Vanilla Spiced Pear Butter – How to Can Pear Butter

Fall Recipes, Preserving, Seasonal Recipes | 42 comments

This recipe for Vanilla Spiced Pear Butter would make an excellent homemade gifting idea for friends and neighbors. And it isn’t even that difficult to make! I recently picked up a copy of Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving while browsing the cookbooks at Costco. At a quick glance there were several canning recipes that I knew I would want to make.

This is a great starter canning book. Lots of recipes with detailed instructions on the canning process. It really made it feel a lot more doable and less overwhelming for someone like me, who has canned a few times but is definitely no pro in the preserving field.

recipe for pear butter

Coincidentally, pears were also on a mega sale here. I’ve been wanting to try my hand at apple butter, but after seeing a recipe for Pear Butter in adapted from Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving, I thought; “why not give that a try.” I started out with more pears than I needed for the recipe, because I wanted to make some Homemade Pearsauce too.

It’s perfect to make both recipes at the same time, because the Pearsauce is essentially what you get after the first two steps of making the recipe (see my recipe below for where to end for Pearsauce). Next time I’ll be canning the Pearsauce instead of just making enough for a few days.

vanilla spice pear butter

This Vanilla Spiced Pear Butter really was not that difficult to make. It tastes wonderful on toast, 5 Grain Pancakes with Flax, Waffles , or stirred into oatmeal.

Are you into canning? I’m trying to experiment with more here and there.

More Canning Recipes

Vanilla Spiced Pear Butter

Makes 8 - eight ounce jars or 4 pints

adapted from Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving

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7 lbs. pears, peeled, cored, and coarsley chopped
1/2 cup water
zest and juice of 1 lemon
4 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon cardamom
3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
juice of 1 orange


In a large stainless steel saucepan, combine the pears, water, lemon zest and juice. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and boil gently, occasionally stirring, for 20 minutes.

Working in batches, transfer mixture to a food processor fitted with a metal blade and puree just until a uniform texture is achieved. Do not liquefy. Measure 8 cups of pear puree (I used the excess as Pearsauce).

In a clean large stainless steel saucepan, combine pear puree, sugar, orange juice, vanilla, cinnamon, cardamom, and nutmeg. Stir until sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently. Reduce heat and boil gently, stirring frequently, until mixture thickens and holds it shape to a spoon and liquid does not separate.

Meanwhile, prepare canner, jars and lids: Wash and rinse the jars in hot soapy water. Drain the jars well of any excess water. Set the screw bands aside - they don't require sterilizing. Place the lids - the flat round portion of the two-piece closures - in a small saucepan, cover with water and bring to a simmer. Don't boil. Keep lids hot until you're ready to use them.

Ladle hot butter into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch head-space. Remove air bubbles and adjust head-space, if needed, but adding more butter. Wipe rim. Center the lid on jar and screw band down until resistance is med, then increase to fingertip tight.

Place jars in canner, ensuring they are completely covered with water. Bring to a boil and process for 10 minutes. Remove canner lid. Wait 5 minutes, then remove jars, cool and store.

Katie Goodman

About the Author:

Katie’s lifelong interest in cooking good food has shown her that part of the goodness in life is enjoying delicious food with friends and family. She is: Mom. Writer. Photographer. Recipe Developer. Website Founder. Lover of all things good in life. A mix of great recipes, family memories, and yummy photography is what Katie serves up each week at GoodLife Eats™. Katie and her family reside in Colorado.

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  • 1
    Estela @ Weekly Bite - October 27, 2010 @ 5:33 am

    My daughter would love this! Thanks for the recipe!


  • 2
    Kelly - October 27, 2010 @ 5:34 am

    I’ve been waiting for you to post this recipe. I LOVE canning, and am so excited to try pear butter. A couple of questions, though:

    1. How many jars of pear butterdoes this recipe make?

    2. You say to put everything in a “stainless steel” saucepan. Is there a reason for the specification? I usually use a dutch oven for this sort of thing, so I was just curious if there was any specific reason you mention this.

    Thanks for posting this!


    • Katie Goodman

      Katie replied: — October 27th, 2010 @ 6:10 AM

      Sorry about that. I thought I put the yield in. Just edited it now to include that info. As for the pan, that is just what the recipe stated. Any pan should be fine as long as it’s non-reactive.

