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Brown Sugar Pear Butter

12 Reviews

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Preserving blogger Brook Hurst-Stephens of Learn to Preserve says of this delicious spread, “Use golden ripe Bartlett pears for this recipe, not green ones. This is the perfect opportunity to use up pears that might be getting a bit soft. This rich and complex pear butter recipe is perfect for spreading on toast, but also great with whipped cream cheese on a bagel, or in recipes, like layering it in the middle of oat bars or to top off jam thumbprint-type cookies.”
  • 3 pounds perfectly ripe Bartlett USA Pears (about 5 large pears)
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1-2 cups brown sugar
  • ½ vanilla bean (or ½ teaspoon vanilla extract)
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves

Wash, then quarter and core pears, placing them in a heavy-bottom preserving pan as you work. Add water. Do not add more liquid, the pears will create liquid as they cook!

Bring to a simmer over low heat, then cover tightly with a lid to keep heat and moisture in. Simmer for approximately 20 minutes, or until pears have softened, then remove pan from heat. Mash pears with a potato masher until they are mushy (approximately 15-30 seconds).

Place food mill over a bowl, then scoop pear mush into the food mill. Crank away until all that remains in the food mill is a small amount of pear skins/peels. Discard or compost the skins. Measure the pear puree back into the preserving pan, keeping track of the amount of pear puree you end up with; you’ll want to add half that much brown sugar to the pear puree mixture. (For example, for 2 cups of pear puree, you’ll add 1 cup of brown sugar.)

Add one 2-3-inch piece of vanilla bean. Add the remaining spices into the pear puree mixture. Stir well to combine. Cook approximately one hour over low heat, simmering constantly. It will be more of a burble than a simmer, because of the thickening nature of the pear butter.

Once desired thickness has been achieved, remove the preserving pan from the heat and remove the vanilla bean, then spoon mixture immediately into hot sterilized jars, leaving ¼-inch headspace.

Note: If you are using vanilla extract instead of a vanilla bean, add it at the end of the cooking process, when you would normally be removing the vanilla bean.

At this point you can either cover jars with tight-fitting lids (and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 months, or in the freezer for up to 6 months) or you can process by following the next steps:

Look for any air bubbles in the jars and if you see any, use a knife to remove them before wiping rims clean and sealing according to USDA instructions. Process for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath.

yield: Makes approximately 3 half pints

  • Serving Size: 1 oz
  • Calories: 80
  • Carbohydrates: 21g
  • Protein: 0g

14 Comments » for Brown Sugar Pear Butter
  1. Elaine R says:

    Made 2nd batch today with Red Rouge pears that were very ripe, had to cook down for a long time, but so easy. I cook the pears with the skin & use a colander and a wooden meat mallet to mash with. Our pears have been so sweet that I only added 1/2 cup brown sugar for 3-1/2 pints! Thanks for a super easy recipe that tastes great!

  2. Darlene says:

    This was so easy…the only thing i did different was i peeled and cored and added lemon juice. The taste was wonderful…

  3. Suzanne Howe says:

    I am making it now. Yummy. I used 10 green pears. .

  4. Amie says:

    I used Bartlett pears that were getting brown spots and starting to much. I let the sauce cook down overnight before adding brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice and cloves. (Have pear juice from steaming in the Instant Pot. Will make pear jelly.)

  5. Leanna says:

    This is so easy and delicious, I used the peel,just put softened pears in food processor and puréed them then for final cooking added one half of a thinly sliced lemon for more flavor.Great taste,will definitely be making this again.

  6. Bryan says:

    Fabulous recipe. Taste amazing. Neighbor grow pears so had 4# of pears that made 6 pint jars! Not sure how long it took to cook down I just set my timer in 10-15 minute increments to stir. Followed the recipe exactly for the sugar and the spices and it was perfect.

  7. Angie Russell says:

    This recipe is fantastic. So easy. However, I would like to add one 1 tip. I washed the pears, quartered them and put them in my instant pot. I cooked them for 15 minutes, cool down a little, then put them through the food mill. I followed the remaining instructions. It was super easy and tasted great. I also used the extra liquid for pear juice. Yum!

  8. Roger says:

    I had some leftover pears that were getting really ripe so decided to try this recipe. I dont have a food mill, so I peeled the pears and threw the skins in the pot with the diced pears. After the first cook, just fished the skins out with a fork and all was good. I did need to cook for an hour and a half before reaching the desired consistency and I forgot to add the vanilla at the end. I used a stick blender and a fork to mash the pears. Other than that I followed the recipe and the pear butter turned out great!
    I just used a regular heavy saucepan and no special equipment at all. This is an easy recipe that anyone can do.

  9. Mackenzie says:

    the flavor is good, but would absolutely cook for a lot longer than an hour. I ended up going an hour and a half and I think it should have gone at least another 30 minutes or hour but I didn’t check other recipes to understand what the vague “desired consistency” meant. I don’t have a food mill because who does, so I ended up blending the mixture after mashing it which worked really well but I would peel the pears if I did it again because its got a gritty texture to it even after I put the mixture through a sieve. 3/5 for good ingredient but bad directions.

  10. Lisa stokdyk says:

    Hi Kathy,
    I’ve finally a day off, thought I’d tackle this recipe. I see I have whole cloves rather than ground. Suggest I use 1 or two cloves?
    I have 8 Huuuuge yellow pears to work with.

  11. Lisa says:

    What is a “ preserving pan”? I’ve never heard this before?
    I know what a Dutch oven is, UT not a preserving pan …?

  12. Charlie Woodard says:

    I made this recipe last night. It tastes great even though I forgot to add the vanilla extract

  13. Darlene says:

    I haven’t made it yet but it looks absolutely amazing!!! You get high marks just for being Brown Sugar Pear Butter as I LOVE Apple Butter since birth! I moved from Indianapolis to Bowling Green, Kentucky last fall and have this enormous pear tree in my back yard. They are delicious! I have a question about the recipe and since it doesn’t say to put the lid back on, I’m assuming off, but not sure. After the initial cooking and milling of the pears when the vanilla and spices are added with the pear mush back to the pan to simmer (burble) for an hour, is that lid on or off? Thank you and I’m so happy to have discovered this site. Looking forward to many more recipes in my pear future!

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