Pears are one of life’s great pleasures. When they’re in season you can grab them in bulk inexpensively and they’re the perfect on the go snack.
Because they’re such a great deal, we often buy more than we can realistically eat before they move beyond their optimal freshness.
What can you do with overripe pears? There is plenty you can do with overripe pears. You can make pear crumble or a pear crisp topping, pear butter, pear sauce, and much more. You can even make healthy child-friendly treats using overripe pears.
If you’re wondering what to do with overripe pears, you’ll find 13 delicious recipe ideas in this article.
Are Overripe Pears Safe to Eat?
Before we get into the recipe ideas, it’s important to discuss when or if overripe pears are safe to eat. Overripe pears are generally considered safe to eat once they’ve been cooked.
If your pear is soft to the point of being squishy or mushy, it won’t taste as good raw. And it may cause some digestion issues. You’re better off cooking them. As the fruit ripens, they get sweeter, which is perfect for desserts and sweet treats.
13 Overripe Pear Recipe Ideas
As with most fruit, pears make great baked goods. Whether or not you have a sweet tooth, there are ways to use your overripe pears that will delight everyone who has the pleasure of tasting your kitchen creations.
1. Pear Crumble
One of the easiest ripe pear recipes is pear crumble.
All you have to do to make this mouthwatering dessert is slice and spice your pears in a baking dish. Then top it with a streusel crumble made from butter cut into flour and sugar.
You can add nuts to the topping if you’d like, or you can pair your pears with other fruit for the filling.
Just try to get the size of each piece of fruit relatively similar so that it bakes evenly. Apples or peaches work well with pears in a crumble.
2. Pear Crisp
Similar to a pear crumble, a crisp is another very easy and delicious pear recipe to keep on hand.
The main difference between a crisp and a crumble is the topping. A crisp generally includes oats in the topping, which breaks it up more making it less dense and crumbly and more crispy.
Again, you can add other items to the topping, such as nuts or seeds. Walnuts, in particular, add to the buttery crispiness of pear crisp. Berries are a great option to add more flavor and texture to your pear crisp if you’re looking for a bit more excitement.
3. Pear Dumplings
Dumplings should not be reserved exclusively for savory dishes as they make delicious desserts. If you’re searching for the perfect recipe for overripe pears, look up pear dumplings.
There are two ways they can be made. The first option is to create a large batch of pear sauce and cook round dumpling balls in the sauce.
The other option is a bit more visually impressive. Instead of making balls out of your dumplings, roll out the pastry dough so that it’s the right size to envelope poached, cored pears.
These can be baked in muffin tins until a golden-brown crust forms and the pears inside practically melt in your mouth.
4. Pear Cobbler
A cobbler is very similar to dessert dumplings, but instead of being cooked by simmering in a sauce, a cobbler is baked in the oven.
Ripe pears will soak up the flavor of spices like cinnamon and nutmeg during the baking process and become soft and smooth, with just enough texture to create a really appealing mouthfeel.
The thick, doughy cobbler topping helps to offset the sweetness of the ripe fruit while still soaking up plenty of the flavor. Every bite gives you something to look forward to.
5. Overripe Pear Muffins
If you love to grab a muffin to go on a busy morning, you’ll never have to wonder what to do with old pears again. Overripe pear muffins can be made in huge batches, using as many pears as you have in one go.
You can season each muffin tin slightly differently for a new experience with each batch. Cardamom, vanilla, pecan, banana, and, of course, chocolate chips all taste great with the sweet autumn flavor of overripe pears. Mmm.
If you spend all day baking 100+ muffins you can freeze them individually and they’ll stay fresh for up to 6 months. An entire season of on-demand muffins is well worth one afternoon of baking with your overripe pears.
Note: You could also replace the apples for pears in our applesauce muffin recipe.
6. Pear Bread Recipe
We’ve all enjoyed banana bread many times in our lives, so why not pear bread? If you’re still trying to figure out what to do with ripe pears, blend them until they’re smooth. Then add them to your favorite quick bread recipe.
