Apple Butter

Homemade apple butter recipe, complete with step-by step instructions. Apple butter spiced with cinnamon, cloves, allspice, and lemon. Great on toast!

  • Prep time: 20 minutes
  • Cook time: 2 hours
  • Yield: Makes a little more than 3 pint jars.


  • 4 lbs of good cooking apples (we use Granny Smith or Gravenstein)
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cups water
  • Sugar (about 4 cups, see cooking instructions)
  • Salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon

Special equipment:


Preparing the Fruit

1 Cut the apples into quarters, without peeling or coring them. (Much of the pectin is in the cores and flavor in the peels). Cut out damaged parts.

First Stage of Cooking

2 Cook the apples: Put the quartered apples into large pot, add the vinegar and water, cover, bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer, cook until apples are soft, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat.

Purée apples and add the sugar and spices

3 Purée the apples through a food mill or chinois: Ladle apple mixture (cooked apples and liquid) into a chinois sieve (or food mill) and using a pestle force pulp from the chinois into a large bowl below.

4 Add sugar, spices, lemon rind, and juice: Measure resulting puree. Add 1/2 cup of sugar for each cup of apple pulp. Stir to dissolve sugar. Add a dash of salt, and the cinnamon, ground cloves, allspice, lemon rind and juice. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.

Second Stage of Cooking

5 Cook the apple mixture, stirring often: Cook the apple sugar mixture uncovered in a large, wide, thick-bottomed pot on medium low heat, stirring often to prevent burning. Scrape the bottom of the pot while you stir to make sure a crust is not forming at the bottom.

Cook until thick and smooth (about 1 to 2 hours). A small bit spooned onto a chilled (in the freezer) plate will be thick, not runny.

You can also cook the purée on low heat, stirring only occasionally, but this will take much longer as stirring encourages evaporation. (Note the wider the pan the better, as there is more surface for evaporation.)

As an alternative to stovetop cooking you can cook the purée uncovered in a microwave, on medium heat setting to simmer, for around 30 minutes. If you do this, monitor the cooking every 5 or 10 minutes. Microwaves vary in their power.


6 Sterilize canning jars: There are several ways to sterilize your jars for canning.

  • You can run them through a short cycle on your dishwasher.
  • You can place them in a large pot (12 quart) of water on top of a steaming rack (so they don't touch the bottom of the pan), and bring the water to a boil for 10 minutes.
  • Or you can rinse out the jars, dry them, and place them, without lids, in a 200°F oven for 10 minutes.

7 Pour the apple butter into hot, sterilized jars and seal. If you plan to store the apple butter un-refrigerated, make sure to follow proper canning procedures.

Before applying the lids, sterilize the lids by placing them in a bowl and pouring boiling water over them. Wipe the rims of the jars clean before applying the lids.

I use a hot water bath for 10 minutes to ensure a good seal.

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  • Carolyn Waddell

    I made this recipe last year. We only have 2 half pint jars left. they went fast, everyone loved this recipe. My husband said it was the best apple butter he has ever had. I cut he sugar amount in half,..I also used melted red hot candies 1/4 cup ,..heat till melted and add to the apple butter this gets rid of any vinegar taste as well as imparts more of a cinnamon flavor without going overboard. add the red hots as your cooking down the apple butter .


  • Cathy Zullo

    This was delicious. So much so that the batch I thought would last longer is all gone now. Today I’m making a triple batch. Love your recipes. Thanks so much!



    I used this recipe to make apple butter for my granddaughter. Followed it as written the first time I attempted. The recipe is basically good but i would amend the sugar to read ” sweeten to your own taste”. 4 cups of sugar to 4 pounds of apples, even Granny Smith apples, made my first batch unusable for me.


  • jean scarlett

    Yes I did but I thought that the vinegar was a much too strong. Is there any thing I can put in it now so that I can use it to take a lot of the vinegar taste out?


    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Jean, traditional apple butter is supposed to be sweet and sour, but if it is too sour for you, you can balance the acidity of the vinegar by adding more sugar to taste.

  • J Gordon

    I made this twice. The first batch was delicious. I didn’t follow it exactly since I wasn’t canning it but freezing it. The second batch wasn’t as good. I don’t know what I did wrong. I thought I followed it exactly the second time because I was canning it and I wanted to make sure it came out good to give out as gifts The second batch is edible but not good enough to give out as gifts because the vinegar flavor is coming through. The first batch I didn’t have apple cider vinegar so I used some distilled vinegar but not as much as the recipe calls for figuring I was freezing it. I bought apple cider vinegar for the second batch and measured it exactly. Apples from the same tree used in both batches.


    • Elise Bauer

      Hi J Gordon, we always have to make adjustments for the specific fruit we are using. Even apple from the same tree can cook up differently. Apple butter is supposed to be sweet and tart. If you are getting too much of the tart, just add a little more sugar until you find the mixture comes into balance for your taste.

  • Patricia Campbell

    First time making apple butter. It’s not something that is common in my country but something I learned to love while I lived in the US. Also my first time canning anything! Easy, delicious and I would highly recommend this.


  • Randy

    Can this be done in a slow cooker? Maybe with the lid ajar to allow evaporation?

    • Emma Christensen

      Hi, Randy! Yes, I’ve made apple butter (and other fruit butters!) before in the slow cooker. Leave the lid ajar and cook for as long as you like. If you’re around, I’d recommend stirring it occasionally so that it cooks evenly. Enjoy!

  • Hannah

    I am making the apple butter now. The taste is lovely. Although the butter is slowly condensing, it’s been about 2.5 hours. Still not really thick. Or is it? I would love to see a picture of what the butter should look like when it is “done”. I know you have a description of the finished jam on a chilled plate. Can you post a picture so we can see the general thickness? I have never made a jam / butter before, not a cooked one, so I don’t know how to gage a finished product.

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Hannah, the next time I make it I’ll be sure to capture more photos! Finished apple butter is pretty thick. If you put some on a chilled plate and turned the plate so that it was vertical, it would’t run off the plate. It might slide, but it wouldn’t be runny. Hope that helps!

  • Brian Hawkins

    When you say to use the juice and grated rind of a lemon, do you just grated an entire lemon? That’s what I did and the lemon taste is a little overpowering. Is it safe to just add a little lemon juice next time?


    • Dingo

      It’s not the rind of the lemon, just the zest (i.e. only the yellow part, not the white part which is called the pith and is bitter). Lemon or any kind of acid is used in canning recipes to inhibit the growth of bacteria, so it is necessary to the process. The zest however, is not necessary is only for added flavor, so the amount of this could be lowered or left out.

    • Emma Christensen

      Hi, Brian! Yes, Dingo is right — you only need the zest of the lemon, which is the outer part of the skin before you hit the white pith underneath. Sorry for the confusion!

  • Emily

    Delicious recipe! However, running the jars on a short dishwasher cycle definitely does NOT sterilize them—it only sanitizes them. (HUGE difference!) If your readers can the apple butter in a water bath for 10 minutes then it’s irrelevant. However, if they don’t, botulism is no joke! The best way to sterilize jars is in boiling water for 15 minutes.

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Emily, there is so much sugar and acid in this recipe and in most jam and jelly recipes that botulism is NOT an issue. Until recently canning jams and jellies used paraffin wax at the top. The high percentage of sugar and the acid inhibits bacteria from growing. What can happen is mold, which is what sterilizing the jars helps prevent.

  • Angie

    Can you use an instant pot to shorten the cooking time?

    • Emma Christensen

      Hi, Angie! We haven’t tested this in the Instant Pot, so I can’t say for sure. However, getting a thick, deeply caramelized apple butter depends on evaporation, so I don’t think the IP would be ideal. I’ve made batches before in the slow cooker with the lid set ajar and that works well! I suppose you could use the slow cooker function on the IP and just leave the lid unlocked and ajar?

  • Dian Franks

    I am so in love with this recipe. To all of you who dont have a sieve to mash the mixture through, I dont either and here’s what I did. I used my peeler that sliced and cored the apples. Tossed the peelings, but put the cores in to cook with the apples to derive the pectin. Before I pureed it with my immersion blender I pulled out the soft cooked cores. So easy! You get the pectin and dont have to mash that mess through a wire mesh! I also used about half the vinegar and water, used 2 cups brown sugar 2 cups white sugar to 4 lbs of Jona-gold apples.


    • manjula

      Hey, i dont hv a food mill. Read your comment. You threw away the peel and only put the core for the required pectin? Which apple peeler/corer dud you use?

    • Dian Franks

      I dont have the name, but it’s just the red hand crank peeler that makes spiral slices. Yes I threw away the peelings.

  • Cathy

    If properly canned, how long can they stay? I would like to make a very large batch of this!

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Cathy, I try to eat them up within a year, but have also enjoyed jars that are several years old. With the vinegar and sugar both acting as preservatives, the apple butter holds up well over time.

  • Midwest Lindy

    Totally agree… leaving skins and cores in the pot makes a much better product. This batch took much less time than previous batches with peeled and cored apples. Since the natural pectin in the complete apple thickens the apple butter sooner, there is less cooking time required to get the consistency of great apple butter. True, there is the time and mess involved in running it thru a food mill, but I felt the naturally thickened butter was worth it. Thanks for your recipe!


  • momofgirlswcurls

    Question: Do you leave the stems on? Thank you.

    • Emma Christensen

      Hi, there! Either way is fine — it doesn’t make a major difference to the recipe. They will be removed along with the fibrous parts of the core and the seeds when you puree the apples.

  • Duane

    Turned out absolutely awesome!! Could you use this recipe to make applesauce just don’t cook it down ?


    • Emma Christensen

      Hi, Duane! Absolutely! When we were kids, my mom and grandma would process huge batches of apples, and turn half into applesauce and the other half into apple butter. The only difference was the cook time. If you’d like more instructions on applesauce, check out this post!

  • manjula

    Hey, what if I don’t have food mill? How will i take pit the puree? You have not peeled and taken out the seeds? Then how do I do that step if I dont hv a food mill

    • Elise Bauer

      Hello Manjula, to use this recipe you must have a food mill. If you have a mesh sieve, you may be able to use the back of a spoon to push the mixture through it. But that will be rather tedious. If you don’t want to try that I recommend checking out a different recipe.

    • Kathy

      I dont have a food mill either but what i did was peel core choped apple cook till apple was soft drained apples and put in my blender in small batches and pureed to make the apple butter but make sure apples are cooled before putting in blender to puree than did recipe as described hope this helps

      • MeLisa

        I used a mesh sieve and a pestle. Perhaps a bit more tedious, but worth it. Delicious recipe!

  • Foster

    Excellent backyard apple tree solution. I have made two batches, and just use a regular sieve. It takes me about an hour to push the pulp through. I let it cool down, first, then I can use my hands to get all the delicious pulp off the skins.

