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Slow Cooker Apple Butter

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Slow Cooker Apple Butter will make your entire house smell like Autumn. It also makes a great gift for the holidays, or a hostess gift at Thanksgiving. YUMMO!

Open glass jar of apple butter set next to a slow cooker on a wooden tabletop.

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Autumn is my favorite season of the year. I am a lover of all things fall – the leaves and pumpkins, cozy sweaters and Ugg boots, a roaring fire with a good book and a plate of my No Bake Cookies, I adore it all – especially apple season.

A neighboring city hosts an Apple Butter Festival every October. It’s full of holiday crafts, historical reenactments, and of course, amazing food.

Although I love meandering through the aisles of vendors, I really go for two very important reasons: caramel slathered apples and homemade apple butter.

Unfortunately, I’ve missed this festival two years in a row – last year because I was in San Francisco and this year because I simply forgot about it. I sulked for a hot minute, but decided that I’d get my yearly apple butter fix by making my own in the slow cooker.

Hand holding up a slice of baguette spread with slow cooker apple butter.

WHAT IS APPLE BUTTER?

If you have never had apple butter before, you might be confused by the name.

No, it’s not apple-flavored butter. That would be weird. There’s actually no butter in apple butter at all.

Apple butter is basically just super concentrated, super smooth applesauce. It’s cooked for longer, which gives it that caramelized color and rich apple flavor, but the ingredients are nearly identical.

Apple butter is not just perfect on your morning toast (English muffin bread is my favorite!) or served on Potato Rolls at Thanksgiving, you can even bake with it.

Try subbing in Slow Cooker Apple Butter in place of jam or another fruit filling in crumb bars, such as in my Peach Crumb Bars or Raspberry Bars recipes. Or try it in an apple butter cake!

Ingredients for slow cooker apple butter set on a wooden tabletop.

HOW TO MAKE APPLE BUTTER IN A CROCK POT

At first I was little bit intimidated by the whole homemade fruit butter thing, but really it could not have been easier!

Ingredients you’ll need

Even though the flavors of apple butter are so rich, you’ll be surprised to know that the ingredients are super simple.

You’ll need:

  • 6 1/2 pounds apples – peeled, cored and sliced
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

I know that 6 1/2 pounds of apples sounds like a lot, but I’ve got a tip for making peeling them a cinch.

Sliced and peeled apples in the crock of a slow cooker.

Helpful tools

Prepping all of those apples and turning them into homemade apple butter was a cinch thanks to my apple peeler and slow cooker.

The peeler allowed me to peel, core, and slice 6 1/2 pounds of apples in a matter of minutes. I tossed everything into the slow cooker, set the timer for 10 hours and went about my day.

The autumnal scents of apples, cinnamon and vanilla wafted around the whole place for an entire day, which improved my mood immensely. I’ll tell you – if you’re having a rough day, just make some slow cooker apple butter.

It’s impossible not to feel at ease with the entire world and people in it when you’ve got these scents enveloping you each time you walk in and out of your kitchen.

Sliced apples tossed with sugar and spices in the crock of a slow cooker.

Making this recipe

To make this recipe, I tossed the apples in my slow cooker. I then combined the sugars, cinnamon, and spices and tossed this with the apples.

I let the apples simmer away for the allotted 10 hours until the mixture was thick and dar brown, and in the meantime made chili, cornbread, and even prepped my jars for gift giving.

Cooked apples and spices being stirred in the crock of a slow cooker.

After the 10 hours, I removed the lid and let the apples keep simmering for another 2 hours. This thickens the apple butter even more.

After the second stage of cooking, it was time to puree the apple butter and jar it up! It really is the perfect way to spend a fall Saturday, I’ll tell you that for free.

The result was a delicious, velvety smooth apple butter that definitely rivals any of the jars that I’ve purchased at the Apple Butter Festival and the best part is – I made it myself!

If you don’t have 10 hours on hand to let the apple butter simmer, don’t worry – I also have a recipe for Instant Pot Apple Butter!

Open glass jar of apple butter set on a wooden tabletop, surrounded by whole apples and spices.

BEST APPLES FOR APPLE BUTTER

Really you can use any apples you happen to have on hand for apple butter.

Generally speaking, softer varieties of apples such as Fuji, Golden Delicious, McIntosh, or Jonagold work better since they cook down faster.

I used a mix of Granny Smith, Fuji and Honeycrisp in my apple butter, and even the crisper varieties broke down well for a smooth apple butter.

The real key is to use a mix of apples to get the best flavor. You can even customize your Slow Cooker Apple butter by using apple pie spice or even pumpkin pie spice instead of the blend I have here, and you could try Mexican vanilla instead of Madagascar.

It’s really easy to make it your own, and I know your family will love slathering it on toast all year long.

I’ve been told you can preserve this recipe through canning, though I haven’t tried it myself. I’d love to know if you’ve tried!

I hope you enjoy this slow cooker apple butter as much as we do.

What are your favorite fruit butter recipes? What should I try next?

Small bowl of apple butter on a platter, surrounded by sliced apples, cheese, and slices of baguette.

FAQS

Do you use 6.5 pounds of apples before peeling and coring?

Yes! Because the ingredients say “6.5 pounds of apples, peeled and cored,” this means that you peel and core them after weighing them. 

This is true for any recipe you read. For example, if a recipe calls for “1 cup pecans, chopped,” you measure the pecans and then chop them. If it reads “1 cup chopped pecans,” you chop and then measure them.

Can you can this apple butter recipe?

Yes! I recently learned how to can apple butter – it’s much easier than you might think. You won’t need to make any adjustments to the recipe itself before canning because apples are naturally quite acidic.

