Indulge in the Sweet Treat of Belizean Stew Pumpkin

This October, forget about a trick and indulge in the sweet treat of stew pumpkin! Stew pumpkin, also known as dulce de calabaza, is a tasty homemade delicacy many enjoy. Its warm aroma and caramelized sheen will awaken your appetite, and you won’t be able to resist having a bite. All cultural groups in Belize enjoy this sweet treat. Traditionally, the Mestizos prepare stew pumpkin for Los Finados, held on November 1st through 2nd each year. Also known as Día de Los Muertos, this cultural celebration honors deceased loved ones with a table or altar set with their favorite foods, which may include “las conservas”- stewed fruits like pumpkin and papaya. 

It’s a delight that satisfies the craving of those yearning for its syrupy goodness. Try it yourself and join the family of stew pumpkin lovers in Belize! Get in the kitchen to prepare this recipe. 

Travel Belize
Photo Credit: Sylvia Batty


  • A large (10lbs.) dried pumpkin (squash)
  • 4 lbs. brown sugar
  • A dozen allspice seeds

Optional spices to include are cloves and cinnamon sticks.


  1. Start by washing your pumpkin.
  2. Cut it in half and remove all seeds. Locals would save the seeds to roast and make pepitos – another local snack!
  3. Dice both halves in small cubes (approx. 2 inches by 2 inches).
  4. Place diced pumpkin pieces in a large pot.
  5. Add all the sugar and spice seeds.
  6. Cook on low heat for eight hours. Stir occasionally to avoid it sticking to the pot.

Your snack is a go when your pumpkin is tender in the golden syrup. Grab your plate, let it cool, and indulge in the sweet treat of stew pumpkin! Now, whenever you visit Belize, you have another must-eat food on your list. 

Recipe By: Gissele Ozaeta

Photo Credits: Carmita Leslie, Sylvia Batty