Whenever I come home with that first bounty of freshly-picked apples, I immediately form a copious list of recipes that I want to make. This Slow Cooker Apple Butter is at the top of this year’s list.
While the options are many, a batch of homemade apple butter always turns out to be one of my favorite apple recipes every year. It definitely is one of the best uses for apples, especially if you have a large number you are looking to use up.
This simple apple butter recipe is made with fresh apples, spices, and a touch of pure maple syrup and vanilla exact.
The slow cooker does all the work. By the time the batch is ready, your entire house will smell like a tantalizing autumn wonderland.
While the spices, maple syrup, and vanilla give the crockpot apple butter an extra dimension of flavor, this recipe is all about letting the apples shine.
The long, slow cooking process concentrates their natural sweetness and intensifies their inherent apple-ness.
Apple-ness. It’s a word.
Every year, I can’t help but think that apple butter tastes so pure and so…fall.
How to Make the Best Slow Cooker Apple Butter
Have a big batch of fresh apples? Don’t wait to make this slow cooker apple butter recipe. It’s simple and the results are so magnificent, you’ll start making it every year too.
- Apples. Juicy, naturally sweet, and delicious paired with warm spices, vanilla, and maple syrup. Plus, apples are good for you too! They’re packed with fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants (read more health benefits here). I chose to make my apple butter without the peels, but you could make crockpot apple butter with peels if you prefer.
- Maple Syrup. While I’ve seen other slow cooker apple butter recipes that call for supplementing the apples with apple cider or brown sugar, this homemade apple butter recipe truly does not need it. I chose to add maple syrup because it’s one of my favorite flavor combos with apples, but if you prefer to make a slow cooker apple butter with no sugar of any kind, you can omit it.
- Vanilla. Apple butter tastes like a cozy, fall dream with a splash of vanilla.
- Spices. Cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice wrap the apples up in a dreamy, flavor-packed hug.
- Peel, core, and dice the apples.
- Add the apples to a slow cooker.
- Stir in the maple syrup and spices.
- Cook for 3 to 4 hours on HIGH or LOW for 8 to 10 hours. Stir once halfway through.
- Puree the apples a blender. Cook on HIGH for 2 more hours. (You know apple butter is done once it has thickened and clings to a spoon.) Stir in the vanilla and salt.
- Transfer to storage containers, or serve immediately. ENJOY!
How to Make Apple Butter on the Stove
If you don’t have a slow cooker, here are instructions for how to make a quick apple butter recipe on the stove:
- Peel, core, and dice the apples.
- Add the apples to a Dutch oven.
- Stir in the maple syrup and spices.
- Bring the mixture to a simmer on the stovetop. Cover, reduce to medium-low heat, and cook for 20 to 25 minutes.
- Once the apples are soft, puree them with a blender.
- Cook over medium-low heat for about 1 hour, until the butter is thickened. Stir in the vanilla and salt.
- DIG IN!
What Are the Best Apples for Apple Butter?
Instead of looking for where to buy apple butter, make this homemade version instead. It’s easy, wholesome, and can be made with multiple varieties of apples.
- The best apple for apple butter is one that is crisp and sweet.
- Using an apple with natural sweetness will enhance the flavor of the apple butter without the need for added, refined sugars.
- My favorite apple varieties to use for apple butter are Fuji, Gala, Honeycrisp, or Pink Lady. Use one variety or try a mix.
Slow Cooker Apple Butter Storage Tips
This easy apple butter recipe will yield two modest jars, which I fully confess I went through much more rapidly than expected.
If you go as crazy picking apples every fall as I do, know how to can apple butter, or want to make a few extra jars to freeze or share with friends, you can easily scale the recipe up to make a larger batch.
- Homemade apple butter will last about 2 weeks when stored in the refrigerator. It will taste even better the next day once it has rested in the refrigerator, and the flavors have blended.
- Freeze apple butter in an airtight, freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
- I haven’t tried canning apple butter before, but I think this recipe would work well for it.
How to Use Apple Butter
In addition to eating it by the spoonful directly out of the jar, here are a few other apple butter uses:
- On Bread. Spread some on peanut butter toast for a truly delicious treat, or use apple butter for this scrumptious Apple Grilled Cheese with Turkey, Cheddar, and Apple Butter.
- With Yogurt. Mix some into your yogurt for a touch of sweet apple flavor.
- On Ice Cream. Serve this apple butter on ice cream with an extra pinch of cinnamon and a handful of crushed graham crackers. YUM!
- On Pancakes or Waffles. The perfect, cozy fall weekend breakfast.
- On Meat. Apple butter on pork is a fabulous flavor combination!
- In Biscuits. Make these truly delish Apple Butter Cheddar Dill Biscuits.
Recommended Tools to Make Slow Cooker Apple Butter
- Slow Cooker. An appliance you’ll love having for this recipe and so many others.
- Peeler. Makes light work of peeling apples.
- Glass Jars. Great for storing your apple butter (especially if you plan to make slow cooker apple butter for canning).
Slow Cooker Apple Butter
- 3 pounds crisp sweet apples such as Fuji, Gala, Honeycrisp, or Pink Lady (about 7 medium apples)
- 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Tiny pinch kosher salt
- Peel and core the apples and cut them into a rough 3/4- to 1-inch dice.
- Place the apples in the bottom of a 5-quart or larger slow cooker.
- Top with maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. Stir to combine.
- Cover and cook on high for 3 to 4 hours, or on low for 8 to 10 hours, stirring once halfway through, until the apples are very tender and brown.
- With an immersion blender, puree the apples until the apple butter reaches your desired consistency (I like mine fairly smooth). If you do not have an immersion blender, transfer the apples to a blender or food processor in batches and blend until smooth, then return to the slow cooker.
- Turn the slow cooker to high and let the apple butter continue to cook, uncovered, for 2 additional hours or until thickened, stirring occasionally. Stir in the vanilla extract and salt.
- Taste and add additional maple syrup as desired. Spoon into jars or another airtight container. Enjoy on toast, on waffles, mixed with yogurt, drizzled over ice cream, on a grilled cheese (YUM), on cornbread, or served with pork.
- TO STORE: This apple butter will tastes even better the next day once it has rested in the refrigerator and the flavors are blended. Store leftover apple butter in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks or freeze for several months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
- The amount of maple syrup you need will vary based on the sweetness of your apples and personal preference. Taste and adjust as needed. If you prefer to make a no-sugar apple butter, you can simply omit it.
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