Apple Butter is incredibly easy to make both on the slow-cooker and on the stovetop. Made with fresh apples, warming spices, and cider, this recipe for Homemade Apple Butter does not need any refined sugar, yet is perfectly sweet and balanced.
When you find yourself with bushels of fresh apples, the best thing to do is to make Homemade Apple Butter! This apple butter is delicious slathered on toasted wheat bread, homemade biscuits, or scones. And if you have leftover apples, you can also enjoy Apple Crisp and Instant Pot Applesauce.
There is something to be said about the fall. Apple orchards, bonfires, the beautiful changes in the color of leaves, hot mulled cider, pumpkins, football.....and the list goes on and on.
For me, I get the most excited about apples. I eat apples all year long, but when I have the opportunity to eat a fresh apple from a local orchard, I am in a bit of heaven. I bet you can picture it now too, can't you? The crisp skin is contrasted with the juicy flesh and the juice that runs down your hand from a perfectly ripe apple. PERFECTION.
It is the perfect time to make Homemade Apple Butter.
Apple Butter is typically made with fresh apples, sugar, water, and spices. However, my recipe for apple butter leaves out the refined sugar, yet it is just as sweet and delicious--thanks to swapping out the water for apple cider and the use of a variety of sweet apples.
- Apples--For Apple Butter that is made without any added sugar, it is best to use sweet apples. Fuji, Gala, Honeycrisp, or Pink Lady are all good options. Feel free to use more than one variety of apples for a more nuanced flavor.
- Apple Cider--This is my secret to perfectly sweet apple butter--MINUS the added sugars. The apple cider naturally sweetens the apple butter perfectly. If you don't have apple cider, feel free to use apple juice in its place. Do NOT use apple cider vinegar.
- Spices--The spices are what give the apple butter its richness. I opt to use cinnamon, freshly grated nutmeg, and a pinch of cloves. My best advice is to use FRESHLY grated nutmeg instead of ground nutmeg, as the flavor is far superior.
Homemade Apple Butter
It is incredibly easy it is to make your own apple butter at home and can be prepared in either the slow cooker or on the stove.
- Dice up apples--no need to peel the skins, as the apple butter will be blended and the skins will puree into the apple butter perfectly.
- Place the apples into a slow cooker or heavy-bottomed pan with the cider and spices and let the apples cook down until soft.
- Once the apples have been cooked down, blend the apples. An immersion blender is a great tool for this, but you can use a food processor or blender--just be sure to let some steam escape and cover with a towel or let cool before blending.
- Return the blended sauce to the slow cooker or pan and simmer, uncovered, allowing the apple butter to thicken up and deepen in flavor.
- Cool and store in jars in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Caramel Apple Butter
I adore homemade apple butter without any adornment. I find it rich and perfectly sweet and balanced. However, if you really want a treat, the addition of salted caramel sauce to the apple butter is absolutely decadent and divine. You can find a recipe for homemade salted caramel sauce on the recipe card if desired.
Serve Apple Butter with
Apple butter does take time to prepare, but it is mostly hands-off, and the flavor of Naturally Sweetened Homemade Apple Butter is superior to anything you can purchase at the store.
Homemade Apple Butter
- 3 pounds sweet variety of apples
- 1 cup apple cider or apple juice 100% juice, no sweeteners
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon cloves
Stove Top Apple Butter Recipe
- Place apples, juice, and spices in a large heavy-bottomed stock pan. Bring to a boil and reduce heat and simmer for 1-2 hours, until apples have broken down and are softened.
- Using an immersion blender, blender, or food processor, blend apples until smooth. Be careful to crack the lid on the blender to allow steam to escape.
- Return mixture to pan. Simmer, uncovered, for another hour, or until thickened and reduced by half, being sure to stir frequently.
- Cool, and store in fridge for 2 weeks.
Slow Cooker Apple Butter
- Place apples, juice, and spices in a slow cooker. and stir to combine. Cover and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours on high for 4 to 6 hours.
- Using an immersion blender, blend apples until smooth. Alternatively, do this in batches in your blender or food processor.
- Return mixture to slow cooker and turn slow cooker low and cook uncovered, for an additional 2 hours on low or until mixture is reduced and thickened. Allow to cool before serving or storing.
- For the apples use Fuji, Gala, Honeycrisp, or Pink Lady varieties.
- Be sure to use apple cider or apple juice NOT apple cider vinegar.
- Apple butter can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks and can be frozen for up to 3 months.
- Optional Salted Caramel Sauce: The addition of salted caramel sauce to apple butter makes for a decadent treat. To prepare the caramel sauce melt 1 tablespoon of butter with 1 tablespoon of brown sugar and 1 tablespoon of maple syrup in a heavy-bottomed skillet. Once the sugar has melted, whisk in 1 tablespoon of heavy cream and stir until just bubbly. Turn off heat and add in a pinch of salt. Stir into apple butter, noting that it will only last 5 days in the refrigerator with the addition of caramel sauce.