Candied pumpkin slices are the perfect fall treat that combines the traditional taste of pumpkin with sugary candy and pumpkin pie spices.
Serves: 100+ Pieces Time: 1 hr 30 min Cookbook: Martha Stewart Living October 2001
We’ve all heard of fall favorites such as pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, even pumpkin soup! But, something you may not know about is candied pumpkin! Imagine having sweet morsels of pumpkin goodness anytime the craving hits.
Martha Stewart, once again, comes through with a fun and whimsical way to use that pumpkin you just bought. This recipe is almost like making pumpkin jam but instead of a jar full of spread, you end up with individual slices of candied pumpkin. These candies are great on their own, used as a garnish for other desserts, or paired with chocolate.
Surprise your family and friends this fall with something fun and unique that is perfect for the season!
- ❤️ Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- 🎃 Ingredients Needed to Make Candied Pumpkin
- 🍴 Equipment You’ll Need in the Kitchen
- 🥄 How to Make Candied Pumpkin
- ♾️ Variations on Candied Pumpkin
- ❓ Candied Pumpkin Tips, Tricks, and FAQs
- 🎃 Looking for Mexican Candied Pumpkin?
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
Fun: Candied pumpkin is such a unique and fun recipe to make during the fall season. Candy making is much easier than you’d expect, and this recipe will turn out great.
Unique: This is a departure from traditional “candied” items like candied ginger, lemon peel, orange rind, and lime zest. If you want a unique candied item to give as a homemade present or to bring to a get-together, this is a great option.
Kid-Friendly: If your kids enjoy helping you in the kitchen, this is a great recipe for them to assist you with. Supervision is always needed, but they can easily measure out the sugar and stir the ingredients together.
Ingredients Needed to Make Candied Pumpkin
- Pumpkin: You’ll need 1 1/2 pounds of pumpkin flesh. While it might be tempting to use the field pumpkin your child brought home from the harvest festival, you want a smaller sugar pie pumpkin from the grocery store, instead. This kind of pumpkin is smaller, sweeter, and less fibrous, which makes it perfect for candied pumpkin recipes. If all you have is a field pumpkin, however, don’t let that stop you! Depending on the size of pumpkin you have, you might use the whole pumpkin, anyway.
- Sugar: Granulated white sugar is what you need for this recipe.
- Limes: Choose two limes that are dark green and firm. Heavier limes contain greater amounts of lime juice and that will work to your benefit. You’ll use these limes for both their zest and juice.
Equipment Needed In the Kitchen
- Mixing Bowls: You’ll need two medium-sized mixing bowls for this process.
- 3-Quart Saucepan: A saucepan of this size will hold all the pumpkin and the sugar and prevent the mixture form boiling over during the cook time.
- Slotted Spoon: Any type of slotted spoon will work for this. You just need something that allows you to scoop out the pumpkin without scooping up the sugar mixture, as well.
- Wire Rack: You want a wire rack that fits into your baking sheet.
- Rimmed Sheet Pan: A rimmed sheet pan that fits underneath your wire rack is perfect. The rims on the pan will prevent sugar drippings from rolling off onto your kitchen surfaces while the pumpkin slices dry.
- Chef Knife: Since you’ll be cutting the pumpkin and the hard rind, you want a chef knife with a large blade. Make sure it’s sharp, as a dull blade is far more dangerous than a sharp one.
- Vegetable Peeler: You’ll be peeling strips of lime zest off the limes, so a peeler instead of a zester is ideal.
How to Make Candied Pumpkin
This is such a fun way to use up leftover pie pumpkins! It takes a little bit of planning, but it’s well worth it. This also makes a great hostess gift or can be added to a candy tray you take to a get-together.
Prepare the pumpkin
First, wash and dry your pumpkin. Then, slice off the stem on the top and discard.
Starting from the cut top, slice the hard skin off the pumpkin all the way around. Once all the pumpkin skin is removed, slice the pumpkin in half.
Scoop out the pumpkin seeds and save them to make roasted pumpkin seeds later. Pumpkin seeds can be kept in the refrigerator for a day or two until you’re ready to roast them.
