Old Fashioned Pumpkin Butter


If you want to contribute something homemade and amazing to a holiday gathering, this simple pumpkin butter is the answer! Imagine the best pumpkin pie filling you've ever had, and then imagine it being 10 times better with a deeper, more intense pumpkin flavor, just the right amount of sweetness, and just the right amount of spices to make things interesting. Spread on buttered toast.

Prep Time:
10 mins
Cook Time:
50 mins
Additional Time:
9 hrs 30 mins
Total Time:
10 hrs 30 mins
2 1/2 cups

I'm not the biggest dessert person and rarely crave specific sweet treats, but I always look forward to my annual slice of pumpkin pie. It's one of my favorite things to eat, sweet or otherwise, and it's always been a bit of a mystery why this great pie is only made once a year. That mystery will have to be dealt with another time, but this amazing "Old Fashioned Pumpkin Butter" would be perfect for enjoying something very similar, and possibly superior, when pumpkin pie is out of season.

This couldn't be easier to make, but as I warned in the video, it does come with a certain amount of danger, so we need to be careful. As the mixture reduces and thickens, it will start to splatter up and out of the pot, and we don't want our exposed skin anywhere close. So, use a nice deep pot if possible, and a splatter guard is also a great idea. And if you're into slow cookers, and have the time, they do work nicely for jobs like this.

I'm always very conservative when seasoning recipes like this, since a little bit of "pumpkin spice" goes a long way. You can always add more, so use a light touch. I can't think of a nicer thing to bring to a holiday gathering or to give as an edible gift, but no matter what your motivation, I really do hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!

Old Fashioned Pumpkin Butter
Chef John


  • 2 (15 ounce) cans pure pumpkin puree

  • ¾ cup white sugar

  • ¼ cup pure maple syrup

  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon

  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger

  • ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

  • 1 pinch ground cloves

  • 1 pinch kosher salt

  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper

  • 1 cup apple juice

  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

  • 1 tablespoon cold unsalted butter


  1. Combine pumpkin puree, sugar, maple syrup, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, salt, cayenne pepper, apple juice, and apple cider vinegar in a deep, heavy-bottomed saucepan; whisk until thoroughly combined. Place over medium-high heat and stir occasionally until simmering.

  2. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture thickens and reduces by about half, 45 to 60 minutes. The sauce will be very hot, so wear an oven mitt and stir carefully. You may also want to use a splatter guard to keep the sauce from dirtying your stove.

  3. Once reduced, remove from the stove and let cool for 10 minutes. Toss in butter and whisk until it disappears. Let cool to room temperature, about 1 1/2 hours.

  4. Transfer pumpkin butter into an airtight container and place in the refrigerator until thoroughly chilled and flavors have developed, 8 hours to overnight. Store in the refrigerator.


Chef's Notes:

You can use fresh, sweet pumpkins in place of pumpkin puree, but it would take so much extra time and work that I don't think it's worth it.

You can use apple cider for apple juice, and lemon juice for apple cider vinegar.

Adding butter is optional, but I think it adds important richness and improves the texture as well.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

33 Calories
0g Fat
8g Carbs
0g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 40
Calories 33
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 0g 1%
Saturated Fat 0g 1%
Cholesterol 1mg 0%
Sodium 62mg 3%
Total Carbohydrate 8g 3%
Dietary Fiber 1g 3%
Total Sugars 6g
Protein 0g
Vitamin C 1mg 5%
Calcium 8mg 1%
Iron 0mg 2%
Potassium 57mg 1%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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