This recipe for learning how to make apple butter will uplevel your toast, pancake, waffle, and muffin game!

Fresh apples, cider, fragrant spices, brown sugar, and a pinch of vanilla are slow-cooked into a sweet and creamy spread that’s so easy to make and goes with everything!

Once you’ve made homemade apple butter, you’ll want to keep it on hand all the time!

plated Apple Butter

What is Apple Butter?

  • Homemade apple butter is essentially applesauce, that’s been richly seasoned and cooked down until it’s very thick and spreadable. The sugar and the apples become caramelized and the ‘butter’ turns dark brown.
  • Vegetarians, vegans, and those watching their fat intake love apple butter for its all-natural ingredients and its versatility! Use it in place of peanut butter or other seed butters, jam, or preserves on your favorite baked goods.
  • One pot apple butter can also be made in a crock pot on low heat, just set it and forget it! Make a batch for home and a batch to give!
apple cider , apples , brown sugar , vanilla , lemon juice , cinnamon , nutmeg and cloves with labels to make Apple Butter

What’s in Apple Butter?

Apples: Any variety of apples works for apple butter. Varieties like Red or Golden Delicious will produce a sweeter butter, while Granny Smiths or Fuji’s will yield a tangier butter. Feel free to mix and match and use whatever apples are on sale or in season! Look for naturally sweetened apple cider for a lower-sugar version.

Sugar: Brown sugar helps thicken and sweeten apple butter. Use an alternative brown sugar sweetener, maple syrup, or honey, if desired.

Seasonings: This recipe is all about the spices! Nutmeg and cloves add depth of flavor and fragrance to apple butter. Cinnamon and allspice are also good additions to apple butter.

Variations: For a festive apple butter, mix in leftover homemade cranberry orange sauce, mashed bananas, or sugar-free strawberry jam. Bump up the seasonings and add a dash or two of homemade apple pie spice for an extra aromatic apple butter!

How to Make Apple Butter

Once you’ve made homemade apple butter, you’ll want to keep it on hand all the time!

  1. Prep apples as directed in recipe below.
  2. Place all ingredients (except vanilla) in a large pot and cook on medium-low until the apples are soft.
  3. Puree the apple mixture until smooth.
  4. Cook until the apple butter is thickened and amber-brown in color. Add vanilla and serve or store.

In a Crock Pot

  1. Use only 1/4 cup of apple cider.
  2. Stir all ingredients in a crock pot.
  3. Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours.
  4. Blend until smooth and cook until thickened to your preference.
taking a spoonful of Apple Butter our of the jar

Ways to Use Apple Butter

Apple butter is perfect to serve on top of homemade quick breads like pumpkin zucchini, or fresh pear bread. Use it as a healthier alternative to frosting on an apple bundt cake or serve it as a condiment next to a baked pork tenderloin. It’s also excellent used as a topping for ice cream, French toast , and even swirled into a smoothie.

Storing Apple Butter

  • Keep apple butter in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to a month or freeze in zippered bags 4-6 months.
  • Canning Method: Pour apple butter into prepared jars and process for 15 minutes (adjust for altitude) in a pot brought to a rolling boil. Remove and let cool for 24 hours before removing rings and storing for up to a year.
close up of Apple Butter on a spoon

More Spreadable Treats!

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plated Apple Butter
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Apple Butter

Use these simple instructions to learn how to make apple butter the easy way!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 32 Servings
Author Candace


Large pot , or Dutch oven
Immersion blender , or blender



  • Peel apples if desired. Cut and core apples.
  • In a large Dutch oven or pot, add apples, cider, brown sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves if using. Cover and cook on medium-low for 25-30 minutes, or until apples are soft, stirring occasionally.
  • Remove from heat. Using an immersion blender, puree until applesauce reaches a smooth consistency. Alternatively, use a blender. Use caution and blend in small batches if using a blender when the apples are hot.
  • Return to medium-low to low heat and cook for 45-60 minutes, stirring occasionally, until reduced, and the color is a deep amber. Remove from the heat and add vanilla.
  • Refrigerate in an airtight container.


  • Makes about 4 cups 
  • Refrigerate apple butter in a covered container for up to a month. Freeze in zippered freezer safe bags for 4-6 months.
  • Canning Method: Pour apple butter into prepared jars and process for 15 minutes (adjust for altitude). Remove and cool on the counter top for 24 hours before storing. Remove rings before storing.
5 from 1 vote↑ Click stars to rate now!
Or to leave a comment, click here!

Nutrition Information

Serving: 2Tablespoons | Calories: 52 | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 0.2g | Fat: 0.1g | Saturated Fat: 0.04g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.03g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.01g | Sodium: 2mg | Potassium: 76mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 32IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 11mg | Iron: 0.1mg

Nutrition information does not include optional ingredients or garnish and is an estimate. It may change based on actual ingredients and cooking methods used.

Course Side Dish
Cuisine American

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Apple Butter recipe in jars
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spoonfull of Apple Butter with writing
Apple Butter in the pot and in a jar with a title
spoon and jar full of Apple Butter with text

Adapted from Spend With Pennies 


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About the author

I am a wife, mother of two, and professional accountant. I love fantastic food, and it is so often the center of our lives, from everyday dinner, to family gatherings, and special evenings at fabulous restaurants. I have always loved cooking and baking, with my mom and grandma, and now, with my daughter and son. I love trying new recipes while enjoying my favorites too. I’m so happy to share them with you.
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