May 25, 2022| By

Homemade Apple Butter

Prep Time: 25 mins
Cook Time: 10 hrs
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A tasty apple butter recipe that's spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger for the best homemade apple butter recipe yet! It's made in the slow cooker and is so easy to put together! It's a set it and forget it recipe - my favorite! Enjoy this recipe as a spread, on top of ice cream, or even on top of oatmeal, the possibilities are endless!

homemade apple butter in a jar surrounded by apples and toast

It may not be Fall just yet, but a girl can dream! Fall is easily my favorite time of year. We've had a tradition in my family to go apple picking every year since I was 8. It's one of my most fond memories and something I look forward to annually.

So what do we do with all of those leftover apples?! We make apple pie filling, apple crisp, apple cakes, apple fritters, apple breads, and of course this apple butter recipe. It's made in a slow cooker (yes, sweet can be made in a slow cooker!) and is so smooth and silky! Pro Tip: put this in mason jars and gift them for Christmas or as party favors!

I've been making this apple spread for years and I just absolutely love it. It's a family recipe that I've received permission to share from my mom and grandmom so just know a LOT of love went into this recipe <3

slow cooker apple butter in a jar with cinnamon sticks and star anise

Why You'll Love this Recipe

  • This recipe is made in the slow cooker and is literally a set it and forget it recipe. It's an easy apple butter recipe and is unlike any store bought apple butter - it's smooth, spiced to perfection.
  • You can do so many things with this recipe. From ice cream to pancakes, this spread literally goes so well with a wide array of dishes - sweet and savory!
  • A lot of store bought apple butters have so much sugar and additives. With this recipe for apple butter, you know exactly what's in it! And I just love that. It's a true farm to table type of thing!
  • Three simple steps is all it takes to make the best apple butter ever!
apple butter spread on a piece of bread

What is apple butter?

Growing up in Pennsylvania, I thought everyone knew what it was because we had it in our fridge year round! When I moved, I realized that it's not as common as I thought!

Apple butter is a spread, akin to a jam or preserves or even jelly. It's like concentrated apple sauce that's been cooked for a bit longer with a thicker consistency and rich apple flavor. It can be eaten warm or cold and can be made into so many different things!

Also to clarify, in case your were wondering, there is no butter in apple butter and it is not apple flavored butter.

What's the difference between apple butter and applesauce?

Simply put, apple sauce has a bit more water in it that apple butter. The consistency of apple butter is a lot smoother and thicker than applesauce. Both can be made in a slow cooker, but this apple flavored spread is cooked a bit longer for a more intense apple flavor.

jarred apple butter surrounded by apples and cinnamon sticks

Ingredients

Apples: I've found that a mix of apples works best. I like to use equal amounts of granny smith, fuji, and honeycrisp apples. I find that this mix yields a nice balance between sweetness and slightly tart.

Brown sugar: for sweetness!

Spices: cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves. For a more intense spiced flavor, you can use pumpkin spice too, 2 tbsps to be exact.

Apple Cider: for that intense apple taste, but you can also use apple juice. If you don't have apple juice, water works just fine!

Vanilla Extract: for added rich smooth flavor!

Lemon Juice: I've found that adding lemon juice really brings out the flavor of the apples - it's SO good!

This is not your typical traditional / old fashioned apple butter recipe but it's darn good!

How to make apple butter

We're making apple butter from scratch, which is my favorite way! I prefer making this recipe in a slow cooker because it's so easy.

apples inside of a slow cooker

Slice apples and place them in the slow cooker / crock pot. Toss them in brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, lemon juice, and apple cider. Set slow cooker to low and cook for 10 hours.

fruit in a slow cooker tossed in brown sugar and spices

After the apples have cooked down, blend them in a blender for that super smooth texture!

recipe cooked down in a slow cooker

Pour apple butter back into the slow cooker and set it to high. Then mix together corn starch and vanilla extract to create a slurry and pour into apple butter. Stir together and cook on high for 30 minutes to one hour with the lid off.

FAQs

best apples for apple butter?

You can literally use whatever apples you have on hand! My preference is a nice mix of apples to add lots of different flavors.

