How To Make Healthy Apple Butter

64 Servings
12 hr 15 min

Apple butter can be healthy and has a rich caramel color, a thick texture, warm spices, and is incredibly easy to make. You can make it on the stovetop or in the crockpot. It's perfect for using all those extra in-season apples every autumn.

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Every year I have an abundance of apples when they come in season in the autumn. I just can't walk by the produce department at the grocery store and breathe in that amazing smell without taking a few (or a few dozen) home with me.

I bought apple butter in jars at the store for a long time until one day I thought, "Who says I can't make some myself? It can't be that hard." And boy was I right! It's so easy I couldn't believe I hadn't made it before.

Basically, it's just like making apple sauce but it cooks for much longer. There is some added sugar to bring out the caramelization. You end up with gorgeous color and an awesome thick texture that can be spread on toast or used in cakes for flavor, sweetness, and tenderness.

This apple butter recipe is adapted from a few different sources and has been perfected over time. You'll make the perfect batch on your first try just by following these simple steps.

Ingredients


  • Apples: A mixture of red, yellow, and pink apples are perfect for apple butter. They break down easily and provide the perfect sweetness.
  • Apple juice/cider: This provides a little extra juice that infuses a bit more flavor than adding a cup of water and keeps the mixture moist through the entire cooking process
  • Sugar: A mixture of brown and white sugar is used in this recipe for sweetness and color.
  • Spices: A combination of warm autumn spices including cinnamon, cloves, and allspice.
  • Lemon juice: Add lemon juice after removing the apple butter from the heat to help balance out the flavors.
  • Vanilla extract: Add the vanilla extract at the end as well. This gives just a hint of vanilla and rounds off the flavor profile.
How To Make Healthy Apple Butter


There are a few different methods you can make this healthy apple butter recipe, including the slow cooker, instant pot, pressure cooker, and stove top. I'll show you how to make it two ways here.


We'll start with how to make slow cooker apple butter:


  1. Slice the apples and remove the seeds. There's no need to remove the peels for this recipe which saves a lot of time!
  2. Add the sugars, spices, and liquid and stir it all together.
  3. Put on the lid and set it to low for 10 hours, stirring occasionally.
  4. Remove the lid, use a hand blender or stand-up blender to blend it to a smooth consistency. You may have to do it in batches if you're using a regular blender.
  5. Keeping the lid off, set the heat back to low (which may say 10 hours), set a timer, and cook for another 2 hours. Stirring occasionally.
  6. Turn off the heat and add the lemon juice and vanilla extract.


And that's it!

Pro Tip: Make sure you plan this out in advance! I may or may not have spent time getting up at 2 a.m. to turn off the heat and add the lemon juice and vanilla, then getting up at 3 a.m. to put it in the fridge...

Next, let's talk about how to make it on the stovetop:


  1. Slice the apples and remove the seeds. No need to peel them.
  2. Add the apples, juice or cider, sugars, and spices to a large stockpot and stir it all together.
  3. Set the heat to low and let it gently simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
  4. Use a hand blender or stand-up blender and puree the mixture until it's smooth. You may have to do this in batches.
  5. Cook, uncovered, on low for another hour or until it's thick and has a deep rich brown color stirring occasionally.
  6. Remove from the heat and add the vanilla and lemon juice.


How Do I Store Apple Butter?


You can store apple butter in glass jars or plastic containers in the fridge for up to a month.

Store them in the freezer for up to 12 months. This is my favorite way to store apple butter and strawberry jam since I can make a huge batch and keep them in rotation for months. (We never make it a whole year)

They are also perfect in their cute little jars wrapped with a bit of twine as holiday gifts! I love giving homemade food as gifts, and my friends and family are always super excited to get them each year 🙂

You can also can apple butter by boiling jars and their lids and removing them with tongs. Fill the jars with the sauces, making sure not to touch the rim of the jar. Screw the lids on and then submerge in boiling water for 10 minutes. As they cool, you'll hear a "pop" as the lids seal completely shut.

If you preserve them this way, you can store them in your pantry at room temperature for years.

How To Make Healthy Apple Butter
Recipe details
  • 64  Servings
  • Prep time: 15 Minutes Cook time: 12 Hours Total time: 12 hr 15 min
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Ingredients

  • 10 mixed apples
  • 1 cup apple juice
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground allspice
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ lemon juiced (about 2 tablespoons)
Instructions
Slow Cooker
Slice the apples and remove the seeds. There's no need to remove the peels for this recipe which saves a lot of time!
Add the sugars, spices, and juice and stir it all together.
Put on the lid and set it to low for 10 hours, stirring occasionally.
Remove the lid, use a hand blender or stand-up blender to blend it to a smooth consistency. You may have to do it in batches if you're using a regular blender.
Keeping the lid off, set the heat back to low (which may say 10 hours), set a timer, and cook for another 2 hours. Stirring occasionally.
Turn off the heat and add the lemon juice and vanilla extract.
Stove Top
Slice the apples and remove the seeds. No need to peel them.
Add the apples, juice or cider, sugars, and spices to a large stockpot and stir it all together.
Set the heat to low and let it gently simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
Use a hand blender or stand-up blender and puree the mixture until it's smooth. You may have to do this in batches.
Cook, uncovered, on low for another hour or until it's thick and has a deep rich brown color stirring occasionally.
Remove from the heat and add the vanilla and lemon juice.
Tips
  • Pro Tip: Make sure you plan this out in advance! I had to get up at 2am to turn off the heat and add the lemon juice and vanilla, then getting up at 3am to put it in the fridge the first time I made this.
Lindsey
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