Slow Cooker Apple Butter is an easy recipe for a smooth, velvety spread made in a crockpot with fresh apples and spices. Tastes like fall!
Delicious, slow cooked creamy homemade apple butter recipe with warm spices is the ultimate fall Spread. Once you start making your own Pantry Staples like Slow Cooker Applesauce and Apple Pie Filling, you’ll never go back to the store bought kind!
This is the easiest recipe for homemade Apple Butter you’ll ever make. Stir everything in the crockpot, cook all day (or overnight) on low heat, and enjoy tasty fruit butter for months. This warm apple spread will fill your home with the sweet spiced aroma of apples, cinnamon, and cloves.
Table of contents
Sabrina’s Slow Cooker Apple Butter Recipe
Dark brown, velvety Apple Butter is perfectly balanced with sweetness and warm fall spices. The sugar in this Apple Butter recipe brings out the natural sweetness of the apples. It also gives it that beautiful caramelized color. While it may seem like a lot of sugar, the acidity in the apple juice actually breaks the sugar down. A little cinnamon, cloves, and salt make it taste like delicious, spreadable Apple Pie.
With the long cooking time, about 13 hours total, Slow Cooker Apple Butter makes a great overnight breakfast recipe. Be sure to stir the apples after about an hour to combine everything. The apples will start breaking down and releasing juices. After that first stir, just let the slow cooker do its magic. At the end, you will stir and cook uncovered until it is as thick as you like.
- Apples: Golden Delicious apples are sweet, tart apples that are perfect for recipes like apple butter and apple jam because you want them to break down. Unlike pie recipes, you actually want to use soft apples so your butter is creamy and smooth.
- Sugar: 4 cups of sugar might seem like a lot but it mixes with the tart flavor from the apples and balances out the warm spices. The granulated sugar also slightly caramelizes during the slow cooking time. You could also brown sugar instead of white sugar for even more warm caramel notes.
- Spices: The cinnamon and cloves pair perfectly with the apple flavor in this Crockpot Apple Butter. You could also add some ground nutmeg or an apple pie spice blend to make it taste more like fall baked apple recipes.
Kitchen Tools & Equipment
Immersion Blender: Use an immersion blender to make a creamy smooth apple butter. Likewise, you can just pulse it in a food processor until the consistency is spreadable and to your liking.
Slow Cooker: This recipe for apple butter uses 6 cups of apples so you will want to use at least a 6-quart slow cooker. A large crock pot gives you plenty of room to stir the mix of apples and spices so they coat evenly without spilling out.
How to Make
Time needed: 13 hours and 5 minutes.
- Prep the Apples
Peel the apples and cut them into small chunks, about an inch in size. You don’t want them too small or too large, so they break down slowly during the long cook time.
- Coat the Apple Pieces
Fill a 6-quart slow cooker with the apples and add the sugar, spices and salt. Mix everything to coat the apple pieces. Cook on high for 1 hour.
- Slow Cook the Apples
Stir the apples and replace the lid. Reduce the heat to low heat and cook for another 10 hours. Do not stir or remove the lid.
- Reduce and Thicken
Remove the lid and stir again. Cook uncovered for 2 hours, stirring every 30 minutes. Once it’s thickened and smooth, it’s ready. Use an immersion blender to make it extra smooth and creamy.
Can this be made ahead of time?
It takes about 13 hours of slow cooking to fully break down the sweet apples, so it’s definitely a wonderful recipe to make in advance. Plus this all-day apple butter can be stored for up to a month in the fridge or a year in the freezer, similar to storing freezer jam in glass jars. If you have a pressure canner, follow the proper canning procedures and keep it for up to 6 months at room temperature.
Apple Butter Recipe Tips & Tricks
- Don’t Add Liquid
You don’t want to add any excess liquid or water to the crockpot or your apple butter will be too watery. As the apples slow cook with the sugar, the natural juices will release and that is plenty of liquid to make a creamy spread.
- Use the Right Apples
For apple butter, you want to use softer apples that will break down easily. Save your Granny Smith apples and Honey Crisp apples for baked apple recipes like pie or cobbler, and use soft apples like Golden or Red Delicious or Gala apples.
How to Store
Store: Serve Apple Butter warm or chilled, and keep at room temperature for up to 2 hours before storing in the refrigerator or freezer. Refrigerate apple butter in an airtight container (like a glass mason jar) for up to 1 month. Canned Apple Butter can be kept at room temperature for up to 6 months.
Freeze: Store Apple Butter in 1 cup portions in a freezer safe sealed container, leaving a ¼ inch gap between butter and lid. Cool completely before freezing for up to 1 year, and thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving.
Ideas to Serve Apple Butter
This Apple Butter recipe can be kept for up to a year in the freezer, so you can enjoy it all year long. Apple Butter on a piece of toast is an easy breakfast, however it goes even better on your favorite Homemade Quick Bread! For a special holiday breakfast, serve Apple Butter on French Toast or Pancakes. It can also double as a dessert! Drizzle warm Apple Butter on Vanilla Ice Cream or as a frosting for Apple Cake.
Alternative Cooking Techniques
Stovetop Apple Butter
- To make Apple Butter on the stovetop, you need to add a cooking liquid to help the apples breakdown without burning.
- In a large, heavy bottomed pot add 2 cups of water or apple cider and the diced apples.
- Bring apple mixture to a simmer for about 15 minutes.
- Stir in sugar, cinnamon, cloves, and salt.
- Cook uncovered over medium-low heat for 1 hour. Puree apple mixture until smooth.
- Cook an additional hour, stirring occasionally, until thick and dark brown.
Normally for baked apple desserts, you want to use firm apples but for apple sauce and spread recipes like apple butter, you actually want to use soft apples. You still want them to have a tart apple flavor so apples like Golden Delicious, McIntosh, and Gala apples are all great apples for apple butter.
Just like homemade applesauce, this version of Apple Butter is simple and almost makes itself. As the peeled apples cook, they break down to an almost liquid consistency with some apple chunks left. Finally, you puree the mixture until it’s smooth and creamy.
- 6 pounds Golden Delicious apples , peeled, cored and chopped
- 4 cups sugar
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Add the ingredients to a slow cooker and mix well.
- Cook on high for 1 hour then stir well.
- Cook on low for 10 hours.
- Cook on low, uncovered for 2 hours, stirring every 30 minutes until thickened.
Apples: Unlike many baking recipes, Apple Butter is best made with softer varieties of apples like Fuji apples, Red Delicious apples, Gala apples, Jonagold apples, or Braeburn apples.
Sugar: Sweeten your Apple Butter with brown sugar, honey, or maple syrup instead of just granulated sugar. Replace half the sugar with brown sugar, or use up to 1 cup honey or maple syrup in place of 1 cup granulated sugar.
Flavor and Spices: Other warm baking spices to add to Apple Butter are nutmeg, allspice, ginger, star anise, or your favorite apple spice blend. For a tasty vanilla flavor, add 1-2 teaspoons vanilla extract, to taste.
Fruit: For a Mixed Fruit Apple Butter, replace 1-2 pounds of apples with diced fruit or berries like pears, plums, strawberries, or blueberries.