After tackling homemade applesauce, making apple butter seems like the next logical step.
If you’ve never tasted homemade apple butter, you’re missing out. It tastes like Fall in a jar!
I’m usually not the biggest fan of jams and jellies, but this stuff is good enough to eat by the spoonful. And it’s so easy to make! In fact, if you’ve already made homemade applesauce, all you have to do is add some spice and let it simmer longer, until the applesauce cooks down and gets thicker. Using a slow cooker makes this process easy, because you don’t have to worry about constantly stirring or burning the apples as they cook down. You don’t even have to peel the apples before you get started– the skins blend right into the applesauce, and add extra nutrition to the resulting butter.
Best of all, making apple butter is practically fool-proof. You can cook down the sauce to be as thick or thin as you like, and you can even (carefully) taste it as you go, adjusting the spices and sweetness as desired.
Though it’s unlikely you’ll burn your applesauce at such a low heat, if you do, all you need to do is pour the apple butter out of the slow cooker– the burnt parts will stick to the pot. Simply clean it off, and return the unburned apples back to the clean pot and keep cooking them down until the butter has reached your desired thickness. I cooked my apple butter until it had reduced by about half, making a little over 16 ounces. Depending on how many apples your slow cooker will hold, and how much apple butter you want to make, feel free to adjust the quantities to suit your needs.
As an added bonus, your house will smell AMAZING all day long while this apple butter simmers away, without the need for scented candles or artificial air fresheners. Win, win!
Homemade Apple Butter (No Sugar Added)
Makes 16-20 ounces
3 lbs. apples (I used Fuji)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 cup water
Core and chop the apples (I used this handy apple slicer to do it quickly) and place them in the bowl of your slow cooker. Add in the cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and water then cover and cook on low for 6 hours, or until the apples are tender enough to fall apart with mashed with a fork. (If you’re using a VitaClay, this process only takes 2 hours.)
To make applesauce, use an immersion blender to puree the cooked apples. (If you chose to peel your apples, you can just use a fork or potato masher to break down the apples.) You could stop here, and enjoy this delicious spiced applesauce, but you’ll need to keep cooking it down to create apple butter.
Loosely cover the pot with the lid, leaving a vent for steam to escape, and set the slow cooker to cook for another 6 to 8 hours on low, or until the applesauce has reduced by nearly half. Alternatively, you could heat the applesauce on high 45 minutes, then reduce the heat to low to quicken the process, but be sure to not leave it on high too long, or you’ll risk burning the apples on the bottom. (I cooked mine in the VitaClay for 45 minutes on the “stew” setting– which is high heat– then transferred the applesauce to a heavy bottomed saucepan over medium-low heat to finish the thickening process, stirring every few minutes to prevent burning.) Since slow cooker models vary, your cooking time may vary slightly, as well.
*Note: Since you have to leave the pot slightly uncovered while cooking, you may want to place some towels around your slow cooker to catch any splattering.
Once the apple butter is nice and thick, transfer it to a glass jar and store it in the fridge for up to two weeks. (You can also freeze any extra for a longer shelf life!) Serve the apple butter over your favorite toast, pancakes, meats, salads, or simply enjoy it by the spoonful!
How to Make Apple Butter (No Added Sugar)
- 3 lbs . apples (I used Fuji)
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 cup water
- Core and chop the apples (I used this handy apple slicer to do it quickly) and place them in the bowl of your slow cooker. Add in the cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and water then cover and cook on low for 6 hours, or until the apples are tender enough to fall apart with mashed with a fork. (If you're using a VitaClay, this process only takes 2 hours.)
- To make applesauce, use an immersion blender to puree the cooked apples. (If you chose to peel your apples, you can just use a fork or potato masher to break down the apples.) You could stop here, and enjoy this delicious spiced applesauce, but you'll need to keep cooking it down to create apple butter.
- Loosely cover the pot with the lid, leaving a vent for steam to escape, and set the slow cooker to cook for another 6 to 8 hours on low, or until the applesauce has reduced by nearly half. Alternatively, you could heat the applesauce on high 45 minutes, then reduce the heat to low to quicken the process, but be sure to not leave it on high too long, or you'll risk burning the apples on the bottom. (I cooked mine in the VitaClay for 45 minutes on the "stew" setting-- which is high heat-- then transferred the applesauce to a heavy bottomed saucepan over medium-low heat to finish the thickening process, stirring every few minutes to prevent burning.)
