Crock Pot Apple Butter for Canning

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When fall arrives, it’s time to go apple picking as a family! The perfect way to use those fresh apples is to make this easy crock pot apple butter recipe.

A spoon in a half pint jar of homemade apple butter with fresh apples in the background.

The first time I heard about apple butter, I assumed it was something like apple-flavored butter. After a quick search online, I realized it had nothing to do with butter!

It sounded delicious, so I tried making it on the stove top, but it was so time consuming and tiring to stir it constantly! I knew there had to be a better way, so I worked to create an original recipe for making crock pot apple butter and have been making it that way ever since.

By slow cooking apples, you can make a lot of apple butter at once and have it come out perfect every time. Even though it’s a long process to make apple butter in the slow cooker, it’s worth it because you can leave it for hours without stirring it!

And the best part if your whole family will love the spiced apple flavor of this creamy and versatile fruit butter. Apple season is the perfect time to give this easy apple butter recipe a try. As a side benefit, it will make your house smell amazing!

Ingredients

Apple Butter ingredients in bowls, including apples, vanilla, brown sugar, white sugar, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice.
  • 4 pounds of apples
  • ½ cup of granulated sugar
  • ½ cup of brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Equipment

  • Cutting Board
  • Knife
  • Apple corer
  • Apple Peeler
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Slow cooker
  • Mixing spoon
  • Immersion blender
  • Mason jars (1 quart, 2 pints or 4 half pints)

By the Numbers: How to Make Crockpot Apple Butter

Follow these simple step by step instructions to learn how to make the absolute best apple butter recipe in your crock pot or other slow cooker.

Step 1: Prepare Your Apples.

The first thing you need to do is core, peel and chop 4 pounds of apples. After you’ve done this, you can place them in your crock pot.

I use a gadget that cores and chops them, then I peel each of those pieces. I find that a little bit of peel cooks down and blends well, but if you want it extra smooth, make sure you get all of the peel removed.

Sliced apples in crock pot.

Step 2: Season Apple Slices.

Once all of the apples are in your crockpot, sprinkle ½ cup of brown sugar, ½ cup of white sugar, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and 1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice over them and stir.

Apple slices coated in sugar and spices in crock pot.

Step 3: Slow Cook and Mash Apples.

Turn the crockpot on low and allow the apples to cook for 8-10 hours or overnight. When they’re nice and soft, use a potato masher to break down the apples, then then continue cooking on low for 1-2 more hours. In the last hour of cooking, you’ll want to stir in the vanilla extract.

Slow cooked apples being mashed with a potato masher.

Step 5: Puree Apple Butter

Use an immersion blender to puree the apple mixture. It should be really thick… much thicker than homemade apple sauce. If it’s not thick enough, cook for longer.

If you don’t have a stick blender, you can use a food processor or blender to puree it. However, you’ll want to let it cool down first if you want to use one of those methods.

Apple butter being pureed with an immersion blender.

Step 6: Store Homemade Apple Butter.

When it reaches the desired consistency, transfer to a mason jar and store in the refrigerator or can it for storage in your pantry (see tips below for directions).

Homemade apple butter in a half pint jar with a spoon in it.

Tips for Making the Best Crock Pot Apple Butter

Answers to all of your questions about making apple butter in a crock pot, including tips and substitution ideas.

What does apple butter taste like?

Apple butter tastes like apple sauce, but much thicker and silkier with the flavors of warm fall spices added. It’s absolutely delicious!

How thick should apple butter be?

When it’s in the jar, it should be thick enough that you can turn it upside down and it won’t run down the sides of the jar like apple sauce would.

Apple butter in a quart jar that has been turned upside down to show how thick it is.

A spoon should also stand up straight in the jar without falling over. If it doesn’t, next time you’ll want to cook your apple butter for longer.

A spoon standing up in a jar of apple butter to show how thick it is when properly cooked down.

What kind of apple make the best apple butter?

You can use any variety of apples, but naturally sweet apples will taste better than tart apples like granny smith apples. You can also use a mix of apples, such as honey crisp apples, red delicious apples, golden delicious apples or your favorite variety.

Can apple butter be made from bruised apples?

Yes! This is the perfect recipe for using bruised apples so they don’t go to waste. Just make sure there aren’t creatures living in the apples.

Can this recipe be doubled?

It will depend on the size of your slow cooker, but you should be able to double this recipe if you want a larger batch of apple butter for canning. As written, you’ll get one quart or two pint jars of apple butter from this recipe.

Dark brown or light brown sugar?

