Canning Apple Butter Recipe

This page may contain affiliate links. More Information.

This is an incredibly easy recipe for canning apple butter and making it in a Crockpot. Slow cook the apples overnight, and your kitchen will smell heavenly in the morning.

After cooking in the Crockpot, you will need to process the jars in a boiling water canner. Or you can freeze it or just put it in the refrigerator to use now.

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!

Apple butter on toast with a small jar of apple butter and slices of apples.

Label your jars with pretty printable Canning Labels! Check them out.

Crockpot Apple Butter for Canning: Extended, Step-By-Step Directions

Sugar Measurements & Why I Do Things This Way

Note: My source for this recipe is an older Ball Blue Book. The exact ratios from my source are… 4 pounds apples and 4 cups sugar plus spices.

No added water and no added lemon juice.

If you prefer to use a more recent recipe they often add acidity in the form of lemon juice. I believe the lemon juice will add a nice flavor but is not needed for safety. If you like you can add 1/4 cup bottled lemon juice.

I used to just add apples, sugar, and spices to the Crockpot and cook it all together (see picture below). 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 or at least remember how much sugar you added last time. And you’ll get the same results time after time. Either method will work.

Image of apple butter canning label, links to printable canning labels to purchase.
Use these specially made canning labels to dress up your gift giving.
Apple Butter Canning Labels

How to Make Crockpot Apple Butter

Gather your canning supplies:

Apple butter ingredients:

  • apples – enough to fill your Crockpot very full
  • sugar
  • spices to taste

How to Make Your Apple Butter

First, peel, core, and slice your apples.

Peeling and slicing the apple using the apple slicer tool.

For any apple butter recipe, the apple peeler-corer-slicer comes in handy. It will cut your time in half. (For my 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.

Put your apples into your crockpot. Fill it up to the brim. The apples will settle quite a bit as they cook and soften. You can add your sugar now, but I’ve been waiting until later when the apples are cooked to an applesauce consistency.

Pouring dry ingredients over apple slices in the Crockpot.
Thinly sliced apples in the Crockpot, back when I’d just put my sugar in to start.

Cover and cook on high for 3 hours or so. This gets things cooking faster. If needed add 1/4 cup water or apple juice just to add some moisture. Since this is in a crockpot my apples have always had enough natural juices.

Stir and set on low. 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)

(If you have more or less fruit pulp, use this ratio: 1/2 cup sugar to 1 cup fruit pulp, adjusting your seasonings accordingly.)

Alternatively… just add sugar to taste.

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 scorching.

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.

You can leave the lid off for the last hour or two to get a thicker consistency. The butter should round up on your spoon. Do not cook until it is pasty…that would be too thick.

Canning Apple Butter

Fill your jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Wipe the rims clean, remove any air bubbles, and place your lids.

For more details, follow water bath canning instructions.

The National Center for Home Food preservation has you sterilize your pint-size jars and then process them for 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 if you’d rather sterilize the jars first: Sterilizing jars for canning.

Make sure to adjust processing time according to altitude. Please read more about why altitude adjustments are important here.

Recipe Card

Apple Butter Recipe

Instructions for making apple butter in a Crockpot and then how to can it!
Print Recipe
Apple butter on toast with a small jar of apple butter and slices of apples.
Prep Time:16 hours
Processing Pints (adjust for altitude):10 minutes
Total Time:16 hours 10 minutes


  • Apples  
  • Sugar to taste
  • Spices to taste, cinnamon, ground cloves, salt


  • Once the fruit butter is made, you will need to start by preparing jars and getting water in the canner heating. You want the canner hot, but not boiling, when the jars are ready to be processed.
    See full water bath canning instructions here.  
  • Peel, core, and thinly slice apples. Place in slow cooker, cover and cook on high for 3 hours. Stir and continue cooking on low. Stir often to prevent sticking and mush up apples.
  • When you've got an applesauce textured puree, measure pulp.
  • Add sugar. Suggestion is 4 cups sugar to 2 each 2 quarts pulp. Or to taste.
  • Add spices to taste. A suggestion is 1 tsp. cinnamon, 1/4 tsp. ground cloves, 1/4 tsp. salt.
  • Stir well and continue to cook on low, stirring occasionally until smooth consistency. Butter will round up on spoon. Leave lid off or ajar to allow steam to escape if you've got too much moisture.
  • Process in a water bath canner.