  • 3
    karen - October 27, 2010 @ 6:25 am

    The recipe sounds great and pears are one of my weaknesses.


  • 4
    Katie @ Frugal Femina - October 27, 2010 @ 6:27 am

    This looks so good! I have been wanting to take a trip to the pear orchard.


  • 5
    the blissful baker - October 27, 2010 @ 6:30 am

    i bet this smells heavenly! yum, it looks so delicious!


  • 6
    Erin H. - October 27, 2010 @ 8:13 am

    This sounds yumm. I have a logistical question that may be common knowledge to long-time canners, but I’m a novice! :) You’ve wiped the rim of the jar and are ready to place the lid on it. You’ve been keeping your lids warm in simmering water. Do you dry off the lid with a towel or something before placing it on your dry jar rim and screwing on the band? Or do you just take your warm, wet lid and place it on the jar as is? Maybe it doesn’t make a difference!


    • Katie Goodman

      Katie replied: — October 27th, 2010 @ 8:17 AM

      I don’t think the recipe specified that. There are several chapters full of detailed info in the book I linked to after the recipe section. I didn’t dry my lids. :)

    • Island Vittles replied: — October 27th, 2010 @ 10:22 PM

      Erin — don’t dry the lids…they are sterile as is, and the water actually helps to get a good seal…Theresa

  • 7
    Aimee @ Simple Bites - October 27, 2010 @ 8:38 am

    There’s still tons of pears in our markets, Katie, so thanks for the extra nudge! This looks spectacular.

    I’m just finishing off last year’s pear & cranberry jam. Delish! It’s a great pairing as the pears are sweet enough to balance out the cranberries.


    • Katie Goodman

      Katie replied: — October 27th, 2010 @ 8:41 AM

      There is a pear and cranberry recipe in my book that I marked to try. It sounded really good! Hope to make it soon.

    • Andrea replied: — October 27th, 2010 @ 3:55 PM

      Aimee: I would love the recipe you have for pear & cranberry jam! Thanks!

  • 8
    Jennifer @ Maple n Cornbread - October 27, 2010 @ 12:15 pm

    I LOVE fruit butters- I always make pumpkin and apple. This pear one with vanilla sounds so yummy!


  • 9
    anja - October 27, 2010 @ 12:20 pm

    actually there are 4 kilos pears in my kitchen. i should try your delicious recipe.


  • 10
    Megan K - October 27, 2010 @ 12:23 pm

    Thanks for posting this recipe… it looks a lot more flavorful than some other pear butter recipes I’ve seen!


  • 11
    MC - October 27, 2010 @ 2:49 pm

    I have always loved pear jam, never thought of a pear butter, I bet it is good, thanks for sharing your recipe, look forward to trying.


  • 12
    Andrea - October 27, 2010 @ 3:53 pm

    I am just getting into canning and this is a recipe I am anxious to try! Do you know the shelf life of the pear butter? Thanks for sharing!


  • 13
    Debbie B. - October 27, 2010 @ 4:21 pm

    I am in love with the photo of the pairs. Absolutely stunning.


  • 14
    Caitlin - October 27, 2010 @ 7:58 pm

    What a cool recipe! I had heard of apple butter, but this is the first pear butter recipe i’ve seen. I’m guessing i’m just sheltered as far as canning goes (i’ve always been scared the jars would brake immediately upon contact with me… or something like that… ;) ) Sounds great, and wonderful pictures to match!


  • 15
    Tickled Red - October 27, 2010 @ 9:26 pm

    Yep, I’m in love. This recipe is going down on my list of must make for a Christmas gift right now. Thanks :)


  • 16
    diane - October 28, 2010 @ 6:22 pm

    this looks so fabulous katie! I’m such a huge fan of pears and haven’t gotten around to preserving them in this way yet. You’ve definitely got me inspired. thank you.


  • 17
    Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction - November 29, 2010 @ 7:44 am

    Love this! I discovered canning this summer, and now I can’t get enough. Such a beautiful recipe, and perfect for Christmas gifts!


  • 18
    Tara - September 17, 2011 @ 8:30 am

    This sounds fantastic! Do you think you need to use ripe pears!


