This homemade apple butter is the perfect way to use up all those apples from your trip to the apple orchard. Rich and creamy, this spread has hints of cinnamon and is delicious on toast for breakfast.
Labor Day weekend our family took a trip to the apple orchard. It would be an understatement to say that I was pumped. For those of us that love fall, the apple orchard is like our holy grail. It’s a magical place where all our favorite things are combined into one place… apples, donuts, cider, hay rides, 93 degree weather… Wait, what?! Yes, you read that correctly. I said 93 degree weather. It was blazing hot here in Michigan over Labor Day weekend. I don’t mean the type of dry heat that really feels a few degrees cooler. Nope. It was high humidity, not a cloud in the sky, sweat dripping down your back, 93 degrees. My enthusiasm for the orchard was somewhat dampened by the hot weather, but we still had a fun time. We picked a half peck of Jonagold and Courtland apples to use for baking. At the time, this seemed like quite the great deal. That was until we got home and I realized that we (and by we, I mean I) had 50+ apples that needed to be used, rather quickly. Thankfully I had a little helper on hand.
What Type of Apples are Best for Baking?
So let’s talk about baking with apples. If you’re like me, maybe you have always wondered which apples hold up the best to baking. Well, it honestly depends on who you ask. I think the most important quality for a good baking apple is one that retains its shape when baking. Because no one likes mushy apple pie, mushy apple crisp, or mushy ANY type of dessert, do they? I think there are several types of apples that fall into this category. And conveniently, Jonagold are one of those apples. I also really like Honey Crisp apples for their sweetness, but to be honest they are just so tasty to eat by themselves that they never make it into a dessert.
Does Apple Butter Have Butter in it?
Did you know that apple butter actually has NO butter?! I was somewhat surprised when I first discovered this. Apple butter gets its name because you basically cook apples down to the consistency of butter so your sauce is spreadable. Apple butter is a highly concentrated form of apple sauce produced by slow cooking of apples to a point where the sugar in the apples caramelizes, turning the apple butter a deep brown. All you need are apples, sugar, and some spices. It doesn’t get any simpler. I really like this recipe because you cook the apples in a crockpot for an entire day which means that your home will smell simply divine.
Heather's Helpful Hints
Mistakes to Avoid
If you want to ensure your apple butter is free of lumps, use an immersion blender to puree the sauce before the final hour of cooking. I tried this and was very pleased with the smooth and creamy texture that resulted.
Storing your Apple Butter
With a big batch like this, I actually like to can my apple butter. This way it lasts through the season and I can even give it out as gifts. One Christmas, I gave all my family and friends canned apple butter and it was a huge hit!
If you're not in the mood for apple butter, check out this pumpkin butter recipe from Minimalist Baker. The bonus is that it only takes 20-minutes of prep time!
Homemade Apple Butter
- 5 ½ pounds apples peeled, cored, and chopped
- 1 ¾ cup brown sugar, packed
- 1 ¾ cup white sugar
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon cloves
- ¼ teaspoon allspice
- Peel, core, and finely chop your apples. It is important that you remove all the apple skin and seeds. You don't want them left over at the end! Place the apples in a slow cooker.
- In a medium bowl, mix the sugar and spices. Pour the mixture over the apples in the slow cooker and mix well.
- Set slow cooker to LOW and cook for 8-12 hours. Stir the mixture occasionally. You will know it is done when the mixture is thickened and dark brown. This means the apples and sugar have started to caramelize.
- For the last hour of cooking, uncover the slow cooker and let the mixture continue cooking. You can use a whisk to increase the smoothness, if desired.
- Spoon the mixture into sterile containers. Cover and refrigerate or freeze. You can also can the jars and your apple butter will last at room temperature.
Notes and Tips
Tell Me How The Recipe Worked for You
Did you make this recipe? First, let me say THANK YOU for giving it a try! Please leave us a rating above and leave any feedback in the comments section at the bottom of this post. I always love to hear your thoughts and ideas on what went well — and what didn’t — with a recipe! Be sure to check out some of our other recipes linked below!