For a Hot Pack

  • Fill jar, leaving 1/4” headspace. 
  • Remove air bubbles, wipe rim clean, and place seal and ring.
  • Place jar in the warm canner. Proceed to fill all jars.
  • Process according to the chart below.  


Processing with a Water Bath Canner
Place the jar in the warm canner. Proceed to fill all jars placing them in the canner.
When all the jars are filled, bring the water in the canner to a boil.  When a boil is reached that is when you’ll start your timing.   Process for the length of time on the chart below.  Adjust for your altitude. 
 After your time is over, turn the heat off remove the lid and allow the canner to rest for about 5 minutes. Then bring your jars up out of the water.  Allow them to rest for another 5 minutes. Then remove the jars and place them a few inches apart on a thick towel to cool completely.  Leave them alone for about 12 hours.  
When they are cooled remove the metal bands, check the seals, label the jars and store them away! 
Processing Times for Water Bath Canner (Hot Pack) 
Altitude – Half Pints and Pints are Processed the Same  
0-1,000 – 10 minutes 
1,001-3,000 – 15 minutes 
3,001-6,000 -20 minutes  
6,001-8,000 – 25 minutes 
8,001-10,000 – 30 minutes 
Adapted from: The National Center for Home Food Preservation and the Ball Blue Book. 
Servings: 5 pints

Crockpot Apple Butter FAQs & Tips

Apple Butter in Quarts or Pints?

I always can these in pints or half pints. Half pints are processed the same as pints. You can make fruit butter in quart jars, but I’d suggest you think about it first. A quart of any fruit butter will last a very, very long time. I do not include processing time for quarts. I did one of my Canning Chats on canning apple butter in quarts here.

Canning Caramel Apple Butter?

 Can caramel apple butter be canned?
No caramel should not be added to the apple butter.  You could probably add caramel when you open the jar to use it though.  I’d try heating it up a little and stir in a caramel sauce.  Then store it in the fridge.

What Should the Texture Be?

“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. Apple butter will be a smooth sauce consistency. You’ll know it is done when it rounds up on a spoon. It should be spreadable…but not sticky/tacky.

How Long Does Homemade Apple Butter Last?

If I get a hold of it? Not long! 🙂 I LOVE homemade apple butter. In all seriousness, however, homemade apple butter will keep for at least 12 months, likely more, if you store it in a cool, dry place. Once it is opened and in the fridge, plan on a couple of weeks.

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, much smoother. It’s also sweeter and more spiced than applesauce.

Stirring a pot of homemade applesauce that's cooking on the stove.
This applesauce can be turned into apple butter by simply cooking longer and stirring in a bit of cinnamon and cloves.

Using a Food Mill to Make Apple Butter

“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 applesauce result and put it in the slow cooker? For how long? Thanks. Irene”

Hi Irene, great question. I would just make applesauce as usual with your food mill. Check here for specifics on how to make applesauce. Then add that, plus the sugar, 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

Cooking Apple Butter in a Crockpot or on the Stove? Is There a Difference?

“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.

Cooking Apple Butter Covered or Uncovered?

“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. I’ll usually put it on high for the first hour or so. This gets things heated up quicker, but then turn it down. As the apple butter gets thicker, it may tend to splatter, so that is why I sometimes just suggest leaving the lid ajar. A splatter screen is also a good idea if you want to leave the lid completely off.

How Do You Store Canned Apple Butter?

You should store home canned apple butter in a cool, dark place. Read more about preparing canned food for storage here.

Tip for Getting Fruit

Gleaning from orchards after the main season is a great way to get free fruit. These will usually be seconds, but they’re still perfectly useable. Be sure and call ahead, and always treat the orchard with respect! That orchard owner is trusting that you won’t allow your children to climb trees
and break branches or otherwise be a nuisance. Pick up after yourself when you leave. This is their livelihood, so honor the trust they show by allowing you there.

Canning Chat: Canning Apple Butter the Day After You Make It

Transcript – Edited for Clarity

Hey there–This is Sharon from where you can find home canning food tutorials, tips, and advice, all taught in a way that even a beginner can get their pantry filled. We have a Canning Chat question today from Jennifer. She says, “Hello, I’m new to all of this. Here’s my question: Can I make apple butter today, but put it in jars and process it at a later date, like a week from now?”

