clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon

Candied Pumpkin - Turkish Vegan Dessert

  • Author: Gonul
  • Total Time: 8 hours
  • Yield: 12-16 Servings 1x
  • Diet: Vegan


Try candied pumpkin—two ways, and a sugar-free alternative! The regular version and one made with slaked lime that only very few get to taste outside of Turkey.


  • ½ cup (50g) pickling lime (aka cal, calcium hydroxide, slaked lime)
  • 6lb (2.7kg) of pumpkin, peeled & sliced (about half of a medium-sized Cinderella pumpkin)
  • 2 1/2 cups (500g) granulated sugar
  • 5 cups (or more) water
  • few cinnamon sticks & whole cloves
  • top with: crushed walnuts & tahini


  1. In a large, non-reactive pot, make a calcium hydroxide bath by mixing the pickling lime with about 4 cups of water—remember to turn away from the dust cloud. Gloves recommended.
  2. Place the pumpkin slices inside the bath, and pour in more water to fully submerge all pieces. Weigh them down with a heavy plate to submerge everything, then let them harden for a minimum of 4 and up to 8 hours.
  3. If you leave the pumpkin slices in the pickling solution for longer than 8 hours, they may harden too much, especially if you sliced them thinly. I suggest feeling them out with gloves every hour after 4 hours of pickling. They should be firm, but also be able to bend slightly.
  4. When the pickling process is complete, drain out the water and wash each piece multiple times to remove any excess lime. Transfer the rinsed pumpkin into a large pot (you may need two pots) and pour sugar all over. You can also make a syrup ahead of time and add it at this point.
  5. Add water and mix. If there are many pieces not submerged in syrup, add more water. Bring to a boil and add cinnamon sticks and whole cloves, then turn down the heat and let it simmer for up to 3 hours. Periodically test a piece starting at 90 minutes; it should be snappy on the outside and creamy in the middle. Let it cool down when you reach the desired texture. Top with tahini and crushed walnuts.


It will keep for about one week in the fridge. If you make the syrup with a 1:1 sugar-to-water ratio, it can keep for three weeks—but it is way too sweet for my taste.

You can halve this recipe for fewer portions.

You can make a non-crispy version of this by just skipping the pickling process altogether. Use the same amount of pumpkin and sugar, it will cook about 1 hour faster than the crispy one.

I've made the non-crispy version with erythritol to make a sugar-free alternative once and it worked great! Simply use 1 1/3 cups of erythritol to replace 1 cup of sugar.

Nutrition information is an estimate.

  • Prep Time: 5 hours
  • Cook Time: 3 hours
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Cook
  • Cuisine: Turkish


  • Calories: 248