‘Tis the season to dust off the can of pumpkin and turn it into a silky pumpkin butter! This recipe is naturally sweetened, perfectly spiced and ready in just 20 minutes. It’s an easy process and all done in one pot. Serve it with scones and muffins or make mini pumpkin hand pies with puff pastry. It always makes a fabulous gift when packed in a little jar. 

Expert Tip

I’ve recipe tested a lot of different pumpkin butter recipes and the key to making a shiny, silky pumpkin butter is cornstarch! I used to think the longer the pumpkin butter cooked the silkier it would get, and while that is part of the equation, the biggest factor is utilizing the thickening power of cornstarch

Once the pumpkin mixture has cooked down, stir in a cornstarch slurry (made of cornstarch and lemon juice) and cook it just until the mixture is thick and shiny. 

pumpkin butter stuffed into a puff pastry with sugar on top.

How to Use Pumpkin Butter

  • Serve as a spread with muffins, scones and toast.
  • Make stuffed french toast.
  • Use it as a filling for homemade pumpkin pop tarts or hand pies. 
  • Give as a gift for the holidays. 
  • Add to a cheese board
  • Swirl into yogurt for a delicious fall parfait. 
  • Mix with cream cheese for a fall bagel spread.

Ingredients You’ll Need

  • Pumpkin: we like the convenience of canned pumpkin purée. Just make sure to use 100% pumpkin purée and not pumpkin pie filling.  
  • Apple juice or apple cider
  • Maple syrup: if you don’t have maple syrup, you can use brown sugar (light or dark)
  • Cinnamon
  • Dried ginger
  • Nutmeg
  • Ground cloves
  • Kosher salt
  • Cornstarch: if you need this recipe to be corn-free, use arrowroot starch instead. 
  • Lemon juice

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Combine the pumpkin, apple juice, maple syrup, and spices in a medium saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat and cook the mixture until it’s thickened, takes on a caramel color, and starts to splatter, this will take about 5 minutes. It’s important to whisk the mixture constantly—this will help with the aggressive splattering and will keep the mixture from burning.
  2. Reduce the heat to medium and continue to cook, whisking constantly, for another 3 minutes.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together cornstarch and lemon juice. Add the slurry to the pumpkin mixture and cook until thickened and shiny, about 2 minutes. 
  4. Remove from heat and let the pumpkin butter cool.
  5. Once cool, transfer pumpkin butter to a glass airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Any longer and we recommend freezing it for up to 3 months.
silky pumpking butter in a bowl

Can this recipe be canned in a hot water bath?

Yes, you can “can” this pumpkin butter. We haven’t canned it before ourselves, but here’s a quick process for canning: disinfect the jars then spoon the boiling pumpkin butter into the clean jars.

Secure the lids then gently submerge them in a large pot of boiling water and cook for 10 minutes. Remove the jars and ensure they are sealed before storing in your pantry for up to 1 year. 

Can this be made with fresh pumpkin puree instead of canned?

We haven’t tested it, but it should work fine! Roasted homemade pumpkin purée tends to have slightly less moisture, so you may end up with a thicker butter. 

Will this recipe work with less sugar?

This recipe is naturally sweetened with maple syrup. If you would like it to be lower in sugar content, you can decrease the amount to ¼ cup, though the mixture likely won’t be as shiny. 

Can I do ¼ brown sugar and ¼ maple syrup?

Yes, you can use half brown sugar and half maple syrup.

Pumpkin Butter Recipe

5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Yield 2 cups
Category Dessert
Cuisine Amercican


An easy pumpkin butter recipe made with canned pumpkin, maple syrup, apple juice or cider, and warm spices. Thickened with cornstarch for a silky finish.


  • 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin purée
  • 1 cup 100% apple juice or apple cider
  • ½ cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground dried ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon grated fresh nutmeg
  • pinch ground cloves
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • 4 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 4 teaspoons lemon juice


  • Whisk together 1 can pumpkin, 1 cup apple juice, ½ cup maple syrup, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 teaspoon ginger, ¼ teaspoon nutmeg, pinch cloves and pinch salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat then cook, whisking constantly, until thickened, takes on a caramel color, and starts to splatter, about 5 minutes.
  • Reduce heat to medium and simmer, whisking frequently for another 3 minutes (it will splatter, so be careful).
  • In a small bowl, whisk together 4 teaspoons cornstarch and 4 teaspoons lemon juice; whisk into pumpkin mixture and cook until thickened and shiny, about 2 minutes.


Splattering: Once you reduce the heat to medium, it’s all about cooking the mixture for as long as you can handle it. The splattering is pretty insane—try to cook it for an additional 3–5 minutes. If you have a splatter guard, this would be a great time to use it.
Storage: Store pumpkin butter in a glass airtight container for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator. Any longer and we recommend freezing it for up to 3 months.


Serving: 2tablespoonsCalories: 98kcalCarbohydrates: 23gSodium: 12mgFiber: 1gSugar: 20g
Like this? Leave a comment below!I love hearing from you and I want to hear how it went with this recipe! Leave a comment and rating below, then share on social media @zestfulkitchen and #zestfulkitchen!
silky pumpking butter in a bowl

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About The Author

Lauren Grant is a professional culinary food scientist, food writer, recipe developer, and food photographer. Lauren is a previous magazine editor and test kitchen developer and has had work published in major national publications including Diabetic Living Magazine, Midwest Living Magazine, Cuisine at Home Magazine, EatingWell.com, AmericasTestKitchen.com, and more.

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