This Apple Butter Recipe is super easy and perfect for beginners! You only need one pot and a handful of basic ingredients to make this smooth, creamy, cinnamon spiced apple butter!
Are you a fan of all things apple? If so, then you might want to give apple butter a try. This delicious spread is perfect for adding a touch of sweetness to your breakfast toast or for adding some flavor to your favorite recipes. This is also a recipe that makes a large batch perfect for gifting! Simply add this homemade apple butter to a jar with a pretty ribbon and you’ve got a great gift for friends, family, and teachers!
What is Apple Butter?
So, what exactly is apple butter? Well, it’s a spread made from cooked apples, sugar, and spices. The end result is a smooth, creamy spread that’s bursting with apple flavor. Despite its name, it doesn’t contain any actual butter; the term “butter” here refers to its smooth, and spreadable consistency.
One of the great things about apple butter is that it’s incredibly versatile. You can use it as a topping for pancakes, waffles, or oatmeal. It’s also a great addition to savory dishes like roasted pork or chicken.
Ingredients for Stove Top Apple Butter
As always, this is a quick overview of the ingredients needed to make the absolute best apple butter. For the complete, printable recipe, scroll to the recipe card below. To make this tasty apple recipe, you will need:
- Apples: I used red Honeycrisp apples for this recipe, but truly any variety will work. It just depends on what you prefer. Some apples will give you a sweeter profile, while others are more tart and add a more complex flavor profile.
- Apple Juice: Instead of simply using water, we add an extra oomph to this recipe by allowing the apples to simmer in apple juice.
- Sweetener: I use dark brown sugar for a rich flavor. If you need to reduce the carbs in this dish, you can also use brown sugar monkfruit in this recipe.
- Cinnamon: I used ground cinnamon for this recipe, but for a more complex and robust flavor, you can use Apple Pie Spice.
- Salt and Lemon Juice: These two ingredients are added in small quantities, and they help the other flavors really pop.
How to Make Apple Butter
While the process may seem involved, it’s actually quite easy. All you need are some apples, sugar, spices, and a bit of patience. I make this recipe on the stovetop, so you will need a large pot or dutch oven to make this recipe. Remember, the apples cook down a ton, but you will need enough room to stir so I would choose a 6 quart or similarly sized pot.
Prepare the Apples
Start by peeling and coring your apples, then slice. Put them in a large pot with dark brown sugar, cinnamon, apple juice, vanilla extract, and lemon juice and simmer. Cook uncovered for about 45-50 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the apples soften completely. The mixture will eventually thicken and darken in color.
Puree the apples using an immersion blender or transfer them to a blender and blend until smooth. Transfer the mixture back to the pot, and cook the mixture over low heat for another 15-20 minutes, stirring frequently. The mixture should be much thicker than apple sauce and very dark. Stir in the lemon juice and allow to cool for about 30 minutes
One of my favorite ways to enjoy apple butter is on a warm slice of toast or spread on muffins. I love the way the sweet, spicy flavor pairs with the nuttiness of the bread. It’s also delicious stirred into a bowl of oatmeal or yogurt, or spread on a bagel with cream cheese. You could also try using it as a glaze for roasted vegetables or as a marinade for grilled meats.
What apples make the best apple butter?
Apple Butter can be made from any variety of apples and a mix of different varieties. Apples can very greatly from sweet, tart to sour. The best apples for making apple butter are typically sweet, flavorful, and have a good balance of tartness. Some popular apple varieties that are often recommended for making apple butter include:
- Honeycrisp (my personal preference): These apples are naturally sweet, break down easily, and make a pleasant sweet apple butter.
- Granny Smith: These are tart apples added when paired with apple juice and brown sugar resulting in an apple butter that has a a nice complex flavor with a hint of tanginess.
- Fuji: apples that are sweet and crisp, making them a great choice for adding richness to the apple butter.
- Golden Delicious: sweet and more mellow flavor.
- McIntosh: McIntosh apples are known for their aromatic flavor and slightly tart taste.
It’s important to note that you can also create delicious apple butter by combining different apple varieties to achieve a desired flavor profile. Ultimately, the choice of apples will depend on your personal preference for taste and texture.
Transfer to airtight containers and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks. You must store this in the fridge instead of the pantry, or it will go bad quickly. Alternatively, you can place it in freezer bags and store it for up to 6 months.
No, it is a personal preference. You can absolutely eat the peel if you wish, the apples cook down and are blended so the consistency will be smooth regardless if you peel or do not peel the apples?
I prefer Honeycrisp apples, but see the section above regarding apples for more information.
Apple butter is more concentrated. It is a thicker, richer and smoother taste and texture than applesauce.
Tips and Tricks
- I used Honeycrisp apples, but most red apples will work great for this recipe! Please see my notes above with a breakdown of different apple varieties and how they will work in this recipe.
- For a more complex flavor, you can use apple pie spice instead of cinnamon if desired.
- Use this on your favorite baked goods, ice cream, in yogurt, on waffles, pancakes, or in oatmeal.
- The yield may vary slightly, the first time I made this it yielded 3 cups. The second time it yielded a little more so it really just depends on how long you cook it down for after you puree it.
Other Apple Recipes
- Slow Cooker Pumpkin Spiced Apples: Serve these warm spiced apples with vanilla ice cream and toasted pecans for the perfect Fall dessert!
- Stuffed Baked Apples: Chocolate Stuffed Baked Apples are packed with coconut, lightly salted almonds, and rich dark chocolate!
- Peanut Butter Apple Crisp: Crisp apples are thinly sliced and tossed in a mixture of peanut butter and honey then covered with a cinnamon oatmeal topping!
- 6 lbs Honeycrisp apples, cored, peeled, and sliced (see notes below)
- 1 cup apple juice
- 1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
- 1 tbsp cinnamon (or apple pie spice)
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 ½ tsp lemon juice
- Place the apples, apple juice, brown sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, and salt in a large pot and heat over medium-low heat.
- Cook uncovered for about 45-50 minutes stirring occasionally, until the apples soften completely.
- Puree the apples using an immersion blender or transfer them to a blender and blend until smooth.
- Transfer the mixture back to the pot, and cook the mixture over low heat for another 15-20 minutes, stirring frequently. The mixture should be much thicker than apple sauce and very dark.
- Stir in the lemon juice and allow to cool for about 30 minutes.
- Transfer to airtight containers and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.
You can use any variety or mixture of apples you prefer. Honeycrisp and Fiji are two options that give you a sweet apple butter. Alternatively, Granny Smith and McIntosh will add a tartness to the apple butter. See the post above for more in depth information regarding apple varieties.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 24 Serving Size: 2 tablespoons
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 80Total Fat: 1gSodium: 53mgCarbohydrates: `18gNet Carbohydrates: 16gFiber: 2gSugar: 18gProtein: 0.3g