Pumpkin lovers will enjoy this quick and easy Pumpkin Butter recipe, it’s like pumpkin pie in a jar. This lightly sweetened spiced pumpkin spread is packed with warm fall flavors and makes a tasty topping for bread, biscuits, waffles, oatmeal, yogurt and so much more.

There are so many great pumpkin recipes out there, it’s such a versatile ingredient!  From pumpkin pies and pumpkin cookies to pumpkin cocktails and pumpkin chili.  No doubt you can cook with pumpkin in as many ways as you can craft with pumpkins!

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pumpkin butter in a jar with pumpkins on the counter

Why We Love Pumpkin Butter

Summer is officially over, and you know what that means….. it’s pumpkin season! Packed with pumpkin puree, pumpkin spices, and a little whisky for flavor (totally optional), this homemade pumpkin butter is one of my favorite fall recipes!

One fall several years ago I was gifted a jar of the most delicious homemade pumpkin butter.  I’m pretty certain I polished off that jar all by myself in a matter of a few short days.  A few years later I was surprised to find out how ridiculously easy it is to make my own pumpkin butter. Last night I made a batch of pumpkin butter while I cooked dinner…..that’s how easy it is!

 pumpkin butter is:

  • creamy 
  • perfectly sweet
  • full of fall spices
  • easy to make 
  • cheaper than store-bought
  • simple to customize to your taste
  • great for gifting

Have you ever had pumpkin butter? If not, you must promise me you’ll try it!

a jar of pumpkin butter with little pumpkins and an orange checked town on the counter

What is Pumpkin Butter?

Since this recipe doesn’t actually call for any butter, you may be curious about what on Earth this stuff actually is. If you think about it peanut butter isn’t actually butter either. It’s spreadable peanuts.

Pumpkin butter is basically spiced pumpkin spread. Very similar to apple butter, if you’re familiar with that.  It’s enjoyed like jams and jellies but has a creamier texture with warm spices tasting like pumpkin pie filling.

You can buy pumpkin butter in the fall at pumpkin farms, farmer’s markets, and some retailers like Trader Joe’s. Pumpkin butter is actually so easy to make it just makes sense to save a little money and make your own. 

photo collage of how to make pumpkin butter on the stovetop

Homemade Pumpkin Butter Ingredients

(full printable recipe at the end of this post)

The best thing about this pumpkin butter recipe is that you probably have most of the ingredients in your spice cabinet already. With simple ingredients, you can whip up a deliciously creamy pumpkin spread in no time. Here’s what you need:

  • Pumpkin puree– Make sure you are grabbing a can of pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie mix. 
  • Apple juice– You can use unsweetened apple juice if you want a less sweet pumpkin butter. 
  • Brown Sugar – provides a caramelized flavor. Feel free to adjust the amount to your taste.
  • Pumpkin spices– Check your spice cabinet for ground ginger, allspice, ground cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Or you can use pumpkin pie spice.
  • Whiskey– This is an optional ingredient. However, whiskey helps to intensify the flavors producing a truly decadent pumpkin butter. 
  • Lemon juice– I use fresh lemon juice. I find fresh to be better, but you can use bottled lemon juice if you choose.

Homemade pumpkin butter in a jar on a counter
How to Make Pumpkin Butter

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Homemade pumpkin butter is so easy to make, you won’t just make it in the Fall. Follow the simple steps to make your own!

Combine all your ingredients: First, combine all of your ingredients EXCEPT the lemon juice in a saucepan. 

Boil the ingredients: Then, bring all of the ingredients to a boil. 

Simmer the mixture: After it begins to boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 20-30 minutes. Stir occasionally. 

Add lemon juice: Remove the pumpkin spread from the heat, and add the lemon juice and allow the mixture to cool. 

