This simple stovetop apple butter recipe is quick, easy, and has NO processed sugar! Just fresh apples, cinnamon, and a bit of maple syrup make this apple butter rich and velvety. The perfect way to use up all of those fall apples. Vegetarian, Vegan.
Let’s talk apple buttaaaahhhhhhh!
First of all, BLERGH to the fact that apple butter is one of the most boring things on the planet to photograph.
It’s like, “hey, friends! Here’s a jar of brown goop for your viewing pleasure!”
Fortunately, THIS GOOP IS THE BEST TASTING GOOP OUT OF ALL THE GOOP.
Too weird, though? Should we strike “goop” from our food vocabulary? That might be a problem, because now I’m in the can’t-stop-won’t-stop mode I tend to fall into with funny words. Goop. Goop goop goop.
…Please still be friends with me.
Confession: I had actually never made apple butter until this fall.
But it was like, “a Pinterest thing” and people were like, “telling me how GOOD it is” and I like, “HAD some apples that I needed to use.”
(Just picture me throwing in some really top-notch air quotes for you there, kthanks).
So I made a few different batches of apple butter, realized it was 1) delicious and 2) makes your house smell like a freaking cinnamon factory of wonderfulness and 3) can be eaten on top of bread. SOLD.
Most of the recipes I initially tried called for what I felt was a pretty excessive amount of sugar, and I found that I really wasn’t a fan of overly-sweetened apple butter. Why waste delicious apples (That we picked! At an orchard! Like the most stereotypical upstate New-Yorkers ever!) on something that you’re just going to drown in sugar, right?
So I cut out the processed sugar from this recipe completely and instead opted for just a lil’ drizzle of pure maple syrup. And you guys – I liked it SOOOOO much better than the super-sugary versions.
Honestly, I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, so it’s really just personal preference here – you should adjust the sugar content so that this apple butter tastes perfect to YOU! You could also totally do this in a slow cooker – just throw everything together and cook it on low for 6 hours ish and you’ll be good to go. Me, I have no patience, so stovetop was the way to go for this one. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go do cannonballs into this apple butter.
(OK I’M DONE I SWEAR).
How to make apple butter – the video!
Easy homemade apple butter with no processed sugar.
- 5 medium apples, cored and roughly chopped
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
- 1.5 tsp. ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp. ground cloves
- ¼ cup pure maple syrup
- Stir all ingredients together in a medium-sized pot. Cover and cook on low heat, stirring occasionally, for 2 hours or so until apples have reduced (and your house smells like an apple-y-cinnamon-y heaven).
- Remove pot from stove and let cool, uncovered, for 15 minutes or so. Puree apple mixture with an immersion blender (you could also use a regular blender or food processor, but I love the immersion blender!) until it’s smooth and buttery.
- If you want to thicken your apple butter even more after you’ve pureed it, just return it to the stove over low heat and let it cook down until it’s reached your desired level of thickness. I generally cook the apple butter for an additional 30 minutes to an hour – it all depends on the apples you started with! Just keep an eye on it and tailor the process to suit your tastes.
- Serve apple butter warm or let it cool and keep it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.
Use whatever kind of apples you like – I used a local variety we picked from our favorite orchard!
I don’t bother to peel the apples for this recipe – the immersion blender purees everything so well that you really don’t need to take the extra prep step (also, I’m lazy, and peeling things is the worst). Just core them and remove the seeds and you’ll be good to go.
If you don’t have maple syrup, you can use brown sugar instead. I don’t like the apple butter too terribly sweet – it’s better if the apples get to shine through! – which is why I opt for maple syrup, but if you like sweeter apple butter just adjust the sugar to suit your tastes!
To make this in a slow cooker, throw all the ingredients together, cook on low for 6 or so hours, and blend as instructed.
To thicken apple butter, continue to cook on the stove (or uncovered in the slow cooker) until it’s at your desired consistency. You can also add a pat of butter to make it a bit more velvety.