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).

apple butter 6578   Slow Cooker Naked Apple Butter

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 }

luv what you do October 28, 2012

I just made this today and I LOVE it. The applesauce alone was incredible and I’m a few minutes and a stir of apple pie spice away from apple butter. I’ll be blogging all about it!!!

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Faye November 11, 2012

What an amazing site!!!! I found it on Friday and haven’t put it down!!
Once an obsession occurs that’s it I’m in!
I am a naturopath from Australia and use these ingredients regulary but you have inspired me to take them to a whole other magical food level…. I’m excited beyond belief…. I dreamt of mason jars and nut butters!!
Thank you for an amazing site which will not only enrich my life but my clients as well!

Faye wills ND

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Helene November 12, 2012

Question – have you had any luck or any advice on freezing the apple butter? I have all these apples from apple picking, and I want to make the apple butter for Christmas presents!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) November 13, 2012

Hi Helene, I tried freezing a tiny amount in a baggie this year and it thawed just fine. I think it was in the freezer for 2-3 weeks. enjoy!

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faye wills November 15, 2012

Hi Angela!!
Wow look at your work… I am a Naturopath from Australia. I found your website on Thursday last week and havent been able to put it down since! Its been truely addictive! I use these ingridients regularly but you have taken them to a level that is inspiring! Thank you I am now a busy bee with mason jars and Apple butter! It has been soul awakening and I know my clients and my family are going to love the new found delisiousness!!!!

Thank you

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Angela (Oh She Glows) November 16, 2012

Its a pleasure to meet you! Thanks for your comment.

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Christa November 17, 2012

How long did the apple butter last in the fridge? I made some last weekend and am hoping it will stay good through the coming weekend (just over 2 weeks). Please update if you found out how long it stays good. Thanks!! :)

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Ali November 17, 2012

Hi, I just tried making this apple butter today and it worked out pretty well! The only thing was that I thought it was going to be a bit thicker, from what it looks like in your pictures. I left it cooking for about an extra half hour but it wouldn’t really thicken up. It kind of just got stuck in that super smooth applesauce stage. Any tips, or thoughts on what I might have missed? Thanks!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) November 18, 2012

Hi Ali, Mine was the consistency of a thick applesauce, but very smooth from the blending. It should thicken the longer you cook it, so Im not sure what happened. Sometimes it can take an hour or two.

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Heather November 30, 2012

I love this! Thank yoU! Hey I was wondering if you knew if there was anyway to “can” {preserve} homemade almond butter? I’m wanting to make a bunch for christmas presents and don’t want it to mold if people don’t use it right away

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Angela (Oh She Glows) December 1, 2012

Hey Heather, Im sorry Im not sure! I find it lasts up to 2 months in the fridge though

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Heather December 5, 2012

ok, great thank you!

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Ines December 1, 2012

Hi Angela

Did you ever find out how long this lasted in the fridge? I was hoping to make some at Christmas!

Thanks for all the gorgeous recipes :)

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Angela January 14, 2013

about 2 months :)

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Jeanette December 15, 2012

Great recipe! I just made this apple butter and it came out delicious. I love the simplicity of it (just apples!) and the different ways you can use it. I will be making more of this. Thanks for posting this recipe.

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Monica Lenne December 21, 2012

thank you for this. you saved my christmas apple butter gifts. my first batch turned to some kind of jam/jelly… and took 12 hours!!

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Collette December 28, 2012

Made this to go with the Holiday Lentil Loaf. Should have read the recipe better, ended up with several canning jars and needed only 2 tablespoons for recipe. Tastes great with hot grain cereal, and made a few people happier at Christmas,

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Kat January 3, 2013

Yay, just made this and it turned out soooo good :)

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Crista January 14, 2013

GREAT recipe! although it seems like it takes FOREVER to make….

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Jenna January 18, 2013

I gave the apple butter as Christmas gifts to friends and family instead of candy, and everyone raved how amazing it tasted! My family has an organic apple orchard, so I have access to the best fruit. Thanks for this woderful recipe!

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Moira January 18, 2013

So yummy. My kids loved it. My VERY picky husband loved it (I added a touch of cinnamon and nutmeg to his)! So great.

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Malgorzata January 20, 2013

I would like to make your 2011 version :-) Did you also blend apples while preparing this thick butter?

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Thomas K Tinney February 17, 2013

Amazing!

