Easy homemade Apple Butter! This simple recipe is made in a slow cooker and requires only minutes of prep time. Thanks to the slow cooker, you can set yours up before you go to bed, let it cook overnight, and enjoy fresh apple butter in the morning.
Recipe includes a brief how-to video at the bottom of the post!
We went apple picking last weekend and I have so many apple recipes coming up for you, but I’m especially excited to share today’s apple butter recipe.
Have you ever had apple butter before? It’s very similar to applesauce — in fact it essentially is applesauce, only cooked longer. It has a rich golden brown color that comes from the caramelization of the sugars in the apples during the extended cooking time. There’s no actual butter in apple butter, it’s just a nice smooth spread that tastes just as good on toast, muffins, or pancakes as butter does.
We like eating ours on English muffins and scones, and some of my family members even just like dipping apple slices directly into apple butter and enjoying it that way!
Apple butter is really truly easy to make, but it takes a long time to cook… 12 hours total, in fact.
Thanks to the slow cooker, you can set everything up before you go to sleep and allow it to cook overnight, which is what I like to do. I put mine in the crockpot before I went to bed and in the morning not only did my house smell amazing, but I had fresh apple butter for my breakfast.
The first time I made this recipe I peeled all of the skins off my apples. However, traditional apple butter is made with the skins and cores intact. I couldn’t leave the cores in for this slow cooker version, but I tried making this both with and without the skin and found that it didn’t make a difference at all. Save yourself a lot of effort and leave the peels — after 12 hours in the crockpot and a bout with the blender, you won’t be able to even tell.
What are the Best Apples for Apple Butter?
While Granny Smith apples are a standard baking apple (and I love using them in Apple Crisp), I don’t recommend using them for making apple butter as they are too firm and too tart.
Instead, choose a softer and less tart apple. Here are a few popular choices, and you can even mix several varieties of apples if you’d like.
- Golden Delicious (these are my favorite to use and are pictured here!)
How Do You Make Homemade Apple Butter?
- Core and chop (don’t peel!) your apples and place them in the basin of a slow cooker.
- Toss with sugar and spices
- Cook 10 hours on low heat
- Puree (I like to use an immersion blender (this is mine, affiliate) but you can use a regular blender instead if you don’t have the immersion type.
- Cook the apple butter another 2 hours without the lid on your slow cooker.
These last two hours are important. You’ll add your vanilla at the end here and cook until it reaches the appropriate thickness.
If the apple butter is still too thin for your liking you can cook it longer to thicken it. I’ve never needed to cook mine longer than the additional 2 hours, and keep in mind that apple butter will thicken as it cools.
Scroll to the bottom of the recipe to see my video, complete with lots of tips! Subscribe to my YouTube Channel and be the first to see all of my cooking videos!
- 5.5 lbs Golden Delicious Apples* Cored and chopped into small pieces, about 1/4"* (2.5kg)
- 1 cup brown sugar tightly packed (200g)
- 3/4 cup sugar (150g)
- 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 vanilla bean or 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Slice apples into small pieces (about 1/4") and dispose of cores.
- Place apples in the basin of large slow cooker
- In a medium-sized bowl stir together sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, and cloves until well-combined.
- Pour sugar mixture over apple pieces and stir until well combined.
- Cook covered in crockpot over low heat for 10 hours.
- Once 10 hours has elapsed, either use an immersion blender** to puree apples until smooth and no chunks remain.
- Scrape the inside of the vanilla bean into your apple puree (or add vanilla extract).
- Turn crockpot on to low heat and cook another 2 hours uncovered, stirring occasionally.
- Store apple butter in the refrigerator in an airtight container, will keep about 2 weeks.
This recipe was originally published 10/02/2017, photos and recipe remain the same but text has been updated to be more helpful and include more tips on 10/12/2018