Paul Virant's Pumpkin Butter

November  4, 2014
3 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Makes about 6 cups
Author Notes

Turn any winter squash into this holiday season's go-to gift, breakfast, and dessert -- an entertaining triple threat. Virant adds it to ice cream and pumpkin bars, or you can stir it into plain yogurt and oatmeal, smear it on toast and cake. As you might expect, this packs well and makes a handsome gift at any scale you want to make it. It also freezes well, and keeps in the fridge for a few weeks. Because it's low in acidity, it's not safe for water-bath canning. Recipe adapted slightly from The Preservation Kitchen (Ten Speed Press, 2012). —Genius Recipes

What You'll Need
  • Roasted Pumpkin or Winter Squash
  • 5 pounds (2 to 3) pumpkin or winter squash, halved and seeded
  • Vegetable oil for coating
  • Pumpkin Butter
  • 6 cups (3 pounds) roasted pumpkin or winter squash pulp
  • 2 cups (12 ounces) lightly packed brown sugar
  • 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon, ground
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger, ground
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves, ground
  1. Roasted Pumpkin or Winter Squash
  2. Preheat the oven to 400° F. Brush the cut sides of the pumpkins with oil. Place the halves, cut side down, in a baking pan and roast for 45 minutes, or until the pumpkin is tender when pierced with a knife. (This varies widely depending on the squash variety. A delicata may cook in 35 minutes while a butternut or kabocha can take 1 hour.)
  3. Using a spoon, scrape the flesh into a bowl and discard the skins.
  1. Pumpkin Butter
  2. Preheat the oven to 350° F. In a bowl, mix together the roasted pumpkin, sugar, butter, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves. Spread onto a 9 by 13-inch baking pan and bake, stirring every 15 minutes with a spatula, until the pumpkin has become thick and slightly caramelized, about 1 1/2 hours.
  3. Give it a good stir at the end; it should be smooth and spreadable. If the pumpkin is too fibrous for your liking, blend it in a food processor to even out the texture. If it is thicker than you'd like, you can thin it with a little water.
  4. Cool and refrigerate or freeze in a couple of plastic deli containers until ready to use.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Marie Silvio Ciranna
    Marie Silvio Ciranna
  • Eileen Major
    Eileen Major
  • Suzanna
  • Assonta Wagner
    Assonta Wagner
  • Rachel Christensen
    Rachel Christensen
Genius Recipes

Recipe by: Genius Recipes

45 Reviews

cpc October 6, 2021
I made some milk bread with this pumpkin butter spread on the dough before the final roll up shaping. It was AMAZING!
Marie S. November 29, 2020
I made this as Thanksgiving gifts for family since we couldn't be together this year. It was delicious! Next time I'll cook the squash/sugar mixture longer to make sure it carmelizes even more. And perhaps more butter because...why not?
Marie S. November 29, 2020
I made this as Thanksgiving gifts for family since we couldn't be together this year. It was delicious! Next time I'll cook the squash/sugar mixture longer to make sure it carmelizes even more. And perhaps more butter because...why not?
Eileen M. November 10, 2017
This recipe looks wonderful. I’m wondering if anyone has canned the pumpkin butter and how it turned out?
cpc December 13, 2017
The USDA claims that pumpkin is too dense to can safely so they always recommend freezing.
Nancy January 26, 2016
Delicious but rich. Need to eat in small quantities and/or with something sharp. Hence my new pb & J (pumpkin jam and cranberry jelly on a bagel). Bet it would be good with day-after-thanksgiving on the turkey sandwiches too.
Molly November 16, 2015
How long will this keep if you don't freeze it? I'm thinking it would make great hostess gifts in mason jars and wouldn't hurt to have on stand by.
Laurie G. October 22, 2015
Just a year after saying to myself, "I've got to try that!" I got around to it. Really delicious, big flavor, and even pretty nutritious! I don't like things too sweet, so I took advice of other commenters and used just 1 cup of brown sugar. My squashes were very sweet, so the result was still plenty sweet. I made a "pumpkin fool" with it for a company dessert (swirled with spiced whipped cream, topped with chopped candied ginger), and then as a filling for buckwheat crepes for breakfast. Anything made with it just POPS!

