Pumpkin Butter

published Oct 1, 2023
Pumpkin Butter Recipe

This pumpkin-spiced spread comes together in 30 minutes and is perfect for swiping on breakfast, snacks, and so much more.


Makesabout 2 cups

Prep5 minutes

Cook30 minutes to 35 minutes

Jump to Recipe
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Overhead view of pumpkin butter being spread on a piece of toast, on a white plate, with a jar of pumpkin butter in the top left corner.
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe ; Food Stylist: Rachel Perlmutter

Pumpkin butter is one of the most coveted preserves of autumn, and it’s also one of the easiest to make. With just a few pantry ingredients (and a lemon), you can turn any baked good into a pumpkin treat with the swipe of your spoon. Pumpkin butter, like apple butter, contains no actual dairy butter. Instead, the name refers to the smooth, spreadable butter-like consistency of the preserves. 

Homemade pumpkin butter is so easy to make — you just dump everything into a saucepan and let it go for 30 minutes — and the result is so much better than anything that’s store-bought. This one has the perfect balance of sweetness and warm pumpkin spice, making it a fall staple for spreading on breakfast, snacks, and so much more. Plus, the recipe can easily be doubled (or tripled!), which is fantastic news because it makes a great gift when spooned into a cute glass jar.

Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe ; Food Stylist: Rachel Perlmutter

Ingredients in Pumpkin Butter

  • Pumpkin purée. You can use store-bought or make your own — just don’t use pumpkin pie mix.
  • Sweeteners. Use a combination of brown sugar and either maple syrup or honey for the perfect level of sweetness and a boost of flavor.
  • Pumpkin spice. It’s the spice of the season. Make your own blend or just usestore-bought.
  • Apple juice. Adding liquid will help concentrate the pumpkin butter’s flavors, giving it time to cook down and meld without getting too thick.
  • Lemon. The acidity in fresh lemon juice helps balance the sweetness of preserves.

If You’re Making Pumpkin Butter, a Few Tips 

  • Adjust the cooking time to your desired consistency. If you want a saucier pumpkin butter, cook for 30 minutes. But if you want a thicker spread with more concentrated flavor, cook pumpkin butter for an additional 10 minutes.
  • Don’t use a small saucepan. While the ingredients may fit, using a small saucepan will cause the pumpkin butter to splatter on the stovetop.
  • Double the recipe. Spoon half of it into a cute jar for the perfect DIY gift.
  • Make it your own. Customize pumpkin butter to your liking with additional ingredients, like vanilla, or adjusting the spices to your preference.

Ways to Use Pumpkin Butter

One of the best things about pumpkin butter is that there are so many great ways to use it.

  • Spread on cinnamon swirl toast, scones, or English muffins.
  • Dollop onto yogurt with granola.
  • Freeze into pumpkin pie Popsicles.
  • Spread with icing between layers of spice cake.
  • Stir into sage brown butter for a seasonal pasta sauce.
  • Spoon over oatmeal.

Pumpkin Butter Recipe

This pumpkin-spiced spread comes together in 30 minutes and is perfect for swiping on breakfast, snacks, and so much more.

Prep time 5 minutes

Cook time 30 minutes to 35 minutes

Makes about 2 cups

Serves 8

Nutritional Info


  • 1

    medium lemon

  • 1 (15-ounce) can

    pumpkin purée (not pumpkin pie mix)

  • 1/2 cup

    packed light or dark brown sugar

  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup

    unsweetened apple juice

  • 2 tablespoons

    honey or maple syrup

  • 2 teaspoons

    pumpkin pie spice

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    kosher salt


  1. Juice 1 medium lemon until you have 2 tablespoons and place in a medium saucepan. Add 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin purée, 1/2 cup packed brown sugar, 1/2 cup unsweetened apple juice, 2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup, 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice, and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt.

  2. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until bubbling vigorously. (If the pumpkin butter sputters too much in the beginning, add an additional 1/4 cup unsweetened apple juice). Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally and scraping the bottom of the saucepan, until thickened, 25 to 30 minutes.

  3. Remove the saucepan from the heat. Let cool until room temperature, about 30 minutes. Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks or freeze for up to 2 months.