Homemade Apple Butter
This easy Apple Butter recipe lets the slow cooker do all the work, requiring very little hands-on time, while producing a rich, thick, cinnamon and spice fruit spread suitable for canning.
Contrary to what the name suggests, Apple Butter contains no actual butter. But it's so rich and creamy that the name fits. It's made by simply cooking apples over low heat for a really long time, until they are condensed into a thick fruit spread.
Because of the long cooking time, using a slow cooker is the way to go. And, a simple food mill allows you to take advantage of the natural pectin and flavor contained in the apple peel and core while saving you the hassle of peeling and coring all those apples. 🙌
My food mill is one of the simplest, yet most useful things in my kitchen. Part strainer and part masher, food mills force food through perforated disk that mashes the food while separating out skin, core and seeds. It's indispensable in the summer months, when tomatoes are in season and I find myself making batch after batch of roasted tomato sauce.
And, if you use one to make apple butter, you don't need to peel or core your apples. Let me just say that again...
This Apple Butter Recipe does not require you to core or peel your apples.
This is great for two reasons: Peeling and coring apples is a tedious, time consuming task, and you get to take full advantage of the natural pectin, vitamins, and flavor in the apple peel and core.
Start by cooking apples in apple cider and apple cider vinegar for about 20 minutes, then letting them sit in the liquid at room temperature for 6-8 hours. This method allows you to extract as much flavor as possible from the apple core and peel before pushing them through a food mill to separate core and peel from the apples.
After that, it's just a matter of adding some sugar and spices and letting them simmer away in the slow cooker until the mixture is thick and rich and delicious. So, while the actual length of time, start to finish, to make apple butter is nearly 24 hours, the hands on time is only about 30 minutes.
I like to get the apples simmering in the apple cider and cider vinegar in the evening, covering the pan and letting them soak in the liquid overnight. In the morning, I push the apples through the food mill, letting them simmer away in the slow cooker for the rest of the day.
Warning: this will make your whole house smell like caramel apple pie.
Storing and Preserving Apple Butter
Apple Butter will keep in the refrigerator for about one month and in the freezer for up to 6 months. If you process jars of apple butter in a water bath, they will keep almost indefinitely.
Canning apple butter is suuuuuper easy. Just scoop it into very clean, dry glass jars leaving about ¼ inch at the top. Using a damp cloth or paper towel, wipe the tops of the jar to ensure a clean seal. Cap and screw on lids, leaving them a teensy bit loose.
Bring a large pot of water, or water-bath canner, to a rolling boil and gently lower the jars into the boiling water using tongs. The water should cover the jars by at least ½ inch. Let process for 10 minutes. Remove the jars from the water bath and place upside down on a dry towel laid out on a flat surface.
Once the jars are cool, check the seal by gently pressing down on the center of the lid. If it pops up and down (often making a popping sound), it is not sealed. If that should happen to a jar or two, just store the preserves in the refrigerator and use it within 3 weeks.
Here's what to do with all that delicious apple butter...
This recipe will give you enough for six or seven 8-oz jars. When apples are in season, I usually make several batches, preserving the jars in a water bath so I can store them in my cupboards. Apple Butter makes a great gift and is a delicious treat to have on hand in the dead of winter, when good fresh fruit is hard to come by.
Spread apple butter on anything you'd also spread jam on - toast, English muffins, bagels, croissants, and my favorite, Simple Cream Biscuits.
OR, make a batch of Apple Cinnamon Muffins with Brown Sugar Streusel and a gooey Apple Butter center. These yummy muffins are packed with a ton of fresh apple chunks and flavored with cinnamon, nutmeg, almond and vanilla. Their centers contain a delicious scoop of apple butter before being topped off with hunks of buttery brown sugar streusel.
OR, how about a batch of flaky Apple Butter and Pastry Cream Hand Pies? These buttery little hand pies are filled with almond pastry cream and apple butter. They are flaky, creamy, & packed with warm apple flavor.
These little apple butter hand pies are the perfect little sweet treat because they are not too sweet and make a delicious on-the-go hand-held breakfast, lunchbox treat, afternoon snack. But, my favorite way to eat them is with scoops of vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of caramel sauce.
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Apple Butter is a Building Block Recipe
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This easy Apple Butter recipe lets the slow cooker do all the work with minimal hands-on time. Rich, buttery, & packed with spiced apple flavor.
- 6 lbs of apples, cut into quarters without coring or peeling
- ½ cup apple cider vinigar
- 2 cups apple cider
- ½ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 1 ¼ cup dark brown sugar
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 3 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- ½ tsp ground cloves
- ½ tsp ground allspice
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- Add the quartered apples, apple cider vinegar, apple cider, and lemon juice to a large saucepan and set it over medium-high heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring frequently. Cover the pan, turn the heat to medium-low, and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. The apple should be "crisp-tender"; if you poke a fork into one of the slices, it should slide in but with some resistance. If the apples have not reached this point, allow them to cook a bit longer. Remove the pan from the heat, keep covered, and let sit at room temperature for 6-8 hours.
- Set a food mill that's fitted with the largest straining plate over the bowl of your slow cooker. Push the apples and all the liquid in the saucepan through the food mill into the slow cooker bowl, which will separate the apples from the core and peel. Add all the remaining ingredients, except the vanilla, to the apple pulp and stir to mix.
- Cook the mixture on high for 8 hours, stirring every once in a while. Remove the lid and cook for an additional 3-4 hours on high, until the apple butter is thick and deep brown. (*See notes about temperature below.) To test that it's done, place a small dish in the freezer for a few minutes. Spoon a bit of the apple butter onto the frozen dish and let sit for about 5 minutes. This will cool the apple butter quickly, allowing you to test it's thickness.
- Stir in the vanilla.
- Store apple butter in the refrigerator for up to 1 month, in the freezer for up to 6 months.
To preserve apple butter, spoon into sterilized jars and process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes.
- Pour the hot mixture into very clean, dry glass jars leaving about ¼ inch at the top. Using a damp cloth or paper towel, wipe the tops of the jar to ensure a clean seal. Cap and screw on lids, leaving them a bit loose.
- Bring a large pot of water, or water-bath canner, to a rolling boil and gently lower the jars into the boiling water using tongs. The water should cover the jars by at least ½ inch. Let process for 10 minutes. Remove the jars from the water bath and place upside down on a dry towel laid out on a flat surface. Allow to cool completely.
- Once the jars are cool, check the seal by gently pressing down on the center of the lid. If it pops up and down (often making a popping sound), it is not sealed. If that should happen to a jar or two, just store the preserves in the refrigerator and use it within 3 weeks. Properly sealed jars can be stored in the cupboard for up to 12 months.
- I like to get the apples simmering in the apple cider and cider vinegar in the evening, then cover the pan and let them soak in the liquid overnight. In the morning, push the apples through the food mill, and let them simmer away in the slow cooker for the rest of the day. You can also soak the apples in apple cider and vinegar early in the day, let them sit in the liquid through the middle of the day, and then let them simmer in the slow cooker overnight.
- Different slow cookers can cook food at different temperatures. If you feel that cooking your apple butter on high for such a long time is causing the bottom of the apple butter to burn, simply turn the heat down to low.
Keywords: apple butter, apple butter recipe, slow cooker apple butter, crockpot apple butter recipe, no peel apple butter recipe, easy apple butter recipe
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