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How to Make Apple Butter without a Recipe.

Posted 1/9/2015 6:40am by Sara Innamorato.


One of my favorite things to do with a peck of apples that I get from Tim is make apple butter. In fact, for Christmas everyone I know received a jar of the versatile spread. I'm going to walk you through step-by-step on how to make apple butter without using a single measuring cup!

1. Start with a variety of apple.

The majority of recipes out there call for a specific variety of apples. I found that if I put my trust in Tim, he gives me a nice mix of apple that produce an excellent product. 

2. Core and slice apples.

I use an apple corer/slicer to get through the dozens of apples. I don't bother peeling off the skins. They get blended with the rest of the pot contents in step 5. 

3. Add liquid.

Most apple butter recipes I've read call for adding sugar at this point. I personally don't think you need it. Apples are naturally high in sugar. I do however add between a 1/2 cup-1 cup of liquid (typically cider from Kistaco, but you can use water) to the batch, enough to moisten and help the apples to steam. 

4. Throw in a large pot.

I prefer to use my 6qt crock pot, because I can let it run all night or while I'm at work with the lid on. When I wake up or come home, I'm greeted by the wonderful smell of caramelizing apples. If you are using a dutch over, use low heat and don't leave it unattended.

After a few hours you'll notice that the slices have softened. At this point I use my immersion blender. (You can also use a food mill. You do get a little bit of a smoother finished product, but you have to deal with dirtying another bowl.) 

Let your pureed apples cook a few hours more with the lid off. If you are using the crockpot, turn it up to a higher setting. You'll notice that the mixture will reduce by as much as a half and it will thicken significantly. As the apples caramelize, the mixture will turn varying shades of brown. I typically let it go for another hour or two on the higher setting, but let yours go until you like the look, consistency and taste. 

5. Spice it up!

This is my favorite part (well maybe my second after eating it). I really like a spicy apple butter so I throw in cinnamon, and grate fresh ginger into mine. 

Feel free to experiment. I would just recommend being conservative with your spices and tasting often. 

6. Can it. 

If you'd like to make your apple butter self stable (or give it away as a gift), can it.

New to canning? Here is a great step-by-step instruction on how to safely can using a water bath method. 

7. Enjoy it

I use apple butter in my oatmeal in the morning, on bread as a snack and sometimes in place of sugar for some quick breads. 


How do you use your apple butter? Leave a comment below and tell us.