Divine elegance. There is just no other way to describe these perfect wine poached pears. They’re beautiful and taste fantastic. [Editor’s Note: With all due respect, we’d like to also cite “simple” and “quick” and “easy” and “impressive” and “low-calorie” and “gluten-free” to the list of adjectives for this lovely little number.]–Roxanne Wyss and Kathy Moore

david caricature

Why Our Testers Loved This

Our testers adore the fact that this impressive classic French dessert can be made in a slow cooker, and that it offers an untraditional but decadent butterscotch sauce for serving.

What You’ll Need to Make This

  • Pears–Bosc pears are your best choice here as they hold their shape during baking, but Anjou will also work. Avoid Bartletts as they are more delicate and likely to become mushy during poaching. Use just-ripe or slightly underripe fruit for this dessert.
  • White wine–Use a dry white wine that you enjoy drinking. It doesn’t need to be expensive, but choose something you enjoy. Avoid sweet white wines as they will add too much sweetness to the dish.
  • Unsalted butter–If you need to substitute salted butter in the butterscotch sauce, don’t add the extra pinch of salt called for in the recipe.

How to Make This Recipe

  1. Prepare your slow cooker. Coat your slow cooker with vegetable oil.
  2. Combine the ingredients in the slow cooker. Peel the pears and stand them upright in your slow cooker. Brush with lemon juice, sprinkle with sugar, then pour in the wine, vanilla, and water.
  3. Poach the pears. Set the slow cooker to low and let the pears cook until tender, 3 to 4 hours.
  4. Make the butterscotch sauce. Melt the butter, then stir in sugar and salt, followed by the cream.
  5. Finish the sauce. Stir in the vanilla and remove the sauce. Let it rest until it thickens.
  6. Serve the pears. Transfer the pears from the slow cooker to serving plates and drizzle the butterscotch over the top.

Common Questions

What is poaching?

Poaching is a technique for cooking foods in barely simmering liquid, like in this poached nectarines recipe. This method for poaching pears in wine was developed in France for using up fruit that wasn’t quite ripened. The long slow gentle cooking breaks down the fruit slightly, making it tender and juicy, and highlights the natural sweetness of the pears.

How do I select a perfectly ripe pear?

You can tell if the fruit is just ripe by cupping the pear in your hand and giving it a gentle squeeze. You want it to yield slightly but not completely. For this recipe, use Bosc or Anjou pears. Save the softer Bartletts for making pear tarte tatin.

What should I serve with these poached pears?

The pears and butterscotch are lovely on their own, but you can dress them up further with a dollop of whipped cream, sweet whipped ricotta cream, French vanilla ice cream, or a sprinkle of crushed nuts.

Helpful Tips

  • Poached pears can be served hot, warm, or cool, though we think they are best served warm.
  • Save any leftover poaching liquid and freeze it in ice cube trays. It makes a lovely replacement for simple syrup in cocktails.
  • The poached pears can be refrigerated for up to 3 days in their poaching liquid. Reheat gently before serving, if desired. We don’t recommend freezing poached pears.
  • This elegant dessert is suitable for gluten-free and vegetarian diets. If offered without the butterscotch sauce, it is also suitable for vegan and dairy-free diets.

More Great Pear Recipes

Write a Review

If you make this recipe, or any dish on LC, consider leaving a review, a star rating, and your best photo in the comments below. I love hearing from you.–David

Four wine poached pears in a shallow white baking dish.

Wine Poached Pears

5 / 3 votes
These wine poached pears are an easy, elegant dessert made by gently cooking peeled pears in white wine and then drizzling them with a creamy butterscotch sauce.
David Leite
Servings6 servings
Calories475 kcal
Prep Time25 minutes
Cook Time4 hours
Total Time4 hours 25 minutes


  • 5-quart or larger slow cooker


For the wine poached pears

  • Mild vegetable oil
  • 6 medium pears, preferably Bosc
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine, such as Chardonnay
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups cold water

For the butterscotch sauce (optional)

  • 6 tablespoons (3 oz) unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract


Make the wine poached pears

  • Slick a large (5-quart or larger) slow cooker with vegetable oil.
  • Peel the pears, leaving the stem intact. Stand the pears upright in the slow cooker. Brush the pears with the lemon juice. Sprinkle the pears with the sugar. Pour in the wine, vanilla, and water.
  • Cover the slow cooker and cook on low until the pears are tender but not mushy when pricked with a fork or pierced with a paring knife, 3 to 4 hours.

Make the butterscotch sauce (optional)

  • Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the brown sugar and salt and cook, stirring continuously, for 1 minute, or until bubbling. Stir in the cream and cook, still stirring continuously, for 2 to 3 minutes, or until bubbling again.
  • Stir in the vanilla, remove from the heat, and let it rest, without stirring, until the sauce thickens, 5 to 10 minutes.

To assemble

  • Use a slotted spoon to lift each pear out of the poaching liquid and place it onto a serving plate. Drizzle the pears with the butterscotch sauce, if desired. Serve warm.


