Apple butter on the stove is a sure sign of full-throttle autumn activities around here. With boxes and bags of apples begging to be peeled, cored, chopped and cooked, apple cake, jam, jelly, sauce and butter can’t be too far behind. The trouble with making apple butter is its tendency to burn once the mixture (somewhat of a slurry) thickens. And in my world, disappointment is defined by a home cook whose time and ingredients have been wasted. In just saying “no” to scorched pot bottoms, I’ve moved my apple butter heating source from stockpot to crockpot.
Because apple butter begins as a fancified form of applesauce, it takes hours of low heat to reduce the soggy slog to a more refined state of stay-put spreadability and creaminess. The process really becomes more about evaporation than high-heat cooking. You just can’t rush apple butter. And that’s why the crockpot is the perfect solution, freeing you from stove-side stirring and monitoring, while maintaining consistently low temperatures. And as a bonus, steaming apple butter is the world’s best potpourri. By the end of the day, I wanted to start chewing my throw pillows. Even folks around town took note, “Why Tom, you smell like apple pie.” I’m never washing that sweater, again.
If you’ve never made apple butter, it’s a great preserves recipe to start with as most other fruit jams and jellies take a little more of a learning curve to finesse and shine. Once all of the ingredients are combined, cooking, time and a little stirring do the rest. When the mixture bubbles into spreadable territory, you’re done. Eat now or jar it up for later!
Crockpot Apple Butter
- Easy to make
- Simple ingredients
- No standing over a stove
- No burning or scorching
- Add spices and flavorings you like
Crockpot Apple Butter R
Easy Peasy Apple Butter
- 6lb apples (peeled and cored)
- 1 quart apple cider
- 2 cups brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (freshly grated)
- 1/4 teaspoon cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon allspice
Apple butter is one those recipes that welcomes many flavors and spices to the mix. Sometimes I add different extracts, liqueurs and spices in the final stages of reduction (like calvados, and cardamon). It's really up to you to create the flavor notes in the apple butter. Whether simple or complex, it's all delicious.
|Wash, peel, core and chop apples.|
|Add all ingredients to food processor or blender, and puree. This could take a few batches, based on machine's capacity.|
|Cook apple mixture in crockpot on low, lid on, overnight or for 6-8 hours (no hard fast rule). Again, may take a couple batches based on crockpot size.|
|Remove crockpot lid to increase evaporation, cook for several more hours, stirring every once in while to keep mixture homogenous and creamy.|
|When the mixture is thick and no longer runny or soupy it's done. Place apple butter in jars and seal in water bath for at least ten minutes. I don't recommend reducing sugar as it acts as a preservative.|
Your house must smell absolutely wonderful this time of year! Apple butter is one of Bill’s favorite things. I need to make another trip to the local apple farm and make this recipe.
Hi Eileen, the aroma of steaming apple butter did waft into about corner of the house. I nice little vacation for the nose. 😉
Looks delicious, Tom. How about you make it and I eat it? 🙂
Sandra, I have to say, you come up with some darn good ideas.
Do you have a rough idea of how many cups that would be? 18? After peeling and cored. My apples seem to be small spotty and large cored this year.Though I guess accuracy is not imperative if one goes by taste. I have been using the Crock-Pot way even for tomatoe sauce as I can be so easily called away…
Hi Deb, I’m sorry I didn’t measure it out. I know after all those apples, I only end up with eight half-pint jars of apple butter. You can also just just keep adding apples to your crock pot until it full or the amount you’d like, then just add the sugar and seasonings to flavor. Because it reduces so much, the flavors become more concentrated. If you stick with at least 2 cups of sugar you’ll be good for its preservative powers.
Tom, I use a crockpot too but I use cardamom and a little vanilla essence to flavour mine. Happy cooking!
Marilyn, that sounds really good; I’ll try that in my next batch.
I’ve not made apple butter in ages. You make this sound very tempting (and easy).
Stephanie, I make it now because it is so easy in the crock pot. Before when I did cook it on the stove, I inevitably scorched it from time to time.
Yes, I’m tempted now too. Sad pots of schorcho butter litter my past. Crock pot — genius! Maybe I’ll try it with tomato sauce too. I currently have no apple trees, but my tomato plants went apeshit this year and I have a sea of red orbs covering every flat surface in my kitchen and garage, waiting to be tended to. Thanks for the prodding — I am going to take bold action!
What variety of apples do you recommend?
Doug, if you’re buying store bought, maybe a mixture, some tart, some sweet, say like a combo of Jonagolds (or Fujis) and Granny Smiths.
Pear butter is very tasty too – made in just the same way, but substituting pears for apples.