Overnight Apple Butter

About a million or so ten years ago, my Aunt Jane ripped out a recipe of one of my Grandma’s Taste of Home magazines called All Day Apple Butter.  Jane was a huge fan of apple butter, and thought that I should make it for her.  Personally, I didn’t get her fixation with it. I mean, I didn’t really like apple jelly, so why waste all the effort for apple butter? She insisted that apple-the-jelly and apple-the-butter were two different animals, and I should try it anyway. I laughed, and maybe rolled my eyes because

  1. I had never made apple butter.
  2. I had never tasted apple butter.
  3. I didn’t understand what her big deal was about apple butter.

Then I promptly forgot the whole incident ever happened.

A few weekends ago, I was going through a stack of binders when I happened across my old recipe binder.  Being that I automated my recipes a few years ago and purged that binder, I almost tossed it aside. But, for some reason I felt compelled to open said binder. In it was one lone recipe clipping–the one for All Day Apple Butter that my Aunt Jane gave me so many years ago.

I took that, coupled with the fact that I was still up to my ears in freshly picked apples, as a sign that now was the time for me to make apple butter.

Apple butter’s smooth, almost creamy texture,  coupled with its intensely spiced apple flavor is nothing short of amazing.   It makes a wonderful spread in place of jam on bread, muffins, or toast.  Fact: A dollop of apple butter swirled into your morning oatmeal will make your heart sing. The best part? Apple butter is a snap to make in a slow cooker. All I have to say about the matter is–what the heck ever took me so long to make apple butter in the first place?!

 Just call me Little Ms. Late-to-the-Party.

Start out with a basket of crisp apples.  You’ll need about 10-12 medium apples, or 5 1/2 to 6 pounds.

Peel, core and chop the apples. Apple butter is a great vehicle for all of those apples that didn’t make the cut for long-term storage.

Pour the granulated sugar and spices into the crock, and stir to fully coat the apples.  Be forewarned: apple butter uses a lot of sugar. The sugar is what will gel the butter to a spreading consistency, as it does when making jam without added pectin.  You may cut back the sugar if you choose, just know that the apple butter will be an apple sauce, and not an apple spread–still delicious, but definitely not the same.  My Official Recommendation is to do what I do–add the full amount of sugar, and then go to your happy place and forget about it.

Put the lid on the crock and cook on HIGH heat for ONE hour. Stir the apple mixture, and pop the lid back on. Reduce the heat to LOW and continue cooking for 9 to 11 hours; stirring occasionally.  Go find something fun to do while you are waiting. You have loads of time before you have to do anything to the apple butter. Personally, I went to sleep for the night.

When you have four sons, sleep is highly-coveted recreational activity.

I awoke the next morning to the most delicious apple-cinnamon aroma, which gave me all the motivation I needed to get out of bed.  I stirred the apple mixture, then got out my handy-dandy immersion blender to puree it to a smooth texture. You can accomplish the same results by pureeing it in batches in a blender.  Or, if you prefer chunks, use a whisk to break up the apples to your desired consistency.  To each her own, man!

Leave the crock of apple butter uncovered, and continue to cook on LOW heat for another hour or so before giving it another stir. The apple butter will be fairly thick, but still run off the spoon–like the texture of commercial apple sauce. Don’t worry, the apple butter will thicken as it cools.

Ladle the hot apple butter into plastic freezer jam containers, leaving 1/2-inch of head space, and allow it to cool. Once cool, put a lid on the jars, and pop them in the refrigerator or freezer.

OR–if you are a nut like me and decide that as long as you are going to all the trouble of peeling, coring, and chopping apples in the first place–make a double batch! Then can it  according to safe canning methods in a water bath canner.

Home canned goodies make excellent gifts!

Either way, once the pureed apple butter has completely cooled, it should be a spreadable consistency; meaning it should ball up on a spoon and stay put for several seconds when tipped downward.

Now your apple butter is ready to spread on toast, swirl into oatmeal, or spread onto muffins. My boys really like apple butter on corn muffins–it’s a nice, sweet contrast to the corny, crumbly muffin.

Whatever you do, don’t be like me and wait 10 years to make this apple butter!