  1. Storage–The cooked pears can be stored in the refrigerator in a sealed container for up to 3 days. Do not freeze.
  2. Pears--Choose just-ripe or slightly underripe pears for this recipe. Overripe fruit will break down too much.
  3. Dietary–This recipe is suitable for gluten-free and vegetarian diets. If served without the butterscotch sauce, it is also vegan and dairy-free.
Slow Cooker Desserts Cookbook

Adapted From

Slow Cooker Desserts

Buy On Amazon


Serving: 1 serving (with sauce)Calories: 475 kcalCarbohydrates: 73 gProtein: 1 gFat: 19 gSaturated Fat: 12 gMonounsaturated Fat: 5 gTrans Fat: 1 gCholesterol: 54 mgSodium: 24 mgFiber: 6 gSugar: 62 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2015 Roxanne Wyss | Kathy Moore. Photo © 2015 Jennifer Davick. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

I love, love, love a recipe like this one that’s simple yet incredibly impressive. Poaching fruit is a wonderful way to infuse the best fruit of the season with a touch of extra flavor. Whether the infusion calls for wine, tea, herbs, spices, or extracts, it’s a classy way to serve a healthy dessert.

I adored this wine poached pears recipe for coming together in a slow cooker and including a decadent butterscotch sauce.

The pears alone, without the sauce, were decadent, tender, and perfectly infused with the wine and vanilla extract. The vanilla perfumed the pears nicely, and I’d be tempted to add either a touch of almond or hazelnut extract to the poaching liquid next time to change the base recipe up a bit. Then maybe serve the pears with crushed nuts? Whipped cream?

In terms of the recipe itself, on low heat, my pears only took 3 hours until they were very tender. So I would check them after about 3 hours just in case they’re done. I loved this recipe and plan to hold on to it for our next fall dinner party!

This recipe for white wine poached pears is a keeper. It’s such a sexy and impressive dessert. It looks so simple and elegant at the same time.

I didn’t have a Crock Pot on hand so I used a heavy-bottomed pot with a lid in the oven at 300°F. My pears were fork tender after 4 hours. The pears had a nice color and held their shape.

The butterscotch sauce was such a nice complement. It was so silky smooth and paired well with the texture of the pears. Not to mention that it was so easy to make! It’s a sauce that can also be used with other desserts—even over no-churn vanilla ice cream.

This dish is a good way to impress friends and family as the finished product looks like it took a lot of work…but that’s our little secret!

Elegance and Crock Pot are not words I would ordinarily use together in a sentence. That being said, this recipe truly produces an elegant Crock-Pot dessert.

Within 10 minutes of starting my preparation, I had all the ingredients in the Crock-Pot (that includes the time it took to peel the pears). I used Red Bartlett pears because those are the pears I had on hand. Even though the Red Bartlett is a more delicate variety than the Bosc, the recipe was still incredibly successful, producing a tender but not mushy pear.

Initially, I thought the recipe required too much water. However, it was just the right amount to poach the pears without the fruit becoming dry while it cooked. As an added bonus, while the pears were cooking, the aroma made my house smell like a 5-star restaurant. My pears were ready to serve within 3 1/2 hours of placing them in the Crock Pot and turning it on.

The butterscotch sauce was simple to put together and truly delicious! I was excited there was about 1/2 cup leftover after saucing the pears so I could sneak away later and eat it with a spoon. The finished product is sophisticated, beautiful, and tastes fantastic.

After removing the pears from the Crock-Pot with a slotted spoon, I saved the cooking liquid to freeze in an ice cube tray. This will be handy to use in iced tea and for recipes requiring a simple syrup.

Serve these wine poached pears with a spoon and knife rather than a fork. It makes them much easier to eat.

This elegant dessert recipe for poached pears in white wine was easy to follow and yielded great results.

My favorite thing about this recipe by far is the butterscotch sauce. It was lip-smacking good! I never thought I cared much for butterscotch but this recipe proved otherwise. Now I’m trying to put it on everything!

In preparing the pears, I found that the recipe called for much more sugar than what would stick to the pears when sprinkled, so the remainder of the sugar ended up in the poaching water rather than being applied directly to the pears.

I also found that the pears didn’t sit upright easily in the slow cooker; they wanted to float onto their sides in the poaching water. I tried to coax them back into position a couple of times but I didn’t want to keep disturbing the temperature or the cooking process by removing the slow cooker lid and fussing with the pears.

My pears were fork-tender at 4 hours, though I think they could’ve cooked a little longer. While the end result was delicious, I didn’t notice a markedly wine-infused flavor (I used pinot grigio) and wonder if it was a necessary addition.

Lastly, although the upright pears look lovely drizzled with the butterscotch sauce, they would be much easier to eat if they had been cored and quartered prior to poaching.

My love of pears drew me to this recipe. This was an easy recipe to make and was very fancy-looking. Would make guests feel very special to be served this dessert.

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    This was a huge hit at our house. Other than having to navigate peeling slippery pears, the recipe was a breeze to prepare. Warning though: the butterscotch sauce is totally addictive! While we were eating it, we were dreaming up the other ways we would use it when the pears are gone.

    1. Ellen, I’m thrilled you enjoyed the pears. I love them, too. And, yes, that sauce… It should be added to a forbidden-substance list, it’s that good!

  2. 5 stars
    I made this once before a few years ago for a birthday party. It was a big hit! I’ve been trying to find the recipe for a few months now and I’m so excited I actually found the right one! I’ll be making them again today hopefully!

  3. I love poached pears but have only made them with red wine. This recipe sounds fantastic especially with the addition of the butterscotch sauce. Poached pears are the perfect ending to a meal. Light and sweet but not too filling and perfect for company. I’ll be trying this very soon.

    1. We couldn’t agree with you more, Vicki. Many thanks for taking the time to leave a kind note. Here’s to boozy pears…!