Calabaza en Dulce, or Candied Pumpkin

Calabaza en dulce (Candied pumpkin)

Move aside pumpkin pie and make room for candied pumpkin! This traditional Día de los Muertos treat will change the way you see pumpkins.


  • 5 lb pumpkin Castilla pumpkins are traditionally used, but you can substitute with what your grocer has
  • 3 lb panela / piloncillo can use brown sugar instead
  • 2 stick cinnamon
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 1 whole star anise
  • 2 cups water


  • Wash the pumpkin's outer skin. Remove seeds and cut into large chunks.
  • Add pumpkin, panela, cinnamon, cloves, anise, and water to a large pot.
  • Cover and cook on medium until the pumpkin is tender enough to be easily cut with a fork or spoon. Occasionally stir and baste the pumpkin above the water line with the syrup. Cook time will vary based on the size of the pumpkin chunks, so check on it every 20 minutes or so.
  • Continue cooking, uncovered, until the syrup has reached the sweetness you want. This will also increase the pumpkin's sweetness, but you can take it out if it's already how you want it.
  • Serve candied pumpkin on a plate, topped with a little syrup with a glass of milk.


Try adding sliced guavas to the pot with the pumpkin for another traditional variation.