Every Thanksgiving, I face a dilemma. I’m torn between my love of tradition and the reason I live: being surprising and innovative with food. As much as I want to trigger nostalgia and sentiment by making the standard feast dishes, I itch to take creative liberties. The more I brainstorm, the more I realize I don’t necessarily have to choose– in fact, it’s really fun to marry old ideas with new.
Thinking on this presented an opportunity to shine a spotlight on poor, underrated pecan butter. If you’re picturing a compound butter made with crushed pecans, not quite. If you’re picturing butter pecan in any form, pull it back. This is pecan butter, just peanut butter that is made with pecans. You can buy it at Whole Foods for about $7-15 a jar, or you can just make it at home faster than you can get to Whole Foods and back, and much cheaper to boot. If you have a food processor, this recipe is a breeze.
This stuff isn’t just for your morning toast. There are so many ways to use pecan butter and you’ll be surprised at what a delicious twist it can add to a recipe. This is how to make it, followed by how to use it.

Pecan Butter


2 ½ cups toasted, roughly chopped pecans
¼ cup sugar
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp molasses
¼ tsp vanilla
⅛ tsp cinnamon

Place all ingredients into a food processor and blend. At first, pecans will be chopped, then a coarse powder. Continue blending about 2-5 minutes until pecans become a smooth, creamy, slightly shiny nut butter. Transfer to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to a month.


You’ve never had one like this. There was a recent week-long stretch when I had this for lunch every single day.
It’s just pecan butter and fig jam, griddled on grainy bread. It’s crispy, buttery, gooey, warm, sweet, salty, nutty, and- I promise- divine.



Pecan Butter Cookies

Again, like peanut butter cookies, but pecan-based so it tastes like fall. You can substitute pecan butter an equal amount of peanut butter in your favorite PB cookie recipe. I added some chopped pecans for a little extra crunch. If you want, you can sprinkle sugar on top of the cookies just before baking.



Sweet Potato Chip Dip

A great pre-Thanksgiving snack, this one is really unique with its combination of sweet and savory. You’re encouraged to be even more creative and add some rosemary, chopped pecans, celery seed, or even dried cranberries.


1 cup sour cream
¼  cup (packed) grated Parmesan cheese
3 Tbsp pecan butter
2 Tbsp mayonnaise or softened cream cheese
1 slice cooked bacon, finely chopped
1 scallion, thinly sliced
½ tsp rubbed or crushed dry sage
¼ tsp dried thyme
 tsp Penzey’s roasted garlic granules
freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl. Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for at least two hours. Serve with sweet potato chips or parsnip chips.

Pancake Topping

Try spreading it on my Oatmeal Pumpkin Pancakes.

pumpkin pancakes 6 WWM

Swirl into Pumpkin Pie


pecan-butter-pumpkin-pie-slice-w-pie-wwmAnd last but not least, a great no-bake dessert…

Pecan Butter Buckeyes


Just swap an equal amount of pecan butter for peanut butter in your favorite buckeye recipe. Since the natural pecan butter isn’t quite as thick as processed peanut butter, you may need to add a little extra powdered sugar.

Dare to have a little fun with your cooking and baking this year! 

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