Pumpkin Butter

With a glut of aging homegrown pumpkins harvested last year, I decided to turn them into butter… at the end of July. (Am I super early, or way too late?! I didn’t want them to go bad, as they were sitting around almost a year.)

I found recipes all over the place in terms of sweetness. I settled on a 4 to 1 ratio of pumpkin to sugar (by weight). That allows the inherent flavors of the pumpkin to come through.

You could of course, in a fix, ahem, use canned pumpkin puree (but not pumpkin pie filling, as it is already sweetened), to make a simple fresh pumpkin butter.

My instant pot is quickly gaining prominence in my kitchen. Here, it is useful in slow cooker mode.

To start from fresh pumpkins (use a slow cooker!):

  1. slice them along their “equator” and remove seeds and pulp.
  2. Add halved pumpkins (if need be, slice them further to fit them) to a slow cooker, flesh side down, and cook on low for 5-6 hours, until fork tender.
  3. Let cool, then scoop flesh from the skins, and use for this recipe, or store separately.

I substituted what I had on hand (mature kombucha) for apple juice/cider.

Note, as most other recipes for pumpkin butter will also warn you, that this recipe is not acidic enough to be safely stored after water bath canning. The batch of pumpkin butter I made had a pH of 4.9, just slightly outside the safe zone (4.6 pH) for water bath canning. An alternative preservation method for low acid foods such as squash is pressure canning. Personally I haven’t done much with that method. If you have, please leave a comment!

Bottom line, without using any canning method, just treat this dish as a fresh food, storable in the fridge for a few weeks, or you could freeze it, too.

Pumpkin Butter

Prep Time 8 hours 10 minutes
Course condiment
Cuisine American
Makes 1 quart/liter


  • 30 oz. (850 g) pumpkin puree, fresh or canned
  • 3 oz. (85 g) brown sugar
  • 4.5 oz (128 g) raw cane sugar
  • 1/4 cup (100 ml) mature kombucha, or apple juice or apple cider
  • 1/2 tsp. (3 g) sea salt
  • 2 cinnamon sticks, 3 inches (7.5 cm) each


  • 1 Tbsp. (15 ml) vanilla extract


  • Combine all ingredients except for vanilla extract into a slow cooker and stir well.
  • Slow cook for 8 hours on low setting, stirring occasionally. If you use fresh pureed pumpkins, note that it may be more watery than the canned stuff, so you may need to cook a bit longer. Look for a thick consistency, thicker than applesauce, but not quite to a jam thickness.
  • Let cool, then stir in vanilla extract.
  • Add to jars. Refrigerate or freeze (if freezing in glass, leave at least 1 inch (2.5 cm) head space to allow for expansion.
  • Lasts in refrigerator up to 2 weeks.


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