An easy apple butter made completely in a slow cooker with no refined sugar!
- 5 medium apples (about 3 pounds) cored and roughly chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/4 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