Spiced Maple Pumpkin Butter & 20 Ways to Use It

I was at Trader Joe’s a few weeks ago and spied a perky little jar of Pumpkin Butter. I must be years behind on this, but that was my first encounter with this luscious spread.

I quickly made up for lost time and located several other promising pumpkin butters, namely:

I sampled the first three (each delicious in its own way) and can’t wait to try them all. My favorite thus far is Oregon Growers & Shippers Pumpkin Butter. They use Cinderella pumpkins, which lend a surprising apple-like flavor to the spread, and a hint of cardamom. I nearly ate the entire jar while jotting down the tasting notes.

Recipes for homemade pumpkin butter include a wide range of flavor options: lemon, honey, brown sugar, maple syrup, balsamic vinegar, candied ginger, peach, rosemary, white grape juice, apple juice, apple cider, and all the usual pumpkin pie spices.

I decided to give maple syrup a strong supporting role in my version. The affinity between pumpkin and maple syrup is well known to pastry chefs. It’s a pairing made in heaven.

I also chose to add a hint of cardamom to the typical pumpkin pie spice blend and just enough fresh lemon zest and juice to offset the sweetness of the maple syrup and brown sugar. The final grace note is a whisper of vanilla to round out the other flavors.

The recipe below makes 2½ cups of Spicy Pumpkin maple Butter, which may seem overmuch. However, it disappears in days. Here are some of the ways you can use it.

Twenty Lip-Smackin’ Ways to Use Spiced Maple Pumpkin Butter

  1. Blend with cream cheese, spread on toasted sourdough bagel, and dust with cinnamon.
  2. Stir into caramel sauce, warm, and serve over vanilla bean ice cream.
  3. Stir into yogurt and top with granola.
  4. Swirl into your morning oatmeal.
  5. Blend with peanut butter and spread on toasted English muffin. Drizzle with honey if desired.
  6. Stir into muffin, pancake, ebelskiver, or beignet batter.
  7. Stir into a latte or hot chocolate.
  8. Stir into ice cream batter before or after churning.
  9. Blend into cheesecake batter.
  10. Stir into cake or tea bread batter.
  11. Swirl into brownie batter.
  12. Combine with hummus.
  13. Use to fill flakey pastry turnovers, homemade pop tarts, or ebelskiver.
  14. Use in place of pumpkin puree in your Thanksgiving Pumpkin Pie. (Wow!)
  15. Slather onto French toast or pancakes. Garnish with caramelized pecans or pumpkin seeds.
  16. Fold into sweetened whipped cream for the topping of your dreams.
  17. Serve alongside warmed Brie and artisan crackers.
  18. Serve with pecan-crusted pork chops.
  19. Add to cream cheese frosting.
  20. Sneak bites with a spoon while standing in front of an open frig. For double pleasure, sneak bites of Häagen Dazs butter-pecan or dulce de leche ice cream at the same time.

Spiced Maple Pumpkin Butter

A couple of years ago, while devouring Ken Haedrich’s Pie cookbook, I learned about the flavor affinity between pumpkin and maple syrup. I used the newfound knowledge to make the best pumpkin pie of my life. Now I can hardly look at a pumpkin without wanting to grab a bottle of maple syrup.

This Pumpkin Butter uses both brown sugar and maple syrup as sweeteners, but neither to excess. The finished butter is richly spicy but only moderately sweet, making it a very versatile addition or accompaniment to other dishes.

29-ounce can of pureed pumpkin, about 3½ cups puree (not pumpkin pie mix)
¾ cup golden brown sugar
½ cup pure maple syrup
finely grated zest of 1 large lemon
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
pinch ground cloves
½ teaspoon fine sea salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

  1. In a medium saucepan, combine pumpkin puree, brown sugar, maple syrup, lemon zest, lemon juice, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cardamom, cloves, and salt. Bring to a slow simmer. The mixture is so thick, you will see only an occasional large bubble.
  2. Simmer, stirring occasionally at first, and then more frequently during the final 15 minutes, until reduced and thickened (but still moist), 20-30 minutes. The puree should reduce to 2½-3 cups and have a silky, spreadable consistency.
  3. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla.
  4. Cool, and then refrigerate until needed.
  5. If Pumpkin Butter is too thick after chilling, thin with a little warm water or apple juice.

Makes about 2½ cups.

Additional Inspiration

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Copyright 2012 Susan S. Bradley. All rights reserved.

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  1. says

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  2. says

    Wow, it’s that easy? I was imagining starting with an actual pumpkin– starting with a can of puree makes this much more approachable. I’ve looked at the pumpkin butter at TJ’s and haven’t bought it, thinking I should be able to make some myself. I know that you (like me) favor cardamom, so I like seeing that in your list of ingredients.
    Mary (Fit and Fed) recently posted…Fig, Strawberry, and Toasted Hazelnut Salad with Fig VinaigretteMy Profile

    • Susan S. Bradley says

      Thanks Mary! I don’t just favor cardamom, I ADORE it. :-) Hope you’ll try this soon. It’s so delicious.

  3. John T. says

    Just made this, and it is now chilling in the fridge. Already thick enough to hold its shape, like egg whites at “stiff peaks”. Yuummmmmmyyyy! Recipe was enough to fill two smaller size wide mouth mason jars, with enough left over for a cook’s treat. The maple flavor is quite subtle, and a very nice touch. Great recipe!

  4. Pat says

    I used to LOVE Trader Joe’s version, then the formula seemed to change and it was more gel-like in consistency. Thank you for pairing my favorites and posting–definitely going to be making this one!

    • Susan S. Bradley says

      CJ, seven cups of pumpkin puree? Marvelous! I have a lot to use this week too. Can’t wait to try a few new ideas.

    • Susan S. Bradley says

      Sarah, butternut squash will work. The recipe, however, is written for a puree, so first steam and then puree the squash before proceeding with the recipe. Let me know how it turns out. :-)


  1. […] is where Spiced Pumpkin Maple Butter comes it. It is essentially pureed pumpkin, reduced to a flavor-packed paste with sugar, maple […]

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