This Homemade Apple Butter recipe is velvety, rich, and tastes like apple pie!
Apples are cooked until thickened and slightly caramelized. They become thick and spreadable in texture with a delicious apple-pie like flavor.
This makes a healthy and delicious spread that can be used in place of butter on rolls, a slice of toast, or warm biscuits.
Apple Butter Made Easy
- If you’ve got apples, you likely have everything you need to make homemade apple butter.
- This recipe can be made on the stovetop or in a slow cooker.
- It’s easy to make and while it has to simmer for a while, most of the time is hands-off.
- It’s delicious, packed with flavor, and makes a healthy spread for toast, waffles, pancakes, and more (or even to eat by the spoonful).
Apple Butter vs. Apple Sauce
They’re both similarly flavored, and made by cooking apples with spices and some sugar until tender. The difference between apple butter and applesauce is in the texture and flavor.
Apple sauce is done cooking once the apples are soft and then it is blended. Apple butter cooks much longer until it becomes darker in color, more concentrated, thick, and glossy.
Apples for Apple Butter
You can use almost any kind of apples, we love fuji, honeycrisp, or gala to name a few. Granny smith are a bit tart for this recipe but you can add a few if you’d like.
Other additions to this apple butter recipe include:
- brown and white sugar (you can reduce it or use sweetener)
- apple juice or apple cider (not apple cider vinegar!)
How to Make Apple Butter
- Prep Apples: Peel, core, and chop!
- Simmer: Cook the apples with sugar & spice until soft.
- Blend: Puree the apple mixture in a blender or food processor (in batches if needed).
- Thicken: Cook until thickened and glossy.
What To Do With Apple Butter
Try spreading some on a slice of toast or a freshly baked biscuit or homemade dinner roll.
Serve it with cheddar cheese on crostini or crackers or stir it into yogurt.
I know a lot of people use it to bake with (like apple butter bars or apple butter pumpkin pie), and it’s even used in sauces (such as ribs or glazed over a ham). It’s pretty versatile!
How Long Does Apple Butter Last?
That answer depends on how you’re storing it. If you are canning apple butter in sterilized jars, it should keep for a couple of years. In the refrigerator, it’ll last several weeks to a month. In the freezer, about 4-6 months.
While apples peak in September and October, pick up a bag of apples from the grocery store any time of year!
If you’ve got extra apples, make apple butter or other apple favorites like apple crisp, apple pie filling, or even caramel apple bars!
More Apple Recipes We Love
Homemade Apple Butter
- 3 pounds sweet apples (fuji, braeburn, red delicious, golden delicious, etc)
- ⅔ cup light brown sugar packed
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 2 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ¾ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon allspice
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- ¾ cup apple juice or apple cider (not cider vinegar)
- Peel, core, and chop apples. Add all ingredients to a large dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot. Stir well, then heat over medium heat until apples are soft, about 20 minutes.
- Use an immersion blender to puree the mixture. Alternatively, transfer the mixture to a regular blender and puree, then pour back into the same pot.
- Cook over low heat for approximately 45 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent spattering, until apple butter has thickened to desired consistency.
- Cool completely and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Apple butter can be frozen as well.
- When cooking in the slow cooker, add only ¼ cup of apple juice.
- To make crockpot apple butter, fill a 6-quart (or larger) slow cooker with all ingredients (reduce the apple juice) and stir well.
- Cover and cook on LOW for 7-8 hours (overnight works well for this). Puree with an immersion blender or transfer to a blender to puree.
- To thicken, add apple butter back to the slow cooker and cook on LOW, uncovered, until apple butter thickens to your liking. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking and scorching on the bottom of the slow cooker.
Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.
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This was an easy recipe to make. The flavors were nice.
I used the stove-top method, but didn’t have apple cider so I used apple juice with no added sugar.
The results were way too sweet for my taste.
I added more lemon juice in hopes of cutting the sweetness but it wasn’t enough.
If I make it again, I will cut the sugar back significantly.
