Poaching Pears Without Wine

Last Updated on April 30, 2022 by Ellen Christian

Check out this amazing Vanilla Poached Pear recipe! Learn more about poaching pears without wine. It’s a deliciously sweet way to serve pears.

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Many years ago, we planted a pear tree in our front yard. And, most years we get a huge crop of pears to enjoy in the fall. Poached pears is one of my favorite ways to enjoy them.

Vanilla Poached Pear Recipe in a Light Homemade Syrup

Vanilla Poached Pear Recipe

This really is the best poached pears recipe ever! One of the reasons that I enjoy this vanilla poached pear recipe so much is that it is a very lightly sweetened dessert. I try to watch my carbohydrate intake. And, so many desserts are high in added sugar or gluten. And, while I enjoy a slice of cake or pie sometimes, most of the time I’d prefer something lighter.

So, if you’re searching for a poached Bosc pear recipe or prefer to use Bartlett, you’re in luck. This recipe will work just as well with both varieties of pears. Our tree is a Bartlett pear tree, but I have used Bosc pears in the years we haven’t had any.

Vanilla Poached Pear Recipe in a Light Homemade Syrup

So, normally a Vanilla Poached Pear recipe would include white wine. But, Marty and I don’t drink or use alcohol so I had to be creative when I first tried this recipe. Instead, we poach the pears in water with sugar, vanilla bean, and cinnamon sticks. The taste is light and full of flavor.

What size pan should I use?

Ideally, you want your pears to be covered by most of the water when you poach them. You can rotate them if you need to. But, it is easier to have them completely covered. Try a 9″ by 4″ saucepan. You will need to add about 4 cups of water.

How firm should the pears be?

You want the pears you use to be firm when you buy them. That means that they will hold their shape better as you poach them. And, you want them to be firm enough to be cored from the bottom. If they are too soft, they will not hold their shape and they will be mushy.

a plate of poached pears in sauce

What can I top these Vanilla Poached Pears with?

Normally, I simply enjoy these poached pears as is with the simple homemade syrup that goes along with the recipe. But, if you prefer, you can top them with homemade whipped cream. Have you ever made your own? Making real whipped cream is so easy but it tastes amazing!

If you prefer, you can top them with a scoop of French vanilla ice cream. I use a no salt ice cream maker to make homemade ice cream. Or, if you have a sweet tooth, you can add chocolate syrup.

If you’d prefer not to top them, why not consider adding dried fruit instead? You can add a handful of dried cranberries or raisins when you serve them. But, be sure to add them at the end, not while you’re poaching them or they will get soft and lose their shape.

Poached pears are a simple dessert to make. But they look stunning when you serve them. That means it’s a great dessert for when you’re entertaining. So, just bring these out from the kitchen and let your guests think you have been slaving for hours.

fruit on a while plate with cutlery

Can I make vanilla poached pears with canned pears?

Not really. You can heat up the pears for a few minutes with cinnamon sticks and star anise. But, it won’t really have the full flavor of Vanilla Poached Pears. You will also have to be careful not to heat them up too much or they’ll get too soft.

What’s a cartouche?

So, you’ll notice that you need to make a cartouche to top your pears. Basically, it’s a cover made of parchment paper. It has a hole in the center to let out steam. But, helps cook the pears without covering the pan. Learn how to make one in this post or scroll down for the video.

Serving vanilla poached pears as a side dish

Now, I know that I said that this was a dessert. BUT, if you want to, you can still serve it as a side dish with pork, lamb or ham. When I was growing up, my Grandmother always served applesauce with these meats. So, these poached pears make a wonderful alternative that is just a little bit fancier. Of course, you will want to skip the whipped cream, ice cream, and chocolate syrup.

Vanilla Poached Pear Recipe in a Light Homemade Syrup

Yield: 6

Vanilla Poached Pear Recipe

Vanilla Poached Pears Recipe with a Simple Homemade Syrup

Vanilla Poached Pears Recipe with a Simple Homemade Syrup

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Additional Time 5 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes


  • 4 cups of water
  • 1 1/4 cups demerera sugar
  • 6 small Anjou or Bartlett pears
  • 1 vanilla bean, split & seeded
  • 2 cinnamon sticks


  1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring the water and sugar to a boil, stirring until the sugar is completely dissolved.
  2. Meanwhile, peel the pears with a vegetable peeler, keeping as much of the pear's natural shape as possible. Core the pears from the bottom to remove the center.
  3. Reduce the heat to medium low and add the vanilla bean and seeds and the cinnamon stick to the poaching liquid.
  4. Add the prepared pears to the poaching liquid. Cover the pears with a cartouche of parchment paper. Gently simmer, rotating the pears halfway through the cooking time, until the pears are tender when pierced with a skewer but still hold their shape - 15 to 25 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat & remove cartouche. Allow pears to cool in poaching liquid.
  6. Remove the vanilla bean & cinnamon stick.Cook liquid over medium high heat until it reduces by half and becomes a thick syrup. Drizzle the warm syrup over warm pears & serve alone or with ice cream.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 247Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 8mgCarbohydrates: 65gFiber: 5gSugar: 56gProtein: 1g

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7 thoughts on “Poaching Pears Without Wine”

    • Thanks, Kris. It's a very fine sugar that is often used in the UK.  I substituted plain white granulated sugar with no problems!
  1. I love cooked pears. I have a fond memory of my mom when I was younger. If I came down with a cold or sore throat she would make me pears or peaches to eat and I don't mean out of a can.

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