All Day Apple Butter

Gently adapted from Taste of Home


Makes 4 pints

10-12 medium apples (5 ½-6 lbs.) peeled and chopped

4 C. granulated sugar

2 tsp. ground cinnamon

¼ tsp. ground cloves

¼ tsp. kosher salt

  1. Place prepared apples in the crock of a slow cooker.
  2. In a medium sized bowl, combine sugar, cinnamon, cloves, and salt. Pour mixture over apples, stirring to coat.
  3. Put the lid on the crock, and cook on HIGH for 1 hour.
  4. Reduce heat to LOW.  Continue to cook for 9 to 11 hours, or until mixture has thickened and is dark brown; stirring occasionally.
  5. At this point, remove cover and puree with an immersion blender, or briskly whisk for a smoother texture; if desired.
  6. Keep uncovered and continue cooking on LOW for 1 more hour.  Mixture should be quite thick, and will further thicken upon cooling.
  7. Spoon hot apple butter into freezer containers, leaving ½-inch headspace. Cover and refrigerate or freeze. 
  8. OR for longer term storage, and following proper canning procedures, ladle hot butter into hot prepared canning jars, and process in a water bath canner for 20 minutes, or according to manufacturer’s instructions.

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  1. Heather in Michigan says

    Does the TYPE of apple matter? No one here likes a red delicious because we feel they’re mealy, could I use those when they’re on sale? I’d hate to spend HoneyCrisp prices…

    • says

      I don’t see why not. Mealy apples like Macs or Red Delicious break down faster, so they do well in apple sauce, so why not apple butter? I use a big mix of apples to cook with, but never Honeycrisps! With what they cost, Honeycrisps are strictly eating apples, around here. 😉

  2. says

    I’m loving the look of your apple butter and wish I wasn’t so nervous about canning otherwise I do up a crock pot full of it. Working on my fear of inadvertently giving family and friends food poisoning with my lack of canning skills.

  3. says

    You are so inspiring! I love how you break things down in simple steps so that even I think I can do it!! :) I really am planning to make this–possibly even this week! Rebekah loves apple butter and I just bought her a jar Friday. Wouldn’t she LOVE to make this and give it out as presents? Thank you, dear!

  4. says

    Gorgeous. And genius. As per the usual :)

    For some reason the amount of sugar in a recipe (or the amount of oil for that matter) rarely bothers me. I think it’s because I feel like if you’re actually taking the time to make it from scratch, then you’re far better off than if it came from a plant.

  5. Beth Winburne says

    I’m going for it. I bought my jars today. Madonna’s “like a virgin” keeps popping in my head : ) If this works out, my yearly dilemma of what to give our neighbors etc. for the holidays will be taken care of. One question (thus far) how long should I simmer the jars for once I fill them with the apple butter?

    • says

      Ha! The Madonna reference made me laugh. Yay! I’m so excited that you are making apple butter! It will work out beautifully. I ladled the hot butter into hot jars, seals, etc., then processed them in boiling water for 20 minutes. Let the jars cool on the counter, and the seals should “ping” or “pop” as they vacuum seal. If for some reason the jars don’t seal, check all of the seals & bands, then you can process them again.

      I’d be happy to help with any other questions, as they come up. :) BTW–if you need a quick response and are on Twitter, then you can send a tweet to @ComfortDomestic with questions, and I will get it like a text on my phone. I can’t wait to hear how it goes for you!

  6. Joel says

    I made this three nights ago and have to say Thank You. It is so easy and delicious. My mother was tickled pink when she finally found out what I had in my crock pot…then promptly took three jars home with her.

  7. Mimi says

    After trying a recipe out of a well known magazine…which turned out awful. I Googled Apple Butter and your blog and recipe popped up. I made three batches – enough to save some in the freezer and share with the neighbors. Thank you for this easy delicious recipe. The pictures that go with each step are a big help. Love your blog…and plan on trying more of your recipes. Thanks!

    • says

      Hooray! I’m so glad you had such great success with my recipe, Mimi! Your friends and neighbors will be thrilled with such a delicious gift. I’m so glad that you found my little website. Welcome! :)


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