What Are the Best Tips for Making Pumpkin Butter?

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  • Written By: Lynelle Harmon
  • Edited By: E. E. Hubbard
  • Last Modified Date: 02 June 2018
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Pumpkin butter is a slightly sweet, creamy condiment similar to apple butter that is often used on toast or desserts. Creating the best pumpkin butter depends on choosing a high-quality type of pumpkin, either fresh or canned, and gathering seasonal fall ingredients to complement that base. The type of pumpkin used will dictate the cooking method, as fresh pumpkin requires more personal attention. Finished pumpkin butter can be frozen or placed in cans for refrigerated storage, but aren’t safe to store on pantry shelves.

Fresh pumpkins used for pumpkin butter should be of a small baking variety, such as a sugar pumpkin, that’s ripe and free of damage. The pumpkin will need to be peeled and freed of the interior seed and pulp before the flesh can be cut into pieces to use in the pumpkin butter. A time saving method is to buy a can of pureed pumpkin, though it shouldn’t be the type that already includes spices for a pumpkin pie.

Pumpkins grow in the autumn and similarly-seasoned ingredients pair well to add more flavors to the pumpkin butter. Apple cider, maple syrup, and a blend of warm spices are possible ingredients that can be used. Potential spices include cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves which will mimic the taste of a pumpkin pie. Light brown sugar adds additional sweetness to the butter without forcing it to become too sweet.


A large stew pot or a slow cooker can be used for the pumpkin butter, with the former serving as the best option if using fresh pumpkin. The cubes of fresh pumpkin are added to cider and cooked until tender before they’re pureed in a blender and added back to the pot, while the puree can simply be added to the pot from the can and then stirred together with cider. Spices are added and the pureed pumpkin is cooked until it thickens, which will take longer in the slow cooker than in the stew pot.

Once it has cooled to room temperature, pumpkin butter can be divided into freezer bags for freezing or scooped into sterilized canning jars. The jars must be kept refrigerated, as the low acidity of pumpkins means that bacteria can grow if stored at room temperature. Pumpkin butter should be used within six months of placing in the refrigerator or the freezer for safety and taste reasons.



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