Apple Butter is a spread made from slow-cooked apples that caramelize and end up with a strong apple flavor. Try my Homemade Apple Sauce for another delicious apple treat.

Apple Butter in a Jar

Apple Butter

There is no butter used in apple butter, so the name can be confusing. But, it is a delicious apple-flavored spread that is wonderful on bread or used as a condiment and it makes a wonderful accompaniment to any cheeseboard.  In fact, it falls closer to the category of jams and jellies. You can buy a jar of this tasty spread at the store, but if you have the time and apples to use up, make your own batch!

Adding Apple Butter to Jar

Apple Butter Recipe

As mentioned, this recipe takes time, but not a lot of work. Peeling, coring, and chopping the apples will take you the most time. The slow cooker does the rest, and it’s so much better than the store-bought varieties!

Processes for Making Apple Butter

What Kinds of Apples are Best?

I used Granny Smith apples for this recipe, but you can choose any kind of apple you prefer. A softer apple (i.e. Fuji, Golden Delicious, McIntosh) often cooks down a little better (and a little faster). But, there wasn’t an issue with the Granny Smith apples, so it’s really your preference!

Apple Butter in a Jar

How to Store Homemade Apple Butter

If you are keeping the apple butter in the refrigerator, it will last about a month in a sealed, airtight container. To freeze the spread, let it cool completely. Then, spoon it into freezer-safe containers leaving about 1/2 inch from the top. Label and date each container; it will last for a few months, up to a year. 

Canning Apple Butter

How to Can Homemade Apple Butter

Canning apple butter is the best way to preserve this spread. It will last up to two years if canned. To can apple butter, you will need the following equipment:

  • Water Bath Canner (or a large pot with a lid) and a canning rack
  • Canning jars, lids, and rims (like mason jars)
  • Jar lifter–This will securely grab a jar out of the canner.
  • Canning funnel
  • Stir stick, or anything that you can slide into the jar to get rid of any bubbles
  • Time–Don’t start canning if you are rushed; it will be too stressful and not as much fun!
  • Towels to clean up and wipe down jars

To can the apple butter, fill the canner with water and bring it to a boil. (You can get the water boiling at the end of the final cooking of the apple butter.) Use the funnel to fill each canning jar, leaving about 1/4-inch headspace (distance between the underside of the lid and the apple butter).

Once all the jars have been filled, place them in the canning rack and lower them into the boiling water. Make sure about an inch of water is covering the tops of the jars. Boil for about 10 minutes. Then, turn off the heat, leaving the jars in the water for another 5 minutes.

Use the jar remover to remove each jar from the canner. Place each on some towels to cool for about 12 hours. Once cooled, check that each jar is sealed. If a jar did not seal, simply store that one in the refrigerator for up to a month. The canned apple butter will last about 2 years.

Spoon in Apple Butter

Slow Cooker Recipes

5 from 12 votes

Apple Butter

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 22 hours
Total Time 22 hours 20 minutes
Apple Butter is a spread made from slow-cooked apples that caramelize and end up with a strong apple flavor.


  • pounds Granny Smith apples, peeled (optional), cored, and chopped
  • 2 cups light brown sugar, packed
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt


  • Place the chopped apples into a slow cooker.
  • Add the brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, water, cinnamon, allspice, and salt. Mix well.
  • Cover and cook on low for 12 hours.
  • After 12 hours, uncover and use an immersion blender to puree the mixture until smooth.
  • Optional: Pass the apple butter through a fine wire-mesh strainer to catch any remaining larger pieces. This is an optional step but will ensure a smooth and creamy consistency. Discard any of the thicker pulp.
  • Cover and cook on low for another 8-10 hours. The apple butter is done when it is dark brown, thicker than apple sauce, and sticks to the back of a spoon.
  • Spoon mixture into sealed containers to store in the refrigerator or freezer.


*Makes 6-7 half-pint jars

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Reader Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Delicious flavour, but mine turned out slightly watery, even though it stuck to the back of a spoon and looks thicker than applesauce. I was not able to blender it between the first and second cookings, but I did smash it as well as I could with a potato masher. Then once the second cook time was up I poured it all in a food processor. Do you think this is why? Should I have let it go a bit longer? I’m worried about using it as a spread because of the liquid.

  2. My apple butter turned out so much darker than the pictures of yours. It didn’t scorch at all. I followed your recipe to the T. I measured the spices very carefully. Why do you think this happened?

    1. Did you taste it? And its great? Dark apple butter is ok, as long as it is not burned, and you mentioned it isn’t. Some folks even prefer it. 🙂

  3. 5 stars
    I just made this and it is delicious such great flavor. I put it in a water bath because I have no room in my freezer. It made 7 jelly jars. Thank you for the great recipe

  4. 5 stars
    Amanda, I love seeing all of your recipes and I have made many of them. I just finished canning your Apple Butter recipe and now they are in the 12 hour cooling stage. Today is our 42nd wedding anniversary and when we were first married a customer from our family business sent us some wonderful Apple Butter. Many years later I am sending that customer a jar for Christmas as a thank you and I am also giving other jars out to my family and friends for Christmas. Thank you so much.

  5. 5 stars
    I made this recipe and it is delicious and so easy. My family can’t get enough of it. I made a double batch and canned it. Going to have to make more.

  6. 5 stars
    I’ve just finished my apple butter. It’s delicious, and the best part, it’s very easy to make. It’s the best recipe I ever tried.
    Thank you so much for sharing it.

  7. 5 stars
    I love this recipe! I love apple butter and the slow cooker was the perfect, easy way to make it. I had a half bushel and used most of them in this recipe. It worked out to be just over a double batch. Two cookers in use. I vacuum sealed mine for the freezer. I’ll definitely be doing this again and again!

  8. Hi Amanda! Thanks so much for sharing this recipe and the ‘science’ behind it. What I mean is, I’ve just started learning to preserve and can things in the past few years. What every apple butter recipe I’ve found has lacked is the explanation of the caramelization. I’ve not wanted to have a lot of added sugar because my 83 yr old mother is diabetic and most recipes call for way too much anyway. But I can see here where it would enhance that caramelization process. What though, is the ACV for / what does it do? Thanks!

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