Melt-In-Your-Mouth Poached Pears Recipe (2024)

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By Elizabeth LaBau

Nov 13, 2023


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Tender, juicy poached pears with caramel sauce are a sweet and elegant way to end any meal. Learn how easy it is to make perfect poached pears with our foolproof recipe and step-by-step instructions.

Melt-In-Your-Mouth Poached Pears Recipe (2)

🍐 Vanilla Poached Pears with Caramel Sauce

Apples might get a lot of attention come autumn (we see you, apple pie) but to me, pears are the unsung heroes of fall baking.

Pears pair beautifully with fall flavors like cinnamon and nutmeg, and they add a delicious, unexpected flavor to desserts that typically feature apples: think tart tatin, spiced cupcakes, and even pies.

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One of my favorite ways to enjoy pears is also one of the easiest: poaching them. Though poached pears look fancy, they truly are one of the easiest desserts you’ll ever make. To make them, simply peel your pears, simmer them in liquid until tender, then serve them plain or with simple adornments like caramel sauce or whipped cream.

My poached pear recipe produces soft, tender, vanilla-scented pears you’ll be proud to serve at any gathering. I’ve included an optional caramel sauce that really takes them over the top, but rest assured, they are still absolutely delicious served with nothing more than a spoonful of their own juices drizzled over the top.

More Pear Recipes

Check out some of our most popularpear dessert recipes, like Pear Pie In A Jar, Puff Pastry-Wrapped Pears, Caramel Panna Cotta with Poached Pears, and much more!

Table of Contents

  • 🍐 Vanilla Poached Pears with Caramel Sauce
  • 🧾 What You’ll Need
  • 🥇 What are the Best Pears for Poaching?
  • 💡 Tips and FAQs
  • Poached Pears Recipe
  • 📋 How to Make Poached Pears Step-by-step
  • 🍽️ What to Serve with Poached Pears

🧾 What You’ll Need

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The ingredients for Poached Pears are fairly simple. Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you make this recipe. (Links are affiliate links and I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases.)

  • Pears: Use pears that are ripe but still firm – if your pears are too soft, they’re more liable to fall apart while poaching. I recommend using Bosc or Anjou pears if possible, but other varieties will also work – see the best pears to use for poaching section below.
  • Sugar: We’re using regular granulated sugar in both the poaching liquid and the caramel sauce.
  • Spices: Cinnamon sticks provide a lovely, warm flavor to the the pear juices. If you don’t have cinnamon sticks you can substitute 1/2-1 tsp ground cinnamon. I also use star anise, which has a very sweet, licorice-like flavor. Feel free to omit the star anise if you don’t care for the taste.
  • Vanilla: Use a high-quality vanilla extract to get the best results. You could also use a split vanilla bean pod instead, if you have that on hand.
  • Cream and butter: You don’t need cream or butter to make poached pears, but you will need them if you want to make the accompanying caramel sauce. I recommend using heavy cream and unsalted butter if possible.


  • Saucepan:You’ll want to use a large saucepan that can accommodate 5 pears standing upright in the pan with the lid on. I like this 6 quart saucepan from Cuisinart.
  • Vegetable peeler: A vegetable peeler makes quick work of peeling the pears.
  • Silicone spatula: Silicone spatulas are my preferred tool when working with sticky recipes like caramel.
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🥇 What are the Best Pears for Poaching?

Because the ingredients and preparation for poached pears are so simple, it’s important to select the right kind of pears to get the best results.

The top choices are Bosc and Anjou pears. Bosc pears have a long, tapered neck, perfect for poaching whole and maintaining their elegant shape. They hold up well to cooking while still becoming tender.

Anjou pears are more rounded, but still firm enough to poach intact. They deliver a sweet, delicate flavor that pairs nicely with the poaching liquid. Other good options include Comice and Concorde pears.

Whichever pears you use, be sure to select pears that are ripe yet still firm, so they soften but don’t fall apart during poaching. This allows them to retain their shape while absorbing the flavors of the poaching liquid.

