Canning Apple Butter Using a Crockpot

with Sharon Peterson

This is an incredibly easy method for canning apple butter in a slow cooker or Crockpot. Slow cook the apples overnight and your kitchen will smell heavenly in the morning.

Canning apple butter is a great way for newbies to get started!Pin this image.

Home-canned 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 in a boiling water canner.

You will need enough apples to fill your Crockpot, about 6 pounds of apples. I make this in my large, 6-quart slow cooker. Adjust the amount of apples and sugar to the size of your cooker.

Full Disclosure.... I varied a bit.  

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. 

This is one recipe that I vary a bit.  So full disclosure.  The way I make it probably has less sugar that recommended.  :)  You make your decision and add more if you feel safer!  


Prepare

Gather your canning supplies:

Ingredients:

  • apples - enough to fill your Crockpot very full
  • 1-2 cups sugar (to taste)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Procedure

Peeling apple.

For canning apple butter, the apple peeler-corer-slicer comes in handy. It will cut your time in half. (For a video review, click here.)

If you are planning on canning apple butter, applesauce, or just plain apples, the apple slicer-corer-peeler really is handy. If you use one, see instructions that came with it.

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 bowl mix sugar, cinnamon, cloves, and salt. Pour this mixture over the apples.

Cover and cook approximately 10 hours. Stir occasionally. Leave the lid slightly ajar to allow moisture to escape, as this will help the apple butter to thicken up nicely. 

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 so yummy.

Canning apple butter using the Crockpot.

Canning Apple Butter
Crockpot Tip

Only do the overnight cook if your cooker will cook at a nice low temperature. I have a Crockpot that cooks everything a bit too high. If I left this overnight, it would scorch for sure.

If your crock tends to cook too high, plan on rising several times during the night and stirring the butter.

Start these in the evening. Cook on high for an hour just before going to bed. Turn down to low and give them a good stir. In the morning, whisk them up.

Let the apple butter cook down to your desired consistency. It will end up with a scrumptious browned color.

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.

Process

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 time. :0

I always can these in pints or half pints. Half pints are processed the same as pints.

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.

Canning Apple Butter in Half Pints or Pints

  • below 6,000 feet elevation - process 10 minutes
  • above 6,000 feet - process 15 minutes

Canning Apple Butter in Quarts

  • below 6,000 feet elevation - process 15 minutes
  • above 6,000 feet - process 20 minutes
How to Can Apple Butter

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 apple butter is pretty hard to mess up! I love it.

Sharon 

"I canned home made apple butter 3-days ago and it looks too runny. Is it safe for me to re-heat the mixture with Pectin and re-can? if not, what are my other options."

Yes, you could add pectin and re-can, but what I’d suggest instead is to just open it up and cook it some more. The longer it cooks, the darker and thicker it will get. Then you’d need to re-can it the same way you did the first time. 

Sharon

"Hi Sharon,
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?
Thanks.  Irene"

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.  :) 

Sharon 

"Hello.  My question is when I am cooking down my apple butter, 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. 

Sharon

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