  • Maria

    Wow!! I made my first apple butter and it was wonderful!! The taste is out of this world!! I made 30, 1/2 pints and 5 pints.
    Thank so much for your wonderful recipe!!!


  • Toni

    When it says (cooked apples and liquid) is that the water and vinegar that you cooked the apples in?

  • Glada

    I loved it, for the second time.


  • Glada

    I’ve just made your Apple Butter recipe for the second time. I love the simplicity of the recipe and the flavor of the Apple Butter. Thank you for sharing and God Bless you on you blogging endeavors.

  • Pam Harriman

    Put up 22lb of apples. Loved the recipe. Have it saved. Can’t wait for the grandkids to get a taste!


  • Ann Baker

    Absolutely fabulous! We picked about 10# of apples this weekend from a tree in our back yard and used this recipe to turn into an amazing rich and flavorful apple butter. As the apples were quite small, we appreciated not having to peel and core and I think actually cooking with the skin on enhanced the flavor.


  • Lisa

    Tasty happy with the out come


  • Laura

    Do you leave the seeds in when you cook it?

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Laura, yes you leave the seeds in when you cook the apples in the first stage of cooking. They will be left behind when you put the cooked apples through a food mill later in the recipe.

  • Tyler

    We were unable to track down the old family recipe so we have this one a try
    Turned out amazing!!!!!
    Made a double batch and already want to make more!


  • Elesha

    I want to make some apple butter~~ I picked some apples a bit on the tart side and they are about the size of a tangerine~the guy does not know what kind of apple it is~~Do I have to use the apples you have in the recipe?

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Elesha, not all apples are good for cooking. I would try making applesauce with your apples first. If you like the applesauce, then those apples will work for apple butter.

  • Claudine

    Hi! Did it yesetrday and came out absolutly fantastic…the only thing I would change is the sweetness, as for my palate it resulted a tiny bit too sweet. Would it be possible for me to reduce the sugar amount next time, or would that change the consistency of the jam? I was thinking 1cup sugar for every 3 cups apple puree…otherwise I love it…thank you for the recipe


    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Claudine, the amount sugar is balanced with the vinegar. I haven’t tried reducing the sugar, if you do, you’ll likely also need to reduce the amount of vinegar, so the overall flavor will not be as intense.

      • Madison

        I typically find most things too sweet so I just made this with the 3:1 ratio you mentioned. It was perfect! I found the apple butter thicker nicely. Great recipie!!

    • Rosanne

      It is a good way to use a surplus apple harvest! I like the texture of apple butter on a toasted bagel. Spices and sweet/sour taste make it a simple breakfast treat. I about 1/3 cup sugar for each 2 cups of pulp instead of 1/2 cup

  • Peter

    If not using sterile canning, how long will the apple butter last in the refrigerator?

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Peter, do you mean that you used clean jars but didn’t sterilize them? Or that you didn’t water bathe the apple butter jars after canning? There is enough vinegar and sugar in the apple butter to protect the apple butter well even if you didn’t take these steps. Your biggest culprit might be mold. You can easily store the jars in the fridge without opening for a year. Once opened, they will last as long as any jam or jelly in the fridge, a month or two before they start developing some mold.

  • Larry

    Has anyone used honey crisp apples for this recipe?

    • Vinita

      I used honey crisp apples and also reduced the amount of sugar to 1/3 cup per 2 cups purée. Absolutely love the sweet tart flavor

  • Gail Nelson

    Wonderful recipe. I used winter apples from my cold storage and made several 1/2 pint jars that I am going to share with family for Christmas. Silly thing to be doing on Dec. 22, but fun and rewarding too. Thanks for the recipe.

  • Laura

    I followed the directions but it needed to cook a bit longer than stated. Got late and I needed to go to bed. That’s being said, I had to put it in the refrigerator and go to bed. Once it’s in the refrigerator can I take it out the next day and continue the cooking or is it too late once it’s cooled in refrigerator? Thanks

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Laura, no problem. You can reheat it and continue cooking it.

  • Karen Helmandollar

    Hi, I’ve been making applebutter for over 60 years, an old family recipe. My mother always used Mackintosh apples, the flavor can’t be beat. Many years ago we were out sugar, couldn’t get sugar, we bartered with a lady who had cinnamon imperials also known as red hots, we used that in place of the sugar, added cinnamon, & cloves. In the second section when the red hots had desolved we put 3 cinnamon sticks in for added color . Turnes out awesome.

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Karen, what a great idea! I never would have thought to use red hots in a recipe like this. Great improvisation!

  • Tricia

    I’ve been making this exact recipe for several years and love it. I was wondering though if you’ve ever used brown sugar instead of white? If so, what amount or would it be the same as white? Thanks!

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Tricia, brown sugar has molasses flavor in it, which I prefer not to include in the apple butter and is why I only use white sugar. You might try adding a little molasses to some apple butter you’ve already made to see if you like the flavor. If so, there should be no reason why you couldn’t use brown sugar instead of white sugar. You’ll probably need a little more, or just make sure you back the sugar in well when you measure.

  • Jan

    Thankyou for the step by step instructions.What a wonderful treat.We will do this every year.I also found that I needed to reduce the vinegar by half..or in other words..doubled the rest of the recipe because the vinegar was that prominent..we used Braggs.The resulting apple butter is perfection.

  • James Bryant

    For Megan O’Neal… I have been making apple butter for over 50 years and follow a really old recipe, I only use sugar, ground cloves and cinnamon. I absolutely refuse to eat store bought. My grandchildren love it. Used to cook in a copper kettle but didn’t need that much (to much work)so I reduced the recipe to slow cooker size.

  • Chantil

    Kathy Evans,
    Just put some canning rings in your pressure cooker to set your jars on. Make sure you have enough room to have water covering your jars, no lid no pressure, water bath!

    • Suzanne Pollick

      you nailed it. You gave us
      the simple version that was understandable, and you gave us the details to keep us on the path and show us what mistakes not to make. I wouldn’t say its fool proof cuz I haven’t done it haha. I have been to Arizona, Oklahoma,and Michigan and tasted apple butter from the stores everywhere in between on that trip. And then someone gave me some homemade apple butter one time. It came in the mail from a lady I know who lives in California. It was nothing like the store-bought stuff. It seems all the store-bought stuff was too sweet or too sour or kind of gritty not creamy and smooth. She used to send it to me about once every 5 years and then her health became bad too. And the jar,s stopped coming. Haven’t had it in 10 years now. being in Michigan I guess even being in a rural country I haven’t met anybody that does it and no one that talks about it so I haven’t gotten to experience the full adventure of apple butter making. but you made it sound awesome. Thanks for the Memories. My name is Suzanne.

  • Hilda Sterner

    I’ve been making quince jam for the last few years, and finally got my hands on some quince yesterday. For some reason they’ve been extra difficult to find this year. I was planning on making jam again, but a friend suggested membrilo. I decided to search of a recipe to try and stumbled on this one. Can’t wait to make some and surprise the family!

  • Kathy Evans

    This is my first time making apple butter. My house smells amazing and the butter taste GREAT! Everyone says to hot water bath and I have only pressure canned. May I pressure can my pints and if so for how long and at what pound? Thank you for any help. Looking forward to finishing up this project tonight and enjoying this winter.

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Kathy, great question on pressure canning. Given that this recipe cans perfectly well with water canning, I don’t think you would need much pressure or time if you pressure canned.

  • Megan Oneil

    I’m struggling with the tang and spices.

    Just picked Wolf River apples just for apple butter and am disappointed with the acidity. Finding the vinegar (used Bragg’s) and lemon too acidic. I’m adding more apples in the hope of saving this batch.

    And the spices are *really* strong and overpower any apple flavor. I’d really recommend folks reduce the spice amount by 3/4 and build up slowly according to taste.

    • Becky Haun

      I use only cinnamon oil, and add it at the very end of cooking. It gives a clearer and cleaner taste than powdered spices. Add by drops to taste, and you can even add more when the jar is opened later if needed. I only like it made this way.

  • Jimbo

    So, long time apple butter eater, first time maker. Very happy with results. Did a double batch with an 8 quart pot filled to the brim with apples, my wife kindly let use her sqweezo (best thing ever for applesauce, I hade just over 4 quarts of apple sauce, added 8 cups sugar, ended up with 12 pints of apple butter. Very pleased.


  • Joyce

    My mother put her apple butter in the oven at 250 in a roasting pan stirred a little but no worry of scorching . Doing again this year. Are yellow delicious,an ok apple?

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Joyce, I’ve good luck with cooking golden delicious apples in pies, but I haven’t tried making apple butter with them yet. If you do, please let us know how well they work!

    • Danielle

      I was thinking a out roasting the apples for a pre first cook also. I was also thinking about smoking them with some apple wood.

  • Rhonda

    Thank you very much for sharing this recipe. This was my first go at applebutter. ..with small Alaskan apples even. Very good flavor

  • Jeremiah Barber

    The best way to puree the apples is with a kitchenaid mixer. You’ll need the meat grinder to attach to your machine and then you get the tomatoe squeezer attachment that connects to the meat grinder a larger tray is available that slides over the small meat grinder tray. Run your apples through it and it’s pured in about 2 mins. I make my apple sauce with this . It’s Very fast and simple. You can do a peck of apples in 5 mins.
    This is the setup to make spaghetti/marinara sauce.

    • Chrissy Freeman

      I got one of these Kitchenaid attachments recently and just used it for my first batch of apple butter. The apple butter turned out super smooth! And so easy to do!

      One question to Jeremiah or anyone else who has been using this kind of device: I had peeled and cored my apples before cooking them. But I understand that the peels have the most pectin. So, do you peel your apples before cooking or not, now that you use this Kitchenaid attachment?

      • Dennis

        No need to peel just cook them down and push through the Kitchenaid and sauce comes out and the scrap comes out a different end. Very easy.

  • Amanda

    Love this recipe! My apples were sweeter so I added less sugar. I also used brown sugar; for my 8 cups of purée, I used 1 cup white sugar, and 2 cups brown sugar. I used a good Vietnamese cinnamon as well. I didn’t have any allspice but it did fine without. I chose to use half pint jars and made 8 1/2 jars total. So good, thank you for the recipe!


  • nine

    Oh, my. This is so labor intensive. The second time I made it, since I didn’t start with organic apples anyway, I short-cut the apple puree part and started with big jars of apple sauce, then messed with quantities of the other ingredients. Organic apple sauce is so expensive that it’s less expensive to buy the apples and do all the peeling and coring.

    But you can’t get tart applesauce, so I used some extra lemon juice and about 1/3 the amount of sugar. Also, I did the second stage in a slow cooker overnight on low, low, low setting. It worked great.

