Apple Butter

Total Time

Prep: 20 min. Cook: 11 hours


4 pints

Updated: Nov. 21, 2023
I make several batches of this simple and delicious homemade apple butter recipe to freeze in jars. Depending on the sweetness of the apples used, you can adjust the sugar to taste. —Betty Ruenholl, Syracuse, Nebraska


  • 5-1/2 pounds apples, peeled, cored and finely chopped
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


  1. Place apples in a 3-qt. slow cooker. Combine sugar, cinnamon, cloves and salt; pour over apples and mix well. Cover and cook on high for 1 hour.
  2. Reduce heat to low; cover and cook until thickened and dark brown, 9-11 hours, stirring occasionally (stir more frequently as it thickens to prevent sticking).
  3. Uncover and cook on low, 1 hour longer. If desired, stir with a wire whisk until smooth. Spoon into freezer containers, leaving 1/2-in. headspace. Cover and refrigerate or freeze.

Can you freeze apple butter?

Yes! Freeze cooled apple butter in freezer containers for up to 3 months. Liquids expand as they freeze, so leave extra room at the top of the freezer container. To use, thaw in the refrigerator.

Apple Butter Tips

What are the best apples for apple butter?

Because apple butter takes a long time to cook, a softer variety like Fuji or golden delicious are the best types of apple for apple butter. You can also use Braeburn, Corland and Idared.

How do you make smooth apple butter?

If you prefer not to have any apple chunks in your apple butter, you can use an immersion blender to take it to creamy perfection. Although, if you ask us, getting a bite with an apple chunk only makes it better.

What is apple butter used for?

Apple butter is a concentrated, flavorful spread that can be used in many ways. It can be spread on toast or a hunk of fresh bread, stirred into oatmeal, used as a condiment on a cheese plate or charcuterie board, or swapped in as a substitute for applesauce or pumpkin in baking. (Here's more on baking substitutes.) Of course, enjoying it with a spoon straight out of the jar is a tasty option, too!

How long does homemade apple butter last after opening?

Once your apple butter is opened, it will last about a week in the fridge. Unopened frozen jars will keep for six months in the freezer.

Maggie Knoebel, Taste of Home Culinary Assistant, and Lauren Pahmeier, Taste of Home Associate Editor

Nutrition Facts

2 tablespoons: 68 calories, 0 fat (0 saturated fat), 0 cholesterol, 9mg sodium, 17g carbohydrate (16g sugars, 1g fiber), 0 protein.