Slow Cooker Apple Butter 911

140 comments

I’ve always loved teaching.

When I was a young girl, I used to play school with my stuffed animals and any friends that I could trick into being a student in my class. I made an Attendance List (the students didn’t always show up on time!) and I taught math, writing, art, and deep life lessons from a 4th grader.

Turning to my stuffed duck “Quackers”, I would often say, “Quackers, why were you late for school this morning? I’m going to have to see you after class today.”

Sighing, I marked a big “L” beside his name.

“Jonathan and Annabel, please stop talking while the lesson is being taught.”

”PLEASE STOP TALKING CLASS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ANNABELLLLLLLLLLL”

It wasn’t always roses and puppy dogs.

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While I didn’t end up becoming a teacher, I do like to pretend I’m one on the blog. I also know when you’re skipping class!

But today, I’d like to be the student. And I think you can help…

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I’m on a fruit butter making kick.

Earlier this week, I made my beloved pumpkin butter in a slow cooker and turned out wonderfully.

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I’ve been spreading it on everything and mixing it into oatmeal. As soon as I see sugar pumpkins at the market, I will be making pumpkin butter from fresh pumpkins later this Fall.

After my pumpkin butter success, I decided to make apple butter. I’ve never made it before, but I absolutely LOVE it. I researched about 10 different apple butter recipes, trying to decide the best way to make it (there are a lot of methods!). I decided to go with the most popular apple butter recipe on All Recipes with 5 stars and 525 reviews. Although, without the 4 cups of white sugar…

I added fresh ginger, ground cloves, cinnamon sticks, 1/3 cup Sucanat, and a 1/4 cup of apple juice instead.

Then I bought 5 pounds of local, sweet apples!

It took me just 10 minutes to peel 5 pounds of apples. Not too shabby!

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(That picture only shows half the apples)

I diced the apples. I added cinnamon sticks, fresh ginger, apple juice, ground cloves, and a touch of Sucanat.

Mix in slow cooker:

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I heated on high covered for 1 hour. I waited.

Then I turned the heat to low, still covered, and cooked for another 15 and 1/2 hours. I waited. I may have slept.

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I came downstairs hoping to find thick and dark apple butter, but no such luck. I think it’s somewhere in between applesauce and apple butter right now!…

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I’ve been cooking it on medium heat, uncovered, for a couple hours so far this morning.

And I’m praying for a miracle.

Anyone have any words of advice for me? Did I make it all wrong?

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{ 140 comments… read them below or add one }

Renata September 15, 2011

Omg. I just had a dream about apple butter…you are PSYCHIC! Looks delish :)

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Jackie Smith September 15, 2011

I think you’re on the right track–trying to cook off the water. I hope there’s a happy update coming soon. :)

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Hilliary @ Happily Ever Healthy September 15, 2011

I have never made apple butter, but want to someday. Apple butter was always a favorite of mine growing up!

PS: I made your Apple Pie oats this morning and LOVED them! It was the perfect breakfast for a very chilly MInnesota morning!!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) September 15, 2011

Glad you enjoyed it!

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Danielle September 15, 2011

It looks delicious! Its been cooking for a while, I wonder if taking t for a spin in the Vita Mix would get it to the consistency you want?

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Erin @ The Grass Skirt September 15, 2011

Do you think that you need to add more apples? Personally, I think it looks delicious!

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Lauren at Keep It Sweet September 15, 2011

I need to go home and make this! Love your new header:-)

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Claire @ Live and Love to Eat September 15, 2011

That must smell incredible! I thought about making homemade apple butter but it’s so much easier to buy it! :)

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Sara September 15, 2011

I love making apple butter! I always use a stick blender at the the end to smooth it out and give it the right consistency. Also, I don’t really use a recipe, but just add apple cider, cinnamon, and ground cloves and it turns out great! Good luck!

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Michelle September 15, 2011

Last year I made the apple butter recipe from my beloved crockpot book Fresh From the Vegetarian Slow Cooker.

If I remember right, I cooked the apples on low for several hours and then took the lid off and cooked it a couple more hours on high. My apartment smelled AMAZING. If memory serves, the total cooking time was around 8 hours.

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haya September 15, 2011

apple butter takes a long long time to get to a lovely thick buttery consistency. just keep cooking it!

i usually start with making apple sauce and then put the spices in with the sauce in the slow cooker and it still takes many many many hours, so don’t give up yet.

