Slow Cooker Apple Butter is not only easy to prepare but also fills your home with an irresistible aroma. Perfect anytime, from cozy fall breakfasts to festive holiday gatherings, this apple butter is sure to impress with its rich flavors and versatility.
❤️ Why You Will Love This Recipe
- Effortless Preparation: Just combine the ingredients in a slow cooker and let it do the magic.
- Versatile Use: This easy apple butter recipe is great on biscuits, toast, oatmeal, or even as a layer in a yogurt parfait.
- Long Shelf Life: It can be refrigerated, frozen, or even canned for future enjoyment.
- Customizable Sweetness: Adjust the sugar types and amounts to your liking.
- Warm, Spiced Flavor: Cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg offer classic, comforting tastes.
- Healthier Alternative: A better option compared to store-bought, preservative-laden spreads.
- Perfect for Gifting: Jar it up and share it as a thoughtful, homemade gift.
- Kid-Friendly: A hit with children as a snack or breakfast spread.
- Dietary Friendly: Easily adaptable for various dietary needs.
🍎 What is Apple Butter?
Apple butter is a rich and concentrated form of applesauce, renowned for its deep, caramelized flavor and smooth, spreadable texture. It’s made by slow-cooking apples with sugar and a blend of warm spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger until they become thick and velvety. Unlike applesauce, apple butter is cooked longer, allowing the sugars in the apples to caramelize, giving it a darker color and a more intense apple flavor. This delightful spread is not actually a butter but gets its name from its butter-like consistency and the smooth, creamy texture it possesses.
🗒️ Ingredients and Substitutes
Apples: The star of the show! Granny Smith apples are ideal for their tartness and firm texture, which balances the sweetness and holds up well during slow cooking. However, feel free to experiment with other varieties like Fuji, Gala, Golden Delicious, or McIntosh for different flavor profiles.
Sugar: A mix of maple sugar and white sugar is recommended for a unique, rich sweetness. Maple sugar adds a special touch, but it can be pricey. As alternatives, coconut sugar or light brown sugar work wonderfully too, adding their own distinct flavors.
Ground Cinnamon, Ginger, and Nutmeg: These spices are essential for that classic apple butter warmth and depth. Cinnamon is the dominant flavor, while ginger adds a slight kick, and nutmeg offers a nutty, slightly sweet undertone. You can try adding ground cloves for an even more aromatic alternative.
Vanilla Extract: A dash of vanilla extract brings a subtle sweetness, rounding out the flavors beautifully. Pure vanilla extract is preferred for the best quality and taste.
🥣 How To Make Crock Pot Apple Butter
- Start by peeling and slicing your Granny Smith apples. The peeling is crucial as it ensures a smooth texture for your apple butter.
- Place the sliced apples in your slow cooker. Add your choice of granulated sugar, ground cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and a pinch of salt. This combination will infuse your apple butter with those warm, spiced flavors.
- Close the lid and set your slow cooker on high for 5 hours or low for 10 hours. This slow cooking process allows the flavors to meld beautifully and the apples to break down completely.
- Once the cooking time is up, stir in the vanilla extract. This adds a subtle depth and aroma to the apple butter.
- Use an immersion blender to puree the apple mixture until smooth and creamy. If you prefer a chunkier texture, a hand masher can achieve that rustic feel.
- Tip: If the apple butter isn’t quite thick enough, allow it to cook on low in the slow cooker for 2 more hours with the lid off.
- Your homemade slow cooker apple butter is now ready to be enjoyed! Spread it on toast, swirl it into oatmeal, or use it as a sweet glaze for veggies.
🍽️ How to Serve Slow Cooker Apple Butter
Imagine starting your day with a warm piece of toast or a fluffy biscuit, generously spread with homemade apple butter. Its sweet and tangy flavor also makes it a perfect partner for oatmeal, yogurt, or pancakes. For a weekend treat, try dolloping it on waffles or mixing it into your morning smoothie for a hint of autumnal flavor.
Sweet and Savory Pairings
Apple butter isn’t just for sweet dishes; it pairs wonderfully with savory items too. It can be used as a glaze for roasted vegetables, adding a sweet depth to the aroma. It’s also a great addition to a cheese platter, complementing both sharp and mild cheeses. Spread it on crackers or a slice of artisan bread for a quick and tasty snack.
Desserts and Baking
For those who love baking, apple butter can be a secret ingredient in your desserts. Use as a substitute for applesauce in recipes for a richer flavor. It’s excellent in muffins, cakes, and even as a filling for pastries. And for a simple yet satisfying dessert, top a scoop of vanilla ice cream with a spoonful of apple butter.
A Gift from the Heart
Lastly, homemade apple butter makes a thoughtful and delicious gift. Pack it in pretty jars, add a ribbon, and you have a perfect present for holidays, hostesses, or just to show someone you care.
🥡 Storing Apple Butter
Once cooled, transfer the apple butter into airtight jars or containers. It can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 months. This method is perfect if you plan to use the apple butter regularly for your daily meals and snacks.
For longer storage, crockpot apple butter can be frozen. Pour it into freezer-safe containers or jars, leaving some space at the top as it will expand when frozen. It can be kept in the freezer for up to 6 months. It’s well worth making two batches at once and freezing half for later! Thaw it in the refrigerator overnight when you’re ready to use it.
❓ Frequently Asked Questions
Can I make apple butter without a slow cooker?
Yes, you can make apple butter on the stovetop or in the oven, though it requires more frequent stirring to prevent burning.
Is peeling the apples necessary?
Yes, peeling the apples is recommended for a smooth texture. However, if you prefer a more rustic apple butter, you can leave the skins on.
Can I use frozen apples for this recipe?
Yes, frozen apples can be used, but they may increase the cooking time slightly due to the extra moisture.
Is apple butter the same as applesauce?
No, apple butter is cooked longer than applesauce, resulting in a thicker, more concentrated spread with a deeper flavor.
Can I can apple butter for longer shelf life?
Yes, apple butter can be canned using proper canning techniques and stored in a cool, dark place for up to a year.
🍏 More Apple Recipes You Will Love
Slow Cooker Apple Butter
- 5 pounds apples of choice I like to use Granny Smith
- 1 ¼ cups granulated sugar of choice I like to use a mix of maple sugar and white sugar
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Add the apples, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt to a slow cooker.
- Cook on high for 5 hours or low for 10 hours.
- Add the vanilla extract. Mix well.
- Use an immersion blender or regular blender to blend the apple butter mixture until smooth and creamy. If you would like an apple butter with a coarser texture, you can use a hand masher instead until you reach your desired consistency.
- Serve right away or keep stored in an airtight Mason jar in the refrigerator for up to 2 months. Alternatively, you can freeze apple butter for up to 6 months.