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.
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
- Prep fruit, 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.
🧂 about the Ingredients
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
make sure to weigh and prep the apples first!
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.
🥫 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 butter freezes very well if you don’t want to can it. Try pouring the finished product into freezer bags and freezing fllat for easy storage. When you’re ready to eat, defrost them overnight in the fridge and pour into a mason jar for easy serving!
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.