Pumpkin spice season is upon us, which means people are clamoring over Trader Joe’s annual line of fall-inspired goodies, including the return of their famous pumpkin butter.  At about $10 per jar, however, buying this ever-so enticing seasonal item can become a pricey habit. The good news is that you don’t need an expensive jar of store-bought pumpkin butter to enjoy the best flavors of fall. In fact, this 5-minute pumpkin butter recipe can easily be made at home with just a few simple ingredients, and it's vegan, too.

How to Make Pumpkin Butter at Home 

All you need to whip up a batch of this smooth, delicious 5-minute pumpkin butter is a can of pumpkin puree, maple syrup, vanilla extract, and a blend of autumnal spices – think cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves. Most grocery stores sell pre-made pumpkin spice mixes, but you can make your own at home by following this guide.

The method couldn’t be easier. Just combine pumpkin puree, maple syrup, vanilla extract, and pumpkin spice in a small saucepan, then warm it on the stovetop over medium-low heat. One advantage of making your own pumpkin butter is that you can adjust the level of sweetness to your liking by adding more or less maple syrup. If you want your pumpkin butter to have more of a bite, you can also add a few more shakes of pumpkin spice to the mix. 

Now, all you have to do is cook the pumpkin mixture for about five minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the saucepan. You’ll know the pumpkin butter is done when it has turned from a bright orange color to a darker shade of brown. Since the excess moisture from the pumpkin puree will have cooked off, the pumpkin butter will have a luxuriously smooth consistency.

Variations of This Homemade Pumpkin Butter

The base recipe is delicious as is, but if you want to mix it up a little, I recommend these fun flavor variations:

Gingerbread pumpkin butter: Swap out the maple syrup for blackstrap molasses and add an extra 1/4 teaspoon of pumpkin spice for a sweet and spicy spread that will make your morning toast taste like Christmas morning.

Chocolate pumpkin butter: Simply add 1 tbsp cocoa powder along with the rest of the ingredients for a dreamy, chocolatey spin on this simple pumpkin butter. 

Pumpkin butter… without the pumpkin: If you can’t get your hands on pumpkin puree, don’t sweat it! You can substitute roasted and mashed sweet potato or butternut squash for an equally cozy fall spread.

Easy 5-Minute Pumpkin Butter

  • Prep Time:0
  • Cook Time:5 mins
  • Total Time:5 mins
  • Servings:4
  • Easy


  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
Amelia Popowics
  • Step 1

    Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan.

    Amelia Popowics
  • Step 2

    Cook the pumpkin mixture over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pan. The pumpkin butter will turn a darker shade of brown and thicken into a creamy spread. Refrigerate in an air-tight jar until use.

    Amelia Popowics

For everyday breakfasts, I like to swirl mine into steaming bowls of oatmeal or spread it on top of toast. It elevates snack-time classics too: try adding it to yogurt and granola bowls and dunking apple slices in it to keep the hanger at bay while studying. 

If you have more time on your hands, I recommend making pumpkin butter cinnamon rolls or smearing pumpkin butter on top of waffles and pancakes for the ultimate fall brunch. Don’t forget about dessert, either! I’d be happy to eat this pumpkin butter straight from the jar, but you can also use it to frost cakes, swirl it into brownies, and spice up your ice cream sundaes. Now that you know how easy it is to make this 5-minute pumpkin butter at home, you’re free to try pumpkin butter on practically anything! You won’t have to wait for the fall to buy it in stores. Just keep a batch in your fridge, and you can enjoy pumpkin butter year-round.