This easy Crockpot Apple Butter makes a thick, sweet sauce that you will want to spread on all the things from English muffins and pancakes to bowlfuls of vanilla ice cream. The best part is the wonderfully spicy, sweet aroma of cinnamon and apples that will fill your home all day long!
Americans eat more apples than any other fruit every year and this is one of the best way to enjoy them when they are in season in the Fall. We also love apple recipes like Creamy Apple Cider Chicken Skillet, Homemade Applesauce, and German Apple Pancakes with Cider Syrup!
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Apple butter is so well-loved, that I know of at least THREE festivals in different states that celebrate the stuff. Ohio, West Virginia, and Missouri all have annual apple butter festivals that have been held every year for decades now! In those cases, giant copper kettles are used to slowly simmer bushels of apples all day long with constant stirring over open fires until the apples have cooked all the way down into a thick spread.
But it's incredibly easy and fun to make this crockpot apple butter recipe apple butter in the comfort of your own kitchen! It's one of our favorite fall recipes and so much better and less expensive than store bought.
If you have ever seen the jars of apple butter at the store, they are way expensive compared to the cost of making an entire batch of this easy apple butter recipe in your crock pot!
Every year we go apple picking with our girls at a local apple orchard and we always come home with so many apples it seems like we will never use them all. Making homemade apple butter is the perfect solution! It's also a great gift to share with neighbors and friends.
What is apple butter?
Apple butter is a thicker, more condensed version of homemade apple sauce that is combined with sugar and spices to make an almost jam-like spread. There isn't any actual butter in the recipe.
Apple butter has a luxuriously smooth texture thanks to a long, slow cooking process that breaks down and caramelizes the Granny Smith apples. After a quick turn in the blender to smooth it out, this apple butter tastes almost like apple pie in a spreadable form!
What You'll Need
Scroll down to the recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.
- Apples - You can use just one type or a variety of apples for this recipe. Granny Smith and golden delicious apples are my favorite choice for this recipe.
- Sugar - We use a combination of brown sugar and white sugar to balance sweetness and flavor, but you can use all brown sugar if you like.
- Ground cinnamon
- Lemon juice
- Vanilla extract
How to Make Crockpot Apple Butter
Peel, core, and slice about 6 ½ pounds of apples. You could leave the peels on if you really wanted. The long, slow cooking process is going to break everything down almost entirely anyway, and then the food processor will do the rest of the work for you. But I always peel mine anyway.
Add everything to the slow cooker. Toss the apples with granulated sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt. Give everything a stir to distribute the sugar and spices, then secure the lid.
Let them apples cook simmer! Cook on LOW heat for 8-10 hours, stirring every 2-3 hours so the apples don't burn on the bottom. The apples will start to break down and turn a dark brown color.
Blend. Use an immersion blender or transfer to a food process or blender. If using the blender, be sure not to place the lid on tight or the heat from the apple butter will cause it to explode off and make a terrible mess in your kitchen. Instead, prop the lid and cover the blender with a towel. Blend or process until smooth, then transfer to jars and cool completely before storing in the fridge.
Tips for Success
- Use good apples. If you cut into them and find the apples are mealy or not very flavorful, you won't get good apple butter. Look for sweeter apples or another kind of apple that has good flavor to start out with rather than relying on too much sugar and cinnamon for a spiced apple flavor.
- Feel free to adjust the cinnamon and sugar. You can taste the apples and add more sugar, cinnamon and cloves to get the apple butter just how you like it, whether that's on the sweeter side or the spicier side.
Ways to use Apple Butter
Apple butter is delicious either warm or cold, although I think it's flavor is best the next day when it has cooled completely overnight in the fridge.
Apple butter can be used in baking or as a condiment and spread it on fresh bread, toast, muffins, ice cream, or even savory options like pan seared pork chops or chicken breasts. It's even great on just graham crackers!
I prefer using a variety of tart apples and sweet apples for this crockpot apple butter because it gives the best, most cider-y flavor. Softer apples tend to be popular since they break down better, which make them perfect for the best apple butter. Some of our favorites are Granny Smith, golden delicious, fuji, braeburn, gala, and jonagold. But even crispier apple varieties like honeycrisp, envy, pink lady, and jazz will break down with the long cooking time.
Sure! If you find it easier to blend the apples first, you can add the peeled and chopped apples into a large blender along with ⅔ cup water and blend until broken down, then add this to the slow cooker with the sugar and cinnamon. I have done it both ways with the same results.
Yes, I recommend peeling the apples so you don't end up with chunks of apple peel in the apple butter. Even after blending I feel like you don't get as smooth of a texture when the apples haven't been peeled first.
Yes, you can easily halve the batch of apple butter, although I would recommend using a smaller slow cooker if you have one.
How to Store
We think apple butter is best cold or at room temperature. It can be kept in the fridge for 2-3 weeks or in the freezer for up to 6 months.
This recipe makes about 2 pint-sized jars or 4 half-pint mason jars of apple butter, which make fantastic gifts for friends and neighbors, particularly if you deliver it with a loaf of my Amish white bread.
Can you freeze apple butter?
Yes, apple butter will freeze really well! This easy recipe makes a lot of apple butter so if you aren't planning to share with friends or neighbors it will last for at least a couple weeks in the fridge. I like to hoard it in the freezer where it will last for 4-6 months. Just thaw it in the fridge before using.
Even more apple recipes
- Slow Cooker Homemade Apple Cider
- Apple Crisp
- Secret Ingredient Baked Apples
- Dutch Apple Pie
- Slow Cooker Applesauce Pulled Chicken Sandwiches
- Easy Apple Oatmeal Muffins
Did you make this recipe?
Let me know what you thought with a comment and rating below. You can also take a picture and tag me on Instagram @houseofnasheats or share it on the Pinterest pin so I can see.
Homemade Crockpot Apple Butter
- 12-14 Granny Smith apples, or another variety, peeled, cored, and sliced into chunks (about 6 ½ pounds)
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- ¾ cup brown sugar
- ½ lemon, juiced
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Peel, core and chop or slice the apples into chunks.
- Add the apples to the crockpot with the granulated sugar, brown sugar, lemon juice, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt.
- Cover and cook on LOW for 10 hours, stirring every couple of hours until the apples have almost completely broken down and turned dark brown and thick.
- Use an immersion blender or transfer the apple butter to a food processor or blender. If using a blender, don't secure the lid completely or the pressure buildup from the hot apples will cause it to pop off. Use a towel to cover the blender instead. Process until smooth, then cool completely. Refrigerate for up to 2 weeks or freeze for up to 6 months.
- Serve over biscuits, english muffins, fresh bread, toast, pancakes, waffles, french toast, ice cream, crackers, or even pan seared pork chops or chicken breasts.
- Apples: Honeycrisp, gala, envy, and golden delicious are also all great options.
This post was originally published in August, 2020. The photos and content were updated in September, 2022.