Slow Cooker Apple Butter

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.

Slow cooker apple butter with cinnamon sticks.
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❤️ 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.
Apple sauce in a bowl with a spoon, made using a slow cooker.

🍎 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.

Slow Cooker Applesauce with cinnamon sticks and apples.

🗒️ 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.

Slow cooker apple butter in a bowl with cinnamon sticks.

🥣 How To Make Crock Pot Apple Butter

Slow cooker apple butter with apples and cinnamon.
A slow cooker filled with cranberry sauce and apple butter.
A close up of a red sauce simmering in a pan.
  1. Start by peeling and slicing your Granny Smith apples. The peeling is crucial as it ensures a smooth texture for your apple butter.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Once the cooking time is up, stir in the vanilla extract. This adds a subtle depth and aroma to the apple butter.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
Apple sauce in a bowl with cinnamon sticks, slow cooker apple butter.

🍽️ How to Serve Slow Cooker Apple Butter

Breakfast Delights

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.

Apple sauce with cinnamon sticks simmered in a slow cooker.

🥡 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.

A spoon with a bowl of slow cooker apple butter.

❓ 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.

Slow cooker apple sauce in a bowl with cinnamon sticks.

🍏 More Apple Recipes You Will Love

Easy Apple Curd

Apple and Pear Chutney

Apple and Butternut Squash Galette

Coconut, Apple, and Raspberry Cobbler

Buckwheat Apple Muffins

Slow cooker apple butter with cinnamon sticks.

Slow Cooker Apple Butter

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.
5 from 53 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Condiments
Cuisine: American
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 hours
0 minutes
Total Time: 5 hours 10 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Author: Kristen Wood

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  • 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.
  • Enjoy!

Notes

Which Apples?: While Granny Smith apples are recommended for their tartness and firmness, don’t hesitate to experiment with different types of apples. Mixing varieties can create a unique blend of flavors and textures. Consider using a combination of tart and sweet apples for a well-rounded taste.
Sugar Adjustments: If you prefer a less sweet apple butter, reduce the sugar quantity or use a sugar substitute. Remember, the natural sweetness of the apples also contributes to the overall flavor.
Sugar Alternatives: Maple sugar is expensive but is absolutely amazing in apple butter (or any apple dessert for that matter). If you happen to have some on hand, this a great recipe to use it in! Otherwise, coconut sugar, brown sugar and regular white granulated sugar are delicious as well.
Balance Your Spices: The key to a great apple butter is in the balance of spices. Don’t overpower it with too much cinnamon, nutmeg, or ginger. Start with the recipe’s recommended amounts, then adjust according to your taste preferences.
Slow and Steady: The beauty of using a slow cooker is in the gradual cooking process, which allows flavors to develop fully. Resist the urge to speed up the process by setting the cooker on a higher temperature. Patience is vital here.
Consistency is Key: Use an immersion blender for a smooth, creamy texture. If you don’t have one, a regular blender works fine, but be cautious with the hot mixture. For a chunkier apple butter, a potato masher will do the trick.
Stir in Vanilla at the End: Adding vanilla extract towards the end of the cooking process ensures that its flavor remains potent and doesn’t evaporate during the long cooking time.
Make it Thicker: 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.

Storage Instructions

Fridge: 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.
Freeze: For longer storage, 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. Thaw it in the refrigerator overnight when you’re ready to use it.
 
 

Nutrition

Serving: 0.25cup | Calories: 275kcal | Carbohydrates: 71g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 0.1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.03g | Sodium: 76mg | Potassium: 314mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 61g | Vitamin A: 156IU | Vitamin C: 13mg | Calcium: 28mg | Iron: 0.5mg

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5 from 53 votes (41 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating




 

14 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This Apple Butter was totally worth the time. When it was ready, I tried it with toast. Oh my…I loved it. My kids preferred to add it to there oatmeal for breakfast. They loved it too. I think it’s safe to say that we really love this recipe. Thanks x

  2. 5 stars
    I used a mix of apples I had on hand and added a pinch of cloves for extra warmth. The texture of this apple butter is just perfect: so smooth and velvety! I made a big batch and canned some for later.

  3. 5 stars
    Made this using Fuji apples since it’s what I have onhand and they came out absolutely amazing! I had it for breakfast together with some waffles and it was just so delicious! Thanks for the recipe!

  4. 5 stars
    I usually make apple butter with sweet apples, but I tried this recipe and liked it so much better with Granny Smiths. It’s really good — my family ate it with a spoon 🙂

  5. 5 stars
    I used a mix of Fuji and Granny Smith apples for a balance of sweetness and tartness, and it turned out perfectly. Peeling the apples took some time, but it was worth it for that smooth texture. So yum!

  6. Hello,
    It just so happens that I have some fresh ginger root in my crisper. I am wondering whether fresh ginger could be used instead of ground? If so, how much would you recommend using?
    Thank you!

  7. 5 stars
    I love making apple butter and this recipe is so delicious! I did eat this with a spoon 🙂

  8. 5 stars
    This is such a delicious recipe, Kristen! My toddler and I really enjoyed putting it together in the slow cooker and we still have half in the freezer for next week (because we are going through it!). The spices are on point – really love the ginger. Can’t wait to make it again =]

  9. 5 stars
    I tend to make my apple butter with Spartan apples so this was a first for me! The Granny Smiths added such a nice tang.

  10. 5 stars
    I love apples so much! Tried this recipe of yours and it was perfect with my fav crackers! I love the taste and aroma of vanilla the most – really awesome recipe 🙂

  11. 5 stars
    Wow! This is really delicious. I’m glad I tried this recipe. I was able to use my leftover apples which were only about to spoil. Great with toast. I was able to make 3 jars. Cant wait to share with my mom when I visit.

  12. 5 stars
    I made this for my Bible study group and everyone loved it. I served it with toast so people could spread it on and it was a huge hit. It was such a delicious fall treat!

  13. 5 stars
    I highly recommend this apple butter recipe. I tried it yesterday, and it was really darn good.

    Thanks,
    Kimmy