Homemade Pumpkin Butter is packed with sweet, fall flavors! It’s super easy to make. There are so many delicious ways to use it in sweet and savory recipe!
Like homemade apple butter, this is one of those fall treats that’s so easy to make!
There are many ways to enjoy it from spreading it on toast to adding it baked goods and savory recipes too.
What is Pumpkin Butter?
This fall food is a thick, spreadable, sweet mixture of pumpkin, sugar and spices.
The pumpkin is cooked with the sweeteners (this recipe uses molasses and granulated sugar) and the spices like cinnamon.
It’s a delicious mixture that can be used as an ingredient in other recipes, a topping or a spread.
What is the consistency of Pumpkin Butter?
When it is homemade it has the consistency of thick applesauce. It’s not as sticky as jam but similarly thick.
Also it will thicken as it cools and is chilled in the refrigerator.
Recipe Ingredients + Notes
Pumpkin – this recipe uses fresh pumpkin!
Apple Juice – apple juice provides the cooking liquid for the other ingredients. It adds wonderful flavor.
Molasses – this homey sweetener gives deep caramel-y flavors.
Granulated Sugar – a lighter sweetness to complement the molasses.
Pumpkin Pie Spice – this perfect blend of fall spices adds the perfect spice touch without having to measure out several individual spices.
Vanilla Extract – adds a warm, mellow vanilla flavor.
Salt – the offers a nice flavor balance to the sweet ingredients. In adding it the salt deepens the sweetness with its contrasting flavor. I recommend Kosher Salt which is a less salty tasting salt.
Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice Blend
If you’d like to use individual spices instead of pumpkin pie spice blend:
- 4 teaspoons ground Cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons ground Ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground Cloves
- 1 teaspoon Allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon ground Nutmeg
Best Pumpkins for Making Pumpkin Butter
Sugar pumpkins and Pie Pumpkins are smaller with sweeter flesh.
Though they are smaller they offer a good amount of flesh versus larger Jack-0-Lantern pumpkins with lots of space inside.
They are widely available at grocery stores and Farmer’s Markets in the fall.
Save the seed for making the BEST roasted pumpkin seeds too!
I’ve actually made this recipe with store prepared butternut squash cubes too and it’s delicious!
Can frozen Pumpkin be used?
Yes! Some stores carry frozen, cubed pumpkin for steaming (Walmart for one).
You can use this pumpkin to save some preparation time.
If substituting frozen pumpkin for the Instant Pot, add 3 minutes to the cooking time.
For the slow cooker the time will remain the same.
Best Way to Peel a Pumpkin
- Cut off the very bottom and just below the stem on top with a sharp chef’s knife.
- Use a sharp vegetable peeler to take off the peel in strips.
- A paring knife can also be used but a vegetable peeler is easier.
- Cut the pumpkin into pieces then chop with the chef’s knife to get the amount needed.
How do you make Pumpkin Butter from Scratch?
They use the same easy steps with times appropriate for each device.
The end result of both methods will be thick and delicious.
How to Make it – Step-by-Step
STEP 1: Add all the ingredients to the Instant Pot EXCEPT the vanilla: pumpkin, molasses, granulated sugar, salt and apple juice (photos 1-2). Stir together.
STEP 2: Secure the lid, switch the vent to SEALING and cook on HIGH PRESSURE for 12 minutes. Do a QUICK RELEASE of the pressure and add the vanilla. Photo 3 is how it will look following cooking.
STEP 3: Use an immersion blender to puree the mixture (photo 4).
STEP 1: Place all ingredients EXCEPT the vanilla into the slow cooker.
STEP 2: Cook on LOW for 5-6 hours, stirring every two hours, until the pumpkin is soft. Stir in the vanilla.
STEP 3: Use an immersion blender to puree.
How to Use it
The most simple way to enjoy this fall treat is to spread it onto a warm piece of crusty bread. BUT that’s only the start.
In Salad Dressing. This easy Maple Pumpkin Butter Vinaigrette makes winter salads alive with seasonal flavor! Very easy recipe too.
Pancakes and Waffles. Try it instead of syrup ON Pumpkin Ricotta Pancakes or Baked Chocolate Chip Pancakes. Or stir some into Easy Buttermilk Pancakes or Maple-Pecan Waffles for some delicious fall flavors.
In Smoothies or on Yogurt. It’s delicious in fall flavored smoothies.
How to Store it
Store in a sealed glass container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
To freeze it: place in a freezer safe container (allowing 3/4-inch ‘head room’ on top for expansion) and seal. Freeze up to 3 months.
Thaw in the refrigerator and stir well after thawing before use.
Another option is to add it to an ice cube tray. This allows smaller portions to be used at a time.
Be Careful when Blending the Cooked Pumpkin. Following the cooking cycle in either the slow cooker or Instant Pot the mixture will be very hot. Take care when pureeing.
Using an Immersion Blender vs Regular Blender. An immersion blender or stick blender is perfect for pureeing the mixture. It can splash so take care.
It can also be blended in a regular blend in batches. If choosing this method be careful of the hot mixture when transferring it to the blender.
Thickens as is Chills. The mixture will be like thick applesauce after pureeing. As it cools and chills in the refrigerator, it will become thicker and more spreadable.
Substituting Brown Sugar. If desired 1/3 cup of brown sugar can be substituted for the molasses and granulated sugar.
Can Pumpkin Butter be canned?
Unfortunately NO it cannot be canned. The USDA changed it’s recommendations in the late 1980’s regarding the food safety of canning.
Because it is thick, it is not guaranteed it will be heated to the required temperature all the way through. This creates food safety exposure even when using a pressure canner.
Pumpkins are also a lower acid vegetable which can encourage food safety issues when using water canning.
Store it in the refrigerator or freeze it for longer enjoyment.
Can Pumpkin Puree be used instead of fresh pumpkin?
To substitute pumpkin puree (store bought or homemade) use 1 29-ounce can (or 2 15-ounce cans) of puree.
Cook for 4 minutes on HIGH PRESSURE with a 10 minute NATURAL RELEASE. Follow with a Quick Release of any remaining pressure.
Blending won’t be necessary just stir it together.
Can you Substitute Pumpkin Butter for Pumpkin Puree?
Consider swapping it into recipes that use puree. They have a very similar consistency.
Bear in mind the butter is very sweet so that should be factored into a swap.
More Recipes You’ll Love!
- Curried Roasted Carrot Ginger Soup
- Sweet and Savory Gluten-Free Pumpkin Recipes
- Best Gluten-Free Thanksgiving Recipes