Apple Butter made in the slow cooker is the easiest recipe of the Fall season. All it takes is 10 minutes of prep time, let your slow cooker do all the heavy lifting, and you can come back to a caramelized spread of delicious apple goodness.
Do you go apple picking when the Fall season starts? It’s something that’s been on my mental list but I haven’t put it down on paper, maybe next year then. Whether you’ve gone apple picking or not, you just need several apples to make this slow cooker apple butter recipe.
Types of apple to choose from
I think it is best to use your favorite eating apples for this recipe since you’ll be able to enjoy the flavor you love most in a more concentrated form. If you’re unsure, below are the popular varieties you’ll find at the grocery store and their flavor profile to help you choose.
- Red Delicious – sweet flavor with crumbly texture more often than not
- McIntosh – soft flesh, juicy, fresh, sweet and bright
- Honeycrisp – extreme juiciness and sweetness (this is my favorite kind to eat, plain or in apple tart)
- Pink Lady – mild flavor with plenty of crunch
- Golden Delicious – mild and sweet, with juicy flesh, similar in taste to Red Delicious
- Gala – crisp, juicy flesh, and fairly sweet
- Granny Smith – tart and crisp
- Fuji – dense, crisp and very sweet
- Braeburn – a balance of sweet and tart
If you’re not planning on adding any sugar, choose apples that are more sweet than tart like Fuji, Gala, McIntosh or Golden Delicious.
For an apple butter with a balance of sweet and tart, use a mixture of apples that includes Granny Smith and Braeburn.
How to make apple butter
First, a few tips:
➤ You don’t need to peel the apples, once everything is cooked down, you won’t even notice the peel.
➤ Dice the apples into similar size pieces so they cook evenly, but it’s not a big deal if you end up with bigger and smaller pieces.
➤ If you’re using tart apples, like Granny Smith, you may want to increase the amount of sugar in the recipe.
➤ Use your favorite homemade or store bought apple pie spice or a mixture of your favorite Autumn spices.
Now, let’s cook:
- To make this recipe, simply toss all the ingredients in the slow cooker and let it cook on low for 4 – 6 hours until the apple pieces are completely soft.
- Use an immersion blender to blend the apple butter mixture smooth or carefully transfer the hot mixture to a food processor and blend until smooth.
- Transfer the pureed mixture back into the slow cooker and continue to cook for another 1.5 – 2 hours until it is glossy and thickened to your desired consistency.
Applesauce vs. apple butter
Both applesauce and apple butter can be made by slow-cooking apples with sugar, water or cider and maybe some spices. The biggest difference is for how long each is cooked.
Applesauce is cooked for a shorter period of time resulting in a soft and saucy apple mixture, usually much lighter in color and tends not to contain spices.
Apple butter is basically a highly concentrated form of applesauce because it is cooked for much longer until it caramelizes and reduces to a thick spread. Hence, it tends to be much darker in color and usually contains spices.
Homemade apple butter must be refrigerated. I simply store mine in a clean jar. In the refrigerator, it will last for up to a month and up to 6 months in the freezer.
If you can the apple butter, it can last for a very long time. However, I have never tried canning this specific recipe before.
What to do with leftover apple butter
- Use it as filling for Apple Hand Pies
- Mix it in with Honey Butter to make a delicious spread
- Use it to make baked Apple Donuts
- Serve it with biscuits and scones
- Use it to make Apple Cupcakes
If you make this recipe, please let me know! Leave a comment, send me a photo, rate it and don’t forget to tag me @wildwildwhisk on Instagram. I’d love to see what’s cooking up in your kitchen. Cheers!
Slow Cooker Apple Butter
- Slow Cooker
- 6 medium apples (about 2 lbs or 912 g cored and diced)
- ¼ cup brown sugar (packed, 50 g)
- 1 teaspoon apple pie spice
- A pinch of kosher salt
- Toss all ingredients in a slow cooker and cook on low, covered, for 4 - 6 hours until the apple is completely softened.
- Use an immersion blender to blend the mixture until smooth or puree in a food processor and pour it back into the slow cooker.
- Continue to cook on low, uncovered, for 1.5 - 2 hours longer until the apple butter thickens to your desired consistency and is glossy.
- You can use your favorite kind of eating apple for this recipe.
- Adjust the amount of sugar to your liking, especially if your chosen apples are more tart.
- This recipe yields about 1 ½ cup to 1 ⅔ cup of apple butter.