Crock Pot Pumpkin Butter

Picture of Crock Pot Pumpkin Butter

I was craving apple and pumpkin butters the other day, and couldn't find an Instructable made specifically for this! Pumpkin butter is basically concentrated pumpkin flesh; by slow cooking the pumpkin with some sugar, the flavors begin to caramelize, giving it a great taste and it's brown color. It also has a much longer shelf life than a pumpkin by itself does, and to me is just as versatile. It tastes great on breads, in sauces (I made a tiramisu with it!) and is pretty enough to make a great gift.

Because pumpkin is a low-acid food, simply canning pumpkin puree can cause botulism, and we don't want that. By adding the sugar and lemon, I have increased the pH of the pumpkin to a higher acid food; the pH levels should be high enough that the risk is very low. That being said I cannot recommend you save this treat long-term! It's so tasty it doesn't last long anyway. :)

There is NO DAIRY in this butter; the name "butter" in the title merely refers to the consistency. :) Smooth and buttery. I personally crave anything with spices in it during the fall/winter months, and I really wanted something to slather on biscuits the other morning. NOMS!

So here it is. Easy pumpkin butter! It makes a really great present, and if you learn to do canning (it's really easy too) it can last for quite some time and looks pretty when packaged up nice.

As a note: using pumpkins MADE for eating yields a MUCH tastier butter than using pumpkins made for carving. Jack-o-lantern pumpkins CAN be eaten, but they are bred to be cut up and not eaten, so the flesh isn't really very tasty. I used a Queensland Blue for this recipe.

You will need:
• a pumpkin; I made two pints out of a medium sized pumpkin. (Or use canned pumpkin).
• A small lemon
• Table sugar (regular granulated or turbinado)
• Brown Sugar
• Cinnamon
• Pumpkin Pie spice (blend of cinnamon, ground ginger, lemon peel, nutmeg, cloves, and cardamom).

• Crock pot (or pot with lid)
• Surface to cut on
• Knife
• Jars with sealable lids

(EDIT: I'll try to get a better thumbnail preview image, I dislike this stock image one.)

If you don't want to have to cut up and roast your own pumpkin, you can use canned pumpkin puree. Make sure you aren't using "Pumpkin Pie" in a can; that already has spices added! If you're using canned pumpkin, go ahead and skip to step 3!

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O-Budd-14 years ago
I had some fresh pumpkin in the freezer from halloween and I tried this recipe as I was out of jelly and it turned out great. Thank you so much
tiffany.vanek4 months ago

I am on hour 3 of cooking. I think because my crockpot is so huge. It is just now starting to thicken up but is super sugary and granulated. I don't have jars. Has anyone stored small amounts in tupperware in the fridge and froze the rest in small amounts until needed? (considering icecube trays.)

According to the USDA, canning is not a safe method of preservation for pumpkin purée or butter. No disrespect to the author meant, but it's not about "naive people's fears of canning pumpkin" (is she more qualified than the USDA to assess food safety?) It's about the problems with variations in the ph levels from one batch to another of cooked pumpkin using the same recipe. Also, the end product is so thick that the center of the jar may not get hot enough to kill all bacteria present, and they would then thrive in the airtight feeding environment. Botulism is totally undetectable by taste, sight and odor. Pretty scary considering ingestion of small amounts of it it can kill you!
The safest way you can store this recipe is exactly the way you wanted to. Keep any you will use within the next few days in the fridge and freeze the rest. Small batches is smart so you won't waste any by defrosting more than you can use up in a few days.
Batness (author)  JenNodine4 months ago
The USDA has not tested canning pumpkin since the 80's, and there are safer methods to ensure the center of a can gets to a correct temperature. The ph issue involves more than recipe/batch variation as well, which is why there are no long term canning directions here and I mention safety issues multiple times.
Darn, I forgot to mention that adding sugar and lemon might make it acidic enough, but then again it might not. And you have no way to really know if your batch is acidic enough. If you do decide to can it, be safe and keep one jar in the fridge and still freeze your other jars. It may be a recipe to die for, but not literally!
Oh and Tupperware is fine but freezer bags are probably better since you can remove most of the air in those. Lie them flat in the freezer until frozen and then move them to a better spot if you need to.
Batness (author)  tiffany.vanek4 months ago
It may need to be cooked down more first before moving to a crockpot if it's that large a batch: I've nevet attempted too large a batch so I'm not sure! I have stored in fridge and freezer.

