Dulces De Calabasas (Mexican Pumpkin Candy)

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This is the stuff you get by the cash register at Mexican restaurants or in little Mexican grocery stores. It's been one of my favorites since I was, oh, 6 or 7 and got some at Olviera Street. I add the cinnamon and cloves because I like it spicy, but traditionally it's just pumpkin and sugar. Really labor-intensive, but so worth it! Do not use carving pumpkins, use sugar-pie or other cooking pumpkins (which the computer does not recognize.) Cook time is for unattended resting time.

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Ingredients [?]

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  • add   water
  • add   1/2 teaspoon ground cloves (optional)
  • add   1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
  • add   granulated sugar
  • add   1 cup brown sugar
  • add   2 lbs whole pumpkin (1-2 small, 1 qt. when chopped)


  1. Cut pumpkin in half, remove seeds and as much of the "stringy stuff" as you can, and chop into pieces approximately 1-1.5 inches by 1.5-2.5 inches.
  2. Slice off skin, taking off as little flesh as you can.
  3. Measure to make sure you have approximately one quart of pumpkin pieces (either pack well into a measuring cup or fill a calibrated 1/2 gallon or 1 gallon measure to the quart line and drop in pieces until water hits the 1/2 gallon line, then drain water.).
  4. Put in a fairly heavy saucepan and cover with water.
  5. Cover, bring to a boil, and boil for 15-20 minutes.
  6. Drain, but save water, and place pumpkin back in pan.
  7. Measure water to make sure you have about 1 1/2 cups.
  8. Stir in packed brown sugar until smooth.Add cloves and/or cinnamon at this point, if desired.
  9. Pour the sugar/water syrup over the pumpkin, cover, return to a boil, and boil another 15 minutes.
  10. Turn off heat and let sit overnight (at least 8 hours.)This is how the pumpkin soaks up the syrup and "candies".
  11. In the morning (or after the 8-10 hours), return to a boil, and boil an additional 5 minutes.
  12. Remove from syrup with a slotted spoon and place on a tray or cookie sheet lined with waxed paper.
  13. Allow to dry at least 10-12 hours in a place where it will not be disturbed (if you're not going to be using the oven and haven't had it on recently, the cold oven is a great place to keep it safe.).
  14. Roll in granulated sugar and enjoy!Place in air-tight container to store up to two weeks.