How long does this recipe keep in the refrigerator? Can you freeze it?

You can store this slow cooker apple butter in airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. You can also freeze it for up to 3 months.

If you choose to freeze it, make sure you leave plenty of room in the jar so that they don’t crack after freezing.

How many pints does this recipe make?

This recipe makes 4 pints (8 cups) of apple butter.

How much apple pie spice would I substitute for the listed spices?

If you want to substitute apple pie spice for the spices listed in the recipe, I would use 1 to 1 ½ tablespoons, depending on how heavily spiced you like your apple butter to be.

Can I use a 3-quart or 3.5-quart slow cooker for this recipe?

Once you peel, core, and slice the 6.5 pounds of apples, they take up quite a bit of space, so I use a 6-quart slow cooker for this recipe. If you only have a smaller slow cooker, I suggest halving the recipe.

Do you have to peel the apples?

Technically no. If you don’t want to spend the time peeling the apples, you may want to run the final apple butter through a fine mesh strainer after pureeing it to make sure it is super smooth.

I prefer to just peel the apples at the beginning and save myself the work at the end, but it’s up to you and what you prefer.

I accidentally added the vanilla with the rest of the ingredients before cooking. Will the apple butter be ok?

Yes! The only reason I recommend adding the vanilla toward the end of the recipe is because vanilla doesn’t hold up to heat well and the flavor becomes weaker the longer it cooks. 

If you do accidentally add the vanilla at the beginning, just add another teaspoon or so at the end to make up for the flavor that was lost while cooking.

Glass jar filled with apple butter, surrounded by apples and whole spices.

Slow Cooker Apple Butter

Slow Cooker Apple Butter will make your entire house smell like Autumn. It also makes a great gift for the holidays, or a hostess gift at Thanksgiving. YUMMO!
4.49 from 2300 votes
Print Pin
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 12 hours
Total Time: 12 hours 30 minutes
Servings: 32

Ingredients 

  • 6 ½ pounds apples peeled, cored and sliced
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup light brown sugar lightly packed
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

Instructions

  • Place the apples in a slow cooker. In a medium bowl, combine sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg cloves and salt. Pour the mixture over the apples and mix well.
  • Cook in slow cooker on low for about 10 hours, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is thickened and dark brown.
  • Uncover, stir in vanilla and continue cooking uncovered on low for about 2 hours.
  • Use an immersion blender to puree the apple butter until smooth.
  • Spoon the mixture into sterile containers, cover and refrigerate for up to two weeks or freeze.
  • Serve on breads, muffins, pork chops or just eat it with a spoon.

Notes

  • I used a combination of Granny Smith, Fuji and Honey Crisp apples for this recipe.
  • The sweetness of your apples will affect how much sugar you will need to add. Adjust according to your apples and preferences.
  • Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks or freezer for up to 3 months, or learn how to can apple butter if you would like to preserve it for longer.
  • Makes 4 pints.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.25cup | Calories: 100kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 0.3g | Fat: 0.2g | Saturated Fat: 0.04g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.05g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.01g | Sodium: 21mg | Potassium: 110mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 23g | Vitamin A: 51IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 14mg | Iron: 0.2mg
The default measuring system on My Baking Addiction is US Customary. Unit conversions are provided as a courtesy; please be aware that there may be some discrepancies.
Card may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Recipe Rating




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Sandy

Wednesday 3rd of January 2024

This year I couldn't find my favorite apple butter recipe so I went looking for a substitute in a pinch. Most recipes don't have the vanilla which is mandatory. My mother & grandmother were southern cooks. So I'm picky about my apple butter recipes. I tried your recipe and it's become my new favorite apple butter. It's the best apple butter I've eaten since my Nanny's from childhood. I did can the apple butter. I made two batches to get me through the year until next fall. In case someone questions the spice amounts it's perfect. Apple butter will always taste extra heavy on the spices immediately after you make it and for the first two weeks. It takes the apples two weeks to marry with the spices and become the dominant flavor. So give the apples time to mellow the spice level. This recipe is perfect.

Jamie

Wednesday 10th of January 2024

So glad to hear you enjoyed the recipe! Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving your feedback. -Jamie

Jess

Friday 24th of November 2023

I don’t usually leave comments, but this will be the 3rd year in a row I’m making this apple butter because my family (especially nieces and nephews) love it! ❤️

Jamie

Wednesday 13th of December 2023

Hello- So happy to hear you enjoyed this recipe! Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving y our feedback. Have a great day and happy baking! -Jamie

Jan

Saturday 28th of October 2023

This is JUST like my mom's applebutter! My dad used to make late night treats of grilled applebutter sandwiches with a cold glass of milk (Grill applebutter sandwiches just like grilled cheese sandwiches.... That buttery crispy golden bread, white bread tastes best, with the applebutter in between! YUM!)

Jamie

Thursday 2nd of November 2023

Jan- I am so happy to hear you enjoy this recipe! Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving your feedback! -Jamie

anita

Saturday 21st of October 2023

I followed the recipe exactly. The only change was three hours with the lid off because I use my Instapot as a slow cooker, and the top holds more moisture. It tasted delicious and was so smooth. I will make this again!

Jamie

Thursday 2nd of November 2023

I am so happy to hear you enjoy this recipe! Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving your feedback! -Jamie

Windy

Thursday 19th of October 2023

i’ve been using this recipe for a month simple, i do mine in a turkey roaster it holds a 5 1/2 gallon bucket freshly picked apple makes 30 jelly jars.

Jamie

Thursday 2nd of November 2023

I am so happy to hear you enjoy this recipe! Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving your feedback! -Jamie

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