This easy apple butter is made completely in a slow cooker or crock pot with no refined sugar – just a splash of maple syrup! Vegan, Gluten-Free.
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Internet, meet our new favorite homemade apple butter recipe: made completely in a slow cooker or crockpot (with only five minutes of prep!)
Just like our fan-favorite stovetop apple butter, this crock pot recipe is made without processed or refined sugar – just a splash of maple syrup to complement the natural sweetness of fresh fall apples. Add a bit of lemon juice, cinnamon, and ground cloves and you have everything you need.
Also? No peeling necessary! A good immersion blender (we love this one!) will make quick work of those apple peels after a few hours in a slow cooker.
Use any apples you like here! This is a very forgiving recipe, so don’t be afraid to make swaps and substitutions to make it your own. Replace the maple syrup here with honey, brown sugar, or even molasses.
Also recommended: adding a few tablespoons of bourbon to the apples while they cook!
Apple butter will thicken as it cools, so don’t worry if it still looks a little runny in the slow cooker! If you still need to thicken your apple butter, you can continue to cook it uncovered in your crock pot or simmer it on the stove.
Can this apple butter be frozen?
YES! Freeze this apple butter in an airtight container for several months and defrost as needed. I’ve kept it in the freezer for up to a year with no problems as long as the container has a good seal!
We recommend using small mason jars with tight lids to freeze this apple butter so you can grab just what you need throughout the year.
Let apple butter defrost overnight in the fridge or remove any metal lid pieces and microwave in 30-second intervals when you’re ready to use it!
VIDEO: HOW TO MAKE SLOW COOKER APPLE BUTTER
An easy apple butter made completely in a slow cooker with no refined sugar!
- 5 medium apples (about 3 pounds) cored and roughly chopped
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- 2 Tablespoons pure maple syrup
- Stir all ingredients together in a slow cooker. Cover and cook for 4-5 hours on high heat or 8-10 hours on low heat until apples are soft and easily mashed.
- Turn off the slow cooker, remove the lid, and let apples cool for 10-20 minutes before blending.
- Purée apple mixture with an immersion blender until smooth. For best results, purée an extra 30 seconds or so after the mixture already appears smooth – it will work out any fine lumps for a smooth apple butter!
- If you’d like to thicken your apple butter further, turn the slow cooker back on and continue to cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 1-2 hours or until it reaches your desired thickness.
- Serve apple butter warm or let cool completely and store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.
What kind of apples should I use? Use any apple varieties you like, or mix a few different varieties together! Just keep in mind that the sweeter the apples you use, the sweeter your apple butter will be. Granny Smith, Red Delicious, Honeycrisp, Sansa, Fuji, McIntosh, and Liberty are just a few of the apple varieties we’ve used and liked in this recipe.
Do I need to peel the apples? No! A good immersion blender will make quick work of any apple peels – no need to peel the apples before cooking unless you want to! Just remove any seeds and stems and you’re good to go.
Equipment. We recommend using a 5-quart or smaller slow cooker (we love this one from Crock-Pot!) If you have a larger (7 or 8-qt) slow cooker, we recommend doubling the recipe to prevent the apples from drying out (or even burning if you use high heat) over a long cook time. We use our Cuisinart Immersion blender here for a smooth apple butter purée.
Additions and Substitutions. Use honey or brown sugar in place of the maple syrup if you like. Use more or less cinnamon and/or cloves if you prefer. Add a teaspoon of vanilla or a few Tablespoons of whiskey for extra flavor.
To thicken your apple butter after puréeing, continue to cook it uncovered, stirring occasionally, in the slow cooker until it’s reached your desired consistency. This apple butter will continue to thicken as it cools.
What to serve with apple butter. Serve this apple butter as a spread on a fall cheese plate, as a sauce over crostini with sliced brie, slathered on sourdough toast like jam, with a round of baked brie, inside homemade cinnamon rolls, with scones, or as a sauce for pork chops or pork tenderloin.
No time for a slow cooker? Use our easy stovetop apple butter (also made without refined sugar!) for the same great results.
To freeze this apple butter, let it cool completely, then pack it into small mason jars with airtight lids and freeze for several months (or longer – I’ve kept apple butter in the freezer for up to a year with no problems!)
This recipe has not been tested for pH levels or other safe home canning practices. If you’d like an apple butter recipe that’s been tested for home canning, we recommend this one from Ball!
Keywords: crock pot, spread, thanksgiving