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 this recipe in a boiling water canner. Or you can freeze it or just put it in the refrigerator to use now.
This page includes:
- Sugar measurements and my method.
- Crockpot Apple Butter for Canning – Extended instruction and tips.
- How to Can Apple Butter – Pinnable Recipe Card
- Apple Butter in Quarts or Pints?
- How long does homemade apple butter last?
- What’s the difference between applesauce and apple butter recipe?
- Using a Food Mill to make apple butter
- Cooking apple butter in a crockpot or on the stove? Is there a difference?
- Cooking covered or uncovered?
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!
Sugar measurements and why I do things 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 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.
Crockpot Apple Butter for Canning
Gather your canning supplies:
- water bath canner
- canning jars
- canning lids and rings
- jar lifter and canning funnel
- large pot or blancher
- large spoons
- sharp knife
- towels and dish cloths
- apple peeler-corer-slicer (This is optional, but I HIGHLY recommend it. They are worth their weight in gold! See if you can borrow one if you don’t have one. It is an incredible, time-saving tool.)
- apples – enough to fill your Crockpot very full
- spices to taste
How to make your apple butter.
First peel, core, and slice your apples.
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.
Cook on high for 3 hours or so. This gets things cooking faster. 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)
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.
Processing time – 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 them for 5 minutes. To avoid the task of sterilizing jars, I use a 10-minute processing time. (Ball Bluebook just says 10 minutes, adjust for altitude.)
Read here for more information if you’d rather sterilize the jars first. sterilizing jars for canning.
Pinnable Recipe Card
Apple Butter Recipe
- sugar to taste
- Spices to taste
- 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 Slice apples
- Add to the crockpot. Fill completely
- Cook on high approximately 3 hours.
- Stir and cook on low. Cook stirring occasionally until applesauce consistency.
- Add sugar to taste. Suggestion is 4 cups sugar to 1 quart pulp.
- 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 sauce is the consistency you like. Butter will round up on spoon. Leave lid off or ajar to alow steam to escape.
- 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.
Adapted from: The National Center for Home Food Preservation and the Ball Blue Book.
Last Updated: 2-6-2021
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-size jars, but I’d suggest you think about it first. A quart of any fruit butter will last a very very long time. I always can these in pints or half-pints. Half pints are processed the same as pints. I do not include processing time for quarts. I did one of my weekly canning chats on canning apple butter in quarts here.
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 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.
Using a Food Mill to make apple butter.
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 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 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.
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Page last updated 1/28/2021