Homemade Pear Butter

By Alexandra Caspero on December 7, 2023

Homemade pear butter! This simple pear butter recipe is a must with any extra pears. Enjoy it on toast, muffins, scones, and more. Perfect for gifting for the holidays!

Warmly spiced and lightly sweetened, this pear butter is a must this time of year. I love this one stirred into a bowl of steel-cut oats, and my daughter loves it mixed with cream cheese on top of her morning waffles.

If you like other types of fruit butter, then you’ll love this fresh pear one. While pear butter doesn’t contain any actual butter– it sure does taste like it! This one is creamy, thick, and perfect for spreading on any kind of bread, scone, or pancake.

The best part about this recipe is that it’s ready in an hour. While I love homemade canning and have several recipes for homemade jams and salsas, I wanted to create a simple pear butter recipe you could make in the morning for breakfast that same day. No sterilizing jars or special equipment is needed! However, if you want to can this one– directions are at the bottom.

All you need are ripe pears and a few spices, that’s it! For this recipe, I’m using fresh USA Pears. USA Pears are grown in Oregon and Washington, which produce 88% of the nation’s fresh pear crop. Only pears grown in Oregon and Washington are sold under the USA Pears label. I’m partial to Bosc or Bartlett for this recipe, but any pear variety will work.

Pear Butter In A Jar

Ingredients for Pear Butter

  • Ripe USA pears
  • Maple syrup
  • Orange or Lemon Zest and Juice
  • Spices, like cinnamon, ginger, salt, nutmeg and cardamom
  • Almond extract

Most fruit butter recipes, like apple butter, call for a hefty dose of Cinnamon, but since pears are a more delicate flavor, I like to add in additional spices like cardamom, nutmeg, and ginger.

I love the pairing of almond and pear together, and a touch of almond extract is so lovely here. It’s okay to omit if you’d prefer, or substitute in vanilla extract.

How to Make Pear Butter

Prep the pears

Peel, core and dice the pears Diced Pears For Pear Butter

Simmer

Add to a saucepan with the syrup, lemon juice, and spices and simmer until very soft. The pears will release water as they cook but if the mixture begins to stick at all, add in a little liquid of choice– pear juice, water or another fruit juice. Simmered Pears

Puree

For a creamier pear butter, use an immersion blender or food processor to puree the butter until creamy and smooth. Or, skip this step and gently mash the pear butter with a potato masher for a chunkier butter. Creamy Pear Butter

Store

Let cool, then enjoy or transfer to an airtight container and store for up to 1 week in the fridge. Pear Butter In A Food Processor

Tips & Substitutions

If your pears are very juicy, you’ll need to cook them longer so they reduce to the proper consistency for butter. If your pears are less ripe, they will contain more natural pectin that will gel and thicken the pear butter more quickly. Both are fine, but something to consider to determine how long to simmer your butter. The ripeness will also affect yield.

The shorter the cooking time, the paler and thinner your pear butter will be. For best results, cook the pears in a wide pan, like a saucepan or Dutch oven.

This also means it’s easy to burn the butter because of the long, slow cooking time. Make sure your heat is low enough to simmer rather than boil; even a small amount of burning will cause the entire butter batch to taste burned. As it reaches its point of doneness, stir it fairly often to prevent scorching.

I prefer maple syrup for taste, but you can substitute brown sugar or cane sugar if preferred. If using a solid sweetener, you may need to add a splash or two of water to the pears as they cook to prevent the bottom from burning. You can also omit or reduce the sugar to taste.

For the acid, either orange or lemon juice works. Use whatever you have on hand, and yes, orange juice from the fridge works! I add in a little fresh orange peel or lemon peel zest to give this pear butter a brighter citrus flavor, but if you are using refrigerated orange juice, then just skip that part.

Pear Butter On An English Muffin

To make Slow Cooker Pear Butter

You can make this in the slow cooker, but you’ll need to add water to prevent the spices from burning at the bottom. I recommend 1/4 cup of water and stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.

How to Ripen a Pear

Did you know that pears are one of the few fruits that don’t ripen on the tree? Pears are picked when they are mature but not yet ripe. If left at room temperature, they will slowly reach their sweet flavor as they ripen from the inside out.

As a mom with two kids who go through a lot of fruit, this is one of my favorite things about pears. It means I can buy a bunch at the beginning of the week and then ripen the ones we’ll eat sooner on the counter and put the rest in the fridge until I’m ready for them. This cuts down on both food costs and waste.

It’s also what makes pears great for gifting! You don’t have to worry about them spoiling before giving, and they are lovely tucked into a nice basket alongside a jar of this pear butter.

To quickly ripen a pear, place the underripe pears at room temperature near other ripening fruit like bananas, as they naturally give off ethylene gas, which will help speed up the ripening process.