    But, I do appreciate the spice mix and the other ingredients. Also, it apparently keeps almost indefinitely, if it doesn’t get eaten first. So, if you are making it for your family and you have the space, you can just put it in the jars in the fridge without the canning process. To sterilize, there is also an oxygen sanitizer I used when I learned to make beer. It needs 2 mintues contact in hot, not boiling, water, requires no rinsing and allows the materials to be handled immediately after air drying. I’m trying to get the courage up to try the heat bath you mentioned. Thanks

  • Terry Gonzales

    Thanks for the recipe. It came out great, but a bit sweet. Once thickened is it too late to add a little more lemon juice or apple cider vinegar to cut some of the sweetness and simmer a little longer to cook off acidity?

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Terry I think you should be able to add more lemon juice or vinegar and then simmer a little longer.

  • Jevin

    Recipe is good but it turned out more jelly than apple butter

  • Taz

    Hi. Can the second part take place in the oven on low heat? Thanks!

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Taz, sure, or in a slow cooker, or even carefully monitored in the microwave.

  • Michelle

    Once my jars are sterile then I add the apple butter and seal them up is there anything else I need to do after that? Will it seal right where it does make the popping noise? Or do I need to place them in the waterbath again?

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Michelle, there is enough sugar and acid in the apple butter that you don’t really need to waterbath them. That said, you will likely get a better seal, the seal will last longer, and you will have less chance of mold, if you process the filled, sealed jars in a water bath for 10 minutes.

  • Emily

    I am curious of the estimated shelf life (refrigerated, once opened). It’s a great recipe, after apple picking it was a really good use for A LOT of apples ;)

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Emily, it lasts as long as any jam or jelly in the fridge once opened. The biggest thing you have to worry about is mold.

  • Russell

    Does the liquid you cook the apples in get thrown out or do you use that liquid to make stage 2 cooking.

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Russell, don’t throw out the liquid, use both the apples and the liquid they were cooked in for the next stage.

  • Kim Conover

    Try using 3 different apple varieties…Braeburn, Fuji, pink lady, Macintosh are good ones- but any good cooking apple works. It will add a complex depth to the flavor of your apple butter. I think the cooking times are a bit short even with constant stirring. It should end up much thicker than apple sauce. I have also refrigerated it overnite after cooking it partway and continued cooking it the following day. It doesn’t hurt the outcome and gives you a good idea how thick it is while cold and how much time you likely have left to cook it.

  • Heather Johnston

    Great recipe. I cooked it longer at both stages than the recipe says, but followed the ingredients to the letter. The apple butter gelled very nicely, and turned out beautiful and delicious. The flavour balances are perfect. Thank you!

  • rich

    I was suspicious of cooking It peels and all, but I did it,. Had to boil it longer than 20 minutes at the start. I used a colander and a big flat bottomed coffee cup to squeeze out the good stuff. It tastes great.


  • Lee Hanks

    Hi I made my first batch of Apple Butter this week. I tried it both ways, with crock pot and on the stove. Both work great. I think I like the crock pot better, less stirring. Anyway, thanks for the recipe. My husband loves it.

  • Kim Felch

    This is the BEST apple butter I have ever tasted! This is my first time using this recipe, or making apple butter for that matter, and it will not be the last!

  • Kitty M.

    Has anyone tried doing the second part (of cooking) in a slow cooker? Seems like it could be used to really slow cook for a long time… am going to try today… will post results :)

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Kitty, I think you could easily do the second part in a slow cooker. If you do try it, please let us know how it turns out for you!

      • J. McCoy

        Hi. I always make this in a slow cooker. It works great. I cook it overnight, and the next morning it is ready for canning. I have a slow cooker that has an automatic stirring paddle, which allows me to leave it unattended for long periods of time. Make sure you have enough puree to fill the slow cooker at least 3/4 full when you start. Too little volume will stress your slow cooker as some parts will get too hot.

  • Elizabeth

    Can I freeze this apple butter instead of canning it? Would the consistency be affected when it is brought back to refrigeration temperatures?

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Elizabeth, I haven’t tried freezing apple butter, but we freeze applesauce all the time with no degradation of texture or flavor. So, I think you’re good!

      • Kandi

        I have always freeze my apple butter. That is the way I was taught by my grandparents to do it and there is no change in it. I have done it for years that way.

  • Shannon

    Excellent recipe! I didn’t have a food mill, so I peeled and cored cleaning seeds, etc. and used my hubby’s nutribullet. I worked it in small batches as it was hot, and left room for expansion. It came out fabulous!!! Will be using this again for sure. We have three apple trees so each year I make lots of yummy stuff for holiday gifts!

  • Jo Haemer

    1-2 hours is not nearly long enough to make proper Apple butter. It takes all darn day at a very very low heat to keep from scorching the apple butter.

  • judy kimbro

    Could someone tell me how I can use splenda instead of sugar,my email is [email protected] help

    • Shannon

      Spenda measures cup for cup when used in place of sugar.

  • Gary

    If you don’t want to sweeten with sugar, try using apple juice instead of the water in the cooking process. Gives a wonderful sweet and tart taste.

  • Rochelle

    Hi! This recipe is amazing! I have some leftover and was thinking about making some glazed carrots with the Apple butter. Has anyone ever done this before? Any suggestions on measurements?


  • Irene

    Just made your Apple Butter recipe but I peeled and cored ahead of time and ued a hand wand at the end to puree. Pure heaven and I don’t think I’m even going to share. It’s too good

  • Mrs Glenda Knight

    I live in the UK and have to admit never having heard of a food mill???? How does a food mill differ from, say, a blender or mixer? Can’t wait to try this recipe!!!

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Glenda, I suggest looking up food mill in Google:

      A food mill works a lot like a sieve, where the soft parts can be pushed through, but the tough parts not. A blender just blends everything together soft and hard.

    • Teresa Mack

      Try a mulee – I’ve probably spelt it wrong, but it would push the food through the sieve and was a must have item when making baby food.

  • Frank Ditzler

    It is interesting, all of the recipes for apple butter I’ve seen say there is no butter in apple butter. My grandfather always put butter in apple sauce for years and so have I. Sooooo when making my first apple butter – why not add butter since I put it in my apple sauce. WOW!! what a heavenly smoothe buttery tasting apple butter. I am not trying to start a revolution or discrediting other recipes ,BUT you haven’t had real apple butter until you’ve put butter into the recipe.

  • Ariana Davis

    I was wondering if you can use apple juice rather than apple cider, or apple cider vinegar??

  • Rania

    Hi Elise!
    Thank you for a delicious recipe. I just made my first apple butter yesterday and it tuned out wonderful! I Will be trying your recipe for pear butter as well.

  • Mark Henderson

    I have an apple peeler and corer, so i used it and put all the apple peel and cores in a separate pot with some of the vinegar and water. When they were soft i put them through the sieve (food mill or chinoise). A lot less work and mess than putting the whole works through the sieve. I then just added this to the main pot of apples. The main pot i tired with a whisk to break up the apple pieces as they softened.
    I dont recommend using any electric mixing or blending device. I don’t like how it makes it too smooth without any texture.
    I don’t understand the comments about not using a sieve. the sieve is to remove the skin core bits and seeds. It has nothing to do with ending up with sweet apple sauce or not.

  • Tara

    Hi! I’ve never had apple butter before. However I randomly decided to make some this evening. (Note to self, pay attention to the clock and start before 8pm…) I substituted honey instead of sugar. I tend to use honey water when I can my peaches instead of sugar water so I have a lot of honey on hand. I only used half the amount of “sugar” for my apple. It’s quite delicious. I am currently waiting for the jars to can. I only got 4 250ml jars out of roughly 6lbs of apples. I am wondering if that’s because I didn’t use as much sugar since I substituted honey. It’s really thick though!

    I think I will make more for stocking stuffers for Christmas! Thank you for this wonderful recipe.

  • Tree

    I made this recipe and it turned out divine!! I used half brown sugar and half white sugar to give it that nice dark color. Didn’t change anything else, it turned into a thick wonderful butter. I also didn’t have to stand over it stirring, I was able to empty my dishwasher, wash all the prep dishes, help my daughter and dress my dog up as a baker between stirs and hand washing. So, don’t be steered away by the constant stirring. As long as you tend to it every few min for the first hour and more constant after that it should be fine :)

  • annette

    can I add the apple vinager after sugar and spices because I didn’t add it when I started just apple juice

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Annette, I haven’t tried it that way, but if you do, please let us know how it turns out for you!

  • KaCe Whitacre

    It took a long time to read this thread…I confess to not finishing. The information is very good. I was wondering something… I was on another site, but didn’t want refrigerator apple butter and that site recommended this one. Which made me wonder that you use vinegar and the other site didn’t and if that makes the difference in whether the butter holds up canned vs refrigerated/freezer.
    Several folks asked where to use it. I use it instead of applesauce with pork. Everyone has mentioned on toast. I liked the idea of with brie. (I will use that when my recipe is ready to use.)

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi KaCe! I refrigerate the apple butter after opening. Before opening, if you can it properly, it can be kept in the cupboard. Both the sugar and the vinegar in the apple butter help preserve it.

  • jaywalk

    do you know that you can make applesauce or apple butter using zucchini instead of apples … i also use zucchini in almost all apple recipes … works great :) just saying (lol) happy canning & baking to all :)

    • Mary M

      Then it is zucchini butter or sauce….
      I imagine the sweetness level is different though.

  • Catalina

    Hi Elise. I would like to make this recipe without sugar. Do you think it will affect the consistency? Also I wonder if it will still have a sweet taste (of course I am aware that it won’t be the same as with sugar). Thank you!

    • Elise Bauer

      Hello Catalina,
      The distinctive taste of apple butter is sweet and sour. If you don’t add sugar, there will not be enough sweetness to offset the vinegar and the result will just be sour, not sweet and sour.

  • Natasha

    I noticed that you just ask for the apples to be cut. Do you leave the seeds in them?

    • Elise Bauer

      Yes, for this recipe, all you have to do is cut the apples. Of course if you encounter a worm in the core, please cut out that core, otherwise leave the cores and the seeds. Once the apples are cooked, you’ll push them through a food mill or chinoise, leaving the tough core bits behind.

  • Anne Oxley

    Hi Elise
    I have just made my first batch of Apple Butter and followed your recipe (almost exactly – only put In 1/4 teaspoon cloves, but added 1/4 tsp nutmeg and a dash of ginger). Unfortunately the 2 tsp of cinnamon was much to overpowering, but fortunately the garden has many apple trees, so was able to cook up another batch (not the full 2 kg [4 lbs]) of apples only, which has reduced the strong cinnamon flavour

  • Aparna

    Hi Elisa, thank you for sharing your recipe. I would surely wuld like to try it out. But I would like to make a sample first before a big batch. I have approx. 6 apples with me, please could you let me know, how I would need to adjust the recipe accordingly? Also, how much is a smallest quantity I could make and how many apples would I need for it?

