Apple Butter Recipe





Introduction: Apple Butter Recipe

About: I work at instructables by day, and turn into a stitch witch by night. follow me on instagram @jessyratfink to see what i'm working on! ^_^

This is my recipe for spiced apple butter. I made it up as I went along a while back and it's one of my favorites!

I find most apple butter to be a little too sweet for me, so I decided to try making my own. This is a zesty and fresh apple butter with loads of spices. The spices do mellow out a bit while cooking, though, so it's not too overwhelming. :D

If you're not as excited about spiced apple butter, you should be able to omit everything but the cinnamon and add a little more sugar to get a more traditional apple butter.

You can really use whatever apples you like to make this apple butter recipe, so it's great for using up loads of them if you're drowning in them this time of year! Just make sure you have some firm apples mixed in if you're using lots of mealy apples like red delicious so the texture is nicer and a little less wet.

Step 1: Ingredients + Tools


  • 5 pounds apples (I'm using a mix of honeycrisp and jazz)
  • 1/2 - 1 cup brown sugar (I used 3/4 cup here)
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • zest of one lemon
  • 2 cups water
  • salt to taste (optional)


  • large pot for cooking the apple butter
  • potato masher or pastry cutter for smashing the apples
  • food mill, sieve, food processor or blender for finishing the apple butter
  • jars for storing it

Step 2: Wash, Core and Chop the Apples

Wash the apples well - we'll be using the skin of the apple in this butter!

Cut the apples into quarters and remove the core. Then roughly chop the apples and place them in the pot you'll be cooking in.

Step 3: Add the Spices, Sugar, Lemon Zest and Water

Add the spices and sugar (I recommend starting with a half cup!) and then zest the lemon over the top. Stir to combine.

Pour over the two cups of water and then mix again.

This will look like too little water, but the apples will release liquid as well!

Step 4: Cook Over Medium Low Heat for 1 1/2 Hours

Put the pan over medium heat and let the water come up to a good bubble and then turn the heat down a bit. For the first 45 minutes, I like to simmer it with the lid cracked. The second 45 minutes, I just take the lid completely off.

Nearing the end of the hour and a half, you should have very little to no liquid left and the apples should be nice and soft. If you find your liquid disappearing before then, add in 1/4 cup more and turn your heat down a little more.

Step 5: Mash the Apples and Cook a Bit Longer

Using a potato masher or a pastry cutter (what I used!), mash the apples as well as you can. Mashing the apples makes sure there are no huge pieces of apple that will be left crunchy. The apples should look like chunky applesauce when you're done!

Turn the heat down to low, and cook for another 30 minutes or so, stirring every few minutes. At this point we're just trying to remove a little more liquid and concentrate the flavors a bit - the apples should get darker as they cook!

Step 6: Process the Apple Butter

You can do this in a variety of ways, so just use whatever tools you have available!

You can use a food mill, a sieve, an immersion (stick) blender, a regular blender, or a food processor. Whatever works! I'm using an immersion blender just because it's easy. :)

Make it as smooth or chunky as you like - I like mine mostly smooth with just a few chunks!

After you process, taste the apple butter. This is the point where you'll want to add more sugar or spices. You can also add some salt if you think it needs it! I added a pinch. If you do add more in, cook it for another five minutes or so. That way you'll be sure everything is well combined.

You can also continue to cook the apple butter for longer after this - it's all up to you! While I normally go right to storing, cooking it longer here can give you a more intense apple flavor. Just make sure to keep it on low and stir often so it doesn't end up sticking to the pan.

Step 7: Store the Apple Butter and Enjoy!

I'm using 12 oz jelly jars to store my apple butter. This recipe easily fills up four of those.

I normally keep one jar of the butter in the fridge and the rest in the freezer and switch them out as needed. Whenever I make it, it means I'm really craving it so it does not last long! :)

Storing in the fridge: this apple butter should be good for about a month in the fridge. I've heard of people storing apple butter for months and months in the fridge, but I've never been able to. As soon as it smells differently or you can see mold, it's time to get rid of it.

Storing in the freezer: 6-12 months if well sealed - after that you're probably gonna be facing some terrible freezer burn. :P

Canning: If you know how to can, this recipe is great that way! How long you store it is really up to your own iron stomach.



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21 Discussions

Because it is more smooth than apple sauce due to its extended time cooking and running it through a sieve. Everything you do to it makes it richer, smoother, darker. (At least that's what I read.)

Just because of the way it spreads and how it's used, really! It's been a staple condiment in German households forever, normally used in sandwiches. I have relatives that eat it in sandwiches with cheese and meat. It's delicious!

You can see how much darker the apple butter got after 16-20 hours of cooking. The sauce in the pot under the jar is only just beginning to cook. (I made 6 batches of these pots FULL. And still had apples falling off the tree. Next year I think I'll find some gleaners to help pick.


This year I Googled the difference between Apple Sauce and Apple Butter. My apple tree (which has tart green apples that ripen by the second week of July) was prolific this year and I decided not to throw away all that good fruit. I picked pound after pound. I used huge pots (I think 4 gal) and filled them (2) with quartered, but not peeled or seeded apples. Google had told me the difference between Apple Sauce and Apple Butter is the cooking time. Apple Butter is a lot more of a reduction and it caramelizes. Mine turned a deep brown. I did mine like you. I made it up as I went. When the apples were well cooked and falling apart I poured it into my sieve (the same one I use to rice potatoes for lefse) and the skins, seeds and stems separated right out. I then put the resulting apple mash into a large crock pot and cooked for 16 hours, reducing it to a nice thick sauce. I use 1:10 parts sugar by volume. So 10 cups of reduced apples I'd add about 1 cup of sugar. We are diabetic and I thought this would be healthier. I used a lot of spices, like you, and found them very engaging to the taste. Thanks for posting this.


2 years ago

I shall be making this come the autumn. It already feels like autumn here in North Wales! Thank you for sharing this easy to follow 'ible.

Definitely! I might omit the lemon zest and add more sugar, though, just since they're a bit more tart than apples. :)

They might even work better since they've got a really high pectin content!

I make mine with bagged apples, usually Michigan and Fuji. Yummy! I cut them in quarters and cook in the crockpot. I may try stovetop this year!

Delicious apple are not mealy as a rule.

But you can get them especially if stored at 34F for a year, tasteless as well.

For the record any apple can be mealy as well as any peach or nectarine or pear etc.

But your concept is nice and to all of us that love fruit, try this with peaches/pears/quinces/cherries etc etc etc.

Honey crisps are so sweet I can't eat them. but a mix with them in it is great. great cider is made with a mixture as well.

I love apple butter. Thank you for sharing this.

This is one thing I've been looking for!! Definitely going to make this.

This is one of my favorite spreads! Now I know what to do with the apples I just picked!

don't want to seem mean, but isn't that ju

1 reply

just very thick marmalade?
in Italy we used to do candy like that whit a variety of apple that has very low liquids, so you can cut cubes once it cools down :-)