Slow Cooker Naked Apple Butter

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apple butter 6597   Slow Cooker Naked Apple Butter

Last year, I dusted off my slow cooker and made my first batch of apple butter. While it tasted incredible, I realized (after the fact) that I cooked the apples way too long. I was left with a mere cup of apple butter from 5 pounds of apples. That sure was some thick, concentrated apple butter, let me tell you!

IMG 2143   Slow Cooker Naked Apple Butter

This time around, I did things differently. Mainly, I cooked it for a fraction of the time. Not only was it much, much faster, but I was left with five cups of creamy apple butter.

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It’s also naked. Minimal spices, no sweetener. The blonde roast of apple butters! Most apple butter recipes call for 2-4 cups of sugar, but I wanted to make a batch without any sugar. Yes, sugar does help increase the shelf-life and also thicken, but my version seemed to turn out fine.

For this method, you only need a few ingredients:

1) Sweet + tart apples. For the best-tasting apple butter, use an equal mixture of sweet and tart apples. I used Granny Smith, Sunrise, Fuji, Honeycrisp, and Mac apples. Use any varieties you wish, the more the better. Each time you make apple butter, it will taste a bit different depending on the apples you use. Of course, local, in-season apples will make your apple butter even better (say that 5 times fast). I used 5.5 pounds of apples, but feel free to make a smaller batch if preferred (cooking time may vary).

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2) Cinnamon. I used about 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon for this batch, but if you’d like a more flavourful and darker apple butter, add as much cinnamon as you prefer. You can also throw in cinnamon sticks as it cooks or try adding ground cloves, nutmeg, and ginger. Some people like to add a spice packet to the mixture. Just grab cheesecloth and add in whole spices and tie it with cooking string. It is very easy to remove this way.

3) Lemon Juice. I added a tiny bit of fresh lemon juice, to taste. This will help extend shelf-life a bit.

Notes:

You can also add apple juice or sweet apple cider, but I didn’t bother for this batch.

I don’t find it needs any added sweetener when I use around 50% sweet apples, but feel free to add sweetener if your taste buds prefer. I like it a bit tart, with a light sweetness. When we cook down the apples, it concentrates the sweetness, so it will taste better as it cooks. A little bit of maple syrup would go a long way here.

apple butter 6591   Slow Cooker Naked Apple Butter

How I made it:

As always, I’m giving you chatty detailed steps, photos, and tips, but the actual process is very easy. I like to talk, what can I say.

1. Slice apples. There is no need to peel the apples. In fact, your apple butter is much healthier with the peel left on. Don’t worry, we’ll blend it all up and you won’t even know the peel is in there. Tip: If you have an apple slicer, now is the time to use it. I love this OXO divider. Or if you have a food mill, I hear you can cook the apples whole and then run it through the mill. You make the call.

IMG 2131   Slow Cooker Naked Apple Butter

2. Set slow cooker on HIGH for 4 hours with the lid on. During those 4 hours, give it several stirs as the apples tend to stick to the bottom. You can add some apple juice or cider to prevent sticking. If you’d rather cook it longer on a low heat, you can do that too.

3. Mash apples and turn off heat. After 4 hours, most of the apples are soft enough to mash up with a wooden spoon or potato masher. After mashing, we now have applesauce (with the peel of course).

IMG 21331   Slow Cooker Naked Apple Butter

4. Cool slightly and scoop into high-speed blender. This step results in super smooth apple butter. Plus, we want to pulverize the apple peel. With a big ladle, scoop the apple mixture into a blender. If you have a small blender you may have to do this in a few batches. It all just fit in my Vitamix. Make sure lid is secured tightly or explosions may occur…

IMG 2134   Slow Cooker Naked Apple Butter

5. Blend the mixture. Start on a low setting and go faster until you reach max speed. You may need to let some steam escape through the top hole if there is one. Puree mixture until super smooth and buttery. If it’s still chunky, keep blending.

