I have always been a big fan of pumpkin butter. Its silky smooth spiciness just sings of fall. So I can’t say why exactly, until about a month ago, it had been years since I’d had any.
Thankfully, my dad’s fiancée put pumpkin butter back on my radar again. When we were visiting, she pulled a jar from the fridge at breakfast. I stirred a little into my oatmeal and fell in love all over again. As I was enjoying the familiar, warmly-spiced spread, I did something that I typically do. I started thinking, Hey I could make this. In fact, I’m going to make this when we get home. No, you know what? I’m going to make a healthier version of this when we get home.
And so I did.
I decided to replace the refined sugar typically used to make pumpkin butter with whole dates. And since dates get thick and sticky when blended, I was also able to make this a no-cook pumpkin butter! If you use canned pumpkin puree, it only takes about fifteen minutes from start to finish. I’d call it a win on multiple levels.
This pumpkin butter is thick, smooth, and spicy. Its sweetness has a muted quality that I personally appreciate, but if you want to sharpen it up I have suggestions for that below. It’s delicious on toast, stirred into oatmeal, as a dip for fruit, or—as Roman prefers it—licked straight from your fingers.
This pumpkin butter has all the flavor of the traditional version without the refined sugars. It also comes together quickly and easily in the food processor and requires zero time on the stovetop! It tastes best the next day, after the flavors have had some time to hang out and get acquainted. (See notes for a sweeter version.)
- ¾ cup pitted medjool dates (about 15 dates)
- 1 15-oz can pumpkin puree (or 1¾ cups homemade)
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- Pinch ground cloves
- Pinch kosher salt
- Place the dates into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the S-blade. Process to chop the dates and continue until they form a sticky ball.
- Add ½ of the can of pumpkin puree. Process until combined with the dates, about 1 minute. The mixture will still be chunky at this point.
- Scrape down the bowl and add the remaining pumpkin puree. Process until the mixture is totally smooth, scraping down the bowl as necessary, and no visible pieces of date remain. This should about take 5-7 minutes.
- Once smooth, add in the spices and the salt. Process for another minute or so, until combined.
- Transfer the finished pumpkin butter to a jar and refrigerate; it should keep for about 7-10 days.