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An 80-year-old family apple butter recipe adapted for the slow cooker. With just a few simple ingredients, this Crockpot apple butter recipe will have your home smelling like a slice of autumn heaven!
About My Family’s Apple Butter Recipe
Growing up, everyone around me knew what I meant when I told them it was, “Apple Butter Weekend.” For over 80 years, my family has gathered together to peel, chop and cook apples in a mongo copper pot over an open fire.
Some of my most nostalgic childhood memories reside in this tradition.
Making Apple Butter in the Crockpot
I took the family recipe (which calls for 10 bushels of apples and 40 pounds of sugar, mind you) and reworked it to be made in the slow cooker.
When I mentioned possibly making it in the Instant Pot, my sister told me that was sacrilegious.
I’m telling you. My family takes this tradition very seriously.
Despite the family criticism, I prevailed. And you guys, it was good. Like, REALLY good.
Here is what you’ll need if you want to give this traditional recipe a whirl:
- Apples – Jonathan apples are what we use. You can sub Braeburn too.
- Sugar – White sugar. I have never tested it with brown.
- Apple cider – When I tested it without this, I thought the flavor fell a little flat. The apple cider brought some vibrancy to the recipe.
- Ground cinnamon, cinnamon sticks, and whole star anise – Star Anise can be hard to find in some areas. While it adds a lot of depth of flavor, the recipe will still be delicious without it.
How to Make Crockpot Apple Butter
Peel and Chop the Apples
Peeling and chopping 6 pounds of apples is quite the task. If you’re open to buying a little kitchen gadget, I’d recommend getting this apple peeler.
I know that it looks like some sort of torture device, but hear me out. You pop the apple on there, give it a crank, and the device not only peels the outside but slices and cores it as well.
Place Ingredients in Slow Cooker
After apples are peeled and chopped, they go into the slow cooker with all of the rest of the ingredients.
It will make your home smell like a slice of autumn heaven all day long.
Blend the Apples
Let these apples do their thang for about 4 hours or so and then pull out the big guns…the immersion blender!
If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can work in batches and use a food processor or blender to work the texture down to a choppy puree.
Cook for 5 more hours and guess what? You’ve just made slow cooker apple butter! I’m so proud of you!
How to Serve Apple Butter
Here are some ideas on how apple butter is best used:
- Serve it on toast or dinner rolls. This is my favorite way to use it.
- Use it as a jelly replacement. It’s delicious with peanut butter.
- Swirl it into oatmeal. It would be a great addition to our Apple Cinnamon Steel Cut Oatmeal.
- Dollop it onto pancakes or waffles. I used to do this for my kids instead of syrup.
- Add it on a cheese plate or Charcuterie Board. It works with both nutty soft cheeses like brie and harder types like sharp cheddar or aged gouda.
How to Store Apple Butter
There are a few ways you can safely store apple butter:
- Store it in the refrigerator. It will last around 7 days before the quality starts to diminish.
- Store in the freezer. You can place the apple butter in mason jars and freeze it. Just be sure to use a wide-mouthed mason jar and leave about 1 inch of headspace for the apple butter to expand.
- Use mason jars to can the apple butter. This is my preferred way to store apple butter. If you choose to can the apple butter, be sure to follow accurate instructions.
I wouldn’t recommend it. Low and slow is the best option.
Yes, I’d recommend peeling the apples. While the apple peel does contain nutrition, it won’t have the smooth texture you will want.
Yes, apple butter can be canned using proper canning techniques. This allows you to store it at room temperature for an extended period.
Star of Anise is a sweet, spicy, and licorice-like flavor. It brings a lot of depth of flavor to the apple butter. However, we’ve had readers say they didn’t use it and it turned out fine!
Did you make this? Snap a photo and tag us on Instagram at @thrivinghome so we can see your creations and cheer you on!
- 6 pounds Jonathan apples (I used Braeburn)
- 1 1/5 cups white sugar
- 1 cup apple cider
- 1 tbsp ground Cinnamon
- 2 Cinnamon sticks
- 1 whole star anise
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- Peel and chop the apples into small pieces. (Use this apple peeler to speed up the process.)
- Add apples, sugar, apple cider, ground cinnamon, cinnamon sticks and whole star anise to the slow cooker. Stir until apples are coated in the ingredients.
- Cook for 4 hours on low.
- Remove the cinnamon sticks and star of anise
- Use an immersion blender to process the apples and smooth out the texture.
- Add the cinnamon sticks and whole star anise back in and cook for 5 more hours.
- Let cool, remove cinnamon sticks and star of anise.
- Store in mason jars.
You could easily freeze the apple butter in mason jars (leaving 1-inch headroom) or in a freezer bag.
If you can’t find Star of Anise, we’ve had readers say they didn’t use it and it turned out fine
Try Our Strawberry Freezer Jam
If you like this apple butter recipe, you will love our Strawberry Freezer Jam. Give it a try!