Poached Pears Recipe

Pears: They may not be a fruit that you eat very often, but why not? Recipe developer Catherine Brookes, who blogs at Blue Sky Eating, is a fan of this mild-flavored, soft-fleshed fruit. She created these poached pears using what she calls "warm spices," telling us these seasonings "go great with the sweetness of the syrup and are perfect for the fall/winter season."

And we love that this dessert gives you the opportunity to get more fruit into your diet while still providing you that sweetness and sugar you want from an after-dinner snack. This recipe is super simple to prepare, but the end result looks like a masterpiece anyway. If you want to serve dessert but don't have the time or the energy to bake up a pie, these poached pears are going to seem like the perfect solution. Here's how to make them — and what to serve them with.

Select the ingredients for these poached pears

The most important ingredient in this poached pear recipe is, of course, the pears. Brookes advises you "choose a variety that's fairly firm, and make sure they aren't overripe." She goes on to say, "The pears I used were called 'blush' variety, but I'd recommend any type that is quite firm, as they will become very tender once cooked."

In addition to the pears, you'll also need an orange (well, half an orange, both the juice and the peel), light brown sugar, a cinnamon stick, star anise, and vanilla extract. If you can't find or don't like star anise, Brookes suggests, "You could use cloves, ginger, or extra cinnamon."

Prepare the fruits for this poached pear recipe

Peel the pears, but leave the stems on. Slice just a tiny little piece off the bottom of each pear so they will be able to stand upright.

Once the pears are ready, turn your attention to the orange. Zest half the orange (a potato peeler will work for this purpose), then slice the zest into strips if the pieces are large. You don't need to worry too much what it looks like since the zest is only going to be used to infuse the poaching syrup. 

After you've zested half the orange, cut the orange in half and then squeeze the juice from one of those halves. Strain out the seeds and pulp.

Poach the pears in a light syrup

Pour the fresh-squeezed orange juice into a saucepan that has a fitted lid. Add the orange zest along with the spices, vanilla, and two cups of water. Set the burner on medium and cook until the mixture comes to a boil, then turn the heat down to a simmer and let the syrup cook for five more minutes. Give it a stir every so often to make sure it doesn't burn.

Add the pears to the syrup, cover the pan with a lid, and poach the fruit for 25 minutes. Turn the pears over about halfway through the cooking time.

Serve the pears with the syrup

After the cooking time is up, remove the pears from the syrup. Remove the orange zest, cinnamon stick, and star anise, too. Turn the heat up to medium-high and let the syrup cook for 10 more minutes without the lid. Once the syrup has thickened slightly, pour it over the pears.

You can, if you like, eat the poached pears in syrup just as they are, or Brookes suggests, 'You could sprinkle ... some cookie crumbs or toasted nuts [over them]." If you would like to eat the pears as a breakfast dish or maybe a side dish for a light lunch, you could use them to top a bowl of yogurt, but if you want something more dessert-like, try them over ice cream or a slice of pound cake."

Poached Pears Recipe
5 from 29 ratings
We love that this dessert gives you the opportunity to get more fruit into your diet while providing you that sweetness you want from an after-dinner snack.
Prep Time
Cook Time
poached pears with ice cream
Total time: 55 minutes
  • 6 pears
  • ½ orange
  • 1 ½ cups light brown sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 star anise
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups water
  1. Peel the pears, leaving the stems on and slicing a small amount off the bottom of each pear so they can stand upright.
  2. Zest and juice half the orange, straining out the seeds and slicing the zest into strips.
  3. Add the orange zest and juice to a large saucepan with the spices, vanilla, and 2 cups water. Heat on medium until the mixture begins to boil.
  4. Turn the temperature down to a simmer, and let the syrup cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Add the pears to the saucepan and cover it with a lid.
  6. Let the pears cook for 25 minutes, turning them once about halfway through cooking.
  7. Remove the pears from the pan and place them on a plate.
  8. Remove the cinnamon stick, star anise, and orange peel from the saucepan.
  9. Turn the burner to medium-high and let the syrup cook for about another 10 minutes, until it thickens slightly.
  10. Pour the syrup over the pears before serving.
Calories per Serving 255
Total Fat 0.4 g
Saturated Fat 0.0 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Total Carbohydrates 66.1 g
Dietary Fiber 6.4 g
Total Sugars 54.5 g
Sodium 15.4 mg
Protein 1.0 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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