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Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table September 15, 2011

Wish I could help. but I’ve never used a slow cooker. I always thought of it as something my grandmother used, but they are popping up all over lately. Time to break down and buy one tr try. :)

Good luck!

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Shelly September 15, 2011

I found a recipe for apple butter on The Kitchn and they said just to cook applesauce on low on the stove top until it turns into apple butter….So it sounds like you’re on the right track. Here’s the link if it helps.
http://www.thekitchn.com/thekitchn/tips-techniques/apples-galore-how-to-make-apple-butter-097454

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Cait's Plate September 15, 2011

It still looks delicious though! I would happily eat it up in it’s current form. I’ve never made apple butter before so I don’t know what to tell you – hopefully all it needs is more time?!

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Megan @ The Detoxinista September 15, 2011

I’d assume that cooking it longer would eventually evaporate more of the liquid, and concentrate those yummy flavors. I’d probably throw it in the Vita-Mix to finish! Wish I could be more help, but I’ve never tried making apple butter, either! Google is usually my best friend in situations like this. ;)

Hope you figure it out!

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Julie September 15, 2011

Angela, I make apple butter every fall. It makes for great Christmas gifts, and everyone always loves it. This is how I do it. I core the apples and cut them in half (no peeling required). I bake them on a cookie sheet with a some water until they are soft. Then, the peels just come right off, and I scoop out the soft flesh. I blend most of it in the food processor, reserving some of the cooked apple mush to stir into it after the rest is pureed to give it some texture. Then I add the sugar and spices and cook it in the crock pot with the lid tilted for 8-10 hours. I sometimes have to add in a bit of apple juice throughout the cooking if it cooks down too much. The consistency is perfect, and the flavors get very concentrated.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) September 15, 2011

Thanks Julie!

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Gina @ Running to the Kitchen September 15, 2011

I hope it comes out well! I wouldn’t have used the 4 cups of sugar either, that’s a bit much no?

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Sara September 15, 2011

I think it’s on it’s way to deliciousness. Even if it doesn’t completely break down, chunky apple butter is probably great. This post reminds me that I’ve really been neglecting my slow cooker.

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Holly @ The Runny Egg September 15, 2011

No clue — but I would have a hard time waiting that long for it to work! It looks incredible and I would love to lift up the lid and get a big whiff. Yum!

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AGS September 15, 2011

Oh my goodness. Such memories. The first apple butter making experience involved me as an 8-year-old helping my Mom and a friend. I managed to badly slice my hand with an apple peeler. . . The second apple butter experience was just with my Mom. We got everything going. I think we were trying an oven-baked version, as opposed to stove top. We went off into the living room for stories, and then my brother and I went to bed. The next morning, I found out my Mom and fallen asleep, or gotten into listening to the radio or something. . . and the apple butter was burned! However, my Mom managed to salvage some of it (though you still kind of had a burnt apple taste on your toast from the spread).

Anyway, on both occassions, though, everyone was surprised how long it took for the water to evaporate (as is what lead my Mom to forget about it in the oven, I think). So, have no fear, you are on the right track. Just be sure to monitor it every hour. (wouldn’t want a burnt apple butter story to appear on your blog in a couple weeks. . .).

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Angela (Oh She Glows) September 15, 2011

Thanks so much!!

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Ashley September 15, 2011

Oh no!!! I hope it turns out [i just wrote "oat" bahaha] edible at least!! That was a lot of apples! :) Seriously…must.make.pumpkin.butter.now!!! I remember guzzling that stuff last year. p.s.imissyousomuch

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Ari@ThE DiVa DiSh September 15, 2011

I’ve never made apple butter before…But it looks amazing still! If anything, it will be like really delicious applesauce! ;) You could probably puree it in the vitamix too!

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Alicia @culinarybliss September 15, 2011

I think you just need to keep cooking it down. If you want to speed things up, do it on the stovetop. This way more liquid evaporates. Here’s my post about apple butter and canning it. http://culinarybliss.blogspot.com/2008/12/gifts-easy-last-minute-food-gifts-for.html

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je September 15, 2011

I think it looks delicious! If you want it thicker, maybe you could give it a whirl in the blender, then put it back in the CrockPot to keep cooking off the water?