    • Elise Bauer

      Hello Aparna, I’ve never made a batch smaller than the recipe given here, so wouldn’t know what to tell you.

  • Elise Bauer

    Karen – there is still lots of sugar in this recipe! 1/2 cup for every 1 cup of apple pulp. If you make it without the added sugar, I would cut down on the vinegar as well. The vinegar balances out the sugar in the apple butter. If you don’t have as much sugar, you probably don’t need as much vinegar.

  • Shannon

    I just made this today and is it ever amazing. I think I messed up by using the medium plate of my food mill instead of the finest plate, so mine is a little more apple sauce-y in texture.


  • Linda

    I made the recipe exactly as you said and it is WONDERFUL !
    I must say, you are a patient person! You have answered the same questions over and over for 5 years, LOL.
    Folks … in a nutshell … Spend the $$ for a food mill or a china cap/chinoise it’s worth it, you can even drain your spaghetti in the china cap. They aren’t much more than $25.00 on ebay.
    If you use the whole apples, you must strain, unless you want to pick pieces of the core and skin out of your teeth. No food processor, no blender. You also need no pectin, it’s what thickens the apple butter, it’s in the core and skin.
    If you peel and core, you will probably need pectin, which is a product made from the skins and cores of apples!
    Thanks again for this recipe.


  • Chantel

    Elise, this is a wonderful recipe! I have loved apple butter since I was a kid, but had never made it. I used your recipe and substituted pumpkin pie spice for the allspice. It was the best I’ve ever had! I also used all of the apple, core and all and used my Vitamix to purée it. It freezes well too, thanks for sharing!

  • Michael

    I just made the Apple Butter Recipe using 1/2 green apples and 1/2 granny apples. I used organic sugar which helps to darken the jam a bit. The Apple Butter tastes Great!

    Thanks for sharing the recipe!


  • Curington, Joseph

    Hello, Just wanted to ask if i can put it through a jucier used for carrots and wheat grass.
    Thank you

    I think if you did that you would get juice. ~Elise

  • Sharon Erickson

    I bought apples quite a few years ago from an elderly lady who was making apple butter at the time. We started talking about how we each made it and she told me (and showed me) that she cooked it in the oven. She said it did not burn and you did not have to watch it all the time. It came out wonderful. I wondered if you had ever tried it this way and what you thought about it. No one else since has ever heard of it. I did make it her way and it was so easy not to have to worry about it burning.

    I have not, but several commenters have with success, if you read through the comments. ~Elise

  • Heather G,

    I just made apple butter over the weekend. I had a recipe but did deviate a little. I used my vitamix. I put a very small amount of water in the bottom of the blender then added the quartered pcs. of apple. I included peel, seeds, core and sometimes even the stem. I poured the pureed apples into a slow cooker then added my spices. I let it cook overnight but it still needed more cooking time the following day. This was the cleanest way to make apple butter. No peeling or using equip. to strain the apples. The butter was so creamy and full of flavor! Very smooth texture. I’m guessing it’s higher in fiber because the peel is contained in the butter.

  • Michelle S

    Hello all. I make my apple butter in a crock pot. That way I don’t have to stand by the stove. It has always turned out well. The key is to not get into a rush, it takes time to result in a rich, dark, smooth and delicious apple/pear/peach butter. I’ve made mine with and without cider and vinegar and it’s just as good…it’s simply a matter of prefrence. however, one must have a sieve or food mill to make fruit butter. Good luck to everyone and enjoy!

  • Gesche

    Dear Elise,

    thanks a lot for this recipe. We first came across Apple Butter during a visit in the US 3 years ago. I have made it according to your recipe (lots and lots) in 2009 and it lasted through winter 2010. I am going to make a new load of apple butter this week. My first try left me with runny apple butter, but another 2 hours of simmering did the trick very nicely.

    This time I will replace the apple vinegar by cider. Do I have to use the Anglo Saxon / British kind of cider or will French cider do? French cider is milder than the British version. Well, we shall see and may be I will tell you about it when I am done.

    It is such a lovely gift for our friends here in Germany and my family loves it, too.

    Thanks again!

  • Susan

    How many apples is 4 lbs? I have made sauce many times but never butter and do not remember how many apple to use

    Hard to say. Apples come in different sizes. If you don’t have a scale, look in your pantry for items that have a stated weight, for example a bag of rice. Then compare the weights of the apples with that. ~Elise

  • Foster

    Please note that pectin is found in the apple peel and also in the seeds, not primarily in the core as stated above. Additionally, sugar aids in the “setting up” process of the apple butter (or jams/jellies/preserves). You can alter the ratio of sugar:apples but keep in mind that the less sugar you use, the less firm it will be unless considerably more cooking time is involved in your process.

  • Melissa

    I have a great recipe for using all this yummy apple butter. It’s called Apple Butter Pizza!
    Spread apple butter on a baked pizza crust. Cover with cooked chicken, caramelized onions, roasted garlic and sharp white cheddar (we use a 3 or a 6 yr old cheddar, the sharper the better). Bake at 400 until cheese is melted. Enjoy.

    We also grill our chicken after shaking on a little granulated garlic, it just intensifies the flavour. I don’t put on amounts because its all to taste. For example, we use about 20 cloves of roasted garlic. that’s probably too much for most people.

    I decided to try this recipe for apple butter because we make this pizza often and its hard to find apple butter in the store.

  • dave

    Cooked up a batch today – very nice -came out dark brown and thick and reminded me of what my mom used to make. Yummmm! Thanks for the recipe

  • Jo Davis

    I tried this recipe and was pleased, but I made a few changes. I don’t have a chinois or food mill, and couldn’t afford to go buy one, so I cooked my apples soft, ran them through my food processor, and put it all in the crock pot. I cooked it on low overnight with the lid off. The next morning I ran it all through the food processor again on high speed for about 60-90 seconds, and put it back in the crock pot and cooked it on high till it looked dark enough and thickened up enough. I LOVE what I came out with. It was thick and smooth. I did have to pull the seeds out while it was cooking with a teaspoon, but that was fine. I pulled most of the seeds out while I was cutting the apples. Over all this has great flavor, mild but rich.

    I also cooked mine in kombucha vinegar and lemon juice instead of the apple cider vinegar. I know that the cooking killed any of the prebiotics in the kombucha, but the flavor was nice.

  • Deborah

    I eat and prefer unsweetened applesauce. I notice that you posted a minimum amount of sugar to use in this recipe and I am wondering if this is because you are making apple butter (not applesauce) or if you stated this because it would not can properly. I would prefer not to use sugar other than that in the apples and if it is possible to do so with your recipe I would appreciate knowing that. Most “unsweetened” recipes I’ve found use Splenda, which is not what I have in mind! Thanks for sharing your expertise.

    Apple butter, the way I was raised enjoying it, has a sweet/sour flavor. You get the sour from the vinegar which is balanced by the sugar in the apples and the added sugar. The recipe above is one that we have used successfully for many years with the apples we grow on our trees, mostly Gravenstein and Granny Smiths. There are other ways of making apple butter, and many different variations of the end result. You could take your apple sauce, that you made without any added sugar, and just cook it down. Some people do this in the oven, by spreading a thin layer over large baking pan. But doing that will give you a very different taste than the apple butter in our recipe. So, to answer your question, regarding our recipe, yes, you must use added sugar, along with vinegar. But, there are so many ways of making this, so if you don’t want to add sugar, I suggest looking online for another recipe. ~Elise

  • Kara-Lee

    I made this and it was too tart so I added 3/4 cup of brown sugar (I used white for the 4 cups at first) . Made a huge difference. Just put it in the jars! Thanks for the great recipe!!

  • Janet S

    I made the apple butter but it is to tart (lemon) is there a way I can tone it down?

    Adding more sugar will balance the tartness. ~Elise

  • Todd

    Im making the final stage of apple butter right now,so its gonna be done at 10:00pm.Can i put it in the fridge for the night and reheat it in the morning and then put in the jars for canning?

    Yes, you will want it to simmer for at least 10 minutes before canning though. I would refrigerate it before it is ready and just finish the cooking tomorrow. ~Elise

  • Barry K

    I use brown sugar only, no vinegar and the food mill on boiled gravenstein apples, then put it all in the oven, too…overnight. waking up smells like christmas. it takes a while and muscle to food mill 50LBS of apples, but it is always a hit for presents and at school events

  • Hope

    Wonderful recipe, thank you. I made mine with Royal Gala apples, as that is what I had an over-abundance of, and it is delicious. So versatile too – so far I’ve used in in place of the cinnamon mix for cinnamon rolls, on bread and toast, and in an apple pie.

  • Jen J.

    Just wanted to let you know that while I used a different recipe, I used your technique and LOVED this! I boiled approx 50 lbs of apples in enough apple cider to cover them in the pots for approx 30 min. They weren’t cored or peeled…yay! Then ran everything through my food mill with the fine plate. Then I did cook everything on the stove for about 2 hours. This didn’t do the trick (and DESTROYED my stove…took hours to clean it!). Then I popped all 4 pots in the oven at 300 degrees overnight (approx 14 hours) and I woke up to phenomenal apple butter! At first this seemed daunting, but next time I know the following: 1 lb of apples will make a cup of apple butter; no peeling or coring, just some elbow grease with a good food mill; pop that bad boy in the oven and sleep on it! Viola! Fabulous, easy, no-extra-sugar-added, delicious apple butter! Thanks for this great resource!

  • karen

    Hi all!

    I made my first batch of apple butter this weekend. I used a can of frozen unsweetened apple juice concentrate to about a crock pot full of cooked and sieved apples and cooked it on low for 24 hours – stirring a few times, but not really watching it.

    It cooked down about half, got nice and brown and thickened up. After cooling to warm, I used my Instablend to get it nice and smooth, popped it into half pint jars and put it in a canner for 15 minutes.

    I think the pectin from the peels and core got released during the pre-cooking process – prior to putting it through a food mill.

    Making some more this weekend from my boss’s free apples. :)

    The frozen apple juice concentrate added just the right amount of sweetness without added sugar. I didn’t use vinegar. But added cinnamon, allspice and cloves to taste.

  • Beth

    I like chunky apple butter. Can this recipe be adapted somehow?

    Not this recipe. Well, maybe if you add some finely diced apple in a the end? I don’t know. To me apple butter is smooth. ~Elise

  • Rosy

    Thanks for the recipe.

