1 Apt. 2B Baking Co.: Easy Apple Butter

Monday, October 24, 2011

Easy Apple Butter

I'm not going to lie, apple butter is not pretty. After a summer of berries and peaches and plums, apple butter looks well, Brown with a capital B. Despite it's less than photogenic appearance, I make a batch every year using this recipe as my guide. Sometimes I add more spices and sometimes less depending on what I can find in my terribly unorganized spice cabinet. You could even try adding some vanilla or bourbon as both taste great with apples. Heck, make a few batches with different flavorings. Apples are CHEAP right now and I'm sure you have a friend or two who would love to help you peel and chop in return for a jar or two of fall spiced goodness.

Apple Butter
yield: about 5, 1/2pints of finished butter
adapted from 101cookbooks

4lbs good eatin' apples, peeled, cored and cut into bite sized pieces (I used gala and ginger gold, because they were the cheapest)
3-4 cups apple cider
1 1/2-2 cups sugar (I went with the smaller amount)
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon fresh nutmeg
Juice of one lemon
5 sterilized half pint jars and lids

1. In your biggest, heaviest pot combine the apples and enough cider to cover them. Bring to a simmer and cook the apples until tender. A bit of foam will form on the surface that should be skimmed off, it's okay if you can't get it all.
2. When the apples are tender, remove the pot from the heat and puree the mixture until it is smooth (an immersion blender is the best tool for this). Stir in sugar, spices and lemon juice.
3. Simmer the mixture, stirring occasionally, until it darkens in color and begins to pop and bubble, about 1-1 1/2 hours. Make sure to watch the pot carefully and stir often in the last 1/2 hour to prevent scorching. I would usually tell you here to cook the butter until it reaches 220º, but I couldn't get mine above 210º and the set turned out perfect. Ladle the hot apple butter into your prepared jars, wipe the rims with a clean towel and process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes.


  1. Wow! This looks like a great recipe. Beautiful shots.

  2. I am drooling -- this looks amazing!

  3. Apple butter is amazing and I feel like this is something I can do. This makes me happy and hungry.

  4. Ahem, personally I totally think your apple butter is camera ready. Love your apple butter fall tradition!

  5. Oh yum! Apple butter is one of my favorite things. On the blog I made apple butter with a recipe from the book Canning for a New Generation using a slow cooker to cook down the apples for 8+ hours and it turned out great. Your jars look lovely- dark and thick spread perfect for toast or stirred into oatmeal.

  6. Whatever do you mean? Your pictures turned out fabulous. As soon as I get off work, I'm going to have to run to the store and buy the ingredients. I hope it turns out as good as yours. Thanks and have a great day.

  7. Thanks guys. You should all see the outtakes from the cooking process, not quite as lovely as the finished butter...

  8. Jess- I wish I had space for a slow cooker! Someday...

  9. Hopefully, I'll be going apple picking this weekend, and I will definitely be making this with my bounty. I made the apple butter from the Ball Blue Book of Preserving a few weeks ago, and while it was good, it wasn't nearly as autumn-y as this one seems, with the addition of apple cider instead of water. Can't wait to try this!

  10. I've been wanting to try apple butter for so long. I don't know why I've been scared/avoiding it. Good idea getting a friend to help. I may need to do that.

  11. I just made a batch and threw it into my slow cooker. As I was cleaning up I realiized that I'm pretty sure I forgot to add the lemon juice. I juiced the lemon but I think I threw the juicer ( still with the juice in it) into the wash water. Is this going to be a problem when I can it? I used my last lemon and won't be able to get another one until tomorrow. Can I add the lemon juice right before I can it?

  12. Tmo - Oh no, I have definitely done something like that before...Don't worry though, you can definitely just add in the lemon juice as soon as you have time to pick one up.

  13. Thanks. I panicked a little last night and decided to add 3 tbls of Ponzu, which is basically lemon juice, vinegar and citric acid.

    Next question (this is my first attempt at canning), I did the slow-cooker method and have been cooking it on low for well over 12 hours but it hasn't really thickened. I may have started with a little too much cider. Do I need to hit 210 degrees even with the crock pot or is that only on the stove top?

    Thanks so much. It may be runny but it tastes delicious (I added a little bit of Maker's Mark too)!

  14. Tmo- I am not a slow cooker pro, but some varieties of apples contain more water than others and slow cookers vary a bit with their temps so I wouldn't worry that it hasn't fully thickened yet. If you can stand waiting a few more hours, try turning up your pot or cracking the lid if it doesn't seem to be making any progress. You can test the butter for doneness by spooning a bit on a plate that you have chilled in the freezer. When the apple butter is done it will begin to hold its shape and there won't be a ring of liquid surrounding the solids on the plate. I bet your kitchen smells amazing with that bourbon apple butter cooking away!

  15. Ooops. too late. I did crack the lid open a bit for the last couple of hours and that seemed to help a bit. I had six half pints and a probably enough for 2 more (started with a 5 lb bag of Galas). My 4 year-old son said it was spicy (the alcohol evaporated off, right?). I liken it to a cross between applesauce and spiced cider. Not sure I'll be able to spread it, but will try it on yogurt and oatmeal. Thanks for all your help!

  16. OMG. Is this THE apple butter recipe?! The one that I ate straight from the jar on the subway and finished before I got home?? If so, I know what I'll be doing today.

    Just in time too--family is coming to LA for Thanksgiving, and I've volunteered to help with the pies and some other things. I think I will make some of this to impress everyone ; ).

  17. I love apple butter but have never made my own, thanks so much for such a tasty and easy recipe! I think I can even make it using your recipe!

  18. Love this recipe. What a great gift idea for the holidays, too. Love the short, stout mason jar. :)

  19. Brilliant! I will try it. You definitely photographed the Brown amaaazingly well -- it's so Beautiful!

  20. Ohhhh, nothing tastes better then apple butter on a cold day! I've made it in a slower cooker before and it was super yummy and made the whole house smell divine! I love your blog! I just started one about preserving and such, thislittlepintofmine.blogspot.com.

  21. When you say process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes. What exactly does that mean?

    1. Here is a handy guide to commonly used canning terms that will hopefully answer all of your questions. http://www.foodinjars.com/2011/08/canning-101-defining-the-terms/. I hope this helps!


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