Apple butter is one of the most diverse items in our culinary arsenal! We use this stuff on everything from toast and fluffy homemade pancakes to grilled juicy pork chops and perfect roast beef, even over ice cream or cottage cheese.
While it’s a hot kitchen commodity, apple butter was always a major time investment requiring 12–14 hours in the slow cooker. We’ve perfected a recipe that takes half the amount of time!
Soft apple varieties like McIntosh or Braeburn produce smooth and sweet apple butter, so we always recommend them. You can add a bit more sugar or cinnamon at the end of the cooking process. Just season it to your liking.
The recipe yields about 4½ cups of apple butter, so there is plenty to freeze for later. You can also use this recipe to make a sparkling whiskey cocktail!
Slow Cooker Apple Butter Recipe
- 5 1/2 lbs apples, such as Fuji, McIntosh or Braeburn
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup brown sugar, light or dark, packed
- 2 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Peel and core the apples. Chop into 1" pieces and place in a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Working in batches, pulse the apples until they are in very small pieces and transfer to the slow cooker. If you do not have a food processor, just grate the apples into the slow cooker. (You should be left with about 3½–4 lbs of chopped or grated apples after peeling and coring.)
- Add the sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt to the apples in the slow cooker and mix well. Cover and cook on high for 5 hours, stirring once or twice every hour.
- After 5 hours on high heat, remove the lid and reduce the heat to low. Cook the apples uncovered for 1–1½ hours, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is thickened and becomes a glossy dark brown color. (Most of the pieces of apple should have cooked down, but if some chunks remain, you may purée the mixture in the blender for a smoother texture.)
- Turn the heat off and stir in the vanilla. (At this point, you may also add a bit more sugar or cinnamon to adjust the flavor to your specific taste.)
- Transfer the finished apple butter into airtight containers, cover and refrigerate or freeze until ready to use.
A mason jar of apple butter makes a great gift—tie it up with a bright ribbon for a pretty pop!