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💡 Tips and FAQs

  • The pears can be served warm, at room temperature, or even cold.
  • You only need a little caramel sauce on these pears, since they are already sweet from being poached in sugar syrup.
  • Warm up the caramel sauce before adding it to the pears – it’s easiest to drizzle when warm.
  • If the pears won’t stand up straight when poaching, slice off a thin sliver from the bottom so they sit flat.

Is it necessary to peel the pears before poaching?

Yes, it’s best to peel pears before poaching. The peel can turn bitter during cooking. Leaving it on can also prevent the pears from absorbing the poaching liquid flavor.

My pears falling apart during poaching

If the pears are falling apart during poaching, they may have been overripe. Use firmer pears and poach them for less time. All fruit and equipment is different, and while we provide suggested cooking times, you should keep an eye on the pears while poaching and test their texture as soon as it seems like the pears are getting soft.

My pears are turning brown

If your pears are turning brown, you can add a bit of lemon juice to the liquid to prevent oxidation. You can also cut a circle of parchment to fit inside your pan, and press it directly on top of the pears as they poach – covering them also helps prevent oxidation. Keep in mind, brown pears will still taste delicious, and in some cases, you might not even notice the color if you are serving them with a sauce on top.

Make-ahead and reheating information

You can absolutely make poached pears ahead of time. Here are some tips for storing and reheating them:
After poaching, let the pears cool completely in the poaching liquid. Then transfer them to an airtight container and pour the liquid over to cover. Refrigerate the container of poached pears for up to 5 days. The liquid helps keep them moist and preserved.
To reheat, remove desired number of pears from the storage liquid. Place them and a few tablespoons of liquid in a skillet over medium heat. Gently warm the pears for 5-10 minutes until heated through. Baste them with the liquid as they reheat. You can also reheat them in the microwave, covered, for 1-2 minutes.
Poached pears taste best served warm or at room temperature. The chilled liquid makes a great sauce drizzled over the top too.

💚 More Pear Desserts

Pear Pie In A Jar RecipeSalted Caramel Apple Pear PiePear Cupcakes with Honey ButtercreamPear Pistachio Tart with Rosemary CrustCaramel Panna Cotta with Poached PearsPear Tarte Tatin

Leave a Review!

If you make this recipe, let us know! Leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating on the recipe below, and leave a comment, take a photo and tag me on Instagram@elabau, or use #sugarhero on IG!

Melt-In-Your-Mouth Poached Pears Recipe (13)


Melt-In-Your-Mouth Poached Pears Recipe (14)

Poached Pears

Author Elizabeth LaBau

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These elegant Poached Pears are so easy to make! They make a beautiful, sophisticated presentation served warm in their own juices or drizzled with Caramel Sauce!

Prep15 minutes mins

Cook40 minutes mins

Total55 minutes mins

Yields5 pears


For the poached pears:

  • 12 fl oz water, (1 1/2 cups)
  • 3.5 oz granulated sugar, (1/2 cup)
  • 5 large bosc pears, washed and peeled, can sub other firm pear variety
  • 1/2 cinnamon stick, gently crushed or broken, can sub 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 whole star anise, optional, you will need more if you want to use them as decoration when serving
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

For the salted caramel sauce:

  • 3.5 oz granulated sugar, (1/2 cup)
  • 2 oz heavy cream, (1/4 cup)
  • 1.5 oz unsalted butter, (3 TBSP), cut into tablespoon-sized pieces
  • Pinch sea salt


To make the poached pears:

  • Wash and peel the pears.

  • Place the pears in a large pot with the water. Add the sugar, cinnamon, anise, and vanilla. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to low. Let it simmer for about 30 to 40 minutes or until the pears are tender and the liquid is thickened like syrup.

  • Serve pears warm on their own, or with a bit of the leftover syrup.

  • Garnish with a bit of cinnamon, salted caramel sauce, or an anise star for an added touch of beauty when serving.

To make the salted caramel sauce:

  • In a medium saucepan, heat the granulated sugar over medium heat. Stir constantly until the sugar forms clumps and turns into a thick amber colored liquid.

  • Once the sugar is melted, immediately stir in the butter. Mix until melted and combined. After the butter and sugar are combined, cook for a minute without stirring.

  • Slowly add the heavy cream. Be sure to add it little by little so that it combines smoothly. Let it boil for another minute and remove from heat.