It will look similar to this after blending – it’s like the silkiest apple “sauce” you’ve ever tasted, but not quite thick enough for a butter yet!

IMG 2137   Slow Cooker Naked Apple Butter

6. Pour the apple butter back into the slow cooker. Turn heat on high and cook down, uncovered, for another 45-75 minutes until it’s as thick as you desire. After 45 mins, I was left with 5 cups and the consistency was very similar to my pumpkin butter. Keep in mind it will thicken very slightly once chilled overnight.

7. When ready, add cinnamon to taste. I didn’t add much so the colour of my apple butter stayed very light. You can also stir in a tiny bit of lemon juice now too, but this is optional.

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Swirl!

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apple butter 6599   Slow Cooker Naked Apple Butter apple butter 6583   Slow Cooker Naked Apple Butter

To email, print, or text these directions, click here.

Of course, the best thing about making apple butter (next to eating it) is experimenting with different flavours. Try adding cinnamon sticks, freshly ground nutmeg and ginger, or even other fruit & veggies like pumpkin or pears. Next on my list might be a pumpkin apple butter hybrid…or apple pear…or butternut squash & pumpkin…hmm.

Homemade butters also make fun host/hostess gifts. Make it a couple days in advance and spoon into Mason jars with a cute ribbon and tag. I like to either write out the recipe or simply write the URL to the recipe if there isn’t enough room. I brought a jar over to my friend’s place last night and it was quite a hit!

I’m not certain how long this will last in the fridge since this is my first batch made this way. I will be sure to update this post with how long it lasts for me. If it’s anything like my pumpkin butter, it will hopefully last for at least 3 weeks in an air-tight jar in the fridge. As for canning or freezing, I haven’t tried it myself. For you canning pros out there – do you think this can be canned? As always, I appreciate your thoughts below!

For many ways to enjoy apple butter, see my pumpkin butter list.

What kind of fruit/veggie butter should I try next?

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{ 186 comments… read them below or add one }

Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table September 26, 2012

The “blonde roast” – I love it! I do a really simple apple sauce like this – I don’t even cook it. just toss it in the blender

You should try a “blonde roast” fig butter next!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) September 26, 2012

fig butter has been on my list for a while….great idea.

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Andrea @ Vegvacious September 26, 2012

Hello yumminess! I’ve been loving apple baked goods over the past couple of weeks now that apple season is in full swing. I’m definitely thinking an apple pear butter would be awesome – I love spiced up pears almost as much as apples this time of year!!

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Ally September 26, 2012

Out of curiosity is the acidity level such that water bath canning is possible? I noticed you referenced the ability to can it but I didn’t see anything specific about how long, etc. So I’m not sure if I would have to pressure can it or if water bath is safe. Thanks! This looks LOVELY and so much easier than the ridiculousness of the way I made apple butter last year :)

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Angela (Oh She Glows) September 26, 2012

Hey Ally, A couple others have mentioned they think canning would be fine since apples are naturally acidic. I would check out their comments below. Im not sure what method you should use. I personally havent tried canning yet myself! Let me know how it goes if you try it. :)

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allison September 27, 2012

i’ve canned apple butter before. I think 5 minutes. Check the bernardin site :-)

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Tezinelko December 18, 2012

Once the apples are cooked down the acid is concentrated just like the sweetness so, yes, it cans beautifully. If you ladle it hot from your cooking pot into sterile jars and immediately into the water bath, it will only take about half an hour, max, to get the butter hot enough to seal those lids tight!

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Sabina September 26, 2012

Yes, you con use proper canning techniques for apple butter. i have done that successfully in the past with slow cooker apple butter. :-)

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Sarah September 26, 2012

Looks delish! You can definitely can this — apples are acidic enough that a simple water bath canning process should work. No sugar is necessary!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) September 26, 2012

thanks for the tip!