- Once the apple butter is nice and thick, transfer it to a glass jar and store it in the fridge for up to two weeks. (You can also freeze any extra for a longer shelf life!) Serve the apple butter over your favorite toast, pancakes, meats, salads, or simply enjoy it by the spoonful!
- If you don’t have a slow cooker, feel free to make apple butter over a stove top– just make sure to keep the heat low and stir often to prevent burning.
- You can start off using store-bought applesauce to save time, but the flavor is best if you start from scratch!
Reader Feedback: Have you ever made homemade jams or jellies before?
Questions and Reviews
I made a variation of this the other day and it was so good. It was better than a Yankee candle! In fact, my husband kept commenting on how good the house smelled. Keep the great recipe ideas coming!! Thanks!
BTW- I tried to give this 5 five stars but my computer wouldn’t let me.
I need to try this very soon 🙂 I can only imagine how amazing the house would smell after making this! Looks absolutely delicious 🙂
I don’t have a slow cooker and don’t have time to stand over the pot to stir it off and on for hours. Can you recommend an oven-baked version of this. I freeze stuff…don’t can them. Thanks!
set your oven to 250 Fahrenheit. Follow the same instructions as the slow cooker putting the apples into an ovenproof pot. Place the pot into the oven and let it go. It’s the same principle as a slow cooker, just not as energy efficient.
I follow food combining principles . How would cooked apples combine?
Hi I love your blog, I did purchase a Vitaclay recently after reading your
Applesauce recipe. I made the applesauce and it is heavenly and easy .
I have 3 year old twins and they loved helping me prepare the applesauce .
Thank you for healthy, clean recipes.
I look forward to making this recipe and other Vitaclay ones.
I also tried to give 5 stars and had a problem
This applebutter looks amazing but i dont have a slow cooker (here in Portugal they’re not common, because nobody really has a habit of using them). Still i would love to make in using my stove top, but it’s kinda har for me to adjust the timings. Should it take pretty much the same over a low heat, that it would using the slow cooker or should I just go by feel, and check as it cooks?
Use I live in Spain, got mine on Amazon.es
That vitaclay seems pretty great. Were you not concerned about using the immersion blender inside it and scraping it?
Nope, I’ve used the immersion blender in the Vitaclay several times and haven’t had any issues with scraping.
I’d be very concerned about a hand mixer–I’d be concerned that the metal beaters would cause damage–but the immersion blender’s guards would keep the blade from coming in contact with the sides.
Could I blend the apples first in my blendtex then cook in the slow cooker?
Sure, I don’t see why not!
Yum – I have never heard of apple butter but it sound like an awesome seasonal jar of goodness. I need to bulk buy me some apples!
Hi, how much apples approximately is 3 lbs.?
For me, it was about 6 large Fuji apples.
how much does this make? I am thinking of making this for Holiday gifts.
Thanks for the recipe!
I can just can this right – I mean to give as gifts (heat-processed jars) – I mean if I can it I don’t have to use it right away.I am a novice at canning. But just want to check – without the sugar (last year I made some with a slight amount of brown sugar) – it’s still getting thick and will can and preserve if in canning jars?
I’m not an expert in canning, but I would guess that they’d be fine if canned properly. Plenty of stores sell applesauce with no added sugar that has been properly jarred, so I imagine it’s the same concept.
I have made lots of the regular applebutter with sugar but now that my husband has been diagnosed with diabetes I have been looking for a good sugar free recipe. This looks great except why not use granny Smith apples.or would they be too tart without the sugar. I also do quite a bit of canning and see no reason this recipe can’t be canned. Ball makes an excellent book on canning and if you follow the directions even the most novice cook should not have a problem.This would have to be canned the pressure cooker method of course but if you follow the book you shouldn’t have a problem. By the way, the book that Ball puts out can be found in the magazine section most of the time. I am definitely going to give this a try.
You need to use the sweetest apples for a no sugar apple butter. Gala, Fuji, or sugar criso alples. I used gala and it was very good.
Be careful using the heat process method without any sugar or acid, as this may alter your results and create a less stable product. You could consider adding some lemon juice to cover your bases. f you have a pressure cooker, you could use that method. That is how all the sugar free items at the store are preserved.
