Roasted Pumpkin Butter
Yield: ~ 6 cups (48 ounces)
If you've never made pumpkin butter before, this foolproof recipe is reason to start. The warm flavors add something special to toast, oatmeal, yogurt, smoothies, baked goods and more. (Hard to resist by the spoonful, too!)

To roast the pumpkin or winter squash:

  • 6 pounds (2 to 3) pumpkin or winter squash, halved and seeded*
  • Coconut, avocado or vegetable oil of choice for coating

To make the pumpkin butter:

  • 6 cups (2¾ to 3 pounds) roasted pumpkin or winter squash (from above)
  • 1 cup (320g) pure maple syrup
  • ½ cup coconut oil or 1 stick butter, cubed
  • 1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ginger, ground
  • ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

Roasting the pumpkin or winter squash:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400° F. Brush the cut sides of the pumpkins with oil. Place the halves, cut side down, on a rimmed baking sheet and roast for 45 minutes, or until the pumpkin is very tender when pierced with a knife. (Cooking time varies widely depending on the squash variety. A delicata may cook in 35 minutes while a butternut or kabocha can take 1 hour. After optional microwaving to soften for cutting purposes – see notes – the smaller squash in the prep photo took 35 minutes and the larger took 40 minutes.)
  2. Using a spoon, scrape the flesh into a bowl and discard the skins.

Making the pumpkin butter:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. (See tip.) In a bowl, mix together the roasted pumpkin, maple syrup, coconut oil or butter, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves and salt. (I use a fork to mash the squash as I mix.) Spread in a 9×13-inch baking pan and bake, stirring every 15 minutes with a spatula, until the pumpkin has become thick and slightly caramelized, about 1 hour, give or take 10 minutes or so depending on type and size of squash used, as some have a higher moisture content that others. (Hint: The natural sweetness of winter squash also varies somewhat from one variety to the next, so somewhere along the way, taste the pumpkin butter. If it’s not sweet enough for you, feel free to stir in an extra drizzle of maple syrup to taste. Alternatively, you could do this during the processing step later.)
  2. Transfer the mixture to a food processor, and process until smooth. If it’s thicker than you’d like, you may thin it with water. (See tips.)
  3. Cool and refrigerate until ready to use. The flavor will improve over time and the pumpkin butter will keep in the refrigerator for a few weeks and freezes very well. It is not well-suited to water bath canning because of its low pH level.


*The original recipe calls for starting with 5 pounds of pumpkin, but when I did this I had to scrape every last piece of skin clean and didn’t quite eke out the 6 cups called for in the second stage of the recipe. Also, because a pumpkin’s hard shell makes it so difficult to cut in half, I often pierce the shell with a knife and then microwave for a few minutes to soften just enough to cut more easily.

I’ve added anywhere from a scant ¼ cup of water to over ¾ cup as the moisture content of different squash varieties can vary a lot. The flavor of kabocha squash, for example, is fantastic, but it is often dryer that butternut and usually takes more water to thin to my desired consistency. Also keep in mind the pumpkin butter will firm up slightly when refrigerated, and you can stir in a little water later if you’d like to thin it for a particular use. The recipe is very easy to work with.
If using a dark metal or glass baking pan, I recommend reducing the oven temperature in the second step from 350 to 325° F.

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