Homemade apple butter made in the slow cooker could not be easier! Simply mix up your apples, sugar, and spices and let it cook down all day (or overnight), puree it, and enjoy. Slather it on bread or biscuits, top your pancakes with it, stir it into your oatmeal, or simply eat it with a spoon! The perfect fall (or year-round) condiment. Instructions are included for stovetop and Instant Pot preparation!

Overhead photo of jar of apple butter on a white plate with sliced apples around it.

Apple butter has become one of my favorite things to stock up on during the fall season when it’s plentiful at farmer’s markets, orchards, and local grocery stores. I love piling it on top of brie and a cracker! 

Once I discovered how incredibly easy it could be to make at home, I wasted no time making batches once apple season was in full swing each year.

Apple Butter 101

So if it’s not actual butter, what is it?

Quite simply, it’s homemade applesauce that has been cooked quite a bit longer, which intensifies the flavor and gives it a caramelized color. It is then pureed for a super-smooth texture. 

It tastes like an ultra-concentrated, incredibly thick, and smooth version of applesauce.

Apples and Spices

Red apples on a white countertop.

Types of Apples to Use

The beauty of making homemade apple butter is that you can use whatever your favorite variety is! That said, softer varieties of apples lend themselves especially well to apple butter making because they break down more easily and can achieve that concentrated flavor we love. You can use all one kind or a mixture.

Some great choices would include:

  • Braeburn
  • Cortland
  • Fuji
  • McIntosh
  • Golden Delicious
  • Red Delicious
  • Idared
  • Gala
  • Granny Smith, if you like a tart flavor!

How to Prep the Apples 

To prepare the apples, simply peel and core them, then give them a rough chop. Nothing fancy is needed here!

I like to use this swivel peeler, but if you do a ton of apple baking, you may want to invest in a tabletop apple peeler.

The Spices

I use a simple mixture of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves to flavor the apple butter; the mixture creates such a warm, wonderful flavor!

I consider cinnamon a must, but feel free to play around with the others if you’d like; other options could include:

  • Apple pie spice
  • Allspice
  • Ginger

Slow Cooker, Instant Pot, and Stovetop Instructions

CrockPot Apple Butter

I love making apple butter in the slow cooker and is the version listed in the recipe below – it’s totally hands-off and so easy!

To make this version, the apples are tossed with sugar and spices in a 6-quart slow cooker and cooked on low for 10 hours, then the vanilla extract is mixed in and any large chunks of apples are broken up, then it is cooked for two more hours. Then, use an immersion blender (or regular blender or food processor) to puree or blend the apple butter for that silky smooth consistency. Let it cool and transfer to jars or storage containers.

Sliced apples in a slow cooker and covered in a sugar and spice mixture.
Apples cooked down in a slow cooker, next to an image of a blender jar with pureed apple butter inside.

Instant Pot Apple Butter

If you have an Instant Pot, you can also make apple butter in it! Place the apples, sugars, and all of the seasonings (except for the vanilla) into a 6-quart Instant Pot and stir to combine. Cook on high pressure for 90 minutes, then natural release for 10 minutes. Puree the apple butter using an immersion blender, regular blender, or food processor. (If you do not use an immersion blender, return the apple butter to the Instant Pot.) Turn on “Slow Cook” function and cook on high for 2 hours with the lid only covering half of the pot. Stir in the vanilla, allow to cook and transfer to containers.

Stovetop

If you want to make it on the stovetop instead, you will need to add a bit of liquid to the apples, sugar, and spices so that the apples don’t stick to the pan – you could use apple cider, apple juice, or water (about 1 cup). Cook, uncovered, over medium-low heat for 1 hour, stirring occasionally, then puree using an immersion blender, food processor, or blender. Return to the stove and continue to cook until it is thick and deep brown in color, about 1 additional hour.

How To Use Apple Butter

Apple butter can be used in the same way you’d use any other fruit jam, but here are some ideas:

  • Spread on toast, biscuits, and muffins
  • Top your pancakes and waffles with it
  • Serve with crackers and cheese on a charcuterie board
  • Stir it into oatmeal, yogurt, or ice cream
  • Use it in place of pumpkin puree or applesauce in recipes
  • Baste it onto chicken or pork chops
  • Add it to your grilled cheese sandwich
  • Gift it in a pretty jar with a ribbon!
Jar of apple butter on a white saucer with a spoonful of apple butter in the foreground and two apples next to the jar.

Shelf life, storage, and freezing

This is a “refrigerator” version, meaning that it is not meant for long-time storage. If you are interested in a recipe suitable for canning and long-term, room-temperature storage, I recommend the recipe from Simply Recipes.

Once the apple butter has cooled and been placed into jars or airtight containers, store using the following guidelines:

  • Refrigerator Storage – You can store the apple butter in the fridge for up to 1 month.
  • Freezer Storage – You can store the apple butter in the freezer for up to 1 year. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before using it.

You’ll love these other apple recipes!

Watch the Apple Butter Recipe Video

If you make this homemade apple butter and love it, remember to stop back and give it a 5-star rating – it helps others find the recipe! ❤️️

Homemade Apple Butter

Homemade apple butter made in the slow cooker could not be easier! Simply mix up your apples, sugar, and spices and let it cook down all day (or overnight), puree it, and enjoy.
4.94 (63 ratings)

Ingredients

  • pounds apples, peeled, cored and sliced
  • 1 cup (198 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (213 g) light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Instructions 

  • Place apples in slow cooker. In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt. Sprinkle over the apples and stir gently to combine. Cook on low for 10 hours.
  • Stir in vanilla extract, breaking up any large chunks of apples that remain. Cover and cook for an additional 2 hours.
  • Remove the lid and use an immersion blender to puree the apple butter until completely smooth or to desired consistency. (Alternately, you could puree in batches in a food processor or regular blender.) If you want the apple butter thicker, you can continue to cook it on low with the lid of the slow cooker slightly ajar so that steam can escape.
  • Allow the mixture to cool, then spoon into jars and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 month, or freeze for up to 1 year.

Notes

  • Equipment: 6-quart slow cooker, 6-quart Instant Pot, or Dutch oven for stovetop.
  • For Blending: Use an immersion blender, food processor, or traditional blender.
  • Apples: Use your favorite or a combination of different varieties. See the post above for suggestions.
  • Refrigerator Storage – You can store the apple butter in the fridge for up to 1 month.
  • Freezer Storage – You can store the apple butter in the freezer for up to 1 year. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before using it.
Nutritional values are based on one pint
Calories: 801kcal, Carbohydrates: 207g, Protein: 2g, Fat: 1g, Sodium: 169mg, Potassium: 861mg, Fiber: 18g, Sugar: 180g, Vitamin A: 400IU, Vitamin C: 33.9mg, Calcium: 110mg, Iron: 1.4mg

Did you make this recipe?

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