While you can use either light brown or dark brown sugar in this recipe, the darker variety will give a richer flavor to your apple butter.

Can this recipe be made in the Instant Pot?

If you’d like to make Instant Pot Apple Butter instead of using your slow cooker, use the same ingredients and follow these directions:

  1. Pressure cook on high pressure for 90 minutes.
  2. When the time has elapsed, allow for a natural pressure release for 10 minutes then release any remaining pressure. 
  3. Open the lid, then use an immersion blender to puree the cooked apples until smooth.
  4. Use the Slow Cook function on high and cook down the sauce for around 2 hours, stirring frequently, with the glass lid on top so steam can escape.
  5. Add vanilla in the last hour of cooking, just like in the slow cooker version.
  6. When it’s thick enough, transfer to jars and store in the fridge or can to save for later.

How to eat apple butter?

My favorite thing about this homemade apple butter recipe is how versatile it is. While it’s super tasty to eat a spoonful of it, here are some other ways to enjoy it:

  • Stirred into oatmeal or yogurt for breakfast
  • Peanut butter and apple butter on Gluten Free Sandwich Bread for lunch
  • Spread onto toast or English muffins
  • Poured over ice cream as a topping
  • Sweet topping to complement savory dishes like pork chops
  • A jar also makes a great gift for hostesses of holiday parties!

How to can apple butter?

If you want to make a big batch of apple butter to add to your food storage, you can use a water bath canning process:

  1. While still hot, fill sterile jars with hot apple butter, leaving ¼ inch of headspace.
  2. Release any trapped air bubbles, then wipe the rims of each canning jar with a damp cloth so it’s clean. Center the lids on the jars and secure them with the jar bands to finger tight.
  3. Place jars in a hot water bath canner using jar lifters, place the lid on the pot and process pints for 15 minutes or quarts for 20 minutes.
  4. Turn off heat, remove lid and let the jars rest for 5 minutes before transferring them to a clean towel to cool for 24 hours.
  5. If sealed, transfer to the pantry or food storage. If not sealed, place in the refrigerator for immediate use.

Can you freeze apple butter?

This is a wonderful recipe for freezing. Allow the apple butter to cool to room temperature, then transfer to freezer safe containers, leaving about 1 inch of headspace so there’s room for expansion. You can leave the apple butter in the freezer for up to one year.

How long does apple butter last?

The shelf life of this crockpot apple butter recipe is 3 weeks if not processed in a canner. If canned, it should last for up to one year if stored in a cool, dark place. Once opened, use within 3 weeks.

Where to get the best apples?

You’ll usually get sweeter apples if you go straight to the local apple orchard and pick the apples when they’re ripe. If there’s not one near you, try a Farmer’s Market for good apples or another great place to shop is Misfits Market. As a last resort, you can use apples from your local grocery store.

More Fall recipes?

If you’re looking for another great recipe that’s full of fall flavors or more apple recipes, try one of these:

Close up of thick apple butter in a jar with a spoon.

Crock Pot Apple Butter Recipe

Learn how to make the best slow cooker apple butter recipe in your crock pot. The warm spices in this easy recipe make it a Fall favorite!
4.75 from 4 votes
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Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 12 hours
Total Time: 12 hours 30 minutes
Recipe Servings: 8

Ingredients

Equipment

  • Cutting Board
  • Knife
  • Apple corer
  • Apple peeler
  • Slow cooker
  • Mixing spoon
  • Immersion blender
  • Mason jars (1 quart, 2 pints or 4 half pints)

Instructions

  • Core, peel and chop apples, then place them in your slow cooker.
    Sliced apples in crock pot.
  • Sprinkle the sugars, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice over them and stir.
    Apple slices coated in sugar and spices in crock pot.
  • Turn the crockpot on low and let the apple butter cook for 8-10 hours or overnight. Mash the apples (I used a potato masher), then continue cooking on low 2-3 more hours.
    Slow cooked apples being mashed with a potato masher.
  • Use an immersion blender to puree the apple mixture then add the vanilla then cook for one more hour to thicken.
    Apple butter being pureed with an immersion blender.
  • Store your home made apple butter an airtight container in the refrigerator once cooled to room temperature or can it for later.
    Homemade apple butter in a half pint jar with a spoon in it.

Nutrition Information Per Serving

Calories: 221kcal | Carbohydrates: 58g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 0.5g | Saturated Fat: 0.1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.02g | Sodium: 6mg | Potassium: 265mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 49g | Vitamin A: 124IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 29mg | Iron: 0.4mg

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