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Crystal September 26, 2012

I completely agree–you can definitely can your apple butter. I have several jars of last year’s apple butter still sitting in my pantry, and (as of the last one I opened) they are still delicious.

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Danielle @ TwoLoveBirds September 26, 2012

I make applesauce like this all the time! Next time I make a batch I’ll take it a step further and make some apple butter as well! As always, great recipe and awesome pictures! :)

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Angela (Oh She Glows) September 26, 2012

Thank you Danielle, so glad you enjoyed it.

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Victoria Watson April 26, 2014

I made this today and I think it is wonderful. But my DH doesn’t like apple butter or applesauce so I added some cinnamon red hots candy and it made it even better. He decided that he liked it then. So I canned the jars in a water bath.

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Averie @ Averie Cooks September 26, 2012

You are the butters queen! The pumpkin butter had me so excited but now this one has me just as happy. It’s so smooth and rich looking! I want to dive into that jar!

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Beth @ Tasty Yummies September 26, 2012

Wow this looks amazing, I love that it has no sugar, so brilliant. It’s solo creamy looking. Beautiful photos.

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Erica { EricaDHouse.com } September 26, 2012

Amazing! There was no way I’d find apple butter (in my price range anyways) down here in Florida so I will be making this Saturday night while the boy is out with his friends. Can’t wait!

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Nicole September 26, 2012

This sounds (and looks) delicious! Can I still make it if I don’t have a slow cooker?

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Keenzi September 26, 2012

Absolutely–you’d just need to be watchful the entire time and stir often. Medium heat until applesauce, then med/low until the right consistency. A heavy duty pot is best, for holding and distributing heat evenly, but any pot will do. It won’t take as long on the stove, but again, you have to be very vigil, unlike a slow cooker. Good luck!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) September 26, 2012

Great tips, thanks Keenzi!
I’ve also heard you can cook down the apples in the oven.

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Nicole October 8, 2012

Thanks to both Keenzi and Angela! I can’t wait to try this out!

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Willow September 26, 2012

Mm, I haven’t had apple butter in ages… looks like it might be time to break out the slow cooker!

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Addy @ Six-Kick Switch September 26, 2012

I cannot wait to try this – and your pumpkin butter! This looks so great!

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Senator September 26, 2012

Oh sweet holy baby pears are you giving me ideas!!! You are awesome, so beautiful!

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Kate September 26, 2012

This looks so delicious. I’ve never heard of apple butter before. I might have to go on an apple picking day and make this with the produce. Beautiful photos too as always. Kate

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Leanne @ Healthful Pursuit September 26, 2012

I was trying to make apple sauce last night but ended up with apple butter when I chopped a bunch of apples and added homemade apple juice to the pot. Boiled for 45 minutes. Blended… and apple butter consistency all the way. So awesome!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) September 26, 2012

Thats the best when you discover something fun like that.

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Janae @ Bring-Joy September 26, 2012

I usually don’t have to worry about the shelf life of apple butter, because I can’t feed it to my kids fast enough. It’s one of those things that is gone in a few hours, or at least the first day.

Have you ever tried pear butter? I can see lots of possibilities with that one…

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Samantha September 26, 2012

Do you think adding coconut oil to it would be good?

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Angela (Oh She Glows) September 26, 2012

I would think the coconut oil would firm up in the fridge, so I probably wouldn’t try it. Of course, if it’s heated it would melt again.

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Samantha September 26, 2012

I was thinking it may help to thicken it up, but then I suppose it might be harder to spread….

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Angela (Oh She Glows) September 27, 2012

Im sure it would be tasty regardless ;) I think it could harden kinda chunky, but if you dont mind that then go for it. It could always be heated again to melt it.

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Anele @ Success Along the Weigh September 26, 2012

I think I’m going to make a jar of this and a jar of your pumpkin butter for the Mr’s b-day party next month. Biscuits are involved and this would be the perfect topper!

