The perfect apple butter recipe for canning, made on the stovetop or in your slow cooker. Optional apple brandy plus plenty of spices make this a fall classic you’ll make every year.
Table of contents
❤️ Why you’ll love this recipe
- Simple to make. This makes for an easy-to-follow guide for those who want to learn how to make their own apple butter at home without any fuss. I’ve included slow cooker instructions and a pretty printable recipe at the bottom.
- Super delicious. Once you taste homemade apple butter, there’s no going back. It tastes better than anything store-bought and has an amazing aroma that fills your kitchen while it’s cooking.
- Great for canning. You can even can it so that you always have some on hand! We have all the information you need to start making your own apple butter today.
This is an overview of the ingredients. You’ll find the full measurements and instructions in the printable recipe at the bottom of the page.
You’ll need the following for this fall treat:
- Fresh apples
- Apple brandy (This adds amazing flavor, but if you don’t have it, you can substitute apple cider or just plain water.)
- Light brown sugar
- Granulated sugar
- Bottled lemon juice. Canning recipes require bottled lemon juice because the acidity level is steady.
- Kosher salt
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- canning equipment
- mason jars
- vegetable peeler
Step One: weight and prep the apples
Before you start, prep your apples, all you need to do is peel them and quarter them.
The easiest way to peel these apples is to do it by hand. Even if you have a fancy apple peeler with a turning handle, you could have them all peeled twice by the time you set it up.
There’s no need to slice them! Just peel the apples and put them in the saucepan.
Step Two: cook apples until soft
Place apples, water, and apple brandy in a large saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to low, cover the saucepan, and simmer the apples until they are soft enough to be easily pierced with a fork.
Step three: add remaining ingredients and cook until thick
At first, the apple butter will look like cinnamon apple sauce. As it cooks down, it will thicken and become darker. As you stir it with a spoon, it should hold its shape in a sense instead of just flopping back like a pot of applesauce.
It won’t be as thick as jam but should be thicker than applesauce.
You want it to look like the third picture in this image before canning it.
Step Four: prep for canning
Fill hot jars with hot apple butter, leaving 1/4 inch of headspace. Wipe the rims clean and place the lids on top. Screw the bands on, tightening the jars until fingertip tight. Process in canner for 15 minutes, fully submerged.
🥫 Storage instructions
Like most canning recipes, properly canned apple butter will last at least a year in a cool, dark place. Once you’ve opened a jar, consume it within a week or two.
Apple brandy! It’s the secret ingredient in this recipe. There are many affordable brands of apple brandy these days, including the famous and expensive Calvados. I buy a brand that is less than $12 for this bottle, and it’s enough for a few batches of apple butter and a few drinks! But if you don’t have it and don’t want to get it, no worries. Just use apple cider or water.
Don’t stress over picking the right apples for apple butter; it really doesn’t matter! Granny smith is popular for baking and other apple sweets, but they are very firm and take a bit longer to soften.
It’s nice to have a blend of different varieties. I normally make apple butter on a day when we have a hodgepodge of apples, and I have never once worried about what variety to use.
Yes! Absolutely. Our favorite way to make this is in the slow cooker. It takes longer, and it isn’t really any easier. But the fragrance that fills your kitchen while the apples cook is amazing!
Instead of cooking the apples in a saucepan, just place them, the water, and the apple brandy in your slow cooker with the lid on. Turn it on low, and the apples will soften in about 4-6 hours. Puree the apples, add the remaining ingredients, and then use the slow cooker on high to finish cooking the apple butter. Place the lid on, but with a wooden spoon underneath so that moisture can escape. This step will take a few hours.
👩🏻🍳 Expert tips
- Make sure to cook it down long enough or else it won’t stay on your toast. It should thicken up like a jam.
- Apple butter freezes very well if you don’t want to can it.
- Weighing produce is always the most accurate way to measure.
📘 Related Recipes
🍽 Serve it with
- Homemade biscuits, of course! My four-ingredient biscuits are foolproof.
- There’s nothing like a PB&J with apple butter as the J. Try it on this homemade sandwich bread.
🍅 make it along with me
Follow along step by step. The slides will turn every 7 seconds, or you can click ahead.
Don’t forget to download your free styled recipe to keep in your recipe binder. Click here or on the image below, and it will open up instantly for you to print!
📖 Here’s the recipe
Old Fashioned Apple Butter
- Waterbath canning equipment
- Pint or half-pint jars
- 4 pounds apples, peeled and quartered about 12 medium apples
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup apple brandy can substitute apple cider or water
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 1 cup granulated. sugar
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon cloves
- 1 tablespoon bottled lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- Prepare waterbath canner and jars. Heat empty jars by running through the dishwasher or heating in a 200 degree oven. Place rings and lids in water to simmer. Fill the canner with water and place on stovetop. Depending on how fast your cooktop is, you can heat the canner now or later in the process.
- Cook the apples until soft. Place apples, water, and apple brandy in large saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to low, cover the saucepan, and simmer the apples until they are soft enough to be easily pierced with a fork.
- Blend the apples until smooth and add the sugar, spices, lemon juice, and salt. Using an immersion blender, blend the apples until completely smooth. Add the white sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, cloves, lemon juice, and salt. Stir until combined.
- Cook until thickened. Bring the apple butter to a simmer and cook, stirring frequently, until thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon. This step will take between 15-30 minutes. The apple butter will become darker as it cooks.
- Fill jars and process in canner. Fill hot jars with hot apple butter, leaving 1/4 inch of headspace. Wipe the rims clean and place the lids on top. Screw the bands on, tighteneing the jars until fingertip tight. Process in canner for 15 minutes, fully submerged.
- Cool and store. Let the jars rest on th counter 24 hours until cool and sealed. The jar lid should not move when pressed. Store in a cool, dark place for 1 year.