My super easy Apple Butter recipe is perfectly spiced with rich fall flavors. It takes just 10 minutes to prep with NO peeling required! Recipe includes a how-to video.
All the Best Flavors of Fall in a Jar
Apple butter is the richer, prettier, and perhaps more sophisticated 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 tastes great on just about anything, but we love it spread over an English muffin or warm scone (heavenly!).
My favorite thing about this apple butter recipe is that there is NO peeling required! I’ve tested this 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!
Why you’ll love this recipe:
- Easy: only 10 minutes of prep before the slow cooker takes over.
- 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.
- Plentiful: this recipe makes a lot (3 pints!), so you’ll have some to share or gift (if you’re the generous type).
- No peeling: saves you SO much time and effort.
What You Need
To achieve a silky smooth and flavorful spread, 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 into small, even pieces. Do not use a firm, tart apple like Granny Smith; stick with softer, sweeter apples like Golden Delicious (my favorite all-around apple for most recipes, like my apple turnovers!), Fuji, Gala, or McIntosh. A combination of apples works too!
- 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.
- 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: 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.
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.
SAM’S TIP: 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 butter, you can continue to cook yours even longer; but I’ve found the two hours to be plenty (and keep in mind it will continue to thicken as it cools!).
Frequently Asked Questions
Typically it is used as a topping for biscuits or bread, but it’s also delicious on oatmeal, pancakes, my favorite waffle recipe, crepes, etc. Some people even serve it with scrapple, or you can take my dad’s approach and enjoy it by the spoonful!
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.
Yes it does. If you’d like to try canning yours, that’s a great option for extending its shelf life outside of the fridge (I don’t have experience canning, so I can’t offer any advice there, but here is a guide on canning I found that should be helpful.).
Apple butter gets its name from its butter-like consistency, there’s no actual butter in it. If you’re looking for a flavored butter, try my honey butter instead
Looking for more? Here are some of my favorite fall recipes.
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
The Best Apple Butter Recipe (No Peeling!)
- 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.
StoringStore apple butter in an airtight container in the refrigerator for several weeks or freeze for up to several months.
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!
I normally don’t comment on recipes but I was really impressed with this one. It has an excellent taste and so easy to make! I appreciated all the detailed steps given for this recipe as it made it easy to follow.
Made this in my 6 quart Instant Pot on Slower Cooker setting with the glass lid. I filled the pot to within about a half inch from the top with diced/unpeeled apples. Mixed the brown sugar, white sugar, cinnamon, ground gloves, salt, and vanilla. Did not add any liquid. Set the Instant Pot Slow Cooker to 10 hours on low. Stirred every couple of hours. At the end of 10 hours, I pureed in a blender (had to do in two batches because my blender wouldn’t hold all in one. Transferred back to pot. With no lid cooked an additional 2 hours on low. Stirred occasionally. At the end of those two hours, transferred into hot pint mason jars and did a 10 minute hot water bath. Filled 3 pint jars and 1 half pint jar. This stuff is awesome and very easy! Thank you!!!
I have not made this yet, but I am a diabetic and would love to try the recipe. Would you recommend lowering the measurements of the sugars if using a stevia replacement?
Emily @ Sugar Spun Run
Unfortunately we aren’t familiar with sugar substitutes, so we can’t say for sure how this would work 🙁
I haven’t made this yet but in other recipes I’ve just used sugar substitutes with the same measurements unless it says to convert it.I lost my recipe but will try this one. I also add nutmeg to the recipe. My goal is to have it taste like apple pie. If you can just use normal canning methods (water bath) and it should be fine.
I used Splenda brown sugar and only put in a cup. It tastes amazing! I did add a bit of nutmeg, but otherwise everything is the same. I also did not add the granulated sugar, only the Splenda brown sugar.
Hope that helps!
Larry D Thornburg
Use 3 cups of honey instead(ratio is 3/4 cups honey= 1 cup sugar). My wife also a diabetic so we use honey instead of sugar.
I haven’t made it but do have a hint you might like or want to pass along. If you want the best tasting dessert ever. Make homemade cinnamon rolls only cut the dough in half and stack them. The bottom layer use the butter/ cinnamon sugar mix, and the top with apple butter then roll them up nice and tight.
I haven’t tried it yet, but I need to make more than 3 pints at a time. Can this be cooked in bulk in a large pot on the stove? If so, do I just double, triple, etc.? And, what temp and how long would it need to cook?
Hi Katie! Unfortunately I haven’t tried it on the stove, I don’t see why you wouldn’t be able to do it in bulk but as for temp and time I don’t feel comfortable advising without having tried it.
Loved this recipe. We moved to a house with an apple tree, and after peeling hundreds of apples, I was done! I never grew up with apple butter but found this recipe looking for something to do with the still unending supply of apples and googled “no peeling.” I borrowed my sister’s crotch pot, so I had two going overnight. Loooove the outcome, and too easy. I may leave the vanilla out next time as I feel it made a slightly bitter taste. I canned all of it, and it made great Christmas presents for neighbors, along with homemade sourdough. This is my new favorite to put on my toast, waffles, and pancakes.
Sam hi, I only have one question
Made one batch
Seem to turn out Great
Then second batch both used
Gala apples. Making for Christmas for Family. Now the second batch
I noticed many tiny bits of stick like
Tastes fantastic and my husband loves it. Decided to use strainer
but cuts down amount. Two
and a half pints. I use an immersion blender. What should I do?
Hi Kathy! Hmm, that’s strange, none of the apple stems accidentally made their way in there, did they?
I’m wanting to gift this for Christmas would it last if it was out of the fridge for a little while?
Emily @ Sugar Spun Run
Hi Sierra! This recipe has to be refrigerated, unless you decide to can it. Check the FAQ section for more info. Hope that helps 😊
This is by far the best apple butter recipe I have ever tried. I cut the sugar in half and add Stevia brown and granulated sugar. It was easy and the taste and consistency are top notch. No peeling… would knew!!😁
Emily @ Sugar Spun Run
We’re so happy you loved it, Vianne! Thanks for the review 🥰
Getting ready to make this for Christmas presents! First time making apple butter- does everyone use dark brown sugar or light? I was thinking dark brown may be best, but wanted to see what everyone thought. So excited!
Emily @ Sugar Spun Run
Either will work fine here. We hope you love it, Samantha!
I used Fuji apples. The mixture is extremely watery. My apples were very juicy. Still trying to save this batch. How do I thicken this up without compromising the taste?
Hmm that’s very interesting. I’ve never had this happen. I would try continuing to cook it to help it thicken up a bit.
My husband & I with our babies went to an apple orchard & picked apples! My husband and I both made a batch of apple butter & will be handing them out as christmas gifts (we canned them)! Not only will they be great gifts but also great memories!
Emily @ Sugar Spun Run
How sweet! We hope everyone loves them 🥰
what would the time be if you halved the recipe? thanks we love all the recipes we have tried so far!
I haven’t tried it so I can’t honestly say. 🙁 Maybe someone else has tried it and can chime in.
When I try it I will tell you the results.
I halved it and followed the time in the recipe, other than being a couple shades darker than i expected (which might be because I added too much cloves and cinnamon) it seems perfectly fine. This is my first try at Apple butter, but I’ve had it before when my mother made it. It tastes good, I think I used different apples than she did because the taste is much more sweet than I remember and I definitely cut the sugar amounts in half so it’s not that. I only halved it because my cooker was too small so I’ll try cutting the time and keeping a closer eye on it and see how things go.