Seems like it would be easy to use for a pumpkin cheesecake filling, or pumkin pie filling (just add condensed milk and eggs) or pumkin ice cream (lighten with whipped cream and freeze)...
AntoniaJames November 2, 2015
Laurie, Paul Virant actually has a recipe for a cheesecake filling using this pumpkin butter. You put the filling over a sweet shortbread crust to make bars. I'll send it to you if you send me a note. (I cannot reproduce it here due to copyright ownership issues.) ;o)

P.S. Virant also has a pumpkin ice cream recipe in the same book.
I just swirl this stuff into lightly softened vanilla ice cream with toasted pecans.
Laurie G. November 9, 2015
I'd love to have the cheesecake recipe. My email is [email protected].
Fran M. October 9, 2017
Would love the cheese cake recipe. [email protected]
Suzanna October 21, 2015
Thank you Marisa.
Suzanna October 8, 2015
Marisa, I believe right above the recipe it says it yields about 6 cups.
Marisa C. October 20, 2015
Oops, duh! Thanks Suzanna!
Marisa C. October 8, 2015
About how much does this yield? I'm trying to figure out how many cup or pint jars it will make, for gifts. Thanks!
Suzanna October 5, 2015
Sorry if this is a silly question, but is the 5# pumpkin or winter squash (listed before the pumpkin butter recipe), is this added to the Pumpkin Butter recipe as well? Thank you.
Marisa C. October 20, 2015
The 5 pounds listed at the top of the recipe is the 6 cups (3 pounds) roasted squash, first ingredient under Pumpkin butter. =)
Jillian October 2, 2015
can this be made with delicata squash?
Kristen M. October 2, 2015
Yes, any winter squash—or a variety—will work! Delicata will be delicious.
Assonta W. November 28, 2014
So, I made this and it was a HIT! We used it to make pumpkin butter cinnamon rolls with orange cream cheese icing. We had them for Thanksgiving breakfast~and ate ourselves sick! Thank for this recipe!
Achefwannabe November 8, 2022
Assonta, Did you sprinkle additional cinnamon on the pumpkin butter or add any orange zest?
Assonta W. November 8, 2022
I did! I used orange zest in the icing. But I bet it would be scrumptious in the pumpkin butter! Now I gotta try it!
Lisa S. November 22, 2014
This is totally delicious, but you must put in the food processor before baking to get rid of the stringiness of the pumpkins. YUM!!!
Samantha T. November 12, 2014
Does canned pumpkin (i.e. Libby's 100% pure pumpkin) work in place of freshly-roasted pumpkin?
Valerie November 30, 2014
I was wondering the same thing!
Greg September 22, 2016
Can you use can pumpkin to make pumpkin spread
Meg December 16, 2017
I just made this pumpkin butter with 2 cans of pumpkin. I halved the recipe since the 2x 15oz cans measured just over 3 cups of pumpkin. I followed the recipe exactly (cut in half) and it turned out great. I think I left it too long in the oven and it's a bit thick, but it's delicious! Give it a try, it works!
Achefwannabe November 8, 2022
I would think you would lose some flavor because you are not caramelizing the pumpkin first.
However, because it is so difficult to find baking pumpkins now I am going to try it. Thanks for the tips Meg.
jeannieroseburg November 12, 2014
I'm not sure I understand what to do with the oil. The recipe says brush the sides of the pumpkin. Can some tell me how you define "sides"
Kristen M. November 12, 2014
Actually, you're brushing the "cut sides" of the squash, meaning the exposed surfaces of the interior of the squash -- this helps keep it from sticking to the baking pan.
Mholman November 11, 2014
Made it with butternut squash. Subbed coconut oil instead of butter to make it vegan. Definitely needed to be processed after baking and added almost a cup of water to thin it out - oh my goodness it is so good. Amazing texture, great flavor. I might up all the spices next time just to take it to the next level.
Rachel C. November 8, 2014
This is amazing. AMAZING. I only used 1 cup of brown sugar and was fine -- my tooth runs slightly more savory than sweet. Can't wait to eat it with and in everything.
WHB November 8, 2014
This recipe is pure genius and too share or keep around. I think my batch will disappear over the weekend! I used two smallish pie pumpkins and 1 1/2 cup turbinado sugar. Everything else was the same. So fabulous.
Elysse November 7, 2014
Just made this with a few changes: Upped the squash amount to around 5 pounds (mix of fairy, red kabocha, kuri, blue ballet, and early jarrah), replaced brown sugar with maple syrup and decreased amount to only 1/2 cup, and doubled the amount of butter. I blended it in the food processor after cooking so it was really smooth, and then whipped it in my mixer (this is when I added the second stick of butter). I spread it back in the baking pan and topped with chopped roasted pecans and whipped cream. Yum!