    I used this recipe in conjunction with Thomas Keller’s cookbook Ad Hoc At Home, which uses a slow cooker for the whole process.

    Slow cooker makes it so much easier, because you hardly have to stir at all.

  • Jamie

    I made mine without a sieve or food mill. I happen to own a potato ricer, so I just put the apple pulp in it and squeezed until it was difficult. The peels and seeds left in the bottom were discarded. There was some pulp that was lost when it flew from the ricer, but I was done in 5 minutes and got a nice, smooth, consistency.

  • Erma

    I have found the simplest method of making apple butter by peeling, seeding and slicing the apples and placing them in the oven at 250 degrees until the apples are thoroughly cooked (over night is perfect)into a smooth mush. I then add the sugar and spices to my liking and then cook for another half an hour before canning. The results are creamy thick darkened best ever apple-butter.

  • LonnieQ

    I am making this as we speak (read)…My apple tree is totally overproducing this year so I got an early start. I’m cooking the apples with both cider and vinegar. I used a Williams-Sanoma apple slicer to remove the cores.(I am ever the lazy one) I will then throw it into the old vita-mix then add the sugar and cook down until it reaches maybe the halfway mark…..This I use to mix with other fruit ie: strawberries and blueberries to make a fruit spread. Absolutely out of this world. My husband raves about it and the friends beg for it at Christmas time. I have also used the cinnimon/redhots for just the apple butter which is a big hit at Christmas as well. Happy cooking

  • Margarita

    I love apple butter. I remember my mother actually used to put some butter into it. I sometimes do it as well but only if I am not canning the apple butter afterwards. Anyway, I find apple butter great when baking. I have to cook without eggs, which is a real pain, and the apple butter gives the cakes a nice texture that is difficult to achieve otherwise.

  • amy perry

    I personally found my seive in an old box of junk in my late grandmothers house! you could ask your elders or check estate sales and garage sales as well! those are perfect places to find cheap canning supplies!

  • linda

    Made three batchs this weekend which turned out GREAT! I don’t have a seive, so I simply cooked the apples down after coring and cutting them into walnut-size hunks. I didn’t peel the apples by the way. After they started to get mushy, I scooped cups full into the blender and pureed the mixture very well. Then the entire batch went back into the pot and I added the spices and cooked for a good hour on med low.
    When the contents were thick enough I proceeded to can the apple butter.
    BUT note: My apples were picked in sept and have been sitting several months in the cool garage. So they are not crispy any more, which I think resulted in a quicker cooking process!
    Also I cut down the vinager to 3/4 c and added more water to make one cup… plus I cut down on the sugar as well. Just suiting it to my taste.

  • Patty

    I just made 9 quarts of applebutter, I used one bushel of Johnathan apples, 7 lbs. of sugar and 2 packages of cinnamon candies called dots. I simply washed and cut the apples in four pieces and took out the core, then cooked them until tender, run them thru a food mill, which took out the peelings and left applesauce. I cooked this for 16 hours in a large electric cooker on 350 degrees, stirring frequently so it would not stick… it is delicious on hot biscuits.. a lot of time, but well worth the effort. This will last our family for at least 2 years and some to give to special friends also.

    If you are running the apples through a food mill anyway, there is no reason to core them. The cores have lots of flavor and pectin. ~Elise

  • Rach

    The only way I make apple sauce or apple butter is with a Kitchen Aid Mixer.
    Buy 1 food grinder stand mixer attachment & buy 1 Fruit & vegetable strainer parts (attachment).
    I can strain a big giant pot of cooked apples in less than 15 minutes. Peels/cores/seeds go out one way and strained apple sauce out the other. (If you don’t like the core omit it), but still no need to take the time to peel the apples. After I bought mine, I loaned it to my mother-in-law to try; and she decided it was so easy that she had to have one too.

  • Beth

    The key to thick apple butter is to cook it down. We just got together as a family and made over 100 jars of apple butter. Cook the sauce until when you drop a tablespoon on a plate or bowl no or minimal water seeps out around the edge of the dollop of sauce, then you know it will not be watery. Using a sieve is OK but using a Squeezo Strainer of Victorio Strainer is so much easier. To use them you just wash quarter, cook to soften the apple and put through strainer and you have wonderful apple sauce.

  • Jacqueline Teeters

    I made this about 2 weeks ago!! I let it cook for a good hour or more stiring it every so often so not to burn on the bottom!!! I got 6 small jars out of the recipe! I found this recipie easy and fun, since I had never made anything like this before. Best of all everyone I gave a jar to said it tasted wonderful. I gave some to me grandma who used to make applebutter many years ago and she told me it tasted better than anything she had ever made.! So I give this 2 THUMBS UP and if I had more thumbs they’d be up too!!!

  • Regena

    Imagine high winds just before harvest with two heavily-laden apple trees in the back yard and you have an inkling of the horror my girlfriend woke up to earlier this October. Almost the entire harvest of her big, beautiful apples scattered haphazarly over the ENTIRE backyard. This carnage was enough to make my frugal heart weep.

    I had just received the pear butter recipe and it prompted me to search this site for an apple butter recipe.

    The recipe turns out beautifully as written. Fortunately for me, the apple cider vinegar makes it lightly too tangy for anyone else in the family to eat on toast except me. However, never one to just stick with the recipe, after the first batch I ventured out slightly. I have added about 2 tbsp of unsulphered molasses (one glug) and 2 tsp of homemade vanilla. I also threw the lemon rinds (minus seeds) in after zesting and squeezing out the juice. This increases the pectin as it would when making marmelade. This version was much more popular with the family. Sigh…

    My husband decided he should get in on the act and make a barbeque sauce. This is the recipe we based it on: Again, though, we didn’t follow the recipe exactly. We omitted the liquid smoke as we used sweet smoked paprika powder (1/2 tsp). All I can say is WOW! And this deliciousness was all because of Elise and a windstorm. Strange how the forces of nature work together!

    I pass on this site address at every opportunity. I’m not sure which I enjoy more; the recipes (always delicious) or the comments (informative, thought provoking and entertaining). A lovely community to be part of.

  • Arlan

    I saw a recipe that also added some butter (not sure how much), would this be okay as it seems it would add some buttery flavor? Also, how soon can you open a jar and start using it? Thanks.

    Sometimes jelly or jam recipes add 1/4 teaspoon (a small dab) of butter to a recipe to keep the jelly or jam from foaming up too much while it is being made. Foaming up is not an issue with apple butter. As for opening a jar, as soon as it cools. ~Elise

  • Chuck V

    I tripled the recipe, using about 13 pounds of freshly picked organic apples. Cannot remember all of the names, but I used 5 different varieties ranging from super sweet to very tart. I strayed from the recipe in 2 ways – one was that I used a little less sugar, and replaced one cup of the white sugar with brown sugar. The other was that I cooked my butter for around 5 hours, until it was very thick and dark in color. By the time I was done reducing it down to the consistency that I wanted, there was only enough to fill 5 pint jars + a half pint jar. 5 hours of stirring and stirring and stirring. My arm and wrist are killing me. Definately a labor of love, but I kept thinking about what a great addition this is going to be to our family Thanksgiving meal, so that kept me going : ) Anyways, thanks for the recipe – it’s much appreciated!

  • ruen

    Like a couple people on here, I ended up using a wire mesh strainer as well. It was a bit tedious, so here’s a tip or two for anyone else who may want to try this: make sure the apples are super soft before even attempting to do this (I’m talking about skin-falling-off soft). If you let the apples cool for a bit, you can “grate” the apples on the mesh with your hands–it goes much faster than using a rubber spatula, that’s for sure. After “grating,” you’ll have some small apple bits too little to hold–take a spoon and “squish” the bits against the back of it and the mesh. It’s a tad messy but it gets the job done.

    Fantastic apple butter recipe, Elise. This one’s a keeper. : )

  • Adam

    To everyone asking about the chinois and/or food mill, I ended up using a mesh strainer (not so fine that, say raspberry seeds wouldn’t get through but too fine for apple seeds to pass through it). We have a very very small chinois but I just wasn’t willing to process a bunch of apples through it (that would have been either exceedingly tedious or very very messy). The apple butter is cooling right now, but from what I can tell passing it through the strainer worked fine. I did pass it through twice for good measure but the second pass didn’t take too long.

  • Paula

    This recipe was very good but for me it was a little on the tart side and a little over spiced. I will try it again with my adjustments. Great color and consistancy! ~Paula

  • lisa

    I made a batch and forgot the lemon juice ’til the end of the cooking period. the apple butter is tasty but loose like apple sauce – did the absence of lemon cause this or do I need to cook the mixture a bit longer to reduce it some more. it has an excellent taste!

    The omission of lemon juice likely had very little to do with the resulting texture. Sounds like you needed to cook it longer. Sometimes it can take a long time to cook that apple butter down enough. I tend to use a wide pot to cook it, so that it gets maximum evaporation surface. I pull up a stool and sit next to the pot, fan going, stirring, to help with the evaporation. You don’t want the heat too high, or the mixture will stick to the bottom and burn. And you don’t want it too low, or it will take ages to reduce. Some apples are more pectin-y or cook up thicker than others (even from the same tree!) ~Elise

  • Stephi D.

    OMGosh, I made this recipe yesterday and it’s simply the best apple butter I have ever tasted. I read through each and every comment before I started, and I made sure that I followed the recipe to a T. Because I read the comments, I made sure that I cooked and stirred long enough. I also cooked my apples with the peels, core and seeds and pressed it through a Chinois. My butter was at the perfect color and consistency. I added some extra spice to my taste as per Elise’s instructions and it was “Perfect”. Thank you so much and I will be canning some more in the upcoming week. I really think the apple cider vinegar over apple cider is what makes this so perfect, it really adds such a nice tart to the sweetness.

  • Elaine

    I make cranberry jelly but I do not use hot water bath method I put wax on top of hot jelly it works fine and have use it a year later and it is fine. Do you think I can use this method with apple butter?

    Great question. As long as you 1) sterilize the jars, 2) do not reduce the sugar in the recipe or the vinegar, and 3) do not allow the temperature of the mixture to drop below 190°F while you are putting them up in jars, you should be fine. Preserving with paraffin wax on top is an old way of sealing the preserves that has somewhat fallen out of favor because it can be hard to get a good seal and sometimes mold develops. Sugar is the main preservative in apple butter. To make sure you have enough sugar so that its preservative qualities work, add at least 1/2 cup of sugar for every cup of apple mixture. Do not reduce this ratio. ~Elise

  • Caroleee

    I’ve heard that apple butter/apple sauce can be stored in the freezer in a freezer type zip lock bag. What do you think?

