Kick off fall with a batch of crockpot apple butter. This is my recipe that I’ve been making for over a decade. I like to throw the ingredients into my crockpot before bed, so most of the cooking happens while we’re asleep.
6 lbs apples (that’s approx. 24 small, 18 medium or 12 large apples)
1-1/2 cups sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
Soft apples work best for apple butter because they break down quickly. Braeburn, Cortland, Fuji, Gravenstein, Grimes Golden, Jonamac, Ida Red, Liberty and McIntosh are all good picks. But don’t let that stop you from using other apple varieties. I just buy whatever’s on the reduced-price rack at the grocery store.
What You Do:
Peel, core and chop your apples into small pieces. Smaller pieces cook down faster than larger pieces.
Pro Tip: If you have an apple corer, cut your peeled apples in half at the equator, before you push them through the corer. This will give you the little, chopped pieces you need, without having to cut them by hand.
Load your apples into a four quart or larger crockpot. It’s okay if they mound over the top.
Then, add the sugar and spices; place the lid on top, and cook on high for one hour. Don’t worry if the apples are piled too high for the lid to fit tightly.
After the hour is up, remove the lid; give your apples a good stir; then, drop the heat to low, and continue to cook your apples, stirring regularly, until they turn dark brown and develop a thick, spreadable consistency.
If you want to, you can blend the apples into sauce around the four to six hour mark. This isn’t a must, but it does seem to speed up the cooking process a bit.
Expect it to take around 12 hours (and maybe longer) for your apples to cook down into apple butter. It’ll vary based on the apples you use and how hot your crockpot cooks. But it’s almost all hands-off time. Just give your apple butter a quick stir every once in a while to keep the bottom from burning.
See how thick and dark the finished product is? There’s absolutely no mistaking it for applesauce.
Jar your apple butter up, and store it in the fridge, or freeze it (in freezer-safe containers) for long-term storage. This recipe freezes beautifully, and makes a wonderful gift. Use these free, printable canning labels to label your jars.
Apple Butter Tips
- Use a mix of apple varieties for the best flavor
- Short on time? Speed up the cooking time by cooking your apple butter on high, and stirring more often
- Start your apple butter early in the morning, or just before bed, so it’ll have plenty of time to cook down
- Have a large crockpot? Double the recipe to increase your yield
- This recipe calls for a lot less sugar than most apple butter recipes, but feel free to reduce it further (or to substitute the sugar called for with a sugar substitute)
3 pints (approx.)Print
- 6 lbs apples (that’s approx. 24 small, 18 medium or 12 large apples)
- 1–1/2 cups sugar
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
Peel, core and chop your apples into small pieces, so they cook down quickly.
Then, pile your apples into a crockpot (4 quarts or larger), and add the sugar and spices.
Cover, and cook on high for one hour. Then, remove the lid; stir; and cook on low, stirring regularly, until the apples cook down to a dark, thick spread. This usually takes around 12 hours.
Jar up your apple butter, and store it in the fridge or freezer. It freezes beautifully.
- Braeburn, Cortland, Fuji, Gravenstein, Grimes Golden, Jonamac, Ida Red, Liberty and McIntosh are all good varieties for apple butter, but really, any apple variety will make good apple butter.
- Start your apple butter in the morning, or shortly before bed, so it has plenty of time to cook and cool.
- This recipe can be doubled, if you have a big enough crockpot.
- Speed things up by cooking your apple butter on high, and stirring more frequently, to prevent burning.
- Use several apple varieties for the best flavor.
Another Apple Recipe to Try