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Old-Fashioned Slow Cooker Apple Butter

Use your crockpot for making incredible Old-Fashioned Slow Cooker Apple Butter. This recipe is so addicting and easy for canning or freezing.
jars of slow cooker apple butter with apples and cinnamon sticks

Apple butter makes me think of my nana Ramona (rest her soul) and her best friend Irma. If you’re picturing two grandmas who are adorable because they’re named Ramona and Irma making apple butter, you’ve got a great visual of these two.

They would chat, cook, and can. And the rest of us would reap the benefits. Apple butter is so delicious and comforting and it tastes like memories and friendship.

Assuming, of course, those things taste like apples and cinnamon. Yes?

What Kinds of Apples Should I Use For Slow Cooker Apple Butter?

All kinds typically work great, but you’ll have the best results with any apple labeled as “saucing apples“. Easy to find varieties such as Gala, Fuji, Braeburn, and Cameo would all be great. I grow an Akane mini drawf apple tree on my micro farm and used those in this batch.

Can I Make This Apple Butter Sugar Free? Or Use Honey?

Yes! This recipe is adapted from The Ball Blue Book Book Guide to Preserving. The original recipe calls for four pounds of apples and FOUR cups of sugar. All the nopes from me!

I have pared it down to only one cup of sugar because it helps keep the final (canned) product fresher for a longer period of time. But, I have canned it before without any added sugar and it was shelf stable for 12 months.

Now, I never advocate changing up tested canning recipes, but given that you can safely can applesauce with no sugar added, I am completely comfortable canning low-sugar apple butter.

You can also use honey, but please note if you plan to can this slow cooker apple butter, the high temps for preserving will kill any of the beneficial properties.

Do I Have to Can This? Can I Just Freeze It?

No need to can, but I will show you how if you’re interested. Apple butter freezes like a boss. Cause um, you’re the boss applesauce. Sorrynotsorry!

How Do You Make Slow Cooker Apple Butter?

Peel and chop your apples into semi-uniform pieces. Pro tip: you don’t have to peel them but from a food preservation standpoint it does remove some contamination risk. I use this do-hickey to make quick work of peeling and coring apples.

Four steps in using an apple corer for making old-fashioned apple butter

Add the apples, sugar, and spices to your slow cooker. I use my Instant Pot with the slow cooker lid. Set your slow cooker for six hours on low.  After the time is up, blend your apples. I use an immersion blender, but you could also transfer in batches to a blender or food processor.

3 photos showing the steps to make slow cooker apple butter

Technically you’re done at this point if you’d like to be. Put it in containers and freeze if you’d like. But, if you want to learn to also can it, read on!

Canning Apple Butter

It is no longer necessary to sterilize jars before canning (hurray!) but you should make sure they are preheated enough to not crack when placed in hot water. You can put them in a clean dishwasher and run them through a quick wash cycle, or place them in a large pan with some water in a low heat oven (my lowest temp is 170 degrees) until you need them. I’ve even just put hot tap water in them before and left them on the counter.

Wash your lids with hot soapy water and place them in a clean bowl for now.

Place a canning rack in your canner and fill it with enough water to cover your jars by 1 inch. Set it on the stove on high to start boiling.

Ladle in the warm apple butter (I like using a canning funnel), leaving 1/4 inch of headspace. Headspace is defined as the space between the top of the food and the top of the jar. Remove the bubbles from the jar (I use a chopstick).

Two photos showing how to can slow cooker apple butter

Use a wet clean rag and wipe the rim of the jars to make sure they are free of any delicious apple butter.

Place a clean lid on the jar and tighten the ring to fingertip tight (tight enough that it won’t come off, but not so tight that a normal person couldn’t budge it).

Prep photos for canning homemade slow cooker apple butter

Lower your jars into the canner. Secure the lid and set the timer for 10 minutes.

When the time is up, turn off the stove, and let the jars sit for 5 minutes in the canner and then lift them out with canning tongs. Place on a towel where they can sit undisturbed for 12 hours.

After a few hours, to check for sealing, gently press down in the middle of the lid. If the lid has no give, it’s sealed. If you can press the lid in and it pops a bit, your jars are not sealed. You can reprocess them or store them in the fridge or freezer (only freeze jars that are wide mouth).

Store in a cool dry place for up to 12 months.

Pro Tips/Recipe Notes

  • No, you do not need to add water to the slow cooker. After 30 minutes they’re going to start releasing all their awesome natural juices while cooking.
  • You can also make this quickly in the Instant Pot if you’d like. Manual>high pressure>5 minutes>natural release. While the Instant Pot is faster, I love the smell of the apple butter cooking all day in the slow cooker.
  • Feel free to adjust the spices to taste. Personally, I see cinnamon as a condiment and tend to keep adding a ton little bit more throughout the process.
  • Do not add the jars to the canner as you finish filling them. You’ll want to pack the canner all at once to avoid uneven cooking.
  • You can use this base recipe for other types of fruit – apricot, pear, and peach are all wonderful. Cooking and processing times/instructions are the same.

slow cooker apple butter in jars with apples and cinnamon sticks on a wooden board

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jars of slow cooker apple butter with apples and cinnamon sticks
Print
5 from 1 vote
Old-Fashioned Slow Cooker Apple Butter
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
6 hrs
Total Time
6 hrs 20 mins
 

Use your crockpot for making incredible Old-Fashioned Slow Cooker Apple Butter. This recipe is so addicting and easy for canning or freezing.

