Lacto-Fermented Pumpkin Butter

It’s a cool, rainy day and you’re dreaming of fall. Well, you don’t have to have pumpkins growing out back to enjoy this delicious flavor. Here, Ashley shows us how to turn a can of pumpkin puree into something lip-smacking good with the illusion of colored leaves and a crisp breeze.

Fruit butters, and in this case even squash butters, make lovely quick and easy ferments. Just about any fruit butter is an excellent candidate for fermentation. In the fall, apple butter is a favorite because apples are plentiful and the warmth of a crock pot in the corner cooking apple butter down creates a welcoming atmosphere in just about any home.

Pumpkin butter is just as easy to make when pumpkins are in season, but since canned pumpkin is tasty and available year round, fermented pumpkin butter can give you a hit of pumpkin spice anytime of the year. While you may bemoan fall as “pumpkin spice season” and grow to hate all the pumpkin flavored marketing, outside the fall I find myself secretly craving a quick pumpkin fix.

Fermented pumpkin butter is extremely versatile, and can be used to top pancakes and toast, made into a creamy dip for apples by whipping it with cream cheese, or churned into a home made pumpkin ice cream. Try using it in place of canned pumpkin in any family recipe, from pumpkin cookies to pumpkin bread and even pumpkin pie.

How to Make Pumpkin Butter from Scratch

When pumpkins are in season, consider making your own pumpkin butter at home before fermenting it. Chop the pumpkin into sections and scoop out the seeds, then roast it until fork tender. Remove the skin and puree the pumpkin meat in a food processor or blender. Add a splash of apple juice and slowly simmer on the stove for 20-30 minutes until it’s reached the right consistency. Cool completely before beginning your ferment.

How to Ferment Pumpkin Butter

As with fresh fruit ferments, you’ll want to limit the fermentation time to just a few days because the high sugar content of the pumpkin can cause the ferment to take on an alcoholic character if let go too long.

Lacto-Fermented Pumpkin Butter Recipe

Yield: About 1 Pint
Fermentation Time: 2-5 Days

• 1 Can pumpkin (15oz)
• 2 Tb honey or maple
• 2 Tb yogurt whey
• 1/2 tsp cinnamon, ground
• 1/2 tsp ginger, ground
• 1/4 tsp nutmeg, ground
• 1 tiny pinch cloves, ground
• 1 pinch salt


  1. Mix the canned pumpkin with the sweetener of your choice (honey or maple) and add the yogurt whey.
  2. Carefully dust the spices over the top of the mixture (to avoid clumping) and stir thoroughly.
  3. Spoon into a 1 pint wide-mouth Mason jar and attach your Fermentools fermentation lid and airlock to the top.
  4. Allow to ferment on the counter at room temperature for 48 hours (and for as much as 5 days in cold weather) before removing the airlock, attaching a regular lid and moving your pumpkin butter to the refrigerator.

Cooks Note: If you’re starting with canned pumpkin pie filling rather than canned, pureed pumpkin, the seasonings are already in it, as well as a considerable amount of sugar. In that case, omit the seasonings and honey or maple and just mix the canned pie filling and yogurt whey. Only use canned pumpkin pie filling as the starter if you’re looking for a heavily sweetened result.


Imagine the possibilities of using this fermented pumpkin butter. Wouldn’t it taste divine in a blintze, topped with whipped cream and sprinkled with a little cinnamon? How about spread on toast or stirred into your coffee? My mouth is watering just thinking about it.


Need Fermentools specialized lids and airlock? Check out our store for all your fermenting needs.


Ashley is an off grid homesteader in central Vermont. She is passionate about fermentation, charcuterie and foraging. Read more about her adventures at

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