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Make the most of apple season by making your own homemade Apple Butter! This spreadable apple-infused jam is so easy to make and is the perfect condiment to celebrate fall. Try it on toast, english muffins, pancakes, or scones!
Blending the flavors of fresh apples, maple syrup, and cinnamon, this homemade apple butter recipe is symphony of fall flavors! While it’s not technically a “butter” as its name would imply (similar to Pumpkin Butter), apple butter does have a richer, creamier consistency than you would expect from a fruit preserve.
Apple butter goes great with just about any baked good. Lightly buttered toast or English muffins, pancakes and waffles, or freshly baked scones. If you plan on doing any fall camping, apple butter would be a great addition to pancakes or French toast!
While many apple butter recipes call for an all day process involving a large slow cooker and exactly 6½ pounds of apples, we wanted to develop a more accessible recipe. If you are looking for fun and very manageable cooking project that will make a jar or two of homemade apple butter, this recipe is for you!
So grab your reasonably sized pot and a handful of apples, and let’s make apple butter!
Apples: Whichever variety of apple that are available in your area will work for this recipe. We really like using Pink Ladies because they have a nice balance of sweet and tart notes that come through well in the butter.
Sweeteners: We use a blend of white sugar and maple syrup to sweeten. White sugar doesn’t have a unique flavor but it caramelizes really well, giving the apple butter it’s signature color. The maple syrup doesn’t caramelize as well but offers a unique flavor. So we use both. Honey or agave would be good substitutes for the maple syrup.
Apple juice or cider: You need a little liquid to properly puree the apples. So instead of watering the mixture down with water, it’s better to use apple juice or apple cider. Which is basically just apple flavored water.
Apple cider vinegar: Using apple cider vinegar will really brighten up the apple butter. You need just a little acidity in order to full taste all the other flavors. You could also use an equal amount of lemon juice as a substitute.
Cinnamon: Years of societal conditioning have intrinsically linked the flavor of apple and cinnamon in our brains. Without the cinnamon, it just doesn’t taste like apple.
How to make Apple Butter
Here’s an overview of the recipe with tips & tricks and step by step photos! The full recipe with measurements and a printable recipe card can be found at the bottom of the post.
Peel & chop the apples
The first step is to core your apples in order to remove the seeds. Unfortunately, the seeds won’t break down in the blender, so they have to come out.
On the other hand, peeling the apples is a somewhat optional step. Removing the skins from your apples will give you a smoother, glossier consistency in the final product. But you can also leave the skins too. The final product will just have slightly more texture to it.
Blend the ingredients
After the apple have been prepared, it’s time to add all of the ingredients into a high-powered blender. We used a Vitamix, which had more than enough capacity. You can also us a large food processor.
Blend all the ingredients until it is completely smooth. This could take a minute or two. After you are done blending, it should look like really loose applesauce.
Cook down the apples
To cook your apple puree down, we suggest using a large, high-sided pot. Something that is much bigger than you actually need. The reason is because as the apple puree reduces it will start to splatter and splurt. A high-sided pot will help contain most of the dangerous apple lava and keep your stove stop clean.
Transfer the apple puree to the large pot and set it over medium heat until it starts to bubble. Once bubbles start to form, reduce the heat and slowly simmer. From here, it will take roughly 45 minutes to an 1 hour to reduce. You will want to occasionally whisk the mixture to keep it moving around, but you don’t need to hover over it.
If the splatter becomes a little too intense, you can reduce the heat. Additionally, you can use a mesh splatter guard.
You will know the apple butter is ready when it will hold firm lines when you run your whisk through it. Turn the heat off and allow to cool.
If you want the apple butter to be even smoother, at this point you can give it another whirl in the blender.
How to store homemade apple butter
The best way to store apple butter is to transfer it into a glass jar with a sealable lid, like a Mason Jar, and store it in the refrigerator. Or, if you are taking it camping, in your cooler. The apple butter will firm up a lot when cooled and give it a more spreadable consistency.
If kept properly refrigerated, apple butter should last for about two weeks.
- 1 lb apples, such as Pink Lady
- ½ cup apple juice or cider
- ⅓ cup white sugar
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1½ teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1½ teaspoons cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- Core the apples to remove seeds, peel the skins, and roughly chop into 1 pieces.
- Add the chopped apples, apple juice or cider, sugar, maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, ground cinnamon, and salt to a high powered blender (such as a Vitamix) or food processor. Blend until completely smooth.
- Transfer the puree to a large pot and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the apples have cooked down and reduced–45 minutes to an hour. When it is done, it will be able to hold firm lines when you run a whisk or spoon through it.
- Use warm right away, or transfer the apple butter to a half-pint Mason jar and refrigerate for up to two weeks.