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. 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, heck, year-round) condiment. Instructions included for stovetop preparation!

A jar of apple butter with a butter knife and piece of toast in the background.

It took me an embarrassingly long time to realize that apple butter was, in fact, not a variation of butter. While butter it was not, I found it was still utterly fantastic slathered on a piece of toast, or on top of brie and a cracker.

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. 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.

Apples used to make slow cooker apple butter.

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.

How To Use It

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
  • 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

Apples and spices in a slow cooker before being cooked.

Apples and spices

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 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
  • Idared
  • Gala

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 for flavoring 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

Apple butter finished cooking in the slow cooker.

Stovetop vs crock pot

Crock-Pot/Slow Cooker

I love making apple in the slow cooker – it’s totally hands-off and so easy!

To make this version, the apples are tossed with sugar and spices 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 the apple butter for that silky smooth consistency. Let it cool and transfer to jars or storage containers.

Stovetop

If you wanted 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 color, about 1 additional hour.

Apple butter after being pureed in a blender.

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 storage, I recommend the recipe from Simply Recipes.

  • Refrigerator Storage – You can store the apple butter in the refrigerator 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.

A jar of apple butter with apples in the background.

You’ll love these other apple recipes!

An overhead view of a jar of apple butter with sliced apples surrounding it.

Homemade Apple Butter

Servings 4 pints
Prep 30 minutes
Cook 12 hours
Total 12 hours 30 minutes
Course: Condiment
Cuisine: American
Author: Michelle

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.

Ingredients:

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

Directions:

  1. 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.
  2. Stir in vanilla extract, breaking up any large chunks of apples that remain. Cover and cook for an additional 2 hours.
  3. Remove cover and use an immersion blender to puree the apple butter until completely smooth. (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.
  4. 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.

Recipe Notes:

Nutritional values are based on one pint

Nutrition:

Calories: 801kcal
Fat: 1g
Sodium: 169mg
Potassium: 861mg
Carbohydrates: 207g
Fiber: 18g
Sugar: 180g
Protein: 2g
Vitamin A: 400%
Vitamin C: 33.9%
Calcium: 110%
Iron: 1.4%

Did you make this recipe?

Leave a review below, then snap a picture and tag @thebrowneyedbaker on Instagram so I can see it!