My super easy apple butter recipe is highly requested and super popular, and for good reason! Not only is it perfectly spiced with rich fall flavors, it’s also insanely simple with only minutes of prep time, no peeling required, and a slow cooker does all of the heavy lifting!
Apple Butter: All the Best Flavors of Fall in a Jar
Apple butter is the richer, prettier, and perhaps more sophisticated and stylish sister to plain-Jane applesauce. It’s truly the embodiment of Fall, with colorful crisp apples cooked down and caramelized in spices, brown sugar and vanilla.
It’s also an excellent way to use up a surplus of apples that you just couldn’t stop yourself from piling into your basket while you were apple picking and now they’re sitting on the counter threatening to go to waste… (ask me how I know, or how this recipe came about!).
You’ll Love This Apple Butter Recipe Because:
- Ten minutes of prep, then the slow cooker does all the heavy lifting!
- No peeling required! Always the most obnoxious yet necessary part of most apple recipes, I’m so pleased to be able to promise you silky smooth apple butter without all the tedious work of peeling.
- Tastes great on just about anything! Here, we love it plain or smoothed over an English muffin or warm scone (heavenly!).
- Truly perfectly flavored. The apples are the true star, with just enough sugar and spices added to accent them and make a warm, cozy Fall flavor.
- This recipe makes a lot (3 pints!), so you’ll have some to share (if you’re the generous type). A jar of apple butter also makes for a thoughtful homemade gift for the holidays, so keep that in mind as they are quickly approaching.
The hardest thing about this recipe is waiting for it to be done. To mitigate this, I often like to prep everything before going to bed and let it cook while I sleep, but please always check your own slow cooker’s safety guide before leaving it unattended. Let’s get started!
What You Need
To achieve a spreadable, flavorful apple butter, you’ll need to slow cook just a few simple ingredients:
- Apples. What I love about my apple butter recipe is that there is no peeling needed! Just core and dice your apples. Keep your pieces small and try to make them similarly-sized so that the apples cook evenly. See my tip below for notes on the my favorite types of apples to use.
- Sugar. A combination of brown and white sugar provides depth of flavor and helps the apples to break down and caramelize, giving the final product a fantastically rich fall flavor. Don’t forget, if you don’t have any on hand just follow my tutorial on how to make brown sugar!
- Spices. Lots of ground cinnamon and a pinch of cloves elevate the flavor of the apples by providing warmth and richness.
- Salt. I add just a pinch to help balance the sweetness and to encourage the apples to break down.
- Vanilla. A subtle hint of vanilla rounds out all of warm flavors. I recommend using a vanilla bean if you have one, but otherwise regular vanilla extract will work.
SAM’S TIP: Do not use a firm, tart apple like Granny Smith. For this apple butter recipe, stick with softer, sweeter apples like Golden Delicious (my favorite), Fuji, Gala, or McIntosh. A combination of apples works too!
Remember, this is just an overview of the ingredients I used and why. For the full recipe please scroll down to the bottom of the post!
How to Make Apple Butter
- Core and chop (don’t peel!) your apples and place them in the basin of a slow cooker.
- Mix together spices and sugars. Sprinkle these over the apples and toss to combine.
- Cook apple mixture on low heat for 10 hours.
- Puree apples. I like to use an immersion blender (I linked to the one I use, affiliate), but you can use a regular one instead.
- Remove the lid and cook for another 2 hours or until the consistency has thickened to your liking.
The additional two hours of cooking might seem like a pain, but it’s important and worth it to get the proper consistency. If you want an even thicker applesauce, you can continue to cook yours even longer, but I’ve found the two hours to be plenty (and keep in mind the apple butter will continue to thicken as it cools!).
SAM’S TIP: I’ve tested my apple butter recipe with peeled and unpeeled apples, and I didn’t notice a difference between the two. When cooked for as long as my recipe calls for, the peels break down completely and are not perceptible in the finished product. Save yourself the time and skip the peeling!
Frequently Asked Questions
Apple butter is typically sweeter, richer, and thicker (more of a buttery/spreadable consistency). It’s often much darker in color than applesauce, largely because of the added ingredients (in this instance, brown sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, etc) and the caramelization that occurs from the longer cook time.
Typically it is used as a topping for toast or bread, but it’s also delicious on oatmeal, pancakes, my favorite waffle recipe, crepes, etc. Some people even serve it with breakfast meats and my dad just likes to enjoy it plain!
No, but it gets its name from its butter-like consistency. If you’re looking for a flavored butter, try my honey butter instead
More Recipes You Might Like
Let’s bake together! I’ll be walking you through all the steps in my written recipe and video below! If you try this recipe, be sure to tag me on Instagram, and you can also find me on YouTube and Facebook
Apple Butter (No Peeling Needed!)
- 5.5 lbs soft, sweet apples (see note 1) Cored and chopped into small pieces, about ¼" (2.5kg)
- 1 cup brown sugar firmly packed (200g)
- ¾ cup granulated sugar (150g)
- 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 vanilla bean (may substitute 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract)
- Slice apples into small pieces (about ¼") and dispose of cores (you do not need to peel the apples).
- 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.
- Place lid on crockpot and cook on low heat for 10 hours.
- Once 10 hours has elapsed, use an immersion blender to puree apples until smooth and no chunks remain (see note 2 if you do not have an immersion blender).
- 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 in the refrigerator in an airtight container, where it will keep about 2 weeks.
1. ApplesI recommend using Golden Delicious, McIntosh, Fuji, or Gala. Don’t use Granny Smith; they are too tart and firm for this recipe. Weigh your apples before coring and chopping. Do not peel them! For me this was about 13 apples but this could vary wildly depending on the size of your apples.
2. PureeingIf you do not have an immersion blender, pour the apples into a blender and puree until smooth, then return to crockpot. You may need to work in batches, depending on the size of your blender.
Nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered an estimate only. Actual nutritional content will vary based upon brands used, measuring methods, cooking method, portion sizes, and more.
This recipe was originally published in October of 2017, photos and recipe remain the same but text has been updated to be more helpful and I’ve added a how-to video!