Maybe it was halving the recipe, or the apples I used (2 Fuji) – but my apples didn’t soften hardly at all in 20 minutes. (I kept going in and chopping them smaller and smaller in the pot, perhaps if tiny cubes are advisable this should be in the recipe). Ultimately, after about an hour, I gave up and moved to the blending step, but this didn’t result in smooth apple butter a la Bama.
Then again, the other comments leave me confused as to whether people treated this as an apple butter or applesauce recipe.
I appreciate the budget focus of this website and have had success with many other recipes. TBH I only wanted to make apple butter because it’s one of those things that has mysteriously disappeared from the shelves of my local grocery store.
Very easy to make. I used cortland apples. The apple butter thickened up nicely after about 35 minutes. I decided to use jelly jars and preserve it using the water bath method. Using the 3 pounds of apples I got 5 jelly jars of apple butter. Thank you again for another great recipe!!!
You can also use a potato masher to mash them in the crock pot if you want chunky apple sauce. This is how I make mine and it comes out wonderfully chunky
Great suggestion, Donna! Thanks for sharing. I love a chunkier apple sauce too!
Delicious, great recipe. My favorite way to enjoy apple butter is about a tablespoon in with a half a cup of cottage cheese, delicious very diet friendly.
So glad I stumbled onto your wonderful and easy apple recipes!
This is a great recipe. I love my immersion blender for it. I’m on my second batch of crockpot version. I left out the cloves because I didn’t have ground, only whole. I used the 1 Tablespoon lemon juice, but at the end I felt it needed more brightening so I added juice and zest of half an orange. It was perfect!! I’m bookmarking this, it’s a keeper!!
I have made this in the crock pot twice this season already! It is a huge hit with all who try it. I don’t use cloves, bump the cinnamon up a bit, and throw in an extra apple when I think I’m done (just for good measure). Turn the crock on high for 3-4 hours until tender, turn to low, and mash with potato masher a few times as it thickens. I would not be able to get the mixture in the blender until it cooled, but we like it a little chunky anyway. Thanks for a new go-to recipe!
I made the crockpot recipe and after 24 hours it’s still only slightly watery applesauce. Fabulously flavored applesauce, but definitely not apple butter.
Hi Bettin, we retested this recipe and to make in the crockpot you will want to omit the apple juice to ensure it thickens enough. The recipe has been updated to reflect this. Thanks!
This is soooo delish! I’m commenting to hopefully save someone else some trouble though. I didn’t have my kitchen scale handy and had to google how many apples makes a pound… bc I didn’t see it anywhere here and I have bulk apples. To hopefully make life easier for another, I found that 1 pound of apples makes about 3 cups of chopped, so I used 9 cups of chopped apples. Also, I didn’t have allspice and I’m not really a fan of nutmeg so I only used 1/4tsp. It came out excellent! Bookmarked so I can make it again :) Thank You for a great recipe!
Thanks K Tallo. So glad you enjoyed it.
Can you can this recipe? And store it for a year?
Hi R.Wilbur, this recipe can be canned, and should last a year or more if done properly :) Good luck!
omg cloves ruined my entire batch, and i only put in 1/8 teaspoon, this is probably a good recipe if you leave out the cloves.
I’m sorry to hear that you didn’t enjoy the cloves in this recipe Steve. Leave them out next time, and you’re set!
Can you put the apple butter in the jars and do a hot process ?
I’ve only made the recipe as written. I don’t do canning, so can’t say for sure Linda.
Do you have any recipes for APPLE BUTTER made Sugarless ???
I am sorry JD, this is the only way I have made apple butter.
Just leave the sugar out completely or if you want some sweetness cook with Splenda instead of sugar. Works just fine.
Hi! you could certainly use Monkfruit. It can be sweeter to some so for every Cup of sugar maybe only 3/4C of monkfruit.
Do you use sweet butter or unsalted ?
This recipe doesn’t add butter.
Is this 3lbs of whole apples or peeled and cored??
3 lbs of whole apples.