Slow Cooker Monday: Apple Butter

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On Saturday I asked my Facebook fans a simple question: pumpkin butter or apple butter? Both were popular choices and the votes ended up being pretty much split down the middle. Luckily, everyone wins: today is apple butter day and Wednesday is pumpkin butter day!

I like both kinds of fruit butter and I actually tried a combination apple-pumpkin butter when I visited Apple Hill last month. It was a great balance of the two flavors and I might try my hand at making that next.

If you’re not familiar with fruit butters, they don’t actually contain butter. A fruit butter is when fruit is cooked down then pureed into a thick, creamy spread. This is the third time I’ve made fruit butter in my slow cooker – I made some wonderful blueberry lavender butter with fresh berries and frozen berries last summer.

Apple butter tips:

There are 3 kitchen appliances that make this process so much easier:

  1.  A slow cooker of course (although you can make this on the stove instead).
  2. One of those old-fashioned peeler/corer/slicers cuts prep time in more than half.
  3. An immersion blender (AKA hand blender, blender stick, etc.) to puree the apple butter right in the pot. I like to avoid pouring boiling hot stuff into my blender and back. I’m too clumsy to safely do stuff like that.

Speaking of slow cookers, Crock-Pot is unveiling a brand new design tomorrow night at 8pm EST. This is an exclusive for their Facebook fans – RSVP to the event and get the link to the tab on their Facebook page. In addition to seeing the new Crock-Pot, you’ll also get to watch a live performance by country singer Sarah Darling and have a chance to win a trip to Nashville!

Do you have a favorite kind of fruit butter?



Slow Cooker Apple Sauce

Makes 3 1/2-4 pints

  • 6 1/2 pounds apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced*
  • 1 1/2-2 cups brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
Place prepared apple slices in a 6 quart slow cooker. Add brown sugar and spices, then stir to mix everything together. Cook on low for 8-10 hours, stirring occasionally, until mixture is dark brown and thickened. Uncover, add vanilla and stir to combine. Cook uncovered on high for around 2 hours. Puree using a hand blender or by transferring to your blender in 2 batches and returning to pot.
For immediate use or freezing: Pour into clean containers and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks or freeze.
To can: Pour into sterilized jars, leaving 1/4″ headspace. Seal and process in boiling water for the amount listed below. Remove from water and let sit for a day. Check to make sure jars sealed. (If you want more information on canning, see my photo tutorial on canning jam.)

Recommended process time for Apple Butter in a boiling-water canner.

Jar Size

Process Time at Altitudes of

0 – 1,000 ft

1,001 – 6,000 ft

Above 6,000 ft

Half-pints or Pints

5 min








*I used 3 Granny Smith apples and equal parts McIntosh and Jonagold apples. You can use whatever apples you like, but some types are better than other for apple butter. McIntosh are very soft and tart Granny Smith counterbalance the sweet flavors, adding some depth.

14 Responses to “Slow Cooker Monday: Apple Butter”
  1. Living The Sweet Life writes:

    I never knew apple butter was so easy to make!! I just bought a bottle this weekend from the market — next time, I’ll have to make my own. Is there anything you can use instead of a slow cooker (I don’t own one :()

  2. Stephanie writes:

    @Living the Sweet LIfe – yes, you can make it in a dutch oven instead. See my post on making pumpkin butter on the stove] later today.

  3. daksha writes:

    I love home made, its super fresh must try. Thanks for sharing this.

  4. Rachel @ My Naturally Frugal Family writes:

    This looks so easy, and photos look delish!
    Thanks for the directions…now to the market for some apples.

  5. kita writes:

    I just made a batch of apple butter in my slow cooker – and I was shocked at how much I liked it! Now what to do with all of it is the next questions!

  6. Stephanie writes:

    @kita – that’s great! I’ve been spreading it on toast and it’s also good mixed into oatmeal and plain yogurt. Let me know if you come up with any other good uses for it!

  7. Lindsey@Lindselicious writes:

    Yum! I agree I love it with my oatmeal and greek yogurt! I need to find time to make some!

  8. Sarah writes:

    You can also use apple butter to make different pies. I made an Apple Butter Pumpkin Pie last night that was fantastic!

  9. Sarah writes:

    I made your apple butter a couple days ago & it turned out very good despite the fact I didn’t have any ground cloves & I think I forgot the vanilla at the end, lol.

  10. SR writes:

    Can I skip the sugar? Or maybe replace it with honey? I’m off refined sugar for a while.

  11. Stephanie writes:

    @SR – If you’re going to skip the sugar, use sweeter varieties of apples. I would probably add a little honey to taste, depending on how sweet the apples are.
    I gave up refined sugar for a month last year and it was tough! I’m thinking about doing it again though, because I find myself eating too much sugar. Good luck!

  12. Teresa Hamm writes:

    Can i substute applesauce for the apples in this recipe? Would I use sweet or unsweet? I tried the original recipe a little while back and LOVED it.
    Teresa Hamm recently posted The Ultimate Brownie Sundae #IScream4ID

  13. Stephanie Nuccitelli writes:

    Teresa, do you mean store bought applesauce? It might work, since a lot of apple butter recipes essentially start with making homemade applesauce. I’d personally go for unsweetened, and you can always add sweetener to taste. If you try it, please let me know how it comes out!

  14. Pumpkin Butter - 52 Kitchen Adventures | 52 Kitchen Adventures writes:

    […] Monday I shared a slow cooker recipe for apple butter with the promise that pumpkin butter was coming next. You can also make pumpkin butter in a […]

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