What is pear butter?
Pear butter, or any fruit butter, is a smooth puree of fruit that has been cooked down slowly with sugar and spices. The texture is thicker than an apple sauce because you simply cook the fruit mixture longer and you concentrate the flavor.
Fruit butters generally are less sweet than jams and there is no pectin added. I love making homemade preserves of any kind. If you do as well, try any of these canning recipes on my site.
How do you make this recipe?
- Prepare the fruit
- Add all the ingredients
- Cook slowly until the fruit is soft and the mixture is concentrated then puree.
The slow cooker is used as my preferred method because it is an absolute STAR at cooking low and slow.
And by the way, you could make this recipe on the stove top instead. You’ll just need to be patient and plan ahead because it will take a lot of tie to let the fruit and sugar simmer in a sauce pan. Stir ever so often and do not leave the mixture unattended.
What ingredients are needed?
- a touch of salt
All that is required is good-quality fruit, a small bit of sugar, and spices of your choice. I’ve made apple butter and pumpkin butter in recent weeks. Today I’d like to share this pear butter. Spread it on top of toast or along side a pork tenderloin. This pear butter complements a variety of foods.
Alternative sweeteners for pear butter or any fruit butter include honey, maple syrup, or coconut sugar. If you try any of those options, please do leave a comment and let me know how it turned out.
How to peel pears
Ok, here’s the deal. You DO NOT have to peel pears before making pear butter. The skin is thin and it cooks right down with the fruit.
I am in the habit of peeling my pears first and think that it yields a smoother fruit spread in the end so I do peel the pears first. Use a vegetable peeler or a paring knife to remove the skin of the pears.
How do you thicken fruit butter?
Thickening fruit butter will depend on your method of making the recipe but TIME is the key. Any of the methods– slow cooker, Instant Pot, or stove top– may need additional time to let the fruit spread thicken. This is best done by leaving the lid off or cracking the lid open so that more liquid can escape and evaporate.
In a pinch I’ll use a wooden spoon to prop open a lid but the kitchen gadget that works best are these silicone lid lifters that you’ll find on Amazon. I received mine as a gift in this adorable dog shape shown in the photo. They not only serve a purpose but the lifters are so cute I can’t help but smile at them each time I need to prop a lid open!
My pear butter is grainy, what should I do?
If you are used to traditional apple butter, you may find pear butter a bit grainy. Even when eating pears compared to apples, the texture is different.
One way to fix that texture issue in this recipe is to use a high speed blender instead of an immersion blender when you puree your fruit mixture.
How to use pear butter?
Variations on pear butter
Here are some suggestions for changing up this old fashioned pear butter recipe and making it your own creation:
- add more spices like ginger or cloves to make a spiced fruit butter
- include a touch of brandy or rum
- brighten the flavor with citrus by adding orange zest
- you can never go wrong by adding pure vanilla extract
What to do with lots of pears?
- 8-10 pears, peeled, cored and cut into chunks
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 cinnamon stick
- pinch of salt
- Put all the ingredients into a crock pot (slow cooker).
- Cook on low heat for 4-6 hours.
- Remove the cinnamon stick, let cool slightly then use a hand-held immersion blender puree to desired consistency.
- If your pear butter isn't thick enough after the cooking time, prop the lid open and cook for an additional hour or until desired consistency is reached.
- Ladle in to mason jars. Keep refrigerated for up to a month.
Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container.
If you are using the Instant Pot, cook on high for 8 minutes, let cool and release the pressure. Puree. If needed saute on low until mixture reduces to desired consistency.
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Serving Size:1 tablespoon
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 36Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 4mgCarbohydrates: 9gFiber: 1gSugar: 7gProtein: 0g
TOOLS YOU WILL USE IN THIS RECIPE:
Instapot (I use my Instapot in the Slow Cook mode)
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This post was originally published in December 2012 and was updated in November 2019.
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Holly Baker started the food blog, A Baker’s House, in 2011. She is the writer, recipe creator, and photographer for the site. Holly loves to bake and shares recipes for gluten free food, canning recipes, as well as traditional desserts too. Her recipes and food photography have been highlighted by BuzzFeed, Reader’s Digest, and She Knows.