The best, easy homemade crockpot apple butter recipe from scratch, homemade with simple ingredients. Spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamon. Great as a spread, filling or topping. Rich, thick and smooth. Perfect for Fall and Thanksgiving breakfast and brunches.
Today's recipe is an awesome way to use up a surplus of apples, especially if you just went apple picking. It's fresh plus smells and tastes amazing, just like these Baked Apple Cider Donuts and Apple Fritters. Even though it's called butter, it doesn't have any butter in the recipe. It's mostly used as a spread, similar to how you would spread butter.
Table of contents
What is apple butter?
It's a very concentrated form of apple sauce that's created by cooking apples long and slow until the sugar in the apples caramelizes and turns a deep brown color. It's typically used as a spread but can also be used as a topping or filling or even glaze.
- Apples- Use a combination of Granny Smith, Fuji and Honey Crisp apples
- Sugar- Use a combination of brown and granulated sugar for best flavor.
- Spices and extracts- I like to use a combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, vanilla.
- Use a spice blend- Such as pumpkin pie spice or apple pie spice instead of the spices mentioned below.
- Can I make this without sugar? Yes, you can omit all sugars from the recipe but obviously, the end result won't be as sweet. You can also use artificial sweeteners. If you are planning on using no sugar at all, I highly recommend using sweeter apple varieties like Gala, Red Delicious and McIntosh.
- Add peanut butter- Mix in 1-2 tablespoon smooth peanut butter at the end to add a rich nutty flavor.
How to make apple butter in crockpot? Stovetop?
Slow cooker instructions
- Add apples, sugar and spices in crockpot.
- Mix, cover and cook on Low heat for 10 hours.
- Add vanilla.
- Puree until smooth.
- Uncover and cook on Low heat for 2 hours until thickened.
- Add all the ingredients plus 1 cup apple juice or apple cider in a large nonstick pot.
- Cover and cook on Low heat until apples are very soft.
- The, uncover and puree with a hand-held immersion blender until smooth.
- Cook uncovered for a bit longer until butter is thickened and reduced to your desired consistency.
What is this butter used for?
- Spread- On breads, bagels, pancake muffins, scones, biscuits.
- Filling- In cakes, yellow cupcakes, cinnamon rolls, pies, tarts.
- Topping- On buttermilk pancakes, waffles, crepes, oatmeal, ice cream.
- Flavor enhancer- To give smoothies, chai teas, coffees, milkshakes and other drinks an apple kick.
- Glaze- For savory dishes like pork chops and steak.
Tips and techniques
- Cook overnight- Since you are cooking "long and slow" for 12 hours, just dumping everything in the crockpot before going to bed and enjoy it in the morning for breakfast.
- Adjust amount of sugar- Some people like this sweet while others don't. Add more or less sugar, based on your preference. Use both, granulated and brown sugar for best flavor profile.
- Stir often- Because it allows everything to cook evenly.
- How do you know it's done? The apples will become very soft and would have broken down. The color would have also changed to dark brown. That's when you know it's ready and can be pureed.
- How to make it smooth? Use a hand-held immersion blender or you can use a regular blender too.
- Do you peel apples? I always do it because the peel takes longer to break down during cooking. The flavor DOES NOT change whether you peel or don't peel apples. It's your choice! Traditionally, the peel is not removed.
Both of them are slow cooked apples with spices. However, the butter is cooked for longer. This causes the sugar in the apples to caramelize and turning a deep brown color. It's smoother, thicker and has a more intense apple flavor than applesauce. It's basically a concentrated version of applesauce. The butter also has a longer shelf life of about 2 weeks than compared to simple applesauce.
Typically, you should use your favorite apples or ones whose flavor you like the most. I prefer using a combination of various apples such as Granny Smith, Fuji, McIntosh and Honey Crisp. You can also use Golden Delicious, which are softer.
Just cook it uncovered for longer to reduce the liquid further. It also thickens further as it cools.
- Once it comes to room temperature, store in sealed container or jar in the fridge for up to 2 week.
- You can also freeze this in a sealed container for up to 1 month. Let it thaw overnight in the fridge.
- Canning is another option. Just follow the typical canning method and store in a cabinet and you can enjoy it months later. Fill sterilized jars with butter, screw on lids and and submerge in boiling water for about 10 minutes. As the jars cool, the lids will suction down and pop, becoming airtight.
More apple desserts
- Easy Apple Crumble Pie
- Easy Apple Caramel Pie
- Homemade Apple Pie
- Apple Pie Cake
- Homemade Apple Pie Filling
- Easy Apple Turnover (With Puff Pastry)
- Chocolate Caramel Apples
- Old Fashioned Applesauce Cake
- Easy Apple Cake (With Cake Mix)
- Mini Apple Strudels
Crockpot Apple Butter
- Add the apples, brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom in slow cooker.
- Mix everything together.
- Cook on Low for about 10 hours, stirring often, until the mixture becomes thick and brown.
- Uncover and add vanilla extract.
- Use a hand-held immersion blender to puree everything until smooth.
- Then, continue cooking uncovered on Low for about 2 hours, stirring often.
- To thicken it, just cook it uncovered for longer. It will thicken more as it cools too.
- Adjust amount of sugar and spices based on your preference.
- Stir often to allow for even cooking.
- Leftovers can be stored in a sealed container or jar in the fridge for about 2 weeks. It can also be frozen in sealed containers for up to 1 month and thawed in the fridge overnight.
- Read additional tips and variations above.