Homemade apple butter recipe spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves is full of delicious fall flavor. It's super easy to make in the slow cooker or crockpot.
Homemade apple butter is something you must have in the Fall - it goes good on any sort of bread.
The great thing is you can use essentially any apple variety you desire. Or combine a couple of different varieties to add depth to the flavor.
While it's popular during the Fall months, it's near impossible to find in a store. This is why people end up making it at home.
Good thing it's super easy to make! And the result is a delicious apple spread that tastes so much better than anything you'd buy at the store.
But what is apple butter? It's like apple sauce but much more concentrated. The difference is the apples are pureed and cooked for a longer period of time. This long cook time reduces the moisture and caramelizes the puree leaving behind a flavorful, smooth spread.
- Apples: You need about six pounds of apples for this recipe.
- Spices: The spices I like to use are pure vanilla extract, white sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt.
What are the best apples to use?
Softer apple varieties work best because they cook down the fastest but you can use any variety you prefer. I like to use Fuji or Golden Delicious apples as I prefer the taste of these.
Do keep in mind that sweeter apples like Gala will yield a sweeter butter and may require less sugar. While Granny Smith apples offer a tart flavor.
You could also mix a couple of varieties together if you desire a more complex flavor profile.
How to make apple butter
The easiest way to make apple butter is by using the slow cooker or crockpot. Simply combine all the ingredients together and cook on high until the apples are so soft they begin to fall apart. This can take a few hours.
Use an immersion blender to puree the apples until smooth. If you don't have an immersion blender, you can use a regular blender instead. But, you'll want to do this in two batches to avoid backsplash. And take extra care when transferring the hot apples to the blender.
Return the smooth puree to the slow cooker and continue to cook on high for a few more hours. You want to reduce the mixture. It should be thick and very concentrated.
I like mine to be very thick but this is a personal preference. Adjust the timing for a slightly thinner or thicker apple butter.
ⓘ Make it thicker! If you prefer an extra thick apple butter, simmer it on the stovetop for the second round of cooking. This will cause more of the water content to evaporate and create a thicker consistency. Make sure to stir it occasionally while it's simmering.
How to store apple butter
Store apple butter in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to two weeks. I personally like to store it in these mini tulip jelly jars.
It can also be frozen for up to two months. Allow it to thaw in the refrigerator overnight before using.