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Slow Cooker Crabapple Butter

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Crabapple Butter

Quick somebody make some biscuits. I currently have four jars of crabapple butter in my fridge, and I’m dying to crack one open. The smell. The taste. The color. It’s fall in a jar.

If you’ve never cooked with crabapples (or didn’t even realize they were edible), this crabapple butter recipe is the perfect introduction to what you’ve been missing.

Crabapples are loaded with pectin, so they cook down to the perfect, spreadable consistency for fruit butter. And while they’re much too tart to eat straight off the tree, they have such an amazing depth of flavor, once you sweeten them.

But don’t take my word for it. Make some, and see for yourself.

This crabapple butter is made in the slow cooker, so it’s mostly hands-off. But you will have to cut up the crabapples and cook them down into sauce first.

Cutting up crabapples is admittedly a bit of a chore. I recommend securing a buddy to help you. It’ll make the job go a lot faster.

Save the juice in the bottom of your pot after making the crabapple sauce, and you can use it to make crabapple jelly or crabapple syrup (recipe coming soon). Getting two products out of one batch of crabapples will make all that chopping worthwhile. Promise.

Crabapple Butter Recipe

Crabapple Butter Recipe

This recipes makes 4 pints of crabapple butter, plus a bit extra for you to sample, while it’s still warm.

Cook Time:

4 hours

What You Do:


  • 8 cups crabapple sauce (from 6 pounds of crabapples)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
Crabapple Sauce

Whip up a batch of unsweetened crabapple sauce following my recipe here. If you use green crabapples, your sauce will come out the same color as normal applesauce.

Crabapple Sauce

If you use red crabapples, it’ll be a gorgeous orangey-red color, like this.

Add Ingredients for Crabapple Butter to Slow Cooker

Pour your homemade crabapple sauce in a crockpot. Then, stir in all the other ingredients.

Finished Crabapple Butter

Cook on high, with the lid off for 4 hours, stirring occasionally. The crabapple butter will darken and develop a thick, paste-like consistency.

Enjoy your crabapple butter warm; refrigerate it; freeze it or place it in sterilized jars, and process it in a waterbath canner for 20 minutes.

Crabapple butter will keep in the fridge for at least few weeks. Canned or frozen crabapple butter is best used within a year (but is still safe to eat after a year).

I prefer to freeze my crabapple butter in Ball pint freezer jars.

Want to Make a Bigger or Smaller Batch of Crabapple Butter?

Just adjust the ingredients accordingly. This recipe halves and doubles beautifully.

If you’re just getting started with crabapples, here’s how to tell when they’re ripe, and here’s a good beginner’s guide to foraging for crabapples. It covers tree identification, when to harvest and more.

More Crabapple Recipes

Here are more things you can make with crabapples, while they’re in season.

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Crabapple Butter

Slow Cooker Crabapple Butter Recipe

Here’s a recipe for crabapple butter that can be made in the slow cooker. It tastes even better than regular apple butter.

  • Total Time: 4 hours 2 minutes
  • Yield: 4 pints 1x


  • 8 cups crabapple sauce (from 6 pounds crabapples) see recipe on myfrugalhome.com
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg


Place all the ingredients in a slow cooker. Stir to combine.

Cook on high, with the lid off (stirring occasionally), for 4 hours, or until you reach your desired consistency. It should be thick, pasty and dark brown, when it’s done.

Refrigerate your crab apple butter for up to 3 weeks. Freeze it, or process it in a water bath canner for 20 minutes, to store it indefinitely.


Halve or double this recipe to make as much or as little crabapple butter as you want.

Keywords: crabapple butter recipe, slow cooker crabapple butter recipe, crockpot crabapple butter recipe

Getting into Foraging?

Printable Foraging Journal

Print out a copy of my free foraging journal to keep track of your foraging finds, so you’ll know where to go back to next year.

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  1. Hi. Each year I make wild plum jam and my neighbour turns the wild plums onto worchestshire like sauce… Anyway the first time I seeded the lot as you did with your crab apples.. Took for ever and was boring. The next day I was winging to my mum, who told me just to put the lot in the pot and cook seeds and all. As they go mushy and I swish the fruit the seeds fall out and are way easier to remove.. Most seeds sink. Still takes a while but not as long as seeding. Hope that’s helpful to you.

