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Wooden spoon lifting apple butter out of a glass jar.

Easy Apple Butter

  • Author: Jessie
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 2 hours
  • Total Time: 2 hours 10 minutes
  • Yield: Makes 2 cups 1x
  • Category: Sauce
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan


Easy homemade stovetop apple butter with no processed sugar.


  • 5 medium apples (about 3 pounds) cored and roughly chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup


  1. Stir all ingredients together in a medium-sized pot. Cover and cook on low heat, stirring occasionally, for 1-2 hours, until apples have softened and reduced.
  2. Turn off the heat, remove the lid, and let apples cool for at least 15 minutes.
  3. Blend apple mixture with an immersion blender until smooth.
  4. If you want to thicken your apple butter, return it to the stove over low heat and let it cook down until it's reached your desired consistency. 
  5. Serve apple butter warm or let it cool and keep it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.


Additions and Substitutions. Use honey, molasses, or brown sugar in place of the maple syrup. Use more or less of the cinnamon, cloves, and lemon to suit your personal taste. Add a splash of bourbon or whiskey to the apples as they cook for extra depth of flavor. 

What kind of apples should I use? Use any apple varieties you like, or mix a few different varieties together! The sweeter the apples you use, the sweeter your apple butter will be. We've tested this recipe with more than a dozen apple varieties (Granny Smith, Red Delicious, Honeycrisp, Sansa, Fuji, McIntosh, and Liberty are just a few) and they've all worked well. 

Do I need to peel the apples? We don't bother to peel the apples in this recipe: a good immersion blender will purée everything quite well and you won't even notice the peels! That said, if you want the smoothest possible apple butter, you can peel the apples beforehand and/or run the apple butter through a food mill to remove any texture.

To store, let apple butter cool completely, then transfer to airtight containers (we love using small mason jars). Store in the fridge for up to a week or in the freezer for several months (we've kept it up to a year in the freezer with no quality loss). Let frozen apple butter thaw overnight in the fridge when you're ready to use it.

Looking for a slow cooker version? We have you covered with this crock pot apple butter recipe.

Exact cook times vary pretty widely with homemade apple butter: the water content of your apples has a big impact on timing and consistency, and every stove is different, so it's useful to check in on the apple butter frequently as it cooks and go by visual cues as opposed to just a timer. I generally take 2 hours to cook the apples before blending, and follow with another 30 minutes on low heat to thicken; one of our recipe testers on the opposite coast generally only needs one hour on the stovetop before her apples are ready to blend.

Wondering what to do with apple butter? Spread it over a toasted slice of small batch crusty bread or a pumpkin biscuit, add a dollop to some brie crostini, or use it in baked goods like apple butter muffins, apple butter coffee cake, and apple butter spice cake.

Keywords: fall, autumn, thanksgiving