You can chop your pears into little chunks and toss in butterscotch chips for an even sweeter pear bread recipe.
To make vegan pear bread, swap eggs for flax “eggs.” If your recipe calls for milk, our favorite plant-based option for pear bread is almond milk.
7. Pear Fruit Leather
If you have children or just an ever-present inner child, making fruit leather is a fun, easy overripe pear recipe to put to use.
Fruit leather is easiest to make if you have a dehydrator, but it can also be made in the oven. For this, investing in a silicone baking mat is a smart move for this type of recipe.
To make fruit leather, simply simmer your overripe pears until they’re very tender with some water, sugar, and spices of your choice. We like ginger for our pear fruit leather.
Puree until silky smooth and spread the blend into a shallow baking tray covered with a silicone mat.
Bake at very low heat, 170 F, for many hours. Start checking your leather after 5 hours, but don’t be surprised if it takes up to 8 to dehydrate completely.
8. Pear Ice Pops
If it’s a warm day and you’re asking yourself, “what can I do with pears,” whip up some quick pear ice pops.
There are so many different ways to make this icy treat. You can experiment daily if you have enough overripe pears.
Start by peeling and coring your pears and then blending them until smooth.
You can transfer them to your popsicle molds for frozen fruit as is. Or you can experiment with milk, yogurt, coconut crème, chia pudding, or even just various flavorings like vanilla or chocolate.
9. Pear Coffee Cake
When you’re brainstorming things to make with pears, have you ever considered coffee cake?
American coffee cake is any type of cake, usually a nice dense mini-meal, that is intended to be eaten on your coffee break with a nice, hot brew. Pear and coffee are a fantastic combination.
Interestingly enough, many people swap fruit puree for oil or butter in their baking to add flavor and cut fat. Making a coffee cake with some overripe pear puree is a good place to start making this a baking habit.
And if you have extra, coffee and pound cakes are easy to freeze.
Elsewhere in the world, notably, the UK, coffee cake usually refers to a sponge cake flavored with coffee. Again, pear and coffee taste brilliant together, so this is still a delicious twist to your favorite cake.
Note: Pears would be a fabulous addition to our coffee cake without sour cream recipe.
10. Poached Pear Recipe
If you’ve got a box of overripe fruit and you need to figure out what to make with pears quickly, try a poached pear recipe.
Poaching pears is a relatively quick and easy way to deal with a lot of fruit all at once. They can then be repurposed in a variety of ways or frozen in syrup for months. The best part is that the longer poached pears soak in their syrup, the better they taste.
You can poach pears in any kind of spiced or flavored syrup that appeals to you. Red wine is another popular way to poach pears.
11. Pear Butter
When you’re trying to decide what to do with soft pears, a butter may not be the first thing to come to mind, but it should be.
Pear butter can be made similar to applesauce or apple butter. Simmer your overripe pears in a pot with select spices like cinnamon and ginger and then pureed until smooth.
You can enrich the butteriness by melting in some real butter. Add a heavenly aroma by including some vanilla bean.
The secret to a creamy pear butter is cooking very slowly. So if you want to maximize your time, use a crockpot.
12. Grilled Pears Dessert
If you’ve got a hot BBQ or grill after making dinner, use it for dessert as well.
Half or slice your ripe pears, brush them lightly with a neutral-flavored oil like grapefruit seed oil and grill them until they have some beautiful grill marks and are soft enough to slice through easily.
Drizzle some honey over them, add a dollop of yogurt or ice cream, or pull out the caramel sauce for a simple grilled pears dessert.
13. Pear Sauce Recipes
Pear sauce recipes are probably the most versatile way to use your overripe pears. The sauce can be eaten by itself, used to make many of the above describe desserts, or even slathered over toast or pancakes.
You can make pear sauce by simply simmering your overripe pears with some water, sugar, and any combination of spices that you love the most. Once the pears practically melt when they’re pressed, blend the sauce until smooth.
And there you have it, thirteen mouthwatering ways to use your overripe pears!