I am looking forward to hearing how it turns out. I have always wanted to make apple butter.

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Kristen @ Popcorn on the Stove September 15, 2011

I want to give out little jars of apple butter as favors for our wedding so I’m very interested to see if this works! I hope it does!!

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Sweet and Savvy September 15, 2011

Wow! What an awesome way to make homemade apple butter! :) I never would have thought of using a slowcooker!

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Lisa September 15, 2011

I would use an immersion blender in it. It looks tasty!!

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Savina September 15, 2011

Anyone ever freeze this or pumpkin butter? Thinking about making a big batch and freezing so I can enjoy all fall.

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kati August 11, 2013

I freeze apple butter all the time. Instead of putting it in jars, just put it in freezer containers and put in the freezer.

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WendyF September 15, 2011

Question for you regarding the pumpkin butter, did you use the exact same recipe as your stove top method or did you make any modifications? I want to make the pumpkin butter this weekend and I love the idea of making it in the slow cooker.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) September 15, 2011

Yup, I used the same recipe and just cooked in on high for 45 mins or so and then on low until the thick, dark consistency was achieved.

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wendyf September 15, 2011

Yum! That’s great to hear. I haven’t been able to find any in Ottawa — I will be making it this tomorrow:-D

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Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat September 15, 2011

That’s it – you and Mama Pea have both convinced me this morning that I need a slow cooker!! Regardless of whether it’s apple sauce or apple butter, I’m sure it will be delicious!

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Heather @ Get Haalthy with Heather September 15, 2011

I’ve never tried making apple butter before… Does it need to be blended after? If it’s a super cinnamony apple sauce mixture then I think it’ll still be a hit!

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Truc September 15, 2011

Two thoughts. First, echoing previous commenters, apple butter in my experience takes a LONG time to cook down (and I’ve generally done it on the stovetop). With a lid on the slow cooker, I imagine evaporation of the water would be slowed.

Second, I’ve made a bunch of batches of apple butter, and I’ve found that the color varies considerably, so don’t stress about that. My latest batch has the right texture and taste, but is surprisingly light in color.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) September 15, 2011

Interesting, thanks so much!

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random September 15, 2011

When my mom used to make it she only used the juice of the apples and cooked that down nice and slowly into a thick and delicious paste. Good luck!

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Ana September 15, 2011

You’re close! I make mine without any added sugar-it really doesn’t need it. I throw in everything at night and by morning it looks like watery applesauce. Then I use a hand blender to smooth everything out. It it’s not the consistency of a spead/butter, I cook it down on the stove to remove the juices. Works perfect! Good luck : )

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Aine @ Something to Chew Over September 15, 2011

I’ve no idea! Still looks yummy though! :)

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Erin September 15, 2011

Great post Angela – I was actually thinking of making some apple butter this weekend! It sounds like you are on the right track, but I agree that leaving the lid on the slow cooker probably made evaporation minimal, especially if yours has a good seal on it.
We have a tree at home that is overflowing with golden delicious apples…maybe not the ideal variety for apple butter but worth a try! I asked a friend, and she suggested stewing them – cut around bugs or just cook them then core and with skins on. Use a European tomatoe press to take out the yuckies. Now I have to go shop for a tomatoe press!

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Dani September 15, 2011

You didn’t do it wrong! It has to cook for a LONG time. Seriously I cooked mine for over 24 hours. It keeps getting darker and better the longer you leave it, I promise! Keep chugging along!!!

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Hannah Hawley September 15, 2011

I live inside my Google Reader too much, LOVE the header!

As for applebutter, the one other time I have made it, I started by making homemade applesauce (quartered apples with a cup of water or cider and cook till mushy, then push through a Foley Food Mill) and added my seasoning and cooked that down.
Your’s is looking fantastic. Just keep an eye on it, and if you want it smoother, blend it up!

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Caitlin @ Cake with Love September 15, 2011

Apple butter is delicious, my granmother always makes it, we have a beatiful orchard and she picke each apple with care!! :) Also, I had some very good apple butter in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee!

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erika September 15, 2011

I am thinking that maybe once it cools down it will be thicker – that the heat makes it thin.

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KatieG. @ Just Roll With It September 15, 2011

wowww….i know what i’ll be making this weekend…..yummm

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