Course: Canning, Condiments
Cuisine: American
Keyword: instant pot apple butter, slow cooker apple butter
Servings: 160
Calories: 10 kcal
Author: Sarah Cook - Sustainable Cooks
Ingredients
Instructions
Slow Cooker Instructions
  1. Peel and chop your apples into semi-uniform pieces.

  2. Add the apples, sugar, and spices to your slow cooker. I use my Instant Pot with the slow cooker lid. Set your slow cooker for six hours on low. After the time is up, blend your apples. I use an immersion blender, but you could also transfer in batches to a blender or food processor.

Canning Apple Butter Instructions
  1. It is no longer necessary to sterilize jars before canning (hurray!) but you should make sure they are preheated enough to not crack when placed in hot water. You can put them in a clean dishwasher and run them through a quick wash cycle, or place them in a large pan with some water in a low heat oven (my lowest temp is 170 degrees) until you need them. I’ve even just put hot tap water in them before and left them on the counter.

  2. Wash your lids with hot soapy water and place them in a clean bowl for now.

  3. Place a canning rack in your canner and fill it with water with enough water to cover your jars by 1 inch. Set it on the stove on high to start boiling.

  4. Ladle in the warm apple butter (I like using a canning funnel), leaving 1/4 inch of headspace. Headspace is defined as the space between the top of the food and the top of the jar. Remove the bubbles from the jar (I use a chopstick).

  5. Use a wet clean rag and wipe the rim of the jars to make sure they are free of any delicious apple butter.

  6. Place a clean lid on the jar and tighten the ring to fingertip tight (tight enough that it won’t come off, but not so tight that a normal person couldn’t budge it).

  7. Lower your jars into the canner. Secure the lid and set the timer for 10 minutes.

  8. Let the jars sit for 5 minutes in the canner and then lift them out with canning tongs. Place on a towel where they can sit undisturbed for 12 hours.

  9. After a few hours, to check for sealing, gently press down in the middle of the lid. If the lid has no give, it’s sealed. If you can press the lid in and it pops a bit, your jars are not sealed. You can reprocess them or store them in the fridge or freezer (only freeze jars that are wide mouth).

Recipe Notes

Store in a cool dry place for up to 12 months.

I have pared this recipe down to only one cup of sugar because it helps keep the final (canned) product fresher for a longer period of time. But, I have canned it before without any added sugar and it was shelf stable for 12 months.

You do not need to add water to the slow cooker. After 30 minutes they're going to start releasing all their awesome natural juices while cooking.

You can also make this quickly in the Instant Pot if you'd like. Manual>high pressure>5 minutes>natural release. 

Nutrition Facts
Old-Fashioned Slow Cooker Apple Butter
Amount Per Serving (1 tbsp)
Calories 10
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 0mg 0%
Potassium 12mg 0%
Total Carbohydrates 2g 1%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Sugars 2g
Protein 0g 0%
Vitamin A 0.1%
Vitamin C 0.6%
Calcium 0.2%
Iron 0.1%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

This post contains affiliate links and we may earn a commission at no additional cost to you if you click through and make a purchase. This allows me to continue to provide free content, and I only share products that I use and love myself.

This recipe was originally published in November 2011. It has been retested and updated with reader feedback. New photos have been added and the recipe has been made printable. For reference, this is one of the photos from the original post:

Use your crockpot for making incredible Old-Fashioned Slow Cooker Apple Butter. This recipe is so addicting and easy for canning or freezing. #sustainablecooks #applebutter #slowcooker #applebutter #instantpot

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13 comments on “Old-Fashioned Slow Cooker Apple Butter”

  1. Something I found out when I switched most of my jam-making over to lower-sugar: the extra sugar in a lot of recipes of this type is actually included as a preservation agent. So while you can omit it, your preserves will probably not keep quite as well for quite as long. It’s not a reason not to can it, but it is a good reason to make sure you use it within a year or so.

    I love the crock pot + immersion blender method for this…we did a batch with pears and cardamom this year that was just amazing. Next year I’m contemplating trying it with crabapples because the only thing butter than lazy apple butter is free lazy apple butter. 🙂

  2. Pears and cardamon? YUM!!!!! What a great idea.

  3. If you can it, for how long do you process it? I’m assuming water bath? This looks amazingly yummy.

  4. Yeah, I’m wondering what canning method you use for applebutter, too. (Where DID I put that Blue Book?)

    • You should be able to WBC these, but I never have. I don’t put as much sugar in the recipe as it calls for in canning. I’m sure it’s ok, but haven’t tried it because of safety issues.

  5. Don’t you have to use some kind of liquid in the crockpot, with the apples? Also, do you not stir the mixture up at all, before leaving it to cook for 5 hours?

  6. I was thinking of using your recipe as possible Christmas gifts but I was wondering what recommendations you have for “canning” it without doing the WBC method. Thanks!

  7. I just love your blog, the way you type is so refeshing and exactly how I speak !!! absolutely love it, new and existing ideas for me… thank you

  8. Delish! Can’t wait to make this!

  9. I put this together in the slow cooker last night before going to bed and finished it in the morning. So good! I am too lazy to can them, so I think I will be freezing the jars. I used the apple corer/peeler you have in your link and it made it so easy! Actual active time spent on this recipe was probably 15-20 min, so definitely a winner! Thanks for sharing!