Homemade Apple Butter
Went apple picking? Got lots of apples? Make this easy homemade apple butter recipe! Just a few simple ingredients and so much delicious fall flavor!
Nothing screams “Fall!” like big pot of homemade apple butter, bubbling away on the stovetop! It’s just bursting with sweet apple and warm spice flavors, and it’s got tons of great uses.
We love to enjoy it simply spread on toasted cinnamon bread, scones, or biscuits, but the possibilities are truly limitless! Anything that wants a little sweet fall flavor will taste delicious with a dollop of homemade apple butter.
And you won’t believe how easy it is to make your own apple butter from scratch. It only takes a few basic ingredients, and most of time it’s completely hands off.
I’ve got instructions here for making homemade apple butter on the stovetop OR in the crockpot. It’s totally up to you! Either way you will love this sweet fall treat.
WHAT IS APPLE BUTTER?
Apple butter is a simple, home-y topping that tastes great spread on biscuits, scones, or toast. It’s made from primarily from apples, but it doesn’t actually contain any butter or dairy of any kind. In fact, it’s vegan!
Apple butter has a hint of warm cinnamon spice, but mostly it just tastes like apples. It’s a very intense apple flavor, because it is essentially just apples cooked down and concentrated to their essence.
It’s in a class by itself. It’s not really a jam or a jelly, although it can be used in much the same way. And it is not quite the same thing as applesauce either. It’s thicker, smoother, and has a more concentrated apple flavor.
APPLE BUTTER INGREDIENTS
You can make this recipe from just a handful of basic ingredients.
Start with a whole lotta apples! You’re going to want about 4 pounds of apples for this recipe, which is approximately 9 medium-sized apples. If you’ve just gone apple picking, this is a great way to use your haul!
In addition to fresh apples, you’ll also need a little apple cider, some brown sugar, cinnamon, cloves, and salt. At the very end you’ll squeeze in some fresh lemon juice, just to give the apple butter a little “lift.”
WHAT KIND OF APPLES SHOULD I USE?
You can use any kind of apple you like for this recipe.
For the batch you see in these pics and video, I chose to use Honeycrisp apples because I like their natural sweetness. You could also use Golden Delicious apples, Gala apples, or Fuji apples.
Or, if you prefer a more tart apple flavor, then Granny Smith apples would be a great choice.
But really any kind of apple will work, so just use what you have!
HOW TO MAKE APPLE BUTTER
To make this easy recipe, toss all your ingredients into a big pot and bring it to a simmer. Allow it to cook, stirring every now and then, until the apples have become really soft and are beginning to fall apart. For my Honeycrisp apples, this took about an hour on medium-low heat.
Once the apples are really soft, the apple butter can be pureed. I like to do this with a hand blender, but you could also use a regular blender, food processor, or food mill. (If you aren’t using a hand blender, you’ll want to do this in batches so as not to overflow your machine.) Be careful- the mixture is hot and steamy!
When the apple mixture is velvety-smooth, return it to your pot and let it continue to cook down. Basically you just want to let the liquid evaporate and leave behind a very concentrated apple puree. The longer you cook it, the thicker it will become.
And it will thicken up even more as it cools, so keep that in mind!
Once it’s reached a deep brown color, and has the consistency of a thick spread, remove it from the heat and squeeze in a little fresh lemon juice. This will really brighten up the flavor!
CAN THIS BE MADE IN A CROCKPOT?
I really like this stovetop recipe, because it’s relatively quick to make. But you could also make it in a crockpot or slow cooker!
To make a slow cooker apple butter, cook the apples, cider, brown sugar, and spices on high heat (uncovered) for about 2 hours (or until soft). Then, puree them just as you would for the stovetop recipe.
Then lower the heat and allow the puree to cook for 8 to 10 hours. Give it a stir every now and then, just to be sure it’s not burning on the bottom of the pot.
It takes a long time but your house will smell incredible, and it’s mostly hands off!
WHAT IS APPLE BUTTER GOOD ON?
There are SO many great uses for apple butter. It’s got a naturally sweet taste, so it works really well as a filling in desserts. But it’s also really nice on more savory dishes like herbed chicken or pork. In the Philadelphia are, where I live, we often enjoy it as a topping on scrapple. The sweet and savory contrast is incredible!