  • Immediately add the salt and stir until combined. Serve warm, so it is easy to handle and soft.


Measuring Tips

Our recipes are developed using weight measurements, and we highly recommend using a kitchen scale for baking whenever possible. However, if you prefer to use cups, volume measurements are provided as well. PLEASE NOTE: the adage “8 oz = 1 cup” is NOT true when speaking about weight, so don’t be concerned if the measurements don’t fit this formula.

Want to learn more about baking measurements and conversion?

Learn More


Serving: 1pear | Calories: 387kcal | Carbohydrates: 75g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 31mg | Sodium: 10mg | Potassium: 286mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 62g | Vitamin A: 438IU | Vitamin C: 10mg | Calcium: 38mg | Iron: 1mg

Tried this recipe?Snap a pic and hashtag it #SugarHero. We love to see your creations on our Instagram @elabau.

📋 How to Make Poached Pears Step-by-step

Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of how to make poached pears with caramel sauce. You can find easy-to-print instructions in the recipe card.

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To Poach The Pears

  1. Wash and peel the pears.
  2. Place the pears in a large pot with the water.
  3. Add the sugar, cinnamon, anise, and vanilla.
  4. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Allow the pears to simmer for 30-40 minutes until the pears are tender when pierced with a knife.
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To Make The Caramel Sauce

  1. In a medium saucepan, heat the granulated sugar over medium heat.
  2. Stir constantly until the sugar forms clumps and turns into a thick amber colored liquid.
  3. Once the sugar is melted, immediately add the butter, and stir until melted and combined. After the butter and sugar are combined, cook for a minute without stirring.
  4. Slowly add the heavy cream. Be sure to add it little by little so that it combines smoothly. Let it boil for another minute, then remove it from the heat. Finally, stir in the salt.
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To Serve

  1. You can serve pears warm on their own, or with a bit of the leftover syrup.
  2. Garnish with a dash cinnamon, salted caramel sauce, or a bit of whipped cream (or all of the above!)
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🍽️ What to Serve with Poached Pears

Although Poached Pears taste delicious plain, they’re also extremely versatile, so get creative with one of these variations:

  • Serve them with a sauce like Cinnamon Syrup or Honey Cinnamon Caramel.
  • They would taste delicious with soft whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
  • Experiment with adding other flavors to the poaching liquid. You can add different spices like nutmeg, cardamom or allspice, flavoring extracts like cinnamon or almond, or add a bit of alcohol like rum or brandy to the liquid.
  • And, let’s not forget the presentation! You could slice them on top of yogurt, pancakes, oatmeal or ice cream. We also love these pears with a soft and light panna cotta.
  • Wrap poached pears in puff pastry, like in this recipe for Puff Pastry-Wrapped Pears with Chocolate Espresso Sauce.

Melt-In-Your-Mouth Poached Pears Recipe (19)

Puff Pastry-Wrapped Pears with Chocolate Espresso Sauce

Thesepuff pastry-wrapped pearsare so elegant, you won’t believe how easy they are to make! Serve them with chocolate espresso sauce for the perfect bittersweet accompaniment.

View Recipe

Melt-In-Your-Mouth Poached Pears Recipe (20)

Pear Tarte Tatin

This Pear Tarte Tatin is packed with juicy caramelized pears and served with vanilla ice cream drizzled with salted caramel sauce. These tender pears gleam like jewels and will dazzle dessert lovers!

View Recipe

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Melt-In-Your-Mouth Poached Pears Recipe (2024)


Should pears be peeled before poaching? ›

Carefully peel pears, leaving stems intact, and place pears in lemon-infused water to hold. Heat poaching liquid of simple syrup with selected spices. Transfer pears to poaching liquid ensuring to cover the entire pear. Poach pears in a gentle rolling boil for approximately 20-30 minutes.

How ripe should pears be for poaching? ›

For this recipe, choose pears that are somewhat firm with no bruises and minimal marks. They should not be completely ripe or they'll be too soft once cooked.

Will poaching pears soften them? ›

Poached pears are made by heating pears in some sweetened and/or spiced liquid to soften them and add lots of yummy flavor.