    I don’t see why not. We freeze our apple sauce in quart-sized jars to store. ~Elise

  • Sharon

    I make “zucchini” butter using the apple butter recipe (heavy on the apple cider vinegar) and add a packet or two of powdered hot apple cider drink mix. It turns out yummy and people are always surprised to find it is zucchini.

    What a creative way to use zucchini! ~Elise

  • Babs

    I love this recipe, Elise! I had some left over Granny Smith apples that I wanted to use up. I found your recipe and decided to give it a try. I solved the pulping process by using my VitaMix blender. I just dumped all of the nicely cooked apples, seeds, skins and all into it. It took two batches. It was smooth and pureed in a few minutes. I followed the rest pretty much the same except I used raw sugar and cut the amount in half. All of my ingredients were organic. I love the tangyness of the apple cider vinegar. I will definitely use this recipe again.

  • Crystal

    I’m making this for the first time. Do I drain the inital cooking water/vinegar from the apples and discard then mash the apples into the bowl or do I drain the water into the same bowl that I am mashing my apples into?

    Do not drain the apples! Just mash them into the cooking liquid. ~Elise

  • Happy Cook

    Thank you for the info. I coudn’t wait till fall as I had this delicious cake I wanted to make so I used granny smith for making the butter and it came out very well.

    It did take time to make them as you wrote in the recipe.

  • Happy Cook

    I wanted to make a apple cake and in the recipe they have asked for apple butter ( shop bought), we don’t get this in Belgium. Can I make this apple butter for using in the cake?

    Yes, but you’ll the best results if you make apple butter in summer or fall, when apples are in season. The best apple for apple butter making is the gravenstein which comes ripe in the Northern Hemisphere in July. ~Elise

  • Donna

    If my apple butter turned out runny, is it ok to take it out of the jars, cook it more, and re-can it?

    Yes, you can do that. ~Elise

  • Corrie

    We made this recipe over the weekend and found that the recipe as stated came out more sticky/jam-like than what I wanted. We tweaked it a little bit and found that using just 1C of sugar and half the amount of spices and lemon juice/zest made the perfect batch of apple butter. Thanks for the recipe.

  • Hollywood Robin

    Hi, Elise–just finished making my second (doubled) batch of apple butter using your recipe; I made it last year to rave reviews, so it’s now a must-make in my holiday gift baking/canning. The only thing I do differently is use apple cider in place of the water, and I love the extra tang the cider vinegar gives it. For the others who keep wondering if they can get by with peeling/coring to forego using a food mill or sieve, it’s really best to follow the recipe exactly as Elise describes it. I was able to pick up a food mill for a few dollars on eBay, and it makes quick work of the cooked-down apples. Totally worth the investment. Thanks for sharing such a great recipe!

  • Melissa

    I didn’t peel or core (yay!), whirred in a blender, then pressed through a mesh strainer. It worked a treat. I turned to Simply Recipes when I’d been stirring for about an hour–Fannie Farmer says “Cook quickly to thicken”. Hah!

    One major note: wear pot holders while stirring. I got small burns from the glorping even at gentle temps.

    After 2 solid hours of stirring (well, an hour with a break for internet searching), I got some pretty darn fine apple butter. Plan to use with cream cheese on something (crumpets? scones?) tomorrow.

    Thanks for the tips!

  • Caitlin

    I did not use a food mill and still got the right consitency. I peeled and cored the apples, cooked them for a long time, 2 hours, and then used an immersion blender to smooth it out. It looked just like apple butter in terms of texture. Then I started the second cooking step.

  • ROSE

    Hi, I am going to try to make your apple butter, but do not have chinois, and was wondering if I could get away with using a wire strainer?

    It’s a lot of work, but if you have a rubber spatula, you may be able to press the pulp through the wire strainer. ~Elise

  • Mike C

    ” The water and vinegar should be mostly gone once you cook the apples down. It should be like applesauce, with peels. If you’ve got much water left in the pot my guess would be you didnt cook the apples long enough. Once it has a chunky applesauce appearance is when i run it through the food mill.”

    I think you should say this in the recipe. My understanding was to cook the apples until soft–which they were after 20 minutes, as the recipe says. Not mash them until they make applesauce, which incorporates a lot more fluid than plucking the apples out, which is what I did.

    I don’t think you’re going to wind up with applesauce consistency after merely cooking the quartered apples. You’d have to do some mashing, which the recipe doesn’t state.

    I wound up with thick apple spread, with no jam-like consistency. More like apple spread. Too bad.

    Hi Mike, you need to run everything through the food mill. The apples only need to be soft enough to do that, you don’t have to mash them. But you do need to run everything through the food mill. Also, apple butter is an apple spread, a thick apple spread. It is not set and chunky like jam. ~Elise

  • Rachel

    I used Fiji apples and it turned out very well. I would suggest a little less cinnamon and a little more sugar. Overall, it turned out very well.

  • Donna

    Can you use Jonathan apples for apple butter?

    According to the link listed, Jonathan apples make very good sauce, so would also make very good apple butter. ~Elise

  • Jean

    What a great web site!! I live in Groveport Ohio and we have Apple Butter Day on the second Saturday of every October. Anyway, My daughter and I were looking for a way to make apple butter and here is the place to find many ways. We have always made applesauce from my grandmother’s method, which was to quarter the apples, remove the cores and the bad spots, cook in a large pan with enough water to barely cover the apples until the apples slide off a fork when poked with it. The water is then drained and we put the apples through a food mill for pink applesauce. Depending on what type of apples you use, sweeten as you go. From the looks of it, we are already on the way for the apple butter making! As for the food mill, it is well worth the 19.99 investment at a variety store. Truthfully, we have gotten several from thrift stores for two or three dollars each, and gave them to my sisters (4 of them), and my nieces as practical gag gifts for Christmas. Aside from the above mentioned delights, we use it for mashed potatoes (never had a lump), baby food (vegetable or tender meats); and I haven’t tried it yet, but I wonder how it would do to make bologna or hot dogs squishy enough for sandwiches for the kids.

  • One Busy Mommy

    I tried this recipe today. I was given a bushel of apples that I wanted to make jelly out of, but the thought of tossing the apples when I was finished cooking them for jelly seemed wrong. I decided to try your recipe, my husband loves apple butter. I just took the apple pulp, measured it and added the 1/2 cup sugar for each cup of pulp. I have very tart apples so I left out the vinegar and it was perfect. I actually cooked mine in the microwave at 70% power and it thickened and browned nicely. My 1 year old kept coming through the kitchen to beg for more. It was definatly worth the extra time and a great way to use apple pulp left over from making jelly. Thanks for the recipe!

  • lbrain

    I love apple butter- and this recipe was so helpful. It says absolutely everythung you need to make it . My apple butter turned out great!

  • Jenn

    Hi Elise, I have two quick questions. Can I substitute pears? My in-laws are on a special diet and they can’t have apples. Also where did you buy your seive? I can’t find it anywhere online. Maybe I’m not searching the right way. Can you please direct me? Tis the season for fruit/pumpkin butters and I could really use one! Thanks a million.

    I just posted a recipe for pear butter using the same technique, but with Bartlett pears and different seasonings. Regarding the sieve, the chinois we use I think you can find at William Sonoma, online or in stores. Good luck! ~Elise

  • Apple lover in PA

    I make apple butter every year because I dislike cloves in the store bought ones so I make my own. I grew up without it being used and cooked in huge kettles outdoors under a fire. My recipe is simple. I peel, core, and slice (I have a peeler that does all this for me) the apples and put them in a large pot. I use enough to fill the pot almost to the top. Then I pour enough apple cider to cover it and cook it slowly for hours. I usually do it in the evening and then turn it off when I go to bed, and then cook more the next day. I then add brown sugar and white sugar, the amount depending on the sweetness of the apples and then cinnamon. Then I cook it more. No sieving, no blending. After it’s done and a nice dark color I let it cool and then fill up little plastic freezer containers and freeze it. I don’t can so freezing does very well. If you cook it long and low then it doesn’t need sieving if you peel and core them. The peels and cores left over can used to make apple jelly if you don’t want to throw them out.

  • Brooke

    The idea just came to me … if you don’t have a seive and want to skip that step YET still have the flavor and pectin from the seeds, cores, and peels …. then why not peel, core, and seed but add the peels, cores, and seeds in something like a cheese cloth for the cooking and then easily remove the packet and just mash the apple butter or LIGHTLY pulse it in the food processor. Any ideas on this? It sounds like a easy way to get the best of both methods. BUT I think of this NOW as my quartered apples simmer … and I don’t have a sieve. I guess I will try to push it all through my collandar. *SIGH* Sounds like a long night ahead for me. My HUGE pot has 5 gallons of quartered apples in it.
    I am a breastfeeding/cloth diapering mother of 8 homeschooled children always trying to cut a corner.

    Great idea! Let us know how it works for you. ~Elise

  • jannika, sweden

    I tried apple butter for the first time today. I accidentally left it over night, so it cooked for almost 20 hours as opposed to 6… but some turned out. But the flavor is like apple jam or apple sauce. and the consistency was like very thick apple sauce. Did I do it right? My husband says he thinks it’s right, but I thought I’d check.

    Hmm. I’m wondering where the idea for cooking it for 6 hours came from. This recipe calls for cooking it for an hour or two, on the stove-top, with regular stirring. I’ve never had to cook apple butter for more than 2 hours. The flavor should be spicy, sweet, and sour. Sour because of all that vinegar, but sweet too. The consistency is like very thick, smooth applesauce. ~Elise

  • Trudy

    Apple butter and apple sauce do freeze very well. Crab apple butter is even better and you don’t need vinegar. My Mother and Grandmother usually made crab apple butter after making jelly. Putting it in the oven is easy in a large roasting pan, especially with a larger batch.

  • Laura

    I tried this recipe today and was VERY pleased with the results. It was very similar to what I remember my grandmother’s apple butter being like, except it was not quite as dark colored. Thank you for posting this recipe, it was easy enough for me, the beginner!!

  • Kerilyn

    I never saw the answer to several posts about FREEZING instead of canning…

    Can apple butter be frozen like other jams?

    I assume so, though I’ve never done it. ~Elise

  • jane headley

    I made apple butter for the first time last year. My own trees had an abundance of apples. Don’t think I’ll be as blessed this year. I got an apple peeler and it cores and peels and cuts in rings all at the same time. I just put it all in my crockpot and turned it on. Cooked for 8 to 10 hours and then added the sugar and cinnamon and cloves. Canned. It was wonderful. Not hard at all.