My recommendations are a mix of granny smith, honeycrisp, and fuji apples. I've also tried using macintosh and red delicious apples and that combination was really good too!

do i need to peel the apples first?

Nope! I've tried making this recipe by peeling the apples and leaving the skin on - I've found it doesn't make a big difference at all.

Peeling the apples creates a lot of work that I don't have patience for, but that's just me! If you want to peel the apples, you absolutely can! If you do, I recommend using an apple peeler to make the process faster and easier!

how to store apple butter

  • Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for 3 months.
  • If you'd like to freeze it, freeze in an airtight container for up to 1 year.
  • I do not recommend storing this recipe at room temperature. Of note, this is not a canning recipe so be sure to store properly.
sauce in a jar

Tips for making the best apple butter!

  • To make the apple butter thicker, after you blend it, place it back in the slow cooker and cook on high for 1-2 hours (depending on how much thicker you prefer it).
  • Use a kitchen scale to weigh your apples to ensure you're using enough apples.
  • Use a variety of soft and sweet apples to get the maximum apple flavor!
  • I highly recommend using a Crockpot™ Design Series 4.5-Quart Manual Slow Cooker for this apple recipe. It's easy to use, dishwasher safe so easy to clean too, and it's ideal for those who don't have a lot of time to spend in the kitchen. It's also a great food warmer for parties and gatherings! Note, if using the 4.5 quart slow cooker, cut this recipe in half

what to eat with apple butter

I highly recommend using apple butter as a spread, especially for morning toast with coffee or muffins or pancakes/waffles! I also love adding a coupe spoonfuls on top of cornbread or ice cream.

I've seen people make cookies and cupcakes to satisfy their sweet tooth, peanut butter and apple butter sandwiches, and also dip their pretzels in it. Admittedly, I have tried all of these options and they're ALL good. The possibilities are limitless!

Here's a video tutorial on how to make apple butter in a slow cooker!

More Apple Recipes!

This blog post and recipe for Apple Butter was made in partnership with Crockpot™! I received compensation in exchange for this work. My opinions on their products are genuine. Thanks for your continued support!

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Let's stay connected on social media and continue to cook together! Also, if you decide to make this recipe, please leave a star rating on the recipe card and leave a comment below! Tag @BritneyBreaksBread on Instagram and hashtag #britneybreaksbread so I can see your creations! I hope that you love this recipe as much as we do!

homemade apple butter in a jar surrounded by apples and toast

Homemade Apple Butter Recipe

A simple and sweet Homemade Apple Butter recipe cooked in a slow cooker for a delicious apple flavored spread!
Serving: 20
Prep Time: 25 mins
Cook Time: 10 hrs
Total Time: 10 hrs 25 mins
Calories: 141kcal

Equipment

  • Crockpot™ Slow Cooker

Ingredients

  • 6 lbs apples I recommend using a variety of granny smith, fuji, and applecrisp
  • 1 ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsps cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ginger
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • ½ tsp cloves
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsps apple cider 
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsps corn starch

Directions

  • Slice apples (peeling optional as per your preference) and place them in the bowl of the slow cooker. Add brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, lemon juice, and apple cider. Toss together.
  • Set slow cooker to low and cover with the lid. Cook for 10 hours, until desired texture is reached.
  • Place apple butter into a blender and pulse until smooth. Place back in the slow cooker. Set slow cooker to high and leave the lid off.
  • In a small bowl, mix together corn starch and vanilla extract to create a slurry. Pour mixture into the apple butter and stir. Cook on high uncovered for 30 minutes to an hour, until apple butter is at your desired texture.

Watch The Video

Notes

  • The longer the apple butter cooks, the thicker it will. 
  • You can use a wide variety of apples or the same, use your favorite kind.

Nutrition

Calories: 141kcal | Carbohydrates: 37g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 6mg | Potassium: 175mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 30g | Vitamin A: 76IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 30mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: Anytime, Appetizers, Snacks
Cuisine: American

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    • Did you let it sit uncovered? You can place it in a pot over low heat and that will help any liquid cook off and thicken the apple butter.