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Alex @ Raw Recovery September 26, 2012

I love apple butter on top of biscuits! I wonder how pear butter would turn out. I’m not sure if the gritty texture would impact the consistency but I’d try it!

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amanda October 4, 2012

I made pear butter a couple weeks ago in a slow cooker and it was yummy! Sugar and lemon juice and cinnamon to taste.

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Ashley September 26, 2012

Angela –
This looks great. When do you add the fresh lemon juice?

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Angela (Oh She Glows) September 26, 2012

I stir it in at the very end – will add this in the post. :)

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Faith September 26, 2012

Does anyone have thoughts on whether this would freeze well? 5 cups is kind of a lot for one person :)

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Angela (Oh She Glows) September 26, 2012

Feel free to make less…you can use any amount of apples you want. I used 5.5 lbs but its not necessary to use that amount.
I hope someone comments about freezing it too…I’ve heard you can, but havent tried it.

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Becky Przy September 26, 2012

Yep, you can freeze it. I don’t have the patience for my husband to teach me how to can things…so I go the quick route and just throw it in the freezer. Just be sure to let it cool before you put it in the freezer. I froze a lot of applesauce last year and I used the last jar in February and after 5 months it still tasted good!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) September 27, 2012

Good to know, thanks!

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kim@hungryhealthygirl September 26, 2012

This would be perfect for teacher gifts this Christmas! I wonder how it would turn out adding in some almond butter with the fruit. I can’t wait to give this a try and I bet your house smelled fabulous!

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Running Hutch August 7, 2013

Did you try adding almond butter? I have some macadamia nut butter I was thinking about blending in.

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Kaila @healthyhelperblog! September 26, 2012

This looks incredible! And its perfect timing because I went apple picking last week and have A TON… literally…of apples on hand right now! Perfect way to use some of them up before they go bad! But thats not likely because I am an apple fiend lol!

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Cammy September 26, 2012

Hmmm? Butternut butter? Fun to say at least

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char eats greens September 26, 2012

Looks so yummy Angela!! Now I want to go apple picking first (are there even any available to go to around us this year?), and then make this deliciousness. That and pumpkin butter. Then maybe I’ll turn into butter myself – which wouldn’t be so bad, would it?!

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jo @ including cake September 26, 2012

What is the difference between apple sauce and apple butter? I’m not sure if it’s me being English (or just me being a bit thick!) but I tend to call any blended fruit a puree. Can someone help me out?? :-)

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Angela (Oh She Glows) September 26, 2012

Hey Jo, Apple butter is cooked down much longer than applesauce. Essentially, it’s a condensed form of applesauce, in a way, and is much more thick. Does that help?

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jo @ includingcake.com September 26, 2012

Yes, thank you that makes sense now. The word ‘butter’ sounds so much more rich and decadent, which I guess it is really :-) I need to get onto making me some ‘butters’!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) September 27, 2012

Yes it does and it’s so fitting. If you compare it to aplesauce (which I did actually in a taste test) the apple butter was so much more rich and creamy. I meant to take a side by side photo. Oh well, next time!

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Katie September 26, 2012

Can I use an immersion blender if I don’t have a regular blender? My pops has been offering to buy me a VitaMix for some time but I haven’t taken him up on it, so my only bladed appliances are an immersion blender and a large food processor. But I have been craving apple butter and this looks so easy and good!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) September 26, 2012

You probably could, but I would wait until it has cooled mostly. :)

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Ros November 29, 2013

Those immersion blenders are designed for blending soup while it’s still hot. No need to wait for cooling.

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Nikkie Garcia September 29, 2012

I’m in the process of making this right now and I just used my immersion blender to blend up the apples. I just made sure to mash them by hand really well first. Right now I have the lid off and it is thickening as we speak. I also added a small cinnamon stick while the apples were cooking and will add a little more ground cinnamon at the end. I will admit that I’ve already had a few taste tests and it is delicious!