Most commonly, apple butter is enjoyed as a spread on toast, biscuits, or scones, but I’ve also used it to fill cupcakes (like these Apple Cinnamon Pancake Cupcakes) and breads (like this Apple Butter Cinnamon Swirl Bread).
CAN APPLE BUTTER BE CANNED?
You can absolutely can this, it works fabulously!
Just sterilize your jars, boil your lids until the seal is softened and gummy, and fill the jars with apple butter. Wipe the edges of the jars clean, screw on the lids, and submerge in boiling water for about 10 minutes.
As the jars cool, you should hear the lids suction down and “pop.” This is how you know your seals are airtight!
If done properly, the jars of apple butter can be kept for months in a cupboard at room temperature.
But if you don’t feel like going to the trouble, just keep it in the fridge and you should be just fine!
HOW LONG DOES APPLE BUTTER LAST?
Once opened, a jar of apple butter should last in the fridge for several weeks to a month.
Next time you find yourself with an abundance of apples, remember this easy homemade apple butter recipe!
And if you have any holiday parties coming up, think about giving jars of apple butter as party favors or a hostess gift! Your friends and family will love the sweet apple and warm cinnamon flavors!
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Homemade Apple Butter
- about 4 pounds apples, (roughly 9 medium-sized apples), peeled and cored
- 1 cup (236 g) apple cider, (NOT apple cider vinegar)
- 3/4 cup (165 g) loosely packed light brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon (0.25 teaspoon) ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon (0.25 teaspoon) kosher salt
- juice of half a lemon, (about 1 tablespoon)
- Place the apples, apple cider, brown sugar, cinnamon, cloves, and salt in a large pot, and cook over medium-low heat, uncovered, (stirring occasionally) until the apples have become very soft (about 1 hour).
- Use a hand blender to puree the mixture (or ladle it into a regular blender in batches) until smooth.
- Place the puree back into the pot and continue to cook, uncovered, (stirring occasionally) until thick, velvety, and deep mahogany brown (about 1 hour).
- Stir in the lemon juice, transfer the mixture to jars, and keep refrigerated.*
I am retired truck driver with not much to do except to cook. I came upon this apple butter recipe and decided to try it. The Apple Butter is delicious and was so very easy to make. I used the recipe exactly as it says and I wouldn’t change a thing. This is an excellent recipe for delicious homemade apple butter and I highly recommend it. I know good food when I taste it and I will give this recipe my 5 stars anytime.
This is delicious.
I am going to make ham, cheddar & Apple butter panini
Sounds fantastic! I want a bite!
Is that four pounds of apples after peeling and chopping?
They should weigh out at approximately 4 pounds before being peeled, cored, and chopped. Good luck!
I’m going to try your Apple butter receipe looks delicious I feel I won’t be disappointed ty for the receipe
Made the whole recipe and decided to read the comments and I also used apple cider vinegar instead of apple cider! Didn’t know there was a difference! So heartbreaking since I spent half my Saturday making a recipe I didn’t know I messed up lol
If you are doing this in the slow cooker, do you still need to add the lemon juice at the end like you do on the stove top?
Yes, I would!
I have found that if the apples are peeled, cored and then shredded you don’t have to blend or purée them. The small pieces of apple will break down by themselves while simmering. Also, use half of the amount of apple cider or juice listed and add more to the simmering apples when needed.
How long and temp on high or low for crock pot?
Ok , so I got excited and made this, I’ve never done anything like this before. So the apple weight being before or after peeling and coring threw me off so I opted for 4 pounds of peeled and cored( I weighed them, lol) that was fine however I don’t know what I was thinking and used apple cider vinegar.( I did not know you could buy cider ,I’ve only had the packaged stuff) HUGE SIGH, so now I am wondering do you think I could add more sugar or is there something else I could add to make a little less tart. so I don’t waste it all. my husband doesn’t mind it but has never had the good stuff sooo. It tastes good at first and then it has a lingering vinegar taste of which I have never been fond of, never mind that its also a reminder of how much of a dumb #ss I am. Feeling silly and a bit embarrassed but hoping not to have to pitch it. Clearly I am a newbie but I will try again, lol, practice makes perfect and I got a lot of apples from a friend!
