I recently started a blog of my own to help myself and hopefully inspire other women to change the way we think about food, “dieting” and our body image. I look forward to following your blog! πŸ™‚

  19. nikkigladd permalink
    November 13, 2008 10:46 pm

    I need to step out of my comfort zone and try making my own pumpkin puree…and also try to make this pumpkin butter!

  20. November 13, 2008 11:07 pm

    I’ve never come across pumpkin butter, wow – looks good, can’t wait to try it, tks.

  21. November 14, 2008 7:56 am

    I just so happen to have a pumpkin sitting around. I will give this a try this weekend. Anything pumpkin is good food. Where did you get your containers?

  22. November 14, 2008 6:35 pm

    Maura – thanks for such a sweet note! That class you took sounds like it was fun, and pumpkin pasta sounds *amazing.*

    Kristin – yes, it’s been my breakfast (with some maple nut granola) for the past few weeks!

    Marysol, grace, Lisa, Victoria – thank you! Hope you enjoy! πŸ™‚

    littlepiggy – yes, exactly – it tastes just like pumpkin pie in spreadable form! Yum.

    paxye – oh, I’m so glad you enjoyed it!! I always love hearing when people actually make something I post about and like the way it turns out. I can’t believe I haven’t tried it with vanilla ice cream…genius. πŸ™‚

    toontz – enjoy!

    Betsy – hi, thanks for stopping by! πŸ™‚ It’s always great to hear from a fellow Ithaca-lover.

    Meredith – I hope you enjoy it! πŸ™‚

    Jennifer – hi; thanks for stopping by!

    nikkiglad, javapot – enjoy!

    Kim – I hope you enjoy it! I agree; I love anything pumpkin. Those glass containers are hermetic terrines I bought at The Container Store…I just adore them. They can be found here:

  23. November 16, 2008 6:50 pm

    Pumpkin butter?! Swoon! You are officially my new best friend.

    I love your site and I will definitely be back!

  24. December 9, 2009 7:00 pm

    Yum..I had forgotten about pumpkin butter and I looking for some inspiration for my farm share members, so they take home more of the pie pumpkins. This should definitely help. Thanks.

  25. April 23, 2010 8:32 am

    Just del-icious…And you know what…I am not a pumpkin fan.

    Thanksgiving maybe.


    Hey, wanted you and your readers to know that there’s a very cool wine and food pairing event happening. You show off recipes like this butter with the best wines for it.


    If anyone’s interested.

    Please keep up the recipes.



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