How much lemon juice should I add for canning purposes
The pressure cooker method of canning apple butter? This is my first time at canning anything “sugar free”. Where would I find this method directions?
To can it, use a low or no sugar needed pectin. This has an anti molding agent that inhibits bacterial growth when omitting sugar. Waterbath can it for 10 minutes. Canning and selling jams is my home business and I’ve studied it extensively.
I saw your post a little too late. I did not add pectin, sugar, or acid and already canned my apple butter via a waterbath. How long will it last this way? Should I refrigerate it to be safe?
You can always freeze the jars, too
awesome product.. I absolutely love apple butter and now, thanks to you, I have an awesome recipe.. God Bless! keep up the great work.
Made this apple butter today. It’s excellent! So yummy and flavorful. I used 4 apples and it only took about 4 hours in my CrockPot to get a really rich, flavorful apple butter.
YUM! No need to look for another recipe this one is 5 stars for sure. I love that it has no sugar.
Hi! If I don’t have a immersion blender, what else could I use during that step? Or maybe I just need to get an immersion blender 🙂 What else do you use it for? Thanks!
If you have a regular blender you can just transfer the cooked apples into that, or into a food processor. The immersion blender is just handy when you don’t want to get an extra dish dirty. I mostly use it for blending soups directly in the cooking dish, but I have a friend who makes her smoothies directly in her drinking cup, too!
LITTLE OFF SUBJECT BUT i=I USE MY IMMERSION BLENDER FOR MIXING CAKES, MASHING POTATOES, SMASHING BEANS – ALMOST EVERYTHING. BEST THING I EVER BOUGHT!
ANXIOUS TO TRY YOUR APPLE BUTTER!
5 STARS BASED ON INGREDIENTS; DOESN’T SOUND LIKE TOO MANY SPICES.
This is a great, easy recipe, and it really is super delicious! My kids enjoyed it on their waffles this morning. Thanks!
Everyone of all ages (from 2 yrs old – 45 yrs old) in my household loved this recipe!!! My husband and daughter brought me more apples asking me to make more. What a hit in this family!
Could this then be water bath canned?
Read previous comments, have to add lemon juice or unstable. You can pressure can this if you don’t use lemon.
YES. My mom has waterbath canned her apple butter AND apple sauce for over 40 years with no sugar added. She uses really ripe apples which contain enough natural sugars.
Did I miss the comment that said how much lemon juice to use for water bath canning?
My mother used to peel, core and slice apples to freeze for pies in the winter (Thanksgiving and Christmas, etc.). She saved the cores and peels for apple butter. How she did it – she placed the cores and peels in a heavy duty roasting pan, added some water (I don’t know how much – she NEVER measured anything!!). She then put the roasting pan in the oven at about 250 F. for 2-4 hours (depending on how much she had in the pan, I assume). When the time was up, she put the resulting concoction through her food mill, getting applesauce. Then it was back in the roasting pan with the spices and baked another few hours until it had reduced to her satisfaction. She then put the apple butter in 1/2 pint jars and sealed them in the water bath canner.
My mother was famous locally for her jams and jellies as well as her baked goods. Apple butter from applesauce is the ONLY jam I have ever been successful with!
Yum! I can’t wait to try this out!
I substitute lemon juice in place of the water and leave out the clove and ginger and add in a few pears. We get bushels and bushels of pears and apples off the trees in the back yard each year. Love this stuff!!!!
Made this apple butter today. This recipe was so delicious. I made a few modifications and used gala apples just because they are my favorites. I also added some lemon juice, a little extra clove and about 1/2 tsp of cardamom to really give the apple butter more of a enhanced spice flavor. Such a great fall recipe, thanks for sharing!
I like your idea I pelled and froze my apples, and also make with Splenda, it is awesome, and water bath it.
How much Splenda did you use? I’d like to try it with stevia.😁
This is so yummy. I added a small container of blackberries as well because I suspected it would give the butter a tart flavor I would really enjoy. I went ahead and let it cook for about 24 hours as well. It’s so yummy. I’m so happy this con be accomplished without adding sugar! Thank you for sharing this recipe!
This turned out great for me! Will save this recipe and make again. Love the no added sugar.
How would you recommend making this using the instant pot? I just got it and I am excited to try it out, but I am still trying to figure out how it works! if you have any tips 🙂
This is a great recipe and i love the way it turned out. Have you tried this as adapted for an instant pot?
