Slow Cooker Vanilla Caramel Pear Butter

Posted on 04 October 2013

Slow Cooker Vanilla Caramel Pear Butter

It’s October, the best month of the year! That means it’s slow cooker month!

J’adore the slow cooker. Frankly, I’m not sure why I don’t use it more often. Typical recipes made in the slow cooker are perfect when it’s chilly outside, but it’s also practical when it’s oppressively hot since cooking doesn’t heat up the kitchen.

But you know that I am a little crazy (cray-cray, if you will) for using the slow cooker to make fruit butters. Having been burned a lot by burbling fruit butters on the stove, I am willing — nay, eager — to endure the lengthy burn-free cooking times of slow-cooker fruit butters.

Slow Cooker Vanilla Caramel Pear Butter

Last year for Can It Up, October brought what is possibly the most popular AFB recipe of all-time: Slow Cooker Vanilla Rum Apple Butter. This year, I adapted a different recipe for pears.

Have you ever heard of Warren pears? I hadn’t until this past weekend, but they may now be my favorite fall fruit. They are smooth, sweet, and buttery, unlike the gritty supermarket pears with which I was raised. Although I used uglies for this recipe (because you know I like a good deal), the bulk ended up being Warrens.

Slow Cooker Vanilla Caramel Pear Butter

As the pear butter cooked down, Matt (a.k.a. Mr. Taste Tester) inquired what type of alcohol was included. The answer? None. The brown sugar caramelizes, thereby lending the pear butter a lightly toasted flavor with rummy overtones — but rum-free.

That means this preserve is perfect to share with your friends and family with children or those who otherwise appreciate booziness without the actual booze. Hooray!

What is your favorite fall fruit?

Slow Cooker Vanilla Caramel Pear Butter

Last year: Slow Cooker Triple Chocolate Brownies

Slow Cooker Vanilla Caramel Pear Butter

Yield: 7 8-ounce jars


7 lbs pears, peeled, cored, and coarsely chopped
1/2 cup water
Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
3-4 cups light brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground vanilla (or vanilla extract)


Combine pears, water, and lemon zest and juice. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and boil gently, stirring occasionally, until pears are soft, about 20 minutes.
Puree using an immersion blender, food mill, or food processor just until a uniform texture is achieved. Do not liquefy. Measure 8 cups of pear puree.
In a large slow cooker, combine pear puree and sugar. Stir until sugar dissolves. Prop lid open with using the handle of a wooden spoon and allow to reduce gently on low for about 8 hours.
Stir in ground vanilla and cook for 1 hour. Finished pear butter will be thick and hold its shape on a spoon.
Can (process for 10 minutes) or refrigerate for up to 1 month.

Adapted from the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving

70 responses to Slow Cooker Vanilla Caramel Pear Butter

  • Amy says:

    I tried this recipe today with the intention of sharing the finished product at holiday time. I have since decided these babies are mine, all mine. So, so delicious – especially spooned warm over vanilla ice cream.

  • Jennifer says:

    Do you need to occasionally stir the mixture while it is in the slow cooker or do you leave it unattended during the eight hours it cooks? Mostly I’m wondering if leaving it to reduce overnight while I sleep is a good idea.

    • allfourburners says:

      Hi Jennifer, I have left in the slow cooker on low overnight with mixed success. It depends on how much water is in the fruit.

  • Cindy Tuttle says:

    I followed this recipe to the letter. At the end of 9 hours, I had pear soup. Now I have invested approximately 18 hours in this cooking adventure and I have it on the stove in hopes of reducing it enough to can. It smells great and the color is beautiful but the consistency does not match anywhere close to what is described in the instructions.

    I will try this recipe one more time but will utilize my never fail technique for apple butter that does not call for water or pre-cooking on the stove. The puree is made at the end of the recipe instead of at the beginning.

    Is the poster sure that no tips were inadvertantly omitted from the instructions? I can surely understand why one other person who posted had problems with this recipe.

  • Maryann Srbljan says:

    I cook my pears in a stock pot until tender. Since I use very juicy pears, I ladel off most of the liquid/juice. I then use my immersion blender to make it saucey. From there I cook them down to a fruit butter consistency. The juicy that comes off, I can as pear juice.

  • niki says:

    Does the recipe say 3 to 4 cups of sugar or 3/4 (three fourths)?

  • Beth says:

    I was told ground vanilla is stronger then vanilla extract so if I’m using extract should I use a little more or just stick to the 11/2 teaspoons?

  • allfourburners says:

    Hi Rebecca, the recipe indicates to use the low setting on your slow cooker. Hope this helps!

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