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

66 responses to Slow Cooker Vanilla Caramel Pear Butter

  • ldpaulson says:

    Have you tried freezing this or other pear butter? If so, what were the results?



  • Laura says:

    I didn’t have any lemon juice, so i’m using orange juice (it just has to be citrus right?)I’ll let you know how it turns out!

  • Dawn says:

    I tried this recipe and it was awesome. I recommend it for anyone. I made a small recipe because I only had a few pears. When we tried it, I had to make more! What a treat to have. It is sweet, which is just how it should be, with a smooth caramel taste. This would be a good gift to share; if you can spare some. Ha!
    Thanks so much for this recipe!

  • […] Slow Cooker Vanilla Pear Butter  […]

  • Tegan says:

    Great recipe! I ordered a big box of pears and canned some halves, but I needed something to do with the rest as they were getting pretty ripe and some of them had cosmetic issues since they were organic. I used what I had which ended up being about 1 3/4 recipes, I scaled according to the amount of puree I had and it turned out great. I think my butter wasn’t as thick as intended, even though I cooked it for the amount of time you suggested. It’s the consistency of a typical low-sugar jam and is amazing on toast, in a sweet-savory sandwich with bacon, or eaten on crackers with hard cheese. The yield I got was 5.5 pints and I canned it in a mix of pint and half pint jars.

  • Tika says:

    How odd! This recipe sounded so delicious, I had to try it with the pears from my tree – plain ol’ Bartlett-type. I put the pears in salt water while peeling, etc., then added the lemon juice and cooked 6 hours, then sugar and cooked overnight and added vanilla in the morning. I was really disappointed. The butter was really salty (too much salt in the water I guess!) and not a hint of the yummy taste of the raw fruit, and also, no caramel taste either! I’ve been doctoring it up since to try to save it, but I still don’t know what I did wrong! Any ideas?

    • Kim Dime says:

      It looks like you didn’t follow the recipe. It doesn’t call for any salt, and based on what you wrote, it was seriously over-cooked :(

      • Tika says:

        Well, I didn’t add any salt, just used salt water to keep the pears from turning brown while I finished peeling them. If you don’t use salt water, how do you do it? (other than “Fruit Fresh”) Also, short of cooking longer, how do you get it to thicken?

        • ldpaulson says:

          Lemon juice keeps the pears from browning. Before adding liquid, you should be able to tell how juicy the pears are and calibrate the water added accordingly. But before altering this or any other recipe, follow it to the letter first; then, you can make any changes.

        • allfourburners says:

          Hi Tika, since you didn’t follow the recipe exactly, it’s tough to troubleshoot what happened to your batch. I’ve made this repeatedly using the exact recipe to rave reviews.

  • Mechelle Brachel says:

    This was absolutely delicious. I made them as Christmas gifts and loved it so much that I plan on making more for myself~!!

  • Jennifer says:

    This sounds wonderful! I was wondering if it would work with stevia instead of real sugar?

    • allfourburners says:

      Jennifer, I’ve never canned using stevia so I’m not sure how it would turn out. The sugar helps with the preservation.

  • Had pears that my hubby purchased from a charity drive. They were getting really ripe. So surfing thru recipes,I came to your site. I followed the recipe exactly, it is presently in the crock-pot now. It smells and tastes really great. I am going to use it as extra giveaways at Christmas. I will Preserve the butter with my caner, a decorative cloth and bow. Thanks

  • Ann says:

    I had some pears from Christmas ripening quickly and stumbled on to this recipe. Came out amazing, but I added some personal touches. I added 1 cup of dried cranberries (which plumped up very nicely while cooking), cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, ginger, and allspice. I also threw in a few ripening apples I had lying around. The end result was very smooth with a nice textural difference of the cranberries and a more complex flavor with the spices. This recipe lends to all sorts of yummy variations and super easy!

  • Rebecca says:

    What setting did you use on the slow cooker?

  • 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.

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