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Homemade Apple Butter

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Simple to make and bursting with apple flavor! Apple butter is a delicious spread for toast, to use in tarts, and a quick way to add a spoonful of the tastes of fall to any dish.

spoon scooping apple butter out of a mason jar

Have you gone to the orchard to get all the apples yet? What are you waiting for?! This apple butter is calling your name and ready to be your favorite fall condiment.

There are so many things to love about apple butter beside it being a concentrated bite of fall flavors

  • super simple to make
  • sweet apple and cinnamon flavor
  • similar to preserves so it’s great on toast
  • makes a great food gift
  • cans well for pantry storage
  • use it in all. the. baked. things.

Like, if there’s an excuse to be even more obsessed with fall, I’m here for it in any way shape, or form. Plus, the cooking process makes the house smell DIVINE. 

apples napkin and mason jar of apple butter on a white background

labeled ingredients for apple butter

How to make apple butter from scratch

Making apple butter from scratch is simply a matter of peeling, combining, boiling, blending, and simmering.  Oh, and of course, cooling.

Start with peeling and dicing the apples.  If you make A LOT of apple things, one of these old school peel and slicers is worth the investment!  It’s so quick and easy to use, and your apples are sliced and peeled in seconds.

apple being peeled and sliced

To make homemade apple butter, peel, and dice about 6 apples.  Combine with 1/2 cup sugar and apple cider in a heavy bottom pot, like a dutch oven, deep-sided skillet, or soup pot.  Bring to a boil and cook for 20 minutes covered, but leave a small space for steam to vent.

After that, you’ll need to blend the soft apples.  The easiest way to do with is with a handheld immersion blender, but you can also transfer the apples to a food processor, purée, then bring back to the pan.  Stir in the remaining ingredients of sugar and spices.

Return the mixture to a boil, then bring the heat down to low, simmer, and reduce the apple butter.  During this part, the liquid evaporates and the sugar thickens making delicious apple butter!  Drag a spatula through the mixture, if it holds a line where the spatula was the apple butter is ready!

two photos of apple butter when it's not ready and when it is done cooking

How long does it last?

Store your homemade apple butter in an airtight container, in the refrigerator, for up to 3 months.  You could also transfer it to the freezer if you’d like to keep it longer.

How does it get thick?

A combination of the natural sugars in the apple, sugars in the cider, and the addition of granulated sugar will thicken the apple butter as it reduces on the stove.  You do not need any special pectin or gelatin for apple butter.

side angle of apple butter in a mason jar

Can you make it in a slow cooker?

Yes!!  The stovetop instructions don’t take very long, but if you want a more hands-off approach the slow cooker is a great choice.  Simply add all the ingredients to the slow cooker and cook on low for 10 hours, stirring occasionally.  After cooking, purée for a smoother consistency.

Ways to use homemade apple butter

This list could probably be a little exhaustive, but here are a few simple ideas.

  • top off mini apple cakes for a sweet jam finish
  • stuff inside apple cider cupcakes
  • cookies
  • slather on a brie grilled cheese for a sweet and savory combo
  • mix up with cookies for a perfect fall snickerdoodle
  • layer on top of puff pastry with a mild cheese for an easy dessert
  • spread on morning toast in place of jam

Or you know, just sneak a spoonful here and there when you want an apple-y fall sweet treat!  

Did you make this recipe?  Be sure to leave a comment and rating below or tag #hungerthirstplay on social media so we can drool over pics of your beautiful eats!

spoon scooping out of a mason jar

Homemade Apple Butter

Apple butter is a thicker, sweeter cousin to apple sauce. This homemade treat is perfect for gift-giving, spread on toast, and used in any fall baking
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Course: condiment
Cuisine: American
Keyword: apple butter, apple filling, apple spread, easy apple butter, what to do with leftover apples
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 2 1/2 cups
Author: Lauren

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds apples about 6 apples honeycrisp recommended
  • 3/4 cup apple cider
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground clove

Instructions

  • Cook the apples. In a dutch oven or large heavy-bottom pot combine apples, cider, and 1/2 cup sugar. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Once the apples and liquid come to a boil, cover almost fully, leaving a small space to vent steam.
  • Blend. Continue to boil for 20 minutes or until apples are soft and tender, stirring about every 5 minutes. Almost all liquid should be evaporated. Using an immersion blender, process until smooth. If using a standard blender or food processor, be careful with the hot liquid when transferring the cooked apples. Process until smooth and return to the dutch oven or pot.
  • Add spice. Stir in spices and the remaining 3/4 cup sugar. Return to a boil over medium-high heat uncovered.  Once the apple mixture starts to boil, reduce to low heat and simmer about 15 to 20 minutes, stirring often. The mixture should be smooth, thick, and hold a line when dragging a spatula through the center. Let cool about 30 minutes before transfer to a container. Store in the refrigerator.
  • Slow Cooker Instructions.  Combine all the ingredients in the slow cooker.  Cook on low for 10 hours, stirring occasionally.  After cooking, purée for a smoother apple butter consistency.

Notes

  • Apple butter can be made with any variety of apples.  Honeycrisp is my favorite for its natural sweetness and texture, but I've used gala, pink lady, autumn glory, and Braeburn instead with delicious results.

 

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