Canning Apple Butter Recipe
with Sharon Peterson
This is an incredibly easy recipe for canning apple butter in a slow
cooker or Crockpot. Slow cook the apples overnight and your kitchen
will smell heavenly in the morning.
Homemade apple butter slathered on lightly toasted and buttered
fresh bread with a cup of tea or decaf coffee on the side is a favorite snack for me!
After cooking in the slow cooker, you will need to process this recipe in a boiling water canner. Or you can freeze it or just put it in the refrigerator to use now.
Why I do it this way.
Note: My source for this recipe is the Ball Blue Book. The exact ratios from my source are...
4 pounds apples and 4 cups sugar.
I used to just add apples, sugar, and spices to the crockpot and cook it all together. However, the issue with that is knowing how much sugar to add. Cooking the apples to a sauce and then measuring and adding the appropriate amount of sugar will allow you to follow the suggested ratios.
Gather your canning supplies:
- apples - enough to fill your Crockpot very full
- spices to taste
For anny canning apple butter recipe, the apple peeler-corer-slicer comes in handy. It will cut your time in half. (For a video review, click here.)
If you do not have one of these, just prepare your apples the
old-fashioned way, with a knife. If you do this with a knife, chop your
apples up small.
Peel, core, and slice your apples.
Put your apples into your Crockpot. Fill it up to the brim. The apples will settle quite a bit as they cook and soften.
In a slow cooker simply place your fruit and cook on high for 3 hours or
so. This gets things cooking faster. Stir and set on low. At this
point, I leave the lid ajar to allow moisture to escape. Allow this to
cook, stirring occasionally, as the fruit gets softer. When it is an
applesauce consistency, measure out your sauce, then add the following
for every 2 quarts of fruit pulp:
- 4 cups sugar
- Spices to taste (I use 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp ground cloves, and 1/4 tsp salt)
In a bowl mix sugar, cinnamon, cloves, and salt. Pour this mixture over
the apples, stirring to combine. Continue cooking in the slow cooker
until it is the consistency you like. Smooth and silky!
Finish off with a whisk for a smooth product. This can cook overnight if
you have a cooker that will not heat up too much. In my experience, new
slow cookers cook too high to be left that long and will end up
As the apples cook, you will be able to go from stirring with a spoon to a whisk. They will whisk up nice and smooth.
The color will get darker and darker as the apple butter thickens as
well. I love to let them cook good and long. It makes the apple butter
recipe so yummy.
You can leave the lid off for the last hour or two to get a thicker
consistency. Fill your jars, leaving a 1/4-inch headspace. Wipe the
rims clean, remove any air bubbles, and place your lids.
For more details, follow water bath canning instructions.
Quarts or Pints?
You can make fruit butters in quart-size jars, but I'd suggest you
think about it first. A quart of any fruit butter will last a looooong
I always can these in pints or half pints. Half pints are processed the same as pints.
Canning Apple Butter Recipe - Half Pints or Pints
- 0-1000 ft - 10 minutes
- 1000-3000 ft - 15 minutes
- 3001-6000 ft - 20 minutes
- 6001-8000 ft - 25 minutes
- 8001-10000 ft - 30 minutes
The National Center for Home Food preservation has you sterilize your
pint size jars and then process at 5 minutes. To avoid the task of
sterilizing jars, I use a 10-minute processing time. (Ball Blue book just says 10 minutes, adjust for altitude.)
Read here for more information on sterilizing jars for canning.
Best Apple Peeler Corer Slicer Video
Questions from Sharon's Inbox
"This is the first time canning apple butter & everything
seemed fine until the next day when I noticed a thin liquid @ top of apple
butter, is this bad or just normal separation?"
Assuming you processed it in a water bath, it is most likely
just a normal separation. Just stir it in when you open the jar to use
it. Watch for any bad smells or mold, but homemade apple butter is pretty hard to mess
up! I love it.
How long does homemade apple butter keep?
If I get a hold of it? Not long! :) I LOVE homemade apple butter. In all seriousness, however, homemade apple butter should keep for at least 12 months, likely more, if you store it in a cool, dry place.
What's the difference between applesauce and apple butter recipe?
Applesauce is a canned apple puree that's meant to be eaten by the bowlful. Apple butter is cooked longer, so it takes on a different consistency than applesauce, more like a jam or a jelly. It's also sweeter and more spiced than applesauce.
It’s apple butter time! I make mine in the crockpot & then water bath. Wondering if there a difference between cooking in the crockpot vs stove in the sweetness level? Thanks for your help
I've never tested it but I don't think there would be any difference in the sweetness. With the stove, the main thing is just being sure you are on hand to stir more often. The heat is all at the bottom of the pot, with a crockpot the heat surrounds the apples and will be a gentler heat. It does take longer though. So it just depends on your preference in cooking style. The sweetness will be all about the type of apples and any sweetener you add.
I'd like to make Apple Butter in the slow cooker, but i want to use my food
mill to clear skins and seeds first. So, my question is: HOW? Just take the apple sauce result and put it
in the slow cooker? for how long?
Hi Irene, great question. I would just make
applesauce with your food mill. Then add that to your Crockpot. The cook time will be less, but I can't give you an exact time. I'd
estimate 6 hours maybe? It all depends on how juicy your applesauce is
and how your cooker cooks. Try it out and let me know how it goes.
"Hello. My question is when I am cooking down my apple butter recipe, do I need
to cover my pot or just leave it uncovered? I did this years ago and I
cannot remember. Thank you. Elise"
Elise, you should either leave the lid off, or at least leave the lid
ajar so moisture can escape. As the apple butter gets thicker, it may
tend to splatter so that is why I sometimes just suggest to leave the lid
ajar. A splatter screen is also a good idea if you want to leave the
lid completely off.
Page last updated 7/18/2020.
Simply Canning Home
Canning Apple Butter