Easy-to-Make Shortcut Pumpkin Butter

Fran Costigan's Easy-to-Make Shortcut Pumpkin Butter

Serve this easy-to-make pumpkin butter with biscuits, breads, and muffins for a delicious breakfast treat, or use it as a frosting on a spice cake. It's vegan, gluten-free, and oil-free. #vegan #pumpkin #pumpkinbutter #pumpkinspiceI like to serve this super easy-to-make pumpkin butter with biscuits, bread, and muffins for a delicious breakfast treat. And I’ve used the pumpkin butter, as is or with the pumpkin seed butter mixed in, as a frosting on a spice cake. It would taste delicious on lots of flavors of cakes, quickbreads, and muffins, too.

Shortcut Pumpkin Butter

I’ve been seeing such attractive jars of pumpkin butters in the markets lately, but most have sugar-loaded ingredient lists, and they are pricy. Making pumpkin butter seemed a perfect DIY project to me, so today, right after my morning cardio and weights class, I tried my hand at making shortcut pumpkin butter. Good thing I did that exercise class, since I couldn’t resist eating a piece of toast slathered with both versions of the pumpkin butter, plus a piece of the spice cake (fast defrost from my freezer) that I frosted with the same butter. What can I say? This is recipe testing. Good thing breakfast had been leftover white beans, chard, and radish greens.

Pumpkin Butter and ToastMy pantry held both a can and a tetra pack of organic pumpkin puree. I choose the 15-ounce can, and in the refrigerator sat a jar of Fran-roasted, no-salt added pumpkin seeds.

Bundt cake slice frosted with pumpkin butterUsing the base recipe for the spiced pumpkin puree I’ve been using for years to make muffins and tea breads, I jotted down my ideas for a less sweet, more versatile pumpkin butter. Many recipes for pumpkin butter include apple juice or cider, but I didn’t think that is necessary.

Making pumpkin butterSpeeding Things Up

To make any fruit or vegetable butter, we need to cook off the naturally occurring liquid and reduce the puree without it burning. This can take 20-30 minutes. To speed things up, I use a skillet instead of a saucepan taking advantage of the larger surface, and more shallow layer of whatever it is I am reducing.

Pumpkin butter mixed with pumpkin seed butter to smear on toast
Double pumpkin butter

I was very pleased with the resulting pumpkin butter. You might wish to add more sweetener. The yield from the 15-ounce can of pumpkin puree was 1 1/4 cups of pumpkin butter. I played around with it, adding a bit of blender-made pumpkin seed butter to about 1/4 cup as a test and that was nice, too.

I have liked savory vegetable butters for years. My first job as a pastry chef was at a macrobiotic restaurant called Luma in Hell’s Kitchen, New York City. This was way before decent vegan butter was available, and we served our bread with roasted vegetable butters mixed with miso. I’ll do that with some of today’s pumpkin butter, too.

Making pumpkin pie parfait

Make a Pumpkin Pie Parfait

This fast and yummy, creamy, crunchy, pumpkin pie-like parfait is perfect for hectic holiday menus.

  • Mix vanilla pastry cream into pumpkin butter, to taste.
  • Spoon a layer into a serving dish, and sprinkle with chopped pecans and dried cranberries.
  • If you have some spice cake in the house, top with a slice.

Making a pumpkin pie parfait with pumpkin Butter

Fran Costigan's Easy-to-Make Shortcut Pumpkin Butter

Pumpkin Butter

Fran Costigan
Serve this pumpkin butter with biscuits, toast, and muffins, or use as a frosting on spice cake for breakfast. Or, make a parfait with cake, pumpkin butter, chopped nuts or seeds, vanilla pastry cream for dessert.
Course Condiment
Cuisine American
Servings 1 1/4 cups


  • 15 or 16 ounces can or box organic no-sweetener-added pumpkin puree
  • 6 tablespoons coconut, maple, or whole cane sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • pinch salt
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup, grade A dark or dark amber
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice, optional


  • Combine the pumpkin, coconut sugar, maple sugar or whole cane sugar, the cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg to a medium skillet.
  • Mix and bring to a low boil, over medium-high heat, stirring frequently. Reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook, stirring frequently with a heatproof spatula, and don’t forget to stir the bottom of the skillet. Continue simmering for 20 to 25 minutes or until smooth, shiny and thickened. You will see the mixture sputter as the liquid evaporates.
  • Add the tablespoon of maple syrup towards end of cooking. Taste, and add the lemon juice if you feel it can use some brightening. Cook another 5 minutes.
  • Cool the pumpkin butter. Store in airtight jar in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.


Add a small amount of nut butter and/or miso.
Add some more spice of your choosing—maybe clove or more ginger or turmeric.
Keyword pumpkin butter
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Bid on priceless items to help Coalition for Healthy School Foods. Items include dinners with me at VEDGE in Philly, with Victoria Moran in New York City, and Robert Ostfeld MD, too. https://www.32auctions.com/organizations/23187/auctions/53960?t=all

Fran Costigan's Easy-to-Make Shortcut Pumpkin Butter

    • Hi Sarah,
      I hope you do make the pumpkin butter. I had a nice snack today by spreading my Cornbread from More Great Good Dairy Free Desserts Naturally, rather thickly with the pumpkin butter. To make roasted veg butter, just made a smooth puree of any favorite roasted vegetable and add some white miso, little at a time, until it tastes good to you. Let us know how it goes for you.

Leave a Reply