I'm not sure this turned out ok for me. Trying to be nice here since you have a "be nice" comment policy, but it is WAY TOO sugary. 3 cups of brown sugar to 3 cups of pumpkin puree made my pumpkin butter more like sugar butter. I actually even tripled the recipe but cut the sugar down to 6 cups of sugar and still just too sweet. Any suggestions in repairing the huge pot of pumpkin butter? I tried adding more lemon juice and more spices but no luck in changing it's overall sugar taste. I was hoping for more of a pumpkin flavor.

Batness (author)  michelle.c.bercaw4 months ago
Sorry it's too sweet for your taste! Most pumpkin butters have a more unique flavor than a largely pumpkin one (like the pie tastes vastly different than just cooked squash flesh). Unsure how to repair, but I have made lower sugar batches that turned out well. I can only think to mix it with more pumpkin or apple puree.
I'm going to try and make this Y'alls
ElaineG15 months ago

I think it would be really nice if you gave Gina at Skinnytaste credit for her picture of the pumpkin butter on toast!

finnrambo4 years ago
nice 'ible easy 5 for sure, now I'm going to have to find a way to get pumpkins all year round....

buy lots now. you can clean them up now and save the flesh in the freezer. then just thaw throughout the year and make another batch

If I put this in a canning bath, will it be OK?
Batness (author)  dragonflower71 year ago
I've never had a problem with my pumpkin butter, but mine are usually pretty high acid. You should be okay, but be aware there always is a chance pumpkin butter could grow botulism!
7Cawthrons2 years ago

How do I know if I have the right amount of sugar and lemon juice to maintain the acidity levels to can the pumpkin butter?
Raw pumpkin tastes kind of sweet, has a texture smoother than potato, but some satisfying crunch. Bet you never tasted it...
Batness (author)  whisperonthewind2 years ago
Bet I have. ;)
tbrewster2 years ago
I do not see how much sugar to put in the recipe. Thanks.
Batness (author)  tbrewster2 years ago
Please read under "basic measurements" to see what I used.
TAKuhn3 years ago
People don’t read do they my grandmother used to can all sorts of low ph foods with the addition of vinegar or lemon and sugar in the appropriate amounts. She was born in the great depression and was a farmer’s wife canning was something she did for many years without ever making anyone sick and pumpkin pie filling (butter) was one of her best on biscuits and in turnovers even over ice cream, as pumpkin alamode. She always said the government doesn’t know what its talking about because they get paid to talk.
Thanks for the great canning instructable.
I tried making mine just as you said but all I got back was warmed up pumpkin puree with the spices. It didn't even get close to being butter consistency. What size crock pot did you use (mine is about 4 quart size).
Batness (author)  javajunkie19763 years ago
You may have to adjust heat/time spent in crock pot depending on the size of the slow cooker or crock pot you are using.

I have a small crock pot; max it is 2 quarts, IF that. You may want to leave it on the same heat setting for a slightly longer time. Good luck!
bweed4 years ago
Looks tasty. Where's mine?! lol

I agree that the first pic looks really nice. It's staged perfectly with the toast browned and just the right amount of pumpkin butter.
farzadbayan4 years ago
Very nice !
The first picture is professional !
pecospearl4 years ago
The USDA does NOT recommend canning pumpkin puree, they recommend freezing it instead. This is due to spoilage and botulism.
Batness (author)  pecospearl4 years ago
The spoilage issue is due to the viscosity of different pumpkins and the fact it's not acidic enough.

However, with the amount of sugar and lemon to the ratio of pureed pumpkin I used, it should be okay.That being said, I still encourage everyone to read up the caning Instructable I linked. :) The USDA doesn't actually test any pumpkin recipes anymore, so they haven't tried anything new since the 80's.
diyguy274 years ago
This recipe looks very tasty! but I would not recommend canning pumpkin unless you use a pressure canner. Even though lemon is added in this recipe, pumpkin is still a low acid food. Unless the butter is subjected to the temperatures achieved in pressure cooker, botulism (which may not necessarily detectable by taste or smell) will be a serious (potentially fatal) risk. This recipe will still be great if the butter is stored in a refrigerator or frozen.
Batness (author)  diyguy274 years ago
Technically, even with a pressure canner pumpkin is a finicky canner if you've pureed it. It either will get botulism or it won't, the pressure canner won't matter.

The acidity does; but with the amount of sugar and lemon to the ratio of pureed pumpkin I used, it should be okay.That being said, I still encourage everyone to read up the caning Instructable I linked. :)