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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.

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Slow Cooker Apple Butter

By: Jamie
4.49 from 2304 ratings
Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 12 hours
Total: 12 hours 30 minutes
Servings: 32
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!

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.

Video

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

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

4.49 from 2304 votes (2,298 ratings without comment)

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827 Comments

  1. HLSkipper says:

    Hello, I was wondering if you use a slow cooker liner? I usually do for most my recipes but wanted to make sure it wouldn’t mess it up. Also what would be a good substitution for cinnamon?

    1. Jamie says:

      Hi there – I don’t usually use a liner. If you typically use one then it would probably be fine. If you can’t use cinnamon, I would use some nutmeg, cloves, and allspice. Happy baking!
      Jamie

  2. Maria says:

    5 stars
    I love this recipe, have made it several times. I do cook my apples down in a roaster pan in the oven, not to save time but you get more in the crock pot. However, it does save a little time. I also can mines by simple putting jars and lids in a glass baking pan in that oven heating them to near boiling then immediately going them. Makes sure they all “pop” sealing them and they last for a couple years or could.

  3. Susan says:

    How many of each apple do you use?

    1. Jamie says:

      Hi Susan – It depends on what is available. If I can, I like to evenly divide between types, so around 2 pounds of each. But you can use as many or as few varieties as you like and have available. Happy baking!
      Jamie

  4. Charmon says:

    My Crockpot slow cooker has 3 heating options; slow, high, and warm.
    When making this apple butter to be cooked for 10 hours, which setting is intended for this recipe?
    Thanks.

    1. Jamie says:

      Hi Charmon – You’ll want to use the low (“slow”) setting. Warm is just intended to keep your food warm after cooking. Hope this helps! Happy baking –
      Jamie

  5. Ron Simons says:

    Using your recipe with a little doctoring. Do you cook on high or low in the slow cooker? We are using wild apples, not sure of the variety.
    Thank you!

    1. Jamie says:

      Hi Ron – As noted in the recipe card, this will cook on low for 10 hours. Hope you enjoy! Happy baking –
      Jamie

  6. Laura says:

    Hi! Is it the same cook time if I half the recipe?

    1. Jamie says:

      Hi Laura – If you halve the recipe, I would use a smaller (3-quart) slow cooker and follow the same cooking instructions re: temp and time. Hope this helps!
      Jamie

  7. andrea says:

    I do not have a immersion blender – can I use a food processor ?

    1. Jamie says:

      Hi Andrea – Yes, you can! Just be extra careful because the apple butter will be hot. Happy baking!
      Jamie

  8. Sherrie says:

    Hello Jamie,
    This is my first attempt at making your recipe I’m hoping it will be fantastic as your reiew comments say. I tried a recipe of someone else it had lemon in it and it seem to over power the taste and I had to cook it on the stovetop for 3 hours your recipe seems very simple. I have made a few misstakes by not reading it all 1st One was the vanilla but saw your comments so I was happy about that my other thing I’m not sure about and did not see it in the comments or review I did not have fresh nutmeg so used grounded I’m really hoping that was ok? Can wait till the end to see what your Apple Butter recipe tastes like hopefully it will taste like the Apple Butter I remember as a kid and hopefully it will be the end for me searching for a Apple Butter recipe. Glad I saw yours.

    1. Jamie says:

      Hi Sherrie – You can use pre-ground nutmeg; it just doesn’t have as strong of a flavor as freshly ground, but it’ll still work great. You can always add a tiny pinch more if your jar isn’t super fresh. Hope this helps!
      Jamie

  9. Alex Neuhauser says:

    I made this recipe and thought it was fabulous! I also canned the jars in a water bath canner and it is still good 2 years later.

    1. Jamie says:

      That’s great to hear, Alex! Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing. Happy baking!
      Jamie

  10. Jeannette Oliver says:

    Can you can this recipe for apple butter?

    1. Jamie says:

      Hi Jeanette – I personally do not can, so I am not able to speak to that. A bunch of commenters have tried it and shared their tips though, so you may want to read through and see what some of their suggestions are. Happy baking!
      Jamie

    2. Christine says:

      @Jeannette Oliver,

      You can definitely can this recipe…I have been doing it via WB for years and it turns out great!