Once the seeds and stringy insides have been removed, slice the pumpkin halves into sections about 3 to 4 inches wide.
Finally, cut the wedges into slices about ¼ inch wide. Place all the slices in the medium-sized bowl.
Sugar the pumpkin
In another medium-sized bowl, combine 2 cups sugar, the zest of two limes, and the juice from both limes, as well.
Add the pumpkin slices and stir thoroughly, coating each piece.
Refrigerate this mixture overnight, covered.
Candy the pumpkin slices
The next morning or afternoon, remove the pumpkin mixture from the refrigerator and pour it into a medium saucepan. Turn heat to medium and bring the mixture to a simmer.
Then turn the heat down to medium-low and allow to continue simmering for 1 hour 10 minutes.
Stir occasionally to keep the pumpkin splices well coated in the sugar mixture. Continue cooking until the pumpkin slices turn translucent in color and the sugar is caramel colored.
Let the pumpkin slices dry and harden
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, then fit a wire rack into the sheet.
When the pumpkin slices are transparent and fully cooked, remove them from the saucepan with a slotted spoon.
Spread them out on the wire rack and allow to cool and set for 12 hours. Turn the pumpkin slices over once or twice during the drying time.
The next day, dunk the candy slices into a bowl of plain sugar, cinnamon sugar, or pumpkin pie spice sugar. This will help prevent them from sticking together when stored.
Store in an airtight container at room temperature.
Variations on Candied Pumpkin
Candied pumpkin can be varied in many ways! Experiment with these options or come up with your own!
Spicy Pumpkin: Mix 1/4 teaspoon into the sugar water and mix. This will become part of the glaze on the candied pumpkin and give each slice a little kick.
Pumpkin Spice: Add 1-2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice into the sugar water and mix. Slices will take on a distinct pumpkin pie flavor.
Candied Pumpkin Tips, Tricks, and FAQs
Candied pumpkin pieces should be stored in an airtight container. You can keep this container in your pantry at room temperature
When stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator, your pumpkin will last for a month or longer.
Sugar-pie pumpkins are the best for making candied pumpkin. These pumpkins are sweeter than regular field pumpkins and the extra sweetness is perfect for pies and candy making.
What we’ve done with this candied pumpkin recipe is take thin slices of pumpkin and literally u0022candyu0022 them, turning them into bites of pumpkiny, sugary goodness to snack on any time you want a little something sweet.
Calabaza en Tacha, or Mexican candied pumpkin, is made of large sections of rind-on pumpkin stewed in a spiced sugar sauce. When ready, the pumpkin pieces are fork-tender, infused with brown sugar, and served with more sugar sauce drizzled on top.
Looking for Mexican Candied Pumpkin?
Mexican candied pumpkin, also called Calabaza en Tacha, is a traditional Mexican dish that often gets made for Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebrations. It’s an easy recipe that combines pieces of pumpkin, orange zest, orange juice, brown sugar, and cinnamon sticks to make an excellent side dish or delicious dessert. Variations include the addition of spices such as whole cloves and anise star, and substituting Mexican pumpkins or sugar pumpkins for another type of winter squash.
Here’s a quick recipe for this delicious dessert made with fresh pumpkins.
- 5 pounds Pumpkin (not pumpkin puree)
- 1 Orange
- 2 pounds Brown Sugar or Piloncillo
- 4 cups Water
- 4 Cinnamon Sticks
- Cut the sugar pumpkin in half with the skin on. Remove seeds and stringy flesh. Discard strings and save seeds to roast.
- Cut the pumpkin halves lengthwise in several wedges, then cut the wedges horizontally.
- Zest the whole orange, then juice it and reserve the juice.
- Add the zest, orange juice, brown sugar, water, and cinnamon to a large pot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
- Add the pumpkin, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 40 minutes with the lid on then 20 minutes with the lid off so the liquid reduces.
- Remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
- Serve by spooning several pieces of pumpkin into a bowl and pouring some of the brown sugar or piloncillo syrup over the sweet pumpkin. Add a scoop of ice cream if desired.