    • Katie Goodman

      Katie replied: — September 17th, 2011 @ 5:53 PM

      I’m sure it is fine if they are somewhat firm but I wouldn’t use rock hard pears either.

  • 19
    Amy - October 28, 2011 @ 3:18 pm

    Just made this today with the bazillion CSA pears I’ve been stocking up. I don’t think I cooked it long enough in the second phase, as the finished product is more of an Applesauce consistency than the fruit butters I’m used to, but it is Seriously delicious.

    I can’t wait to have this with latkes, and as a substitute in applesauce muffins! Thanks so much for sharing this.


  • 20
    Megan Roux - July 26, 2012 @ 3:17 pm

    Fresh Pears in my grocery store are expensive ( 2.00 lb) Have you tried this recipe with canned pears?


    • Katie Goodman

      Katie replied: — July 26th, 2012 @ 6:30 PM

      I have not. I prefer to purchase fresh produce when it is seasonally available at low prices. Pears are at their prime and inexpensive during the fall.

  • 21
    Valorie Matthews - August 26, 2012 @ 5:21 pm

    Can this cooked in a crock-pot? I see other recipes that are done that way, and I was just wondering if this one could be done this way? I have made pear butter from the pear butter recipe in the Ball book, this one sounds the same, except the vanilla and lemon, certainly going to try this one, sounds delicious!


    • Katie Goodman

      Katie replied: — August 30th, 2012 @ 9:42 AM

      I have not tested this recipe in a crock-pot so I cannot comment on that method. Experiment at your own risk. :)

  • 22
    Debbie D - August 27, 2012 @ 4:11 pm

    I had pear butter once when I was a child and loved it. Absolutely wonderful recipe. I will definitely make this again.


  • 23
    Beckey Conway - September 08, 2012 @ 10:27 pm

    I am a novice canner and had no idea what I was in store for, I started this at 2 in the afternoon. Right now it is 10:30 pm and its still not thick enough to put in the jars. I am sleepy, so, so sleepy.


  • 24
    Shafer - September 10, 2012 @ 9:22 am

    So yummy sounding? Can I reduce the sugar though? Would it still be safe to can in a water bath with reduced suger?


    • Katie Goodman

      Katie replied: — September 11th, 2012 @ 9:44 AM

      I am not that experienced in canning to answer that question, but from what I have read you have to follow specific low sugar recipes for it to be safe rather than just altering on your own. I would consult official sources, like Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving, before making any changes.

  • 25
    Jodie - September 13, 2012 @ 5:19 am

    I’fe never tried canning and I am not prepared to start today. Can this recipe be frozen?


    • Katie Goodman

      Katie replied: — October 10th, 2012 @ 11:58 AM

      Yes you can freeze it in plastic freezer jars once cooled to room temperature.

  • 26
    Jen Matthews (@Aualagurl) - October 02, 2012 @ 6:01 pm

    Its a little out of season for pears here right now, but I wondered if I could use canned pears instead? I’d really like to make this for Thanksgiving!


    • Katie Goodman

      Katie replied: — October 10th, 2012 @ 11:57 AM

      Never tried it with canned pears, so I can’t say. Canned pears are already cooked and have a lot of sweetener in them.

  • 27
    Karen Lopez - October 07, 2012 @ 6:06 pm

    It took a good eight hours to cook down, but I now have some beautifully fragrant, dessert-quality pear butter. My husband’s eating it with a spoon as I type this. He wants to put it on ice cream. We have 2 huge pear trees that are FULL this year. It’s good to have a recipe that’s seriously worth the time.


  • 28
    Katlyn - August 31, 2015 @ 4:41 pm

    Do I have to use the orange juice? I have everything else and hate to run back to the store :)


    • Katie Goodman

      Katie Goodman replied: — September 8th, 2015 @ 1:52 PM

      Sorry for the delayed reply. I have not tested the recipe with another liquid so I would say keep it the same to make sure it cans effectively.

  • 29
    Liane - November 02, 2015 @ 8:29 am

    I am a newbie…can this be done in a water bath or do you need a pressure canner?


    • Katie Goodman

      Katie Goodman replied: — November 4th, 2015 @ 2:01 PM

      water bath

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