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adam September 26, 2012

looking forward to seeing some recipes using the butter soon I hope?!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) September 26, 2012

I hope so too!

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Somer September 26, 2012

OH HECK YES! I’ve been wanting to make apple butter, but don’t have time to stand over the stove all day! WOOHOO!

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Ileana September 26, 2012

Heh, blonde roast. I’m forwarding this to my best friend, who is obsessed with her new slow cooker.

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Tanya @ playful and hungry September 26, 2012

Your apple butter looks delicious!
I bet pear would be great, too!

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Jenna September 26, 2012

OH APRICOT BUTTER pleaseeeeeeee?
*faints*

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Angela (Oh She Glows) September 26, 2012

oh yum, now that is a fruit I rarely use! Are they in season now? I dont even know.

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Jenna September 26, 2012

Usually in season late Spring through Summer. :(

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Angela (Oh She Glows) September 26, 2012

darn! Miss summer already. I’ll have to try it next year :)

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Meg @ Sweet Twist September 26, 2012

Delicious!! Looks so wonderful. I will have to try this.

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Carissa September 26, 2012

This is gorgeous! It’s so silky smooth. Just one more thing on my list of things I love about my Vitamix. :-) I’m excited to make this, because I dislike the high amount of added sugar usually in apple butter. Happy fall!

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Kiran @ KiranTarun.com September 26, 2012

I need to make homemade apple butter — that looks so delicious, Angela. Thanks for sharing!

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Jennifer September 26, 2012

I made apple butter yesterday in the slow cooker. I canned it in a water bath when I was finished. The key with canning is clean jars, hot product (the apple butter) and the right acidity of the finished product. I placed the hot apple butter in the clean jars (250ml size) and removed the air, wiped the lid clean and put on the snap lid. Then I processed them in the canner for 10 minutes of boiling water. (the water will stop boiling when you first put the jars in start the timer when the water comes back to a boil) When you take them out wait 12 hours and make sure the lid has popped down. (My lids pop usually within the first 30 minutes but you aren’t supposed to disturb them when they first come out and after all that work I will listen to the book!) Then they are good for the shelf. Benardin claims they are good for 2 years if you use the lemon juice.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) September 27, 2012

Thanks for the tips Jennifer! Apple butter must be in the air ;) I still have to try that recipe you sent me with the spice infused pumpkin seeds!

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Colleen January 20, 2013

Oh, may I please have the recipe for the pumpkin seeds? I am a huge fan of anything pumpkin!

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Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat September 26, 2012

I LOVE the simplicity of this Ange! Because I’m a cinnamon junkie I think I’d have to up the quantity of it a bit, but other than that this sounds amazing!! Honeycrisp apples are my all-time fave and I can’t wait until it’s officially apple season. Do you think it would work over low heat on the stove, rather than a slow cooker? Great photos!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) September 27, 2012

I cant see why it wouldnt work, I will have to try that next time!

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Sam Nicaise September 26, 2012

Any idea if it can be done without a high-speed blender, or will this just result in “less-smooth” butter?

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Angela (Oh She Glows) September 27, 2012

I recommend blending it (in any blender) if you can so the apple peels can pulverize. That being said, you could probably peel all the apples first if you dont want to blend it. It would be much less smooth but would still work. Also Ive heard some ppl use an immersion blender. Or you could try putting the apples in a food processor before cooking? let me know how it goes if you end up trying it out.

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Robbin September 22, 2013

I left mine with peels and cooked them down and then blended them in the food processor and they cam out great.

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Alexis @ Hummusapien September 26, 2012

I love that this doesn’t have any added sweetener. I bet it would be wonderful on toast in the morning!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) September 27, 2012

yes and swirled in oatmeal (had that this morning) :)

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Trish September 26, 2012

I do love pumpkin butter but the apple is a nice change. Love how this recipe uses the slow cooker. Thanks for sharing!

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