Old-Fashioned Apple Butter

Apple Butter in a bowl with a serving knife

Lisa Hubbard / Photolibrary / Getty Images

Prep: 30 mins
Cook: 24 hrs
Total: 24 hrs 30 mins
Servings: 16 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
198 Calories
0g Fat
51g Carbs
0g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 16
Amount per serving
Calories 198
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 20mg 1%
Total Carbohydrate 51g 19%
Dietary Fiber 4g 15%
Total Sugars 45g
Protein 0g
Vitamin C 15mg 75%
Calcium 16mg 1%
Iron 0mg 2%
Potassium 212mg 5%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This flavorful, homemade apple butter requires little effort but tastes like you labored all day. Cooking it in a crock pot is the secret.

Start in the morning and come home to a house that is perfumed with the homey aroma of cooked apples. Process them in a food mill, throw the puree back into the crock pot and, the following morning, you'll have hot apple butter to go with your toast and butter (if you don't mind getting up a few times during the night to give the mixture a quick stir). Otherwise, the puree can be cooked down under your watchful eye during the day. This is a great weekend project with the kids, especially after a trip to an apple orchard.

The apple butter can be eaten immediately, "put up" (canned) by using a water-bath process, or transferred to freezer-proof containers and frozen for future use. Once a container is opened, it must be refrigerated and used within two weeks.


  • 12 to 14 medium sweet-tart apples, such as Winesap

  • 2 cups apple cider or juice

  • 2 cups sugar

  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice

  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves

  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Lightly oil a crock pot.

  3. Don’t peel, but wash, core, and quarter the apples. Put in the crock pot. Stir in cider or juice.

  4. Cover and cook on low for 10 to 18 hours (or high for 2 to 4 hours).

  5. Put soft fruit in a food mill to remove skins. Measure fruit back into the crock pot. For each pint (2 cups) of fruit, add 1 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon allspice, 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves, and 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg.

  6. Stir well. Cover and cook on high for 6 to 8 hours. Stir every 2 hours.

  7. Remove cover after 3 hours to allow fruit and juice to cook down.

  8. Spoon into hot canning jars and process according to canning jar directions. Or spoon into freezer containers.

  9. Allow apple butter to cool and then store in the freezer.

  10. Enjoy.


  • This recipe was made using a crock pot that has three settings—off, high, and low. If you use one that has four settings—off, high, low, and warm—be advised that they cook hotter, so you will have to watch your apples more carefully so they don't burn.


Instead of cooking in a crock pot, apple butter can be made in a microwave oven. Place 2 pounds of washed, cored, and quartered apples in a microwave-safe bowl and zap on high for 15 minutes or until the apples are completely soft. Then, process them in a food mill to remove the peels. Combine the puree with 1/3 cup maple syrup (or more to taste) and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (or more to taste). Return it to the microwave and zap for 5 minutes or longer until the consistency you desire is reached. Cool, transfer to a jar, and store in the refrigerator.