The Best Use for All those Apples in Season Now!

homemade apple butter

If your farmer’s market looks anything like mine, it’s apples galore. Every farmer has baskets full of apples, all kinds, just ready to be snapped up and turned into all kinds of delicacies like pie, sauce, crisp, cake, and butter.

Oh yes, apple butter.

This is the first year that I actually attempted apple butter. I’ve made plenty of apple sauce over the years, but I never took the extra step and turned it into butter. For one thing, every recipe made it sound like it took for. ev. er. to make, on top of which most recipes I saw called for lots of sugar. I wasn’t really interested in either of those things.

But oh my, I do love apple butter.

apple butter

So this year, with all the glut of apples at my farmers’ market, I determined I was going to try my hand at it. Naturally, the whole process started with an intensive online search for an apple butter recipe! Unfortunately, most of the recipes I found required equipment I don’t have (food mill), lots and lots of sugar (as much as 1 cup per pound), or a lengthy list of ingredients, including random stuff I don’t usually have on hand (star anise, anyone?).

I stumbled across a promising one at Martha, though, which appealed to me because it seemed like the easiest way to get from Point A (fresh apples) to Point B (apple butter). I also liked that it included pears in the recipe, because I happened to have some pears also that needed to be eaten before they went bad.

So here you go! I did all the research for you, and now you have the simplest apple butter recipe that you can make in your slow cooker all day while you’re busy with other things. You can even do it in phases: make it as far as the apple sauce stage, then finish it off into apple butter the following day.

And um, yeah, it’s delicious.

apple butter

apple butter

Note: It is very important to uncover the apple butter, or at least leave the lid vented, for the last half of the cooking process! Don’t neglect that little detail, or you will not have apple butter in the end.

Do feel free to substitute pears for at least some of the apples. Also experiment with additional spices and seasonings to your taste.

My favorite reference for canning,, says that the sugar does not play a role in the preservation of the apple butter, so you can add as little or as much as you want to your taste. I found that 1/2 cup was plenty, but if you have tart apples or are used to sweeter apple butter, you may want to increase that amount. Next time, I think I might experiment with honey or apple juice instead of sugar.

So it’s not as QUICK as jam, which cooks up on the stove-top in no time at all. But if you have a food processor to do the grating of the apples (which I, alas, do not at the moment), it takes no time at all to prep for the slow cooker, and then the appliance does all the work while you can be busy with other things.

Again, if you have a food processor, it’s definitely the EASY-est apple butter recipe I found in all the recipes I researched.

Making your own apple butter, especially this time of year, is significantly CHEAPer than buying it. This recipe will make approximately 4 half-pint jars for the cost of 1 tote bag of apples ($4.00 at my farmers’ market). I’ve seen jars of low-sugar or unsweetened apple butter for as much as $5, so this is a definite savings!

When you can control the amount of sugar (and use organic or local apples), it makes the finished product so much HEALTHY-er! It’s not as healthy as biting into a fresh apple, of course, but if you’re going to have apple butter, this is the healthiest way to enjoy it.

Check out Tastetastic Thursday for more great recipes!

Miz Helen’s Country Cottage


  1. Thanks for this recipe! I made one of my family’s favorite dishes earlier in the week that features apple butter and I decided the next time I would make my own apple butter.

    Love that this uses the slow cooker too!

  2. I’ve made pumpkin butter, but never apple butter. Anxious to give this a try!

  3. You really don’t need to grate the apples. I do have a peeler/corer/slicer so mine were sliced pretty thin when I made it, but you can just chop them and they will get plenty soft to puree later. It may take a bit longer to cook that way but it is certainly easier than hand grating all those apples :-)

    • Yeah, I’m sure chopping would be fine, but I also felt like grating them would result in a smoother end product. My stick blender is really good, but it does sometimes leave chunks behind. I’m saving up to get a really good food processor, so in the meantime, I’m making do with what I’ve got!

  4. We adore apple butter. It is a staple in our pantry. I usually just peel and cut the apples in half though. I make it in the crockpot though, so that probably makes a difference. It is one of my favorite cooking aromas. Pure heaven!

    • I do use the crockpot; no standing over a stove for me, if I can help it, lol:) When you say you just chop in half, does that mean you leave the core in and just use a food mill later on? That’s what a lot of recipes did, but I don’t have a food mill.

  5. Defintely wanting to give this a try. but so far I haven’t been patient enough to make it past the applesauce stage 😉

  6. Hi Anne,
    This is a beautiful jar of Apple Butter. Apple Butter is one of my husbands favorites and we will really enjoy this recipe. Thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday and have a great week end!
    Come Back Soon,
    Miz Helen

  7. My husband’s grandmother makes the BEST apple butter and we get a jar of it every year for Christmas. It’s my favorite gift. Thanks for linking up this week!

  8. What a great recipe! I definitely want to try this out!

  9. I love apple butter as well– in fact, I have been experimenting a little and tried peach butter just yesterday- so good! I am a new follower of your blog… I love the way it is set up! Check out mine as well :)

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