    • vicki fletcher

      Jane Headley, I just wanted to say THANK YOU. After reading all these post’s I felt that I really had messed up for I never used vinegar either. I peel my apple’s approx-5 and a half LB’S 4 cup’s sugar 1/4 of teaspoon of clove’s , 2 teaspoon’s cinnomin, 1/4 teaspoon of kosher or sea salt. I cook it in a crock pot over night [at least 12 hour’s] then pour into hot jar’s and then do a hot bath for 15 min. I peel , core and chopp them in my food processor. I guess God has truly watched over me for it has alway’s turned out perfect. It is dark and very creamy just like my grandmother’s was. Good luck to all and if you have any question’s please feel free to e-mail me at vickifletcher at att dot net.

  • Erin

    Anyone interested in apple butter may also be interested in an apple butter festival held every fall for at least 30 years in Groveport, Ohio. Apple Butter Day, held each year on the 2nd Saturday in October, offers music, homemade crafts and skilled craft demonstrators, all located in and around the grounds of the Village’s 1820’s Log House. It is lots of wholesome fun and you can taste apple butter and other foods made with apple butter. Entertaining and educational!

  • Tonya

    I loosely followed the apple butter recipe and loved it! I didn’t have apple cider vinegar on hand, but had Apple Wine Vinegar with Lingonberry from IKEA and used it instead. I used Winesap apples and put roughly the amount of sugar and spices, but no lemon zest. I reduced the apple butter for a longer time at a lower temp. Very pleased with the results. Thanks for the recipe.

  • Phyllis

    I used Splenda instead of sugar in my apple butter and just a very small amount of water to get apples started cooking. Used lots of cinnamon, some ginger and allspice. Cooked all night (actually about 10 hours) and in morning apple butter was thick and almost smooth; bottled and refrigerated it as that is easiest. It is very delicious; as good as any I have ever had and better than some.

  • Sue

    Instead of a sieve you can use a food processor or food chopper , it purees the apples really well after they cook and its a whole lot easier.

    Note from Elise: Actually you do need a food mill or sieve for this method as you cook the whole quartered apples, including the cores and seeds. You need the food mill so that only the apple mush comes through, not the seeds and cores. The reason you cook the seeds and cores is for the pectin in them, which will help the apple butter set properly. You could peel and core the apples before cooking, but that’s even more work than using a food mill, and you don’t get the benefit of the flavor and pectin from the peels and cores.

  • carolyn may

    I made this recipe this weekend, and was very worried about using vinegar. Took a jar to work today and everyone taste tested it. Now I am having a “women’s apple butter day”. They are all coming over to learn how to make this recipe for Christmas gifts. Thank you so much.

  • Becky

    I make apple butter all the time and never use a sieve. Also I never use vinegar. Just apple cider. I use brown sugar to taste and way more cinnamon. If you like a nutty flavor add some nutmeg.

    I cook mine for a lot longer too. It has to be cooked long enough to be apple butter and not apple sauce. Maybe that is why I do not need a sieve. If you cook it long enough the apples are buttery and quite frankly everyone tells me that my apple butter is the best they have ever had.

    I know that its done when it starts to develop a crust along the side between stirring.

    I never really timed it but I bet I cook it for about 4 hrs or longer on a real low heat in an open pot.

    In old times they made it over an open fire and it cooked all day long in a big pot. Thats the best way to get good old fashioned apple butter.

  • Sharon

    Oh, my apple butter turned out great, I made it for a special crepe breakfast …and read all the comments, compared to other recipes, and worried………..but it’s thick, dark, and the only thing that worried me initially was it seemed maybe there was too much lemon, but this morning, after being in the fridge all night, it’s great. Thank you

  • Barb

    I recently had sweet potato butter and absolutely loved it. Does anyone have a recipe for this?

  • rightwingprof

    If you live in Pennsylvania, you can buy excellent farm-made apple butter in the store. Wos-Wit. Or if you live near Amish or Mennonite communities in Pennsylvania, Ohio, or Indiana, they usually sell produce, canned and baked goods locally. The Old Order Mennonites here sell under a big tent every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.

  • Gloria

    Has anyone ever used the little red hot cinnamin candies to make apple butter? My Aunt in ky use to make it this way it was the best never found or had anything close to it since she died I wish I could of got that reciepe…

  • Martye

    My apple butter was great. I cooked it in a slow cooker uncovered> I just kept stirring it real often.

  • robin r.

    I canned some apple butter in the fall of 2000. While cleaning my basement, I discovered 8 jars I didn’t know I still had. What are your thoughts on eating this? The seals are all still in place, as are the rings. And I used sanitary, accepted methods of canning when I processed it. I love applebutter and I hate to waste it, but…

  • Ashley

    Hey there
    I have never canned before and I am going to be making my first batch of Apple Butter in the next couple of weeks. My question is, when canning with the boiling water technique, how long does the apple butter need to be cooked in the jars?
    Any help is appreciated.

  • fawn

    When you said:

    Cook until thick and smooth when a bit is spooned onto a cold plate and allowed to cool (1 to 2 hours)

    Do i have to cook for 1-2 hrs or cool it for 1-2 hrs?

  • Judy

    I’ve used a food processor to chop my cored apples, mainly to speed up the prep time when a large batch of apples must be dealt with. (Also did pear butter the same way.) After running the cooked apple mush through a food mill, I add sugar and spices, then pour the mixture into 9 x 13 pyrex casseroles (or cake?) pans. I set my convection oven at about 275 degrees, and put the pyrex pans into the oven for about an hour. It is necessary to stir the mixture approx. every 10 minutes so that evaporation and thickening can be monitored. Rotate and/or reposition the pans as necessary.

    Works well for me; the result is a thick, rich, mahogany-colored butter.

  • Maria

    Yesterday I made and tasted Apple Butter for the first time. I had searched the web for recipes and “winged” it as far as choosing the ingredients. What I did with my apples was peeled them, then used the apple corer to cut out the core and pre=slice the apples. I put in about 3 cups of water with about 60 apples total.
    Yielded about 28 cups of “Applesauce” after boiling down. I then took my hand blender and pureed the recipe til smooth…then added my sugar (1/2 cup per cup of apples,) and then added Allspice, Cinnamon, Cloves and Nutmeg to taste/color. Brought it to a boil on the stove and then it simmered for about 6 hours on “medium” til it was dark brown with a very buttery smooth velvety texture.

    I then did a hot water canning process and processed the jars for 15 minutes.

    Being disabled I don’t have the hand strength to push things thru a sieve. Being a “newbie” at making this (I did it for friends who gave me the apples), I didn’t have the “equipment” everybody else has mentioned in this forum. So, I have no Sieve, no Food Mill,…but the hand held blender took care of smoothing it out, especially since I had already gotten the skin and seeds out.

    Hopes this helps everybody!!

  • Granny

    Hi all…say, I’ve always made my apple butter this way…peeled, cored quarters, dribble of water, depending on type of apples, tea strainer full of whole anise seed (black licorish smelling/flavor), in a covered crock at 200degrees for three or four days… I stir each morning. After a couple of days, I use a potato masher if necessary, and add a little lime juice (the refrigerated type), a little cinnamon, and I go easy on the sugar…sorta taste each day, stir, add what I feel it needs…if it’s not totally cooked down by the fourth day, I’d probably blend it…
    Now, here’s my question:
    I’ve always canned it…but can I freeze it? and for how long?

  • Steve O

    “Hollyhocks and Radishes” by Bonnie Stewart Mickelson has a WONDERFUL Apple Butter recipe, but it calls for baking the resulting sweetened puree for as much as 8 hours in the oven (albeit at an extremely low temp of around 150 or 175) to evaporate.

    The resulting apple butter is a bit darker than you may be used to, but the long baking time serves to blend the flavors completely, as well as making your entire house smell like apple butter!

    Also, this will freeze well.

  • Tonya

    Hi, do you think I can freeze the apple butter in freezer-safe containers? I’m not very good at canning…..


  • Angela

    Lloyd, i’m not real sure what you’re meaning. The water and vinegar should be mostly gone once you cook the apples down. It should be like applesauce, with peels. If you’ve got much water left in the pot my guess would be you didnt cook the apples long enough. Once it has a chunky applesauce appearance is when i run it through the food mill.

  • Lloyd Keays

    I made this yesterday with european wild apples (miniature apples of 1 inch in diameter). When still warm, it was super delicious. But now… A thick crust formed on top and it’s a bit like there’s wax through it!

    So a silly (I guess) question: do you keep the water/vinegear boiling juice in the recipe or do you scoop the apples out before pushing the pulp?

  • Kandi

    Is it possible to use Stevia for this recipe? If so, what would be the conversion from sugar to Stevia. Would I use the same amount of apple cider vinegar? Thanks so much for your help!

  • Valerie

    I know that you’ve said several times not to use a food processor, but what about one with a food strainer attachment? It works just like a food mill…

  • Sharon

    You can get a fine chinois sieve, stand and pestle at Mine cost 37.90, complete, incl. shipping. It is made by Mirro and has a 5-yr warranty.

  • Elise Bauer
  • Sharon Parker

    I truly appreciate this page with so many comments that address my own questions. One concern about the canning question–whether it will keep after a b-w bath depends on how acidic it is. You might want to consult the book Putting Food By, although the USDA probably has info too. Since apples are naturally low in acid, I am guessing the vinegar and lemon juice are to make it acidic enough for safe preserving. You probably don’t want to change those if you are going to can it. Storing in fridge should be OK for low-acid version though. Thanks for all the helpful tips!

  • Andrea

    I have tried Elise’s apple butter, and I loved it so much I had to come here and get the recipe. It is the perfect balance of tart and sweet, with a lovely consistency. Taste your produce first so you know how tart your apples are, and adjust accordingly if necessary.

  • Anonymous

    I have just tasted a cranberry apple butter at the Flying Biscuit in Atlanta and thought this would be a good Christmas gift for friends. How would one adapt this recipe to include cranberries?

  • Marilyn Glasgow

    My apple butter has too much of a vinegary , tart taste. I went exactly by the recipe. Do you think I didn’t cook it long enough?

  • Don

    A couple of notes for several posters… If you use a food processor, blender, or other such tool when processing apples or other fruit, you will break down the fiber in the fruit… This not only destroys a lot of the nutritional value, but also affects the gel “set” of your Jam, Jelly, Butter, Chutney or other item… You will find you have to increase the amount of Pectin or Cornstarch in the recipe, which will adversely affect the taste… You could just cook the butter longer, but that is very tedious… Try shopping online for your sieves, Ebay, etc… Use keywords such as “home canning equipment”, etc… Do not get your sieve at Williams-Sonoma unless you like to pay $120 for a $19.95 item… If you have “Smart & Final”, they sell several conical sieves that will work…

  • Jaime

    I was wondering if the sugar in the Apple Butter recipe, is mainly for sweetness, or for the texture and thickness, for it to set it that is?

