Learn how to make Pumpkin Butter using either fresh or canned pumpkin. This easy and nostalgic fall recipe only takes 20 minutes to make, and stores well. Spread it on Cinnamon Raisin Bread or Drop Biscuits, dollop onto Buttermilk Pancakes, pair with Pan Seared Pork Chops, and much more!
Even though you can buy it at the store, you’ll pay quite the premium when it’s really easy and delightful to make your own pumpkin butter at home.
I say delightful because it makes the kitchen smell SO good. Simmering pumpkin, pure maple syrup, and warm spices like cinnamon and cloves always feels so festive and nostalgic to me.
If you’re not familiar with pumpkin butter, it’s basically just pumpkin in spreadable form, similar to any other fruit butter, like apple butter or pear butter. It’s like the essence of pumpkin, but concentrated!
There are quite a few uses for it, which I’ll share below. It’s wonderful spread on toast, biscuits, or stirred into plain yogurt.
Tips for Best Results
Use fresh spices – Spices lose their flavor rapidly as they sit in the pantry. The general rule of thumb is that they will stay potently fresh for 3 to 6 months after opening. They won’t necessarily be “bad” at that point, but less flavorful. So try to use freshly purchased spices here for optimal flavor, since they’re an important player in the recipe.
Decide on fresh or canned pumpkin – If you care the absolute most about superior flavor, I recommend using fresh pumpkin puree here. I show you how to make it in my Fresh vs. Canned Pumpkin post. But if you strongly prefer convenience, canned puree works great too.
Use maple syrup – Though we will also use dark brown sugar to sweeten, I recommend adding a small amount of pure maple syrup here. Maple syrup has an incredible flavor that is simply unmatched, and makes a huge difference in elevating the end result to maximum deliciousness.
Step by Step Overview:
In a saucepan, combine pumpkin puree, dark brown sugar, maple syrup, ground cinnamon, ground ginger, ground cloves, ground allspice, and water:
If you wish, you may use apple cider or apple juice in place of the water to add more flavor, but I like to keep the flavor pure (and this is why I do not add vanilla extract either). I also do not recommend using lemon juice, as it can turn bitter during cooking.
You may also substitute 1/2 teaspoon of prepared pumpkin pie spice, if you prefer. But I like to pick all my fall spices, and have them all individually on hand in the pantry.
Note: If you use canned puree here, you’ll need more water than if you’re using fresh puree. This is because canned puree is much thicker. Instructions are in the recipe card below.
And if you’ve never read my Fresh vs. Canned Pumpkin post, I recommend it. I did a blind taste test of both, making two identical pies with each kind, then compared the results.
Generally speaking, I find fresh puree using sugar pie pumpkins to taste better in pretty much all my pumpkin recipes, but of course, it’s a lot more work. Sometimes it’s nice to have the convenience of canned puree.
Stir the ingredients to combine, then bring to a boil, and immediately reduce to low heat:
I have found that even medium-low heat is too high on my stove, and causes sputtering. So adjust the heat as needed so it doesn’t scorch or make a big mess on your stove top.
Cook the puree for 20 minutes over low heat, stirring often, until the mixture gets darker, thick, and shiny, like this:
If the puree you used was already well blended, it should have a silky smooth texture that’s very spreadable.
Let the pumpkin butter cool completely before storing.
Suggested Uses and Ideas
Homemade pumpkin butter is a fall staple that can be used for so many things! It’s just as versatile as nut butter. Here are some of my favorite ways to use it.
- Spread on toast, but especially Cinnamon Raisin Bread and toasted English Muffins.
- Dollop onto a Dutch Baby Pancake or Whole Wheat Pancakes.
- Spread on fresh Drop Biscuits (or Pumpkin Sage Drop Biscuits).
- Stir into your favorite yogurt.
- Stir it into oatmeal, Overnight Oats, or Homemade Cherry Almond Granola.
- Give as holiday gifts, but make sure they know to keep it in the fridge or freezer.
Recipe Tips and FAQ
Let cool completely, then store in an airtight container in the fridge for 2 weeks.
Yes, keep in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 6 months.
Yes, place all the ingredients in the slow cooker and cook on low for 3-4 hours, until thick and shiny.
I am not a canning expert, but my understanding based on the research I’ve done is that it’s questionable whether or not it’s safe to do so. I do not recommend canning this.
Did you enjoy the recipe? Please leave a 5-star rating in the recipe card below and/or a review in the comments section further down the page.
- 2 cups pumpkin puree canned or fresh (about one 15oz can)
- 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp ground ginger
- 1/8 tsp ground cloves
- 1/8 tsp ground allspice
- 3/4 cup water*
- Combine all ingredients in a heavy-bottomed saucepan.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low heat (otherwise the pumpkin mixture will sputter).
- Cook for 20 minutes, stirring often, until the puree has become caramelized and dark brown, with a thick and shiny consistency. As long as you stir every couple minutes and use a heavy-bottomed pan, it shouldn’t burn.
- Once sufficiently thickened, let the pumpkin butter cool completely before storing.
Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.
Post updated in November 2018. Originally published October 2015.