I tried to make apple butter last year but it was nowhere near as nice as this! A great recipe, thanks a mill… a definite keeper.
Can you use apple cider vinegar instead of apple cider? Ha! Just kidding! I got a huge bunch of free apples and couldn’t figure out what to do with them all and then I found your recipe and I made this. So simple and delicious! Thanks! 😊
Great work. Nice to see the salt in there too. Too many fruit preserves recipes with no salt…i cant figure out why?! I also added the lemon while cooking…the high pectin levels helped make the butter thicken really nicely.
This was so easy! I have grown up on hommade apople butter, but never tried to make any for myself after the grandmothers passed on. This was just wonderful. However, I forgot to add the salt, I ended up adding a 1/8 tsp of vanilla extract after the lemon juice and it was fabulous! Will forgetting the salt effect the canning shelf life?
I don’t think it should be too much of a factor. Very happy you enjoyed though! Thank you for the good feedback!
Before opening a mason jar of the apple butter, how long will it last? can it be stored on the shelf before opened? or does it have to be stored in the fridge? Thank you
If it’s been correctly processed & sealed in sterilized jars, it should be good for a couple of years in the cupboard. If you don’t bother with sterilizing and sealing, it will need to be kept in the fridge. Good luck!
Great recipe. Easy to follow, made a few minor adjustments. Added a bit more salt, nutmeg, and some vanilla. Used apple juice instead of cider. Came out smooth, shiny and perfect consistency.
So glad to hear that! Thanks so much for the positive feedback Krystal!
This may be a silly question, but would a food processor purée it as well as a blender?
I am so excited to make this!!
Yes I would think that would also work very well! Good luck I hope you enjoy!
Thank you so much!! I realized after I posted the comment that I should try reading the post! Now I see where you already said food processor! (It worked perfectly by the way.)
I made it for my mom and sister for Mother’s Day and it was a hit!! Great recipe!
Never tried making apple butter but my mom was telling me about how much she loved the apple butter her grandmother made, mom is now in her 90’s and couldn’t remember the recipe. So when I found this recipe I was extremely excited! Mom loves it!! Easy peasy! One HAPPY mom and dad can’t keep away from it either! Thank you so much!
That is so great to hear Michelle! I’m so happy you were able to do this for your mom!
Hi thanks for sharing I love apple butter and I’m just wondering is apple cider the same as apple cider vinegar which I have in my fridge. Also how many jars and what size did you use and how many did this recipe make? Thanks
Hey there! I’m so happy you’re going to give this recipe a try! But please do not use vinegar, it’s definitely not the same thing as cider. You’ll want to look for apple cider, it’s usually found either in the produce section or the refrigerated juice section of the supermarket. It’s basically just unfiltered apple juice, so if you aren’t able to find it easily, apple juice will work in a pinch. You could also use hard apple cider. Info on how much the recipe makes can be found in the recipe card. It’s listed at the very bottom under “Recipe Notes.” Good luck and have fun!
I watched these videos don’t have closed captions provided for deaf and hard of hearing people. Can you able to set up for all these videos for captioning, please?
There is no audio on any of my recipe videos. Just some background music, so don’t worry, you’re not missing anything!
This smells amazing as it is cooking. I grated a large piece of fresh ginger into it. This is the second time I have made this recipe and first time to alter a tiny bit. It is so easy to make! It smells like Christmas around here right now. We like to put apple butter on oatmeal and sometimes our lunch is a microwaved sweet potato with nothing but apple butter on it. I have to watch my husband or he will eat it out of the jar with a spoon and wipe out my supply pretty fast.
Haha that’s funny! I’m so happy you like this. And I love ginger so that sounds like a great add! Thanks so much for the great feedback!
Do you have to peel and core the apples? Or can the entire apple be used?
Hey there- that info can be found right in the recipe card. It’s listed in the ingredients section: “about 4 pounds apples (roughly 9 medium-sized apples), peeled and cored.”