  2. This is the second year I’ve made this. I put 8 cups of apple sauce in the pot and added 4 cups of sugar and the spices. Last year I found it a little to tart for me so hope I will like the results with the additional sugar. Thanks for the great recipe

    1. I love to hear that you’re making it a second time. Definitely tweak the sweetness to your tastes. Different crabapples will have different levels of sweetness and of course everyone has different preferences. I just picked crabapples today. Looking forward to making a batch myself 🙂

  3. I have also used my juicer to make jelly (have to strain through cheese cloth to make it clear or use as is to make apple butter). Works well!

  4. Clarification please. The crabapple sauce recipe says it makes 4 PINTS plus enough to sample. The crabapple butter recipe calls for these 4 pints plus sugar & spices BUT says yield is 4 QUARTS plus a bit. How does cooking down 4 PINTS only adding sugar ever get you to 4 QUARTS. Confused

    1. Good catch. That’s a typo on my part. You should get around four pints of apple butter. It cooks down some, but the sugar makes up for that, so there really isn’t much of a loss in quantity. Hope that helps.

  5. This recipe is simply wonderful…I used to throw the pulp in the compost but this butter is so good. I have it as an accompaniment to poached chicken, with cheese on toast and with fresh mozarella. Such a versatile outcome. Thank you so much for sharing. All the best. Cheers 🙂

  6. What an excellent recipe I have been trying for years to make something with the crabapples in my yard and this recipe and the hard cider recipe are winners. Thank you so much for this wonderful recipe. I added juice from two lemons to my batch and it is SO delicious. Thanks again

  7. I made this recipe last night and taste-tested this morning: delicious! I used a food mill since I didn’t have immersion blender…I only ended up with 1 1/2 pints from the 5 lbs. of apples…and I had to finish on stovetop with lid off for evaporation after 8 hours in covered crockpot to thicken. I wonder if it was because I used food mill and lost all that good pulp? Or should I have uncovered crockpot for last hour or two?

    1. It sounds like your crabapple sauce (puree) was especially wet. Since you only yielded 1 1/2 pints from 5 pounds of apples, I’m guessing your theory that your food mill failed to get all the puree out of the apples is probably correct. Crabapples have a ton of pectin, so it should have thickened up a lot faster than that.

  8. Thanks for the recipes! I picked my first crabapple tree last night going to try these recipes this week. How long do I have before I have to can?

  9. This is my first year canning as we have a crabapple tree now. I’ve made your jelly and this apple butter. Both delightful! I’m only getting 2 pints out of 6lbs of apples though, so maybe my food mill isn’t doing the job. What food mill do you use?

  10. Okay, getting ready to do something with a small batch of bright red crabapples. Would prefer to make a batch of sauce. But, quartering and removing seeds and center core from 1 inch and smaller apples is not only slow work, but kind of impossible to do a decent job. Do you have any suggestions? If I just make jelly could I skip the coring? Not really what I want to do, but wondering.

    Peace, Jack

    1. If you have a food mill, you could remove the blossom and stem ends and quarter the apples, but skip the coring. Then, run your finished sauce through the food mill to remove the cores and seeds. It’s still a lot of cut work, but better than doing everything manually. If you go this route (leaving the cores and seeds intact), you can also use the juice left over after making sauce to make crabapple jelly. Hope this helps.

  11. Thanks Erin for a great recipe. I was a little hesitant to do the all night crock pot, but it really worked well and it left the house smelling great. I did a couple of batches. Like everybody above, I did a little experimenting on the second. I did 2 cups of white sugar, 1 brown sugar, and added a half cup of molasses. I also added 1 extra teaspoon of cinnamon. I processed the apples through a Victorio food processor and made the whole process much easier.
    I whipped up a batch of baking powder biscuits this morning and spread it with apple butter. This is the first time I’ve tried to use my crab apples and I’m hooked for life! Thanks again.

  12. I cook the crabapples whole with water to cover the bottom row of apples, lid on, and then scoop the soft crabapples in small batches in my old fashioned cone shaped colander. There I squeeze the juice out with a round wooden round paddle but peelings, stems and cores can’t go through. Easy. My crabapples are only about an inch in diameter, The crockpot recipe works well. The crabapple butter is far tastier than apple butter. Gets rave reviews.

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