Yes, you can make your apple butter today, put it in the refrigerator, and then bring it out, heat it up, and process it. I wouldn’t wait a week though. If you have your apple butter ready and you’re not going to be able to can it, put it in a container in the refrigerator. Take it out the next day. Waiting a week would be too long.

You’d be better off putting it in small containers in the freezer. That’s really fast. If you don’t have time to can it, freezing it is another really good option. Waiting for a whole week wouldn’t be a good idea.

Preparing it one day and processing it the next day is possible with quite a few things. It depends on the food. It works with apple butter, applesauce, tomato sauce, and things like that. Anything that you can put in a container to be refrigerated overnight, without affecting the texture. If you tried that with green beans, carrots, beets, or other vegetables, I’m afraid the quality of the food would go down.

Put it away, and then take it out again. But a week? No, I’d say that a week would be too long. I hope this was helpful. You guys have a great day. I’m going to put links to canning apple butter and canning applesauce in the article below. If you need directions on how to do that, check them out. We’ll talk to you later. Bye!

Related Pages

Apple Butter Recipe in Quarts?

Can you preserve apple butter in quarts? Yes… but should you?
Learn about canning apple butter in quart jars.
Sharon holding a tiny jar of canned apple butter.

How to make pear butter using a slow cooker.

Peach butter recipe for slow cooker, with canning recipe. A bit of orange and nutmeg in this pear butter recipe makes it delicious.
Orange and nutmeg in this pear butter.
Holding juicy peeled pear quarters over a bowl of scraps.

Peach Butter Recipe

Peach butter recipe for slow cooker. This is a canning recipe!
How to make and can peach butter.
Peach butter in small decorative jars.

Pin This to Find Later!

Canning Apple Butter

Adapted from: The National Center for Home Food Preservation and the Ball Blue Book.

Expand Your Pantry

Notify of
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
6 months ago

How do you know if the apple butter is thick enough for canning?

carol dixon
carol dixon
1 year ago

how many pounds of apples equal a pint jar?

carol dixon
carol dixon
1 year ago

thanks so much-very helpful! Got 12 lbs in the slow cooker and sent my husband for another big bag!

Cyndi Strader
Cyndi Strader
1 year ago

Can you use artificial sweetener in apple butter or sauce in canning?

Dawn Smith
Dawn Smith
1 year ago

Do you put water or butter in the crockpot when making apple butter

J. C.
J. C.
1 year ago

A lot of old recipes call for adding apple cider vinegar before cooking it down to add a bit of a tang to the butter. This sounds like something I would like, but I’ve yet to find a up to date recipe from a trusted source that calls for ACV. Would it be all right to go ahead and add it?
It feels like a silly question sine ACV is acidic and is used for pickling, but this only my second year canning so I’m really nervous about making any modifications unless the recipe explicitly says it okay.

1 year ago

I I’m going to be making this recipe instead of using ground cloves can I use allspice

Dorcas Berthold
Dorcas Berthold
2 years ago

I haven’t canned anything in years. The last time, I’d canned salsa from the Blue Book using my garden. A week later I found most to be gone. My husband ate them! He didn’t know they were for colder months when no fresh tomatoes were outside. i grew up with a huge garden and my mother canned or froze everything. I even went to 4-H camp with my canning project. Lol. i was about to make more apple butter when I thought I’d can it and found you. I’d also been thinking about adding sugar at the end. thank you… Read more »

2 years ago

Can i use dark brown sugar instead?

Brent Duplessis
Brent Duplessis
3 years ago

5 stars
I live in the south where during the middle spring the temperature is in the high 80’s and at might in the high 60’s to low 70’s. My home has a crawl space only. Is it ok to store my can goods under my home. It is cool down there during the summer but not like in the 60’s it might be 70’s to low 80’s during the day. Thanks Brent

Gary Bryant
Gary Bryant
3 years ago

2nd time to make Crockpot applebutter, Refrig the first time, but want to can these, using your directions for water bath. First batch i refrigerated & it was great Thanks for the article. Am curious, didnt see any about pressure can applebutter?

Rachel Abernathy
Rachel Abernathy
3 years ago
Reply to  Gary Bryant

Yes, apples are high acid, so apple butter is safe for processing in the water bath canner. No pressure canner required!

-Rachel (Sharon’s assistant)

Gary Bryant
Gary Bryant
3 years ago

5 stars
thank you, hadnt thought about that