This crockpot apple butter recipe is a wonderful treat during the fall! And with these instructions for canning apple butter in a water bath, you'll be able to enjoy it all year round!
Homemade apple butter is a favorite fall treat around here. Slow-cooked in a crockpot and served warm over a fresh slice of homemade einkorn bread, it's amazing!
Canning apple butter will also allow you to enjoy a piece of fall all year long! (Water bath canning doesn't require any special equipment, so it's a great place to start if you're new to the skill!)
I've been buying a lot of apples recently for things like apple pie, and this homemade applesauce, and more... and I always get the organic ones. I know that buying organic can get a little pricey, but for us, it's more costly to our health to buy the "regular" apples.
3 Secrets to the Best Apple Butter
I've been making and canning apple butter for over 20 years now, and there are a few secrets to making the best apple butter that I want to share. They are simple but crucial to creating a delicious blend that your family and friends will beg for!
- A Variety of Apples - Choose fresh, firm apples in various types. Combining varieties allows for a much deeper, richer flavor of finished apple butter. For this recipe, I used a mix of Fuji, Gala, and Jazz apples - About a pound and a half of each, 4-5lbs total.
- Slow and Low - Patience is key to creating the best apple butter. Cooking the apples in a crockpot for an extended period to allow the flavors to intensify and the mixture to thicken. This slow-cooking process enhances the depth of flavor and gives the apple butter its rich, caramelized taste.
- Spice It Up - This is optional, but spice blends like cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves create a warm and aromatic apple butter. Adjust the spices to your taste, but be mindful not to overpower the natural apple flavor. Gradually add spices and taste as you go to achieve the perfect balance.
The ingredients for this apple butter are so simple! But, let's take a look at them now. Full measurements are included in the printable recipe at the end of this post.
- Apples - As mentioned above, having multiple varieties creates an amazing depth of flavor. However, you can use a single variety if desired. We use Gala, Fuji, and Jazz apples.
- Sugar - While granulated sugar tends to create the best caramel flavor, maple syrup or honey could be used instead (use 2/3 the amount if using liquid instead of the granulated sugar). I would not recommend a sugar substitute in this recipe, as they will not allow the caramelization process to be at its best.
- Spices - In many areas, spiced apple butter is the norm. When I was growing up we enjoyed apple butter without the spices instead! Either will work and they are both delicious!
Here's a quick overview video of the process of making apple butter in a crockpot!
- Prep - Wash, peel, and core the apples.
- Slice - When you slice the apples to place them in the crockpot, slice them as thin as you possibly can. I do this by hand because I just love the "whoosh, whoosh, whoosh" of the blade and I quickly slice the apples. However, you could do it with a mandolin, or a food processor with a slicing blade.
- Combine - Add the sugar and any desired spices to the crockpot.
- Cook - Cook on low for 8-12 hours or "overnight".
- Whisk - If you sliced the apples thinly, you can whisk the apple butter after cooking to get that smooth, creamy texture. If you don't cut the apple thinly for you simply run it through the blender or food processor to achieve the smooth texture.
- Store - You can either pop it into a container and keep it in the fridge or you can water bath can it for later!
Canning Apple Butter Process
- Prep - Wash and heat 5 pint canning jars
- Heat - Bring a large stock pot of water almost to a boil
- Fill - Fill each canning jar with apple butter, leaving a 1/4" headspace.
- Remove - Use a plastic canning knife to run along the outer edge between the jar and the apple butter. Press in towards the apple butter to help remove any air bubbles.
- Wipe - Clean the top edge of the canning jar to ensure any residue is removed before adding the lids.
- Top - Add a new canning lid and ring to each jar and tighten to finger tightness.
- Can - Lower each jar into the almost boiling water and turn the heat up. Once the water comes to a boil, set a timer for 10 minutes.
- Remove - Once the time goes off, use a jar lifter to remove the jars and place them UPRIGHT on a folded dish towel on the counter.
- Cool - Allow the jars to cool for 12-24 hours before moving.
- Store - Remove the rings and check each lid to ensure a seal (try to lift it by the lid and if it remains in place, it's good). Label and store in a cool dark place.
Be sure to label them once they have cooled completely - I usually wait until the next day. Then enjoy at your leisure! I've eaten this exact recipe up to 5 years after initial canning and it was just as delicious as day one!
How to Enjoy Homemade Apple Butter
I slathered some of this amazing apple butter on a thick slick of homemade sandwich bread this morning and it really hit the spot!
Apple Butter FAQ
I get a lot of questions about this recipe for making apple butter in a crockpot for canning! So here are a few common questions and their answers to help you out!
Though spices are common in apple butter, I prefer to use this custom blend of apples to create a deep rich apple flavor instead!
Yes! You definitely can add spices to your taste preferences. That's not a problem at all! Do it after the cooking stage though, so the spices don't lose their edge.
Technically no. However, the magic happens when you slow-cook it for a long period of time. If you NEED to cook it in a pot, make sure it's a heavy bottom pot over low heat, and make sure you have a well-fitting lid! Stir often to prevent sticking.
Absolutely! This is just a blend that I have developed over the years, feel free to use any apples that you prefer! However, having at least 3 different types of apples in your apple butter will create a deeper flavor profile.
More Canning Posts You May Enjoy
Want to keep your pantry filled with more delicious, shelf-stable foods? We've got you covered with these additional water bath canning recipes!
Canning Apple Butter
- 4-5 Pounds Apples in Various Varieties
- 4 Cups Sugar*
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger optional
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon optional
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves optional
- 1/8 tsp ground allspice optional
- 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg optional
- pinch salt optional
- Wash, peel, core apples.
- Slice them as thin as possible.
- Place apples, sugar, and any desired spices into a crockpot.
- Set the crockpot on low and cook for 8-12 hours (I do overnight).
- Using a whisk, thoroughly mix apples until they become smooth. Or use a blender if apples were not sliced thinly enough.
- Store apple butter in an airtight container in the fridge or process in a water bath canner as indicated below.
- Wash and heat 5 pint canning jars
- Bring a large stock pot of water almost to a boil
- Fill each canning jar with apple butter, leaving a 1/4" headspace.
- Use a plastic canning knife to run along the outer edge between the jar and the apple butter. Press in towards the apple butter to help remove any air bubbles.
- Clean the top edge of the canning jar to ensure any residue is removed before adding the lids.
- Add a new canning lid and ring to each jar and tighten to finger tightness.
- Lower each jar into the almost boiling water and turn the heat up. Once the water comes to a boil, set a timer for 10 minutes.
- Once the time goes off, use a jar lifter to remove the jars and place them UPRIGHT on a folded dish towel on the counter.
- Allow the jars to cool for 12-24 hours before moving.
- Remove the rings and check each lid to ensure a seal (try to lift it by the lid and if it remains in place, it's good). Label and store in a cool dark place.