Gonna do it. I will let you know. Then I will water bath it and it will be done and home canned.🤗
I have been making jams,jellies ,pickles and preserves for many years .Last year I made a crab apple jelly that my teenage grandson could not get enough of ! It also sold very well at my church annual Christmas Market . I currently have a large pot of your apple butter in a pot on my stove and yes, my house smells wonderful. I will be making this to sell at the market and I loved the idea of “Fall in a jar ” …With your permission I would like to use that on my jar label .
More and more people are looking for healthier eating habits and I love your recipes . Buying local natural grown produce was my first step ,second step is using recipes like yours ….thank you 🤗
Can you can this recipe with no worries?
So happy to find a no added sugar recipe. Thank you. Its cooking as i type
I have a question about the recipe, I am not sure if you need to smash the apples with a potato masher or put them through your food processor when you are finished if you leave the peelings on. I have done the recipe twice. The first time I took off the peelings and just smashed them with a fork. The second time left the peelings on and used a potato masher but the peelings did not break apart. I think next time I should put them in a food processor? What do you think?
When I leave the peels on, I use a blender to puree them. If you peel them first, I find that just a potato masher works fine for a slightly chunkier texture.
I just finished making this with 8 small red delicious apples using my crock pot
I used pumpkin spice ( 3 tsps)
And the juice of one lemon.
I did not peel my apples just cored them.
Cooked about 9 hours then ran through my blender.
This is so good
It’s hard to believe there’s no added sugars
Yum! I was suspicious when I saw this was sugar free, but it did not need any. Absolutely perfect. It tastes great by the spoonful, spread on a biscuit, in a peanut butter sandwich, and in apple butter breakfast cookies. Mmmmm
I have made this as-is (yum!) and I’ve done it with 1/2 apples and 1/2 pears, which is also delicious. Wondering what the adaptation would be for pumpkin-apple butter. Lots of recipes out there but all are sweetened with something. I prefer no extra sweetener but wonder if some is needed when adding pumpkin? Any thoughts?
Has anyone made this using the stove top method instead of a slow cooker? How long did you cook it for?
Recently found you site and am finding it very refreshing. Regarding this Apple butter, do you stir it at all in the crockpot during the cooking process? Is the blender only used on the apple sauce and not the apple butter? And does extra water need to be added during the final 6-8 hours?
Can we make this in the instant pot???
Has anyone tried to make this without cloves? I am allergic to the scent but I love apple butter.
Yes, you can omit the cloves. My family prefers apple butter without cloves and everybody loves it.
Greetings from South Carolina. I’ve just finished enjoying some of your Apple Butter I made and had in the freezer. So delish. Wondering if you can give the measurement for the calorie count please? Thanks again, Anna
Great! I live in the UK, and apple butter isnt a thing here, so need to make my own. Love that there is ko added sugar in this. I use whatever apples are cheapest in the store, and do not peel them. I put more spice than the recipe calls for though… 1 tbsp cinnamon and more ginger.
Holy crap this is good. Like, so good, I ate it with a spoon and had to tear myself away. I used about 7 honey crisp apples (3.3lbs) from a local orchard that I had picked over the weekend. I peeled them before cooking. I used the same spice ratios and combo and it was perfect. Took about 9 hours to fully cook down using a crockpot on low for 6 hours and then increased the temp up to high toward the end. I also just twisted the lid on the crockpot in the last few hours so the steam could escape. Thanks for the great recipe!
I just made this and it came out great. I can’t believe people normally add a bunch of sugar. I added a few tbsp of agave at the end and it tasted amazing. Thanks so much!
I’m so glad you loved it! Thanks for the feedback!
First time making this ever and it came out great!! Thank you! I can’t stop using your recipes.
I’m so happy to hear that! I’m glad you enjoyed the apple butter, and I can’t wait to hear what you try next!
Can this Apple butter be canned also if I want a longer shelf life?.
This recipe HOW TO MAKE APPLE BUTTER (NO ADDED SUGAR) says it’s for 16 servings how much to a serving? Thank you
Made this tonight, on the stovetop. I used the lemon water I submerged the apples in instead of plain water. Then once cooled, I placed it under the skin of a whole chicken and cooked that. Yum!!!