  • Elise Bauer

    Hi Lisa – the peel and core are important sources of flavor for the apple butter. If you peel and core and then put through a food processor after cooking, you will have apple sauce, not apple butter. If you don’t have a food mill, try pressing the pulp through a fine sieve.

  • LISA

    I was wondering if I could peel and slice the apples before cooking them, and then use a food processor instead of a food mill. I tried apple butter one other time, and you could have used it as tar to seal a leak in your roof. I don’t want to do that again. Thanks

  • Pim

    I can say from first-hand experience that this was absolutely delicious.

    Thanks so much,

  • sandy snyder

    I just started canning now I’m 62 made the best apple butter in my crock pot. Sooooo easy and I use apple pie spice,sugar, and apple juice It’S GREAT

  • Pat

    I purchased a food strainer & sauce maker for the Cook’s Garden on line. It is great to use to make applesauce that is necessary for the apple butter. Also it can be used for tomato paste, juice, grapes, pumpkin or about any type of fruit or vegetable you want to use it for. It works great and I would highly recommend it. It takes a lot of the work out since it works as a seive and puts all the peel and seed out another port that where the sauce comes out.

  • Elise Bauer

    Hi Mama Meathenge,
    I’m so glad you like it! Thanks again for hosting such a fun afternoon.

  • Cyndi

    I use Splenda on all my Jam recipes. I cook everything first then remove it from the heat and stir in the Splenda. When making jam it foams a little. I scoop the foam off and start bottling. It tastes great. I can’t see why you can’t do the same with apple butter.

    When I do my canning I do not use the boiling bath to seal them. I sterilize my jars in the dishwasher. Put Jars on a cookie sheet and put in oven when you are getting closer to can at 200 degrees. I put my lids in a pan of water and bring to a boil then turn the burner off. I remove one jar at a time fill it and leave 1/2 inch from the top. Wipe the lip of the jar to make sure it is clean. Put the lid on there and as they cool they will seal. There have been some that take a little longer and I was wondering if they weren’t going to seal. My husband said they just needed to cool some more. He held them under cold water from the tap and they popped right away.

  • Lisa

    Hi Elise,
    For those with a Farmers Markets in the area, I have found Apple Cider Vinegar that is of high quality and bright flavor available from the apple farmers. It should be wonderful in something like this. If you’re going to go to the trouble, get the best you can find. I have a book suggestion for people interested in pursuing preserves and jams, “Fine Preserving” by Catherine Plagemann (forward by M.F.K. Fisher). Fun to read. She has a recipe for a cherry tomato jam, but not green tomato jam. Green tomatoes are made into pickles to go with hamburgers. My favorite recipe in the book is the Sunshine Strawberry Jam. As the name implies, you make it with sunshine. As for Splenda, I would send them an email and see what they say about using it to make jam. I have used it a little for my parents who are diabetic and could see using in a freezer jam recipe. I just don’t know if it holds up to long cooking as in this recipe. Happy cooking everyone! By the way, I love Elise’s recipes. I’ve made several, and she is extraodinary.

  • Elise Bauer

    Melody – a Google search reveals this information regarding Fuji apples. We eat our fujis because they are so wonderful raw and cook our granny smith and gravensteins. Regarding blending in a blender – that will give you apple sauce, not apple butter. Apple butter has a particular smooth consistency which you get from pressing the pulp through a sieve, chinois, or food mill.

    Lopa and Myava – the vinegar is useful for creating the unique tart flavor of apple butter. Cider vinegar is preferred because it comes from apples and helps to enhance the apple butter flavor. You can substitute apple cider for apple cider vinegar, but the result is not quite as tart. I haven’t yet cooked with tamarind so I don’t know how that would affect the result.

  • Myava

    I was also wondering what was the purpose of using cider vinegar? I noticed a lot of recipes dont call for it .

  • melody

    i have 2 questions. ok the first is this…..can i use fuji apples? i live in japan and have not found any of the other apples you mentioned. now for the second question….can i blend the apples after i cook them in my vitamixer(which is a blender)?
    thanks for your time

  • Lopa


    What is the purpose of adding apple cider vinegar..? can we substitute it with tamarind ..? Thanks..

  • Elise Bauer

    Hi Mary Ann, what a great idea – to make apple jelly first! Regarding the boiling water bath, I am no expert on canning. Every set of instructions I see says you need to do a boiling water bath. In the case of this apple butter batch, I did not, but then I stored this batch in the refrigerator.

  • Mary Ann

    I also had a question. Is it necessary to use a boiling water bath to seal the jars? I stearalized the jars and tops, kept them in boiling water until ready to fill. After cooling, the jars sealed. But I was watching the food channel, and they used a boiling water bath to seal jars for jelly. Is that necessary?

    • Penny

      The canning is more about killing any remaining bacteria in the food, not about the sealing.

  • Mary Ann

    I have not made apple butter for years, but plan to this year. What I did after cooking the apples was to first strain any excess liquid off the apples. Then I put this liquid through some cheese cloth, then made apple jelly with it. Then I put the heavier, pulpy stuff, through the food mill and used it for the apple butter. That way I got apple jelly and apple butter too, and didn’t have to cook the pulp for hours and hours for it to thicken.

    • Sue clark

      I would like to try this makes sense to me but did you cook your apples with the apple cider vinegar won’t this make the jelly bitter


    after reading hundreds of AMISH books I tried your recipe.It turned out dark,rich and this years Christmas presents!Thank you very much for this Family heirloom,regards,carol

  • Anonymous

    I found this recipe after I began the process of making my own (small) batch. After eyeballing several recipes, I just got so weary! I just went with what seemed intuitive and what I had on hand. I used dark brown sugar, some apple juice and a dash of cinnamon, cloves and allspice. After boiling it on the stove top, I threw the whole thing in the oven–300 degrees–for three hours.

    After reading these posts, though, I decided to push the cooled potion through the mesh seive, rather than the food processor. The sieve was VERY tedious, but my apple butter is just what it ought to be: thick, sweet and dark. Perfect.
    To anyone using the mesh seive, try using a sturdy rubbber spatula (calphalon, if you have one). I used a huge seive, and gently pushed the apple butter back and forth around the bowl of the seive. This seemed to get the job done a little faster than with a wooden spoon and hard pressing motions.

  • Sandy

    Has anyone used Splenda instead of sugar for Apple Butter? Does it work as well?

  • susan

    I used a mesh strainer. It was a bit labor intensive but I smoothed it all out with a hand blender. The butter came out well.
    Also, I use cider and some cranberry/raspberry juice for liquid. Light brown sugar worked well. I like a tart apple taste so I used less sugar than called for in the recipe.

  • Elise Bauer

    Marco – I think the mesh strainer will be a little more awkward but will probably work. Why don’t you give it a try and report back to let us know?

  • Elise Bauer

    Nhutalu – you can get a sieve and pestle from a kitchen supply store like William Sonoma, or order it online.

    Shirley – to thicken the apple butter just cook it longer.

  • Marco

    I was wondering if instead of a sieve can I use a fine mesh strainer?

  • Shirley

    My apple butter is runny!! Any suggestions to thicken it up. I hate to throw it away.

  • nhutalu

    ?I really enjoyed your apple butter recipe. But I have I question for you. Where can I purchase the sieve and pestle ? Help …from California



  • Steve

    Has anyone used dark brown sugar in place of the sugar? If so, what did you think of the results?

  • Heather

    I don’t have a sieve or food mill. I’m wondering if I can blend the applesauce in a food processor before making the butter.

  • Elise Bauer

    Richard – If you don’t put the apples through the sieve then what you end up with is apple sauce. You need the sieve to achieve the “buttery” consistency of apple butter.

    Karen – I like apple butter spread on buttered toast, like one would spread jam or jelly.

  • Karen

    This may sound like a silly question but, how does one eat apple butter? Do you use it for spreading? On what? Or is it just to eat like applesauce? I have never heard of it but am always looking for new ways to use the wild apple trees in the area.
    Thank you very much

  • Richard Stephens

    I moved to the country and inherited an apple tree. I just made my first batch of homemade apple butter using your recipe but was sorely disappointed in the result. Not from your recipe but from my childhood memory bank. I remember apple butter as much deeper in color and with a nutty flavor. What I got was sort of a sweet applesauce. Plus the most labor intensive (and boring) part of the making was pushing all that thick cooked apple mixture through a sieve. Why can’t I just peel and seed the apples and avoid this step?
    Thanks for any advice you can throw my way.

    • Gretchen Tyree

      The dark color comes from playing with your spices. Use cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Use dark brown sugar as well. Then slowly simmer on the stove as long as you want keeping it from burning. My mom’s alleviated was dark. A spicy, dark, tangy/sweet butter. Mine is as well, but I am generous with spices for the deep color

  • Elise Bauer

    Jenny – I’ve never heard of using green tomatoes as a substitute for apples. I think if you substituted them in this recipe what you would end up with is a sweet tomato paste.

    Ann – Using cider vinegar or cider is a variation of the recipe and is really up to your taste which you prefer. We’ve experimented with both, doing batches side by side. We like them both. If you want a deep brown color that is thick, make sure you cook your apple butter a long time.

  • ann pryde

    I have researched many recipes of apple butter. I don’t understand why some call for apple cider vinegar and others use apple cider. Once when I tried the vinegar, mine came out too bitter and thin. I want my end result to have a deep brown color that is thick and rich in flavor.

    • Loretta Fortney

      Instead of canning, can I successfully freeze apple/pear butter?

      • Elise Bauer

        Sure, all you have to do is leave enough headspace for the apple butter to expand when it freezes. I usually leave at least an inch for a pint jar and 2 inches for a quart jar.

  • Jenny

    I have a silly question… can you use green tomatoes to make “apple butter”? I’ve read that you can use green tomatoes as a pseudo-apple substitute in pies. Was just curious, I’m starting to collect green tomatoe recipes and expecting to be inundated with far too many with the unstable Calgary climate.

  • Elise Bauer

    Hi Julie – According to my parents, the experts, you could use crab apples but why would you go to the trouble? Crab apples are so small. Better to pickle them. We suppose that you could use regular white vinegar instead of apple cider vinegar, but again, why would you? Apple cider vinegar will contribute to the flavor of the apple butter.

  • Julie

    could you use crab apples for this recipe and do you have to use apple cider vingar?

  • Robin


    I am going to try the apple butter, but was wondering if I needed the sieve or not. I just bought an apple peeler, corer and slicer. Do you think if I cooked them long enough I could get away without it?

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Robin – the sieve is important for the buttery consistency of apple butter; without it you have chunky apple sauce.

  • clara

    can I make pear butter this way instead of apples use pears..I made pear butter years and years ago but with age my mind has lost the way to do it..thanks for any help that you can give me…