How can you keep the pears completely covered by the poaching liquid? ›

Keep the liquid at a very low boil and simmer the pears until cooked through, 10 to 25 minutes, depending on the pears. While they are poaching, every so often gently push down the pears to make sure they are submerged in poaching liquid. (The round of paper helps to keep the pears moist and wet.)

Should I core pears before poaching? ›

*I like to add fruit peels to the poaching liquid as it adds a lot of flavor. Pears and apples should be peeled and cored. A sharp vegetable peeler does the trick for both peeling and coring. Keep the pears and apples submerged in cold water with a little lemon juice added to it to keep them from browning.

What are the best pears for poaching? ›

The best pears for poaching are going to be ones that will hold their shape while being cooked. My personal favorites are Bosc Pears. Other pear varieties that work well for this recipe include Anjou Pears & Bartlett Pears.

What is the best cooking method for pears? ›

The simplest and possibly the nicest way to cook pears is to poach them – simmered gently in a light syrup and favoured with vanilla. These can then be presented as a bowl of fruit with cream or as individual pears in the style of the classic Poire Belle Hélène with ice cream and chocolate sauce.

How to stop poached pears from going brown? ›

Lemon juice can help slow down the browning and keep your fruit looking bright and delicious. To keep the inevitable discoloration at bay, mix a light solution of water and lemon juice (strain the lemon juice before adding to the water).

What are the best fruits to poach? ›

Choose fruit that is, by nature, firm and not loaded with seeds. Apples, apricots, pears, nectarines, peaches, plums, figs, and cherries are good choices. Melons, bananas, and most berries are less desirable because they quickly break down in warm liquids.

Can dogs eat pears? ›

Yes, dogs can eat pears. Pears are a great snack because they're high in copper, vitamins C and K, and fiber. If you're sharing pears with your dog, just be sure to cut the pear flesh into bite-size chunks and remove the pit and seeds first, as the seeds contain traces of cyanide.

Can I freeze poached pears? ›

To freeze: Cool and freeze the cooked pears in the syrupy wine.To serve: Thaw the pears overnight in the fridge and serve chilled. To serve hot, return the pears and syrup to a saucepan and warm through gently on the hob for about 10min.

Will poached pears turn brown? ›

As the pears cook, simply rotate them occasionally to ensure they are cooking evenly on each side. We also use a piece of wax or parchment paper to cover the fruit as it cooks—this not only helps avoid oxidation and keep the pears from turning brown but it also helps trap some steam, which encourages even cooking.

How long will poached pears last? ›

Leave the stem on and core the pears from the bottom end with a melon baller to make a beautiful presentation. Poached pears can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week and are delicious served on their own or topped with whipped cream or ice cream (or both).

What are the three suitable liquids for poaching food? ›

Poaching liquid can be as simple as water, as hearty as a broth or even an oil. An acid such as wine, lemon juice or vinegar is usually added to the poaching liquid to help the protein set quickly.

What liquids are used for poaching? ›

Poaching is a cooking technique that involves heating food submerged in a liquid, such as water, milk, stock or wine. Poaching is differentiated from the other "moist heat" cooking methods, such as simmering and boiling, in that it uses a relatively lower temperature (about 70–80 °C (158–176 °F)).

Can you bottle pears with skin on? ›

Leaving the skin on the pears is not an issue and usually comes down to personal preference. With the skins on, the canned pears can become a bit tough and turn an off-color in the jar, so I prefer to remove them.

Do you have to peel pears to cook them? ›

Peel (or don't—your call), and then halve firm but just-ripe pears. I repeat the firm part because if you have ever tried to peel or core an over-ripe pear, you know it's a messy affair. With very-ripe fruit, maybe skip the peeling.

Should you peel pears? ›

In addition to containing a large portion of the fiber found in apples and pears, the skin of these fruits also contain most of the nutrients and antioxidants that are important for your health. Not eating the skin could prevent you from getting the full benefits of these healthy fruits.

Do you peel pears for cooking? ›

The skin of the pears will get tough and rough to the touch so remove the peeling before cooking (UNLESS OTHERWISE INSTRUCTED). Like apples, after removing the skins or when slicing, the pear will turn brown from the air if you let stand.


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