This recipe is so simple – it’s the easiest apple butter recipe from scratch. I use all fresh ingredients, and I promise you it tastes just as good as the apple butter you grew up with.

I grew up on pretty much 100% home-canned applesauce, which is amazing as my mom actually hates cooked apples. She did it for us and I’ve loved it ever since. But apple butter, now that’s the next level!! I use it on toast, cooked with pork or chicken, in quick breads and cakes, etc!

All you need is 6 simple ingredients, and this apple butter sauce is yours! Fill your home and belly with the smells and flavors of fall!

a photo of two glasses full of apple butter with cinnamon stick, whole apples, and peeled apples all around them.

Recommended Equipment

Before You Begin

Prepare all the apples by removing the cores, peeling them, and slicing them into bitesize pieces.

What is Apple Butter?

Though it contains no butter, apple butter is a similar consistency of butter. Apple butter is super concentrated sweetened apples that have been pureed to a smooth spreadable sauce. You can think of it as an apple jam. It has intense delicious apple flavor.

Apple Butter Ingredients

Here are the 6 (possibly 7) ingredients you need to make apple butter from scratch:

  • Apples: You’ll need about 16 apples depending on the size of the apples to get 6 lbs of apples. Weigh the apples first and then core, peel and cut them.
    • TIP: You’ll need at least a 6 quart slow cooker to hold all these apples.
  • Dark Brown Sugar: You can use light brown sugar too, I just love the richness the dark brown sugar adds.
  • Sugar: just regular granulated sugar, helps apples caramelize
  • Cinnamon: an absolute must for apple recipes and all things fall
  • Ground Cloves: adds an extra bit of warmth and flavor
  • Salt: cuts through all the sweetness and enhances all the flavors
  • Vanilla: this is optional but does add delicious flavor

This is just an overview of the ingredients used in this recipe. The measurements for all the ingredients can be found in the recipe card down at the end of the post.

a photo of several whole unpeeled apples sitting on a cutter board with a cup of cinnamon sitting next to them and a bowl of brown sugar and a bowl of white sugar.

How to Make Apple Butter in a Slow Cooker

It doesn’t get easier than making this apple butter recipe in the slow cooker! Here is an overview of the steps:

  1. Combine the white sugar and spices/seasonings in a small bowl and stir to combine.
  2. Add the prepared apples to the slow cooker and cover them with the brown sugar and the sugar/spice mixture. Stir to coat.
  3. Cook on low for 10 hours then puree with an immersion blender. Then cook for another hour to allow the
    • TIP: If you don’t have an immersion blender, move the apples to a regular blender and mix until smooth.
  4. Place in jars or other airtight containers. Store in the fridge or freezer. See section below for storage tips.

The complete instructions for this apple butter recipe can be found in the recipe card at the end of this post.

How to Make Apple Butter in an Instant Pot

Follow the same steps listed for the slow cooker but you will cook the apples on high for 90 min, then allow a natural release. Then purée it with a blender or immersion blender. The only way to get the deep caramel color is to slow cook it. Don’t latch the lid and press the slow cook function and let it cook. Sometimes I have to add a little juice, like 1/2 cup, to the apples so they don’t burn in the initial 90 minute cook.

a photo of a glass jar filled with caramel brown apple butter with a whole granny smith apple in the background

Do You Have to Peel the Apples?

I do prefer to peel the apples before adding them to the slow cooker, but it’s not absolutely necessary. With unpeeled apples, the texture just wasn’t as smooth for me, but sometime people prefer a little texture. Do what you have time for!

What Apples are Best for Apple Butter?

For this apple butter recipe, I used a combo of golden delicious, honeycrisp, and pink lady apples. You can honestly use any combination of apples you want.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Easy: Though the cook time is long, the workload it minimal. Once the apples are prepped, it just a matter of mixing them with the other handful of ingredients and letting everything cook down.

Flavor: The apple flavor is intense and combine with the sugar and warm spices, the flavor couldn’t be any better or more comforting!

Big Yield: One recipe make a huge batch of apple butter. It is a great recipe to share with friends and neighbors.

Stores Well: It stores extremely well in the refrigerator or freezer so you can enjoy some right away or freeze some for later.

a photo of a small bowl of apple butter with a slice of apple dipped into it.

How to Use Apple Butter

You can use apple butter is so many different ways! It’s a good thing this recipe makes an abundance of apple butter because I add it to almost everything.

It is a great spread for toast, bread, biscuits, or English muffins.

Try it as a topping for ice cream, pancakes, waffles, or french toast.

It makes an incredible dip for apples, crackers or cheese, or you can mix it in with oatmeal or yogurt.

And buckle up for these two, but it makes a great addition to your pork chops or grilled cheese sandwich! So yum!

What is the Difference Between Applesauce and Apple Butter?

Apple butter is like applesauce’s sweeter, thicker and concentrated in flavor older sister. Apple butter is spreadable and darker in color. It pretty much applesauce that has been cooked longer and reduced more so the flavor is more intense.

Canning Apple Butter

Apple butter is great for canning. Make the recipe as written and then can using a steam or bath canner just like you would applesauce.

Storage Instructions

Apple butter will keep in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

It also freezes extremely well. Store it in vacuum bags for up to a year.

variations: use apple pie spice or pumpkin pie spice for mix of flavors

a photo taken over the top of a jar of apple butter surrounded but cinnamon sticks, whole apples, halved apples and a slice of bread.

This is the best apple butter recipe you’ll ever find and it couldn’t be easier to make! It is a smooth and flavorful spread that is everything right about fall wrapped up into the perfect bite.

More Apple Recipes to Try:

Apple Butter Recipe

No ratings yet
Servings: 24 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 11 hours
Total Time: 11 hours 20 minutes


  • 6 lbs Apples, about 16 apples, roughly peeled, cored and chopped in bite sized pieces
  • 1 Cup Dark Brown Sugar, light brown sugar is also fine
  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon Cinnamon, heaping
  • 1/4 teaspoon Ground Cloves
  • 1 Pinch Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla, can be added after pureeing if desired


  • Stir all the seasonings and white sugar together in a small bowl.
    1 Cup Sugar, 1 Tablespoon Cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon Ground Cloves, 1 Pinch Salt
  • Add all apples to a slow cooker and cover in the sugar/spice mixture and brown sugar. Stir well to coat all of the apples.
    6 lbs Apples, 1 Cup Dark Brown Sugar
  • Cook in slow cooker for 10 hours, then puree with an immersion blender (see note for discount code). Then cook for another hour.
  • Place in jars or sealed containers in the fridge for up to 3 weeks or freeze in vacuum bags for the year.


Use discount code OHSWEETBASIL20 for 20% off your purchase!


Serving: 0.25cupCalories: 127kcalCarbohydrates: 33gProtein: 0.3gFat: 0.2gSaturated Fat: 0.03gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.1gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.01gSodium: 6mgPotassium: 136mgFiber: 3gSugar: 29gVitamin A: 62IUVitamin C: 5mgCalcium: 18mgIron: 0.2mg
Author: Sweet Basil
Course: 50+ Homemade Condiment Recipes

Recommended Products