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Carolyn March 15, 2013

I am a recent convert to vegan lifestyle (24 years as lacto-ovo) and just found your website, love it! I noticed on this post you have questions about canning. I make no sugar with peel apple butter every year for christmas/hostess/teacher gifts. The kids of the families I give them to have come to ask for it mid year. Canning no-sugar apple butter couldn’t be easier. Depending on your altitude using a water bath canner for about 20 minutes should do the trick. I try to can about 40 pint jars of it every fall and it will hold for at least 8 months. I can’t say if it lasts longer because we have always run out by then, but I would guess you could get to at least one year with proper canning. This one is easy even if you are new to canning, a great way to get familiar. I would recommend looking up the time requirements for apples at whatever altitude you are.

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Andy Glenn April 4, 2013

I’ve tried this recipe (or an offshot) and added other tart fruits like Rhubarb or Kiwi…Apple then serves as a “Base” but is it ever so awesome…

Cheers

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Isha June 10, 2013

I absolutely LOVE this recipe! I tried it out as soon as I read this! I love your blog and all your amazing ideas! It’ll make anyone go vegan. I added a couple cinnamon sticks and it was a great choice! I also added some cardamom because I thought it would add to the amazing apple smell, but it didn’t do anything because of the intense smell, which was okay with me. The only thing was that my butter wasn’t very thick, it was more of a thick(ish) apple sauce. If I cooked it longer, would it be thicker? Thank you so much!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) June 11, 2013

Hi Isha, Yes the longer you cook it the thicker it will get. Glad you enjoyed it anyway! :)

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Zachary Spuckler June 14, 2013

Do You think this could be made in a much smaller batch? I don’t have the canning tools and just want to make enough for me (I cook for just me!)

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Kristin July 19, 2013

I’m so happy I found your recipe! The apple butter looks amazing and you’ve made it seem easy to make! I have a quick question- how long does this apple butter stay good for?

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Michelle August 5, 2013

We tried this apple butter recipe today and loved it! Thanks for posting!

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Melissa September 1, 2013

I love that you make it without sugar. I’m going to do that when making for my family.

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Karen Rodriguez September 5, 2013

I was very happy to find this recipe on Pinterest and made my first batch yesterday. For those of you who want to can: I called my dad to borrow his canner and he asked if the apple butter would be hot when I put it in the jars. I told him yes and he said I could put the lids and bands on tight and cover the jars with a towel and they would seal. I did and all five jars sealed! Thanks again for the recipe!!!

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cortney September 7, 2013

I actually have apple-pear butter in the crock pot now it tastes really good so far but i unfortunatly found a different website before yours or else i wouldve used yours sounds so much better. But will try your method next and definitly will be looking at the pumpkin butter

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marlies September 26, 2013

How long does this last in the fridge?

Thanks! :)

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Steve September 27, 2013

I also go the no sugar added route, and it turns out fantastic. I also can it, as apples are quite acidic and the fact it’s being reduced only increases the acidity level in the butter. Can it 10 minutes in a hot water bath and you’re done. I am curious though, how you were able to keep the color that light?

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marlies September 29, 2013

I just made this with a bunch of honeycrisps I picked and O.M.G. it is SO good!!! I could just eat it all, riiiight now :)

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BonBon November 4, 2013

Thank you SO MUCH for this incredible recipe! I received a bag of apples from my boyfriend’s mom’s tree. I started this last night before I went to sleep, on low & with 2 cinnamon sticks. My house smelled so delicious when I woke up! Let it cool, mashed it up, and threw it in the food processor. I tasted it before putting it back into the crock pot and WOWZA! Amazing!!! I can’t wait until it’s done. I’m definitely adding this to my morning oatmeal. :)

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B November 16, 2013

a good guide to canning is the US government publication: http://nchfp.uga.edu/publications/usda/INTRO%20section%20Home%20Can.pdf

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Lisa December 5, 2013

Hi. I plan on making apple butter and canning it for co worker gifts and I’ve been searching for the perfect recipe to make. I really like how there is no sweetener in this. As this is my first time I had a few questions:
If I were to use apple cider (since I have it on hand), how much should I use?
Would I still need the lemon juice?
I need to make 20 (8 oz) jars, how many jars does this recipe make?

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!

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Lindsey December 23, 2013

Hi Angela,
Did you ever figure out how long it lasts in the fridge for? Thanks!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) December 23, 2013

I think it lasts at least a few weeks :) enjoy!

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Sara April 6, 2014

This looks so good!!! I was wondering, what would you eat this with typically for a meal?

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Anna July 17, 2014

This sounds absolutely delicious! I’ve made applesauce before but never thought about making apple butter (though recently I’ve been trying to think of a way to recreate Trader Joe’s fig butter just to see if I can.) Anyway, I like the idea of using just apples and cinnamon and maybe some lemon juice and just use the bare minimum or leave the sugar out altogether (that’s basically how I do applesauce), and I agree about leaving the peels on. The only question I have is, since I don’t have a slow cooker, is there any way to make this on the stove or in the oven?

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