Homemade Apple Butter

Those of us in the southern part of the United States have this magical, delicious brown apple substance we call apple butter. It’s a sweet but slightly spiced spread/dip/topping/side dish that occurs when apples break down and caramelize into a thick brown sauce.

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I’m sharing this post in springtime–knowing full well apple season comes in the fall 🙂 But sometimes you just want fresh apple butter and the store has organic apples marked down to 50 cents per pound. I make this about 4x per year and we eat a fresh jar for about a month from the fridge and we have a jar for the freezer which keeps about 6 months. I know I could can it—but for us, it’s just as easy to make it fresh when we want it and the effort is pretty minimal.

This version of Homemade Apple Butter has about half the calories of store bought versions. And when all you need are a handful of pantry items + fresh apples and a slow cooker–making your own apple butter couldn’t be easier. There are recipes out there calling for applesauce which does make the process easier–but I promise the little bit of effort using fresh peeled apples is so worth the payoff in flavor 🙂

For Homemade Apple Butter, you’ll need:

  • 3.5 lbs fresh apples (about 10 medium sized apples)
  • 1/3 cup apple cider or juice
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • brown sugar, cane sugar, spices and salt
  • Crockpot or slow cooker
  • Immersion blender or regular blender
  • clean storage jars/containers to cover up to 5 cups
Perfect on toast, biscuits, crackers–just about anything!

Apple Butter is hard to describe to people who have never had it–I imagine in the same way my husband (who’s family is English) would try describing Branston pickle, Marmite or various chutneys he adores. Let’s just say apple butter is delicious and goes with everything 🙂 And bonus, your house will smell amazing while it slow cooks!

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Homemade Apple Butter

Delicious homemade spiced apple spread. Can be used as a topping, side, baking ingredient or enjoyed by the spoonful! Great way to use up excess fresh apples. Yields approximately 4.5 cups (72 Tbsp).
Vegan/Vegetarian.
Course Breakfast, Brunch, Prep
Cuisine American
Keyword Apple Butter, Apples, Crockpot Apple Butter, Homemade Apple Butter, Slow Cooker Apple Butter
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 8 hours
Cooling Time 1 hour
Total Time 8 hours 20 minutes
Servings 1 Tbsp
Calories 18kcal
Author thedachshundmom

Ingredients

  • 3 1/2 lbs apples (a variety if possible) ~ 10 medium apples
  • 1/3 c apple cider substitute apple juice
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice ~ juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1/2 c brown sugar (light or dark)
  • 1/4 c granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/8 tsp salt

Instructions

Prep Apples + Ingredients

  • Wash, peel and chop apples. Add the prepped apples to the slow cooker along with the apple cider and lemon juice. Stir.
  • In a medium bowl, stir together the sugars, spices and salt. Sprinkle sugar mixture over apples and stir everything well to coat, breaking up any pockets of dry ingredients.

Make the Apple Butter

  • Set slow cooker to low (8-10 hours). Cover and cook until apples are broken down, mixture is thickened and resembles chunky applesauce. Stir gently to combine. 
  • Carefully using an immersion blender, blend apple butter in pockets to reach desired consistency or until any remaining liquid is incorporated.
    Apple Butter will thicken slightly as it cools.

Store the Apple Butter

  • Ladle into clean jars or containers, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Let cool completely before storing in refrigerator for up to 1 month.
    You can also freeze the apple butter for up to 6 months.

Notes

  1. We prefer to use a mix of apples such as Gala, Fuji and Granny Smith
  2. A food processor or blender works well, too, if you do not have an immersion blender. Careful, as the apple butter is hot! 🙂
  3. Your slow cooker may have different times for “low” (6-8 hours is common). You can also cook overnight.
  4. If thickening is needed, add an additional 2-3 hours on low, stirring occasionally. Apple butter will thicken a bit more on cooling.
  5. Yield is ~ 4.5 cups. Store in fridge or freezer. This recipe is not tested for canning.

Nutrition

Calories: 18kcal

I have fond memories with homemade apple butter. My grandparents would make it fresh and can it but before Grandma started with the canning, she would ladle a bowl full while it was still hot and serve it to me with buttered Sunbeam toast cut into triangles for dipping. When I make apple butter these days, the smell that fills my house reminds me immediately of those afternoons at Grandma’s.

Next time you stumble upon good looking apples, give this Homemade Apple Butter a try. Or make these fried apples 🙂 And definitely save the recipe for this coming fall!

Hope you have a great week, friends!

-Emma



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