Put it in a jar: Once the pumpkin butter has cooled, put it in an airtight jar (Mason jar) and store it in the refrigerator. One recipe should yield about 40 ounces – so you can get about 5  eight-ounce jars.

pumpkin butter in a jar and smeared on crackers

Pumpkin Butter Recipe Variations

  • Replace brown sugar with pure maple syrup
  • add 1-2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • use apple cider instead of apple juice
  • use unsweetened apple juice 
  • adjust any of the spices to your taste and liking

slice of bread with pumpkin butter smeared on top

Recipe FAQs

What do you eat pumpkin butter with?

Pumpkin butter can be used on a variety of different foods. I tend to slather a crisp buttery Ritz cracker or a graham cracker with pumpkin butter and it’s like eating a little pumpkin pie!  Oh is it ever so good this way!. But, it is also delicious with french toast, banana bread, pumpkin bread, oatmeal, yogurt, baked sweet potatoes, in a smoothie, over ice cream, and cinnamon rolls as well. 

Is it safe to can pumpkin butter?

No, it is not! The USDA recommends AGAINST canning pumpkin butter.

When you cook the pumpkin puree down into a butter, the pumpkin flesh becomes dense making it difficult for the heat to fully penetrate the contents of the jar. This means that the interior of the jar may not reach 240 degrees which is what is needed to kill botulism spores. 

Do I need to refrigerate pumpkin butter?

Yes! Pumpkin butter is perishable and you will get sick if you do not refrigerate it. Pumpkin butter can be stored in the refrigerator for 2-3 weeks in a mason jar. Or freeze for up to a year. Small plastic freezer containers are perfect for this.

overhead shot of a jar of homemade pumpkin butter

Pro Tips for Delectable Pumpkin Butter

Use the right kind of pumpkin: Be sure to use canned pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie filling. Or you can make your own pumpkin puree.

Use less apple juice for fresh pumpkin puree: If you are using fresh pumpkin puree, you may not need as much apple juice. Canned pumpkin puree is much thicker. Start with ¼ cup of apple juice and add more if you need to. 

Use a deep saucepan: This recipe splatters especially in the beginning. To prevent a big mess, I recommend using a big, deep pot. 

Stir often: While simmering your pumpkin butter, be sure to stir it often to prevent it from sticking or burning on the bottom of the saucepan. 

Add more spices if you want: Be sure to taste your pumpkin butter to ensure it’s to your liking. If you want a little more sweetness, you can add more brown sugar, cinnamon, or other spices.

Like This Pumpkin Butter Recipe? Pin It!

If you only make ONE pumpkin recipe this year ………..make it this Pumpkin Butter Recipe


pumpkin butter in a jar and on a piece of bread

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Originally posted in September 2011. UPDATED September 2021. We spiffed up this post with more info and better pictures! No changes to the original recipe.

a jar of pumpkin butter with little pumpkins and an orange checked town on the counter

Pumpkin Butter

Yield: 5 - half pint jars
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Additional Time: 3 minutes
Total Time: 48 minutes

A lightly sweetened spiced pumpkin spread.


  • 1 (29 ounce) can pumpkin puree (about 3.5 cups)
  •  1 cup apple juice
  •  2 teaspoons ground ginger
  •  1/2 teaspoon allspice
  •  1 pinch ground cloves
  •  1 cup brown sugar, packed
  •  1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  •  1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  •  1 tablespoon whiskey (optional)
  •  juice of 1/2 a lemon


  1. Combine all ingredient, except for lemon juice, in a large saucepan.
  2. Bring mixture to a boil.
  3. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 mins, stirring occasionally.
  4. Remove from heat, stir in lemon juice and let cool.
  5. Pour into airtight jar(s) and store in refrigerator for up to for two to three weeks and can be frozen for up to a year before use.


*USDA recommends AGAINST canning pumpkin butter.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 40 Serving Size: 1 tablepoon
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 27Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 6mgCarbohydrates: 7gFiber: 0gSugar: 6gProtein: 0g

Nutrition information is estimated based on the ingredients and cooking instructions as described in each recipe and is intended to be used for informational purposes only. Please note that nutrition details may vary based on methods of preparation, origin, and freshness of ingredients used.

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homemade pumpkin butter in a jar with crackers