Every year when fall rolls around, I’m craving for some creamy, smooth and rich apple butter! You can easily make your own version of this fruit spread at home! My apple butter recipe calls for tart Granny Smith Apples, lots of cinnamon and nutmeg! Just the aroma is mouthwatering! Use this apple spread on toast, desserts or with my Apple Tart Recipe and my new EASY Caramel Apple Cake!
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What is Apple Butter?
If you’ve never had apple butter before, you’re in for a very tasty surprise! This apple spread is made with apples, sugar and spices. The apples are pureed and then reduced over low heat until they become creamy and smooth. It’s like a reduced and spiced applesauce! There are many versions of this spread, including varieties with chopped nuts!
Ingredients for Apple Butter
For my apple butter recipe, you’ll need just a few simple ingredients. First, the apples. I recommend using a hardy and firm apple like Granny Smith. Chop the apple into small chunks; you can keep the peel on, too. Dress the apples with white granulated sugar, apple cider vinegar, water, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and all-spice. If you want a slightly sweeter spread, replace the water with apple juice or cider.
Special note: many recipes I’ve seen online call for brown sugar, which I don’t recommend using. This apple spread takes a while to reduce and any brown sugar would burn and darken the butter before it’s done cooking.
Two-Step Cooking Process
Making apple butter is super easy in two steps. For the first cooking process, combine the chopped apples, liquids and spices in a cast iron pan. Cover the pan and simmer the apples over low heat for 18 to 20 minutes. Once the apples are nice and soft, puree them using a blender, food processor or an immersion blender.
Return the apple puree into the pan and this time cook uncovered over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the apple puree is reduced and thickened. If the mixture bubbles too much, reduce the heat even further. This second cooking process takes about 40 to 45 minutes. You want the butter to be thick and creamy. If any clumps form in the second stage, puree the mixture again.
Storing Apple Butter
Once you have the apple butter done, you can enjoy it right away or you can store it for later use. For storing the apple spread, I recommend using small, glass jars. Sanitize the jars with boiling water and let them air dry. The jars I used fit approximately 3/4 cup (180 ml) of the spread. This recipe makes approximately 2 cups.
Transfer the spread into the clean jar, wipe the edges of any excess and close tightly with a lid. The apple butter will stand in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.
You can enjoy this apple butter recipe straight up with a spoon, it’s so delicious! Try using it for simple, everyday items like toast for breakfast, with fruit as a dip, or as part of a cheese spread. You can also enjoy with my Apple Tart Recipe! This tart is so stunning and delicious! And, try it with my new and super easy Caramel Apple Cake, with caramel cake batter, apples and whipped cream!
Enjoyed this easy apple butter tutorial? Check out some of my other ‘Back to Cake Basics’ episodes you’re sure to enjoy!
- Strawberry Rhubarb Jam – this fruity jam is sweet and tart and so delicious!
- Orange Cranberry Sauce – never use store-bought cranberry sauce for the holidays again!
- Easy Lemon Curd – I love this zesty and creamy lemon spread as a filling for many desserts!
- Homemade Caramel Sauce – the one and only recipe for caramel sauce I use! The best ever!
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How to Make Apple Butter (video)
- 3 pounds large apples, about 5 apples
- 1 cup white granulated sugar
- ¾ cup apple cider vinegar
- ½ cup water or apple juice
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground nutmeg
- ½ tsp all-spice
- ¼ tsp ground cloves
- Prepare the apples: wash the apples first, then using a sharp knife, cut around the core and discard it. This recipe can be prepared with or without the peel. Chop the apples into small, bite-sized pieces and place them into a large, cast-iron pan. Add the remaining ingredients to the pan: sugar, vinegar, water (or juice or sweeter spread), and spices. Use a spoon to toss the apples until they’re well coated.
- Cover the pan with a lid and heat the apples over medium heat until they come up to a simmer. Once simmering, reduce the heat to low and cook for 18 to 20 minutes, until the apples are super soft and tender.
- Remove the apples from the heat, then use a blender, food processor or immersion blender and puree the apples for a few minutes until they are super smooth. If you are including the peel, puree for a few extra minutes until the peel is no longer visible.
- Return the pureed apples into the pan. Cook over low heat for approximately 40 minutes, stirring every few minutes, until the apple puree is reduced and thickened. If the puree starts to bubble too much, reduce the heat further and cover with a splatter screen.
- For storing the apple butter: this spread can be enjoyed immediately or stored in the refrigerator. Sanitize two to three small jars with boiling water and let them air dry. Transfer the prepared apple butter into the jars, seal them with a lid and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 month. Recipe makes a little bit over 2 cups of apple butter.