Pears In A Bowl

How Do You Know if a Pear is Ripe?

For Bartlett pears, their skin color brightens as it ripens, but most other varieties of pears will not have a big color change as they ripen.

Instead, check the neck. Apply a little pressure to the neck of the pear with your thumb. If it easily yields to the pressure, it’s ripe! How easy is that?

Once the pear is ripe, enjoy it right away for a snack, chopped in a salad or in this pear butter. Or, pop it in the fridge to slow the ripening process. Ripe pears can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Pears With Pear Butter

How Do You Prevent Browning of Pears Once Cut?

Like most fruits, cut or peeled pears will eventually brown once the flesh is exposed to air. This is a natural oxidation process that doesn’t change the taste or quality but can be off-putting, depending on the recipe you are using.

Dip pears into a bowl of 50% water with 50% lemon juice to prevent browning. Or, you can soak cut pears in lightly salted water for 10 minutes, then drain, rinse, and pat dry. I do this before I place sliced pears into my kid’s lunchboxes!

Health Benefits of Pears

Available fresh nearly year-round, pears are packed with fiber — about 6 grams per pear — and are a delicious way to meet fiber needs. Considering that only 5% of adults in the US meet the Institute of Medicine’s recommended daily fiber intake of 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men, eating more pears is a simple way to meet needs.

Snacking on a pear provides 21% of the fiber needed in a day. Enjoy this pear butter on whole-grain muffins for breakfast, sliced pears with peanut butter for a simple snack, or add them to pizza, sandwiches, or salads for a savory twist.

Pear Butter In A Jar

Instructions for Canning Pear Butter

This recipe can be canned as is, and also safe to be doubled to produce more jars.

To can, ladle the warm pear butter into clean half-pint jars top leaving a 1/2 inch headspace. Wipe clean the rims of the jars, then fasten with a lid and seal. Place in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes, then remove using canning tongs and allow to cool at room temperature.

Check the list by pressing on the center of each seal. If it springs back, the jars should be refrigerated. Otherwise, store it in a dark, cool place, like a pantry, for up to a year.

Pears In A Plate

If you make this easy pear butter recipe, make sure to come back to leave a rating and a comment. Your feedback helps other readers and seeing you make my recipes makes my day!

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Homemade Pear Butter

  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 60 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Yield: 2 cups 1x
  • Category: sauce, butter, dip, condiment, spread
  • Method: stove top
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

Homemade pear butter! This simple fresh pear butter recipe is a must. Enjoy it on toast, muffins, scones, and more. Perfect for gifting for the holidays!


  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 60 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Yield: 2 cups 1x
  • Category: sauce, butter, dip, condiment, spread
  • Method: stove top
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan
  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 60 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Yield: 2 cups 1x
  • Category: sauce, butter, dip, condiment, spread
  • Method: stove top
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan
Scale

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds peeled, cored and diced, ripe fresh USA pears
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh orange or lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon orange or lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract

Instructions

  1. Place all the ingredients in a wide-rimmed saucepan or Dutch oven over medium-low heat. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the pears have softened and the mixture has thickened about 50 minutes. 
  2. Using an immersion blender, puree the mixture until creamy and smooth. Alternatively, let the mixture cool slightly, then transfer to a food processor and puree until creamy and smooth. 
  3. Enjoy as is, or return to the saucepan to simmer for longer to create a thicker, darker pear butter. 
  4. Transfer to a jar and store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. 
  5. Alternatively, you can water bath can this pear butter by ladling the pear butter into clean, hot jars. Wipe clean the rims of the jars, then fasten them with a lid and seal. Place in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes, then remove using canning tongs and allow to cool at room temperature. Check the lids by pressing on the center of each seal. If it springs back, the jars should be refrigerated. Otherwise, store it in a dark, cool place, like a pantry, for up to a year.

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Meet Alex Caspero

Alex Caspero is a Registered Dietitian, New York Times Bestselling Chef, and mom of two. She aims to cut through the nutrition noise by providing real-life, nourishing tips for body and mind. Learn more about Alex.

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    1. JC
      December 17, 2023 AT 6:04 am

      Made a single batch and it turned out pretty good. Mine didn’t get as smooth and creamy as yours looks. It is more ‘apple sauce’ like, but the flavor is excellent. I only blended with an immersion blender so next time I’ll put it in the Vitamix.






      1. Alex
        December 17, 2023 AT 7:48 pm

        Hi– yes, I don’t think the immersion blender gets it quite as creamy. Thanks for your feedback!

        1. JC
          December 24, 2023 AT 6:03 am

          Made a second batch this time in the food processor and left the skins on. Perfection! – Thanks






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