How to Make Apple Butter (No Added Sugar)

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After tackling homemade applesauce, making apple butter seems like the next logical step.

apple butter in a glass jar and spread on toast

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

Ingredients:

3 lbs. apples (I used Fuji)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 cup water

Directions:

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.)

sliced apples in a slow cooker

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.

making apple butter using an immersion blender

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!

Apple butter spread on toast
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How to Make Apple Butter (No Added Sugar)

Homemade apple butter tastes like Fall in a jar, without any added sugar!
Course Snack
Cuisine American
Keyword Apple Butter
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 12 hours 20 minutes
Total Time 12 hours 50 minutes
Servings 16
Calories 44kcal

Ingredients

  • 3 lbs . apples (I used Fuji)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 cup water

Instructions

  • 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!

Notes

*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.

Nutrition

Calories: 44kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Sodium: 1mg | Potassium: 91mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 45IU | Vitamin C: 3.9mg | Calcium: 6mg | Iron: 0.1mg

Notes:

  • 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?

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Comments

KatHy

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!

ALI

First time making this ever and it came out great!! Thank you! I can’t stop using your recipes.

    Megan Gilmore

    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!

Debbie Rickard

Can this Apple butter be canned also if I want a longer shelf life?.

Pamela Juergens

This recipe HOW TO MAKE APPLE BUTTER (NO ADDED SUGAR) says it’s for 16 servings how much to a serving? Thank you

Maureen Fastige

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!!!

bob

Can this recipe be canned, do I need to do anything to it to make it a canning recipe??

    Megan Gilmore

    Sorry, I don’t know anything about canning, but I believe you can can unsweetened applesauce, so I’m sure you can can this apple butter, too. I would use your internet browser for proper canning directions, though, in case there are safety tips to be aware of. Hope you enjoy it!

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