Old Fashioned Prune Butter

Tuesday 25 August 2020

Old Fashioned Prune Butter is one of my favourite things to enjoy for breakfast.  I had not made any in quite some time.  This week I found myself craving it. What's a girl to do but to scratch that itch!

Prune Butter is a sweet breakfast spread that our grandmother's might have enjoyed, and indeed it mostly likely would have been found on most breakfast tables. Its sweet and sticky and nicely spiced.

Breakfast is one of my favourite meals of the day. I like to sit on my own and leisurely enjoy something in the quiet of the morning before anyone else is up. I know, it does sound a bit anti-social, but I really enjoy my quiet time early in the morning. 

On a side note, can you see the bubbles in that cup of tea?  My mother always called those bubbles money. She said that it meant you were going to enjoy a monetary boost. Perhaps my ship is about to come in!

Back to breakfast.  I love prunes and absolutely anything that contains prunes.  They call them the sunshine fruit and most of our prunes come from California where they have plenty of sunshine. 

I have a delicious glass of prune juice every day, just a small one.  It is loaded with fibre and lots of good things, including iron. It also goes a long way towards keeping things running smoothly, but we won't talk about that!

Prune butter is also something I really enjoy, even though I don't make it very often. Everytime I do make it, however I find myself wondering why! 

It is incredibly delicious.  It is at once sweet, with a slight tang and a tiny hint of warm baking spice which is quite, quite appealing. 

It is really very simple to make. It is  as simple as stewing some pitted prunes in water until soft and then draining them. 

Once you have done that you simply add some honey and spices to them, along with lemon zest and cook them for a tiny bit longer, stirring frequently.

They end up breaking down completely into a rich smooth, nicely spiced,  sticky sweet spread.  I imagine it is the stirring of the spoon which helps to make the magic happen. 

You don't need to purree them, or mash them, or put them through a seive. It just happens.  They break down beautifully.

Do make sure that you save the water that you drain off them. It is sweet and delicious to drink! Simply pour it into a jar, cover with a lid, and chill it in the refrigerator. You are in for a treat!

Oh but this prune butter is some tasty. This morning I enjoyed it on a toasted poppyseed brioche bread that I get from Ocado, which is an online grocer.  They have been brilliant at doing home deliveries to me during the pandemic.

It is a bread that is soft and which toasts beautifully golden brown. There are swirls of a poppyseed paste throughout. 

It is just wonderfully lightly buttered and then spread with the Prune Butter, which dips into all of those lovely poppy seed swirls. 

The two together are quite simply perfection.  There is no other word to describe this combination.

Have I ever told you about the beautiful poppyseed buns we used to get when we lived in South Eastern Alberta?  Oh my but they were some good! 

Those buns had a rich, thick poppyseed and cream filling. They were also iced with a sticky sweet glaze. I would buy a pack every time we went into Medicine Hat to shop for groceries. 

I have never been able to find a recipe to replicate them, but I strongly suspect they were an Eastern European thing as that area was filled with Ukrainians. That's also where I learned how to make my own Pierogi from scratch.

But back to this Prune Butter. If you have never made this before you really absolutely must!  It is well worth any effort taken! 

 Don't worry about being able to use it all up. That simply won't be a problem. You will find yourself spreading it all over your toast and bagels, muffins, tea breads, etc.

You can also cut the recipe easily in half if you think 2 cups of prune butter is more than you could ever possibly use.  I did that today. 

In order to cut the recipe in half you will need 1/2 pound of prunes, 1 1/2 cups water, 2 heaped TBS honey, 3 TBS cider vinegar, 1/2 tsp cinnamon and 1/8 tsp each allspice and cloves.  I left the lemon zest the same, along wih the cook times.

As you can see it turned out perfectly.  Sweet, sticky and thick.  In short perfection when it comes to something you want to spread on your toast. 

You could also use it to spread between layers of vanilla or butter cake.  It would be beautiful. I have a certain fondness for filling my cake layers with jams and marmalades and the like.

What a lovely breakfast treat this was for me. I really felt very elegant sitting there with my nice hot cuppa, pinky poised in mid air. I was the Lady of the Manor. 

This was the perfect breakfast. I dare say that bread will become a regular for me in my grocery order as will bags of prunes so I can make us this fabulous prune butter a little more often than I have done!

Old Fashioned Prune Butter

Old Fashioned Prune Butter
Yield: Makes 2 cups
Author: Marie Rayner
prep time: 5 Mcook time: 42 Mtotal time: 47 M
This old fashioned spread is filled with lots of beautiful flavours.  Rich sticky prunes, warm spices, honey.  This is gorgeous spread on anything. Its also very simple to make.


  • 2 1/4 cups (about 1 pound) of pitted prunes
  • 3 cups water (750 ml)
  • 1/3 cup liquid honey (80ml)
  • 1/4 cup good apple cider vinegar (60ml)
  • the grated zest of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 tsp each ground cloves and ground allspice
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon


  1. Place the prunes in a large saucepan along with the water. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer.  Simmer for half an hour, uncovered, until very soft.  Drain the water from the prunes. (Keep the water to drink, its very delicious!)  Return the prunes to the pan.
  2. Add the honey, apple cider vinegar, lemon zest and spices to the prunes in the saucepan. Cook over low heat for  further 10 to 12 mius, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon. The prunes will just above dissolve and the mixture will become very thick.  Transfer to a covered container.  Cool to room temperature and store, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.  Delicious!
Did you make this recipe?
Tag @marierayner5530 on instagram and hashtag it #EnglishKitchen
Created using The Recipes Generator

Old Fashioned Prune Butter

This content (written and photography) is the sole property of  The English Kitchen. Any reposting or misuse is not permitted. If you are reading this elsewhere, please know that it is stolen content and you may report it to me at: theenglishkitchen@mail.com    




  1. Oh my stars, Marie, this has really caught my fancy. I'm such a huge fan of all your cakes and cookies using dried fruits and now this. I am rapt with this.

    1. This is really lovely Katy! I hope you make it and enjoy it! xoxo

  2. This sounds completely delectable!
    I am thinking of using it for a specialty holiday cookie filling… Hamantaschen🎉


Thanks for stopping by. I love to hear from you so do not be shy!

Did you make the recipe as directed? Recipe results are not guaranteed when changes have been made.

Is this comment helpful to other readers? Rude or hateful comments will not be approved. Remember that this website is run by a real person.

Are you here to complain about ads? Please keep in mind that I develop these recipes and provide them to you for free. Advertising helps to defray my cost of doing so, and allows me to continue to post regular fresh content.

Thanks so much for your understanding! I appreciate you!