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Canning Apple Butter {Crockpot Apple Butter}

Canning Apple Butter is an amazing way to preserve the apple harvest. Use your slow cooker for making incredible crockpot apple butter. This is the best apple butter recipe and it’s delicious on toast, yogurt, muffins, or oatmeal.

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?

The act of canning apple butter is as iconic to fall as canning peaches is to summer. But lucky for you, this crockpot apple butter recipe is a lot more hands-off!

Two more of my nana’s famous dishes are her Almond Roca Recipe and Cucumber and Onion Salad.

If you want to use homemade apple butter for something extra special, try it in a batch of Cinnamon Apple Donuts.

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.

If you have leftover apples, try your hand at Canning Apple Pie Filling, learn how to make dried apples, and whip up a batch of Healthy Cinnamon Apples.

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 (related: Canning Applesauce), I am completely comfortable canning low-sugar apple butter.

You can also use honey, but please note if you plan to can this crockpot 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!

Canning Apple Butter Supplies

Check out this in-depth post for a complete list of canning supplies.

FOR CANNING Apple Butter, YOU’LL WANT:

How Do You Make Slow Cooker Apple Butter?

*A detailed and printable recipe card with measurements is at the bottom of this post.

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 apple peeler 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!

To freeze apple butter, keep 1/2 inch of space between the top of the apple butter and the top of the jar. Allow the apple butter to fully cool before freezing. Place a lid on the jar and freeze for 6-12 months.

How to Can Apple Butter

*A detailed and printable recipe card with measurements is at the bottom of this post.

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 using a jar lifter. 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 the apples will 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 processing.
  • 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 8 votes
Canning Apple Butter {Crockpot Apple Butter}
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
6 hrs
Canning Time
10 mins
Total Time
6 hrs 20 mins
 

Canning Apple Butter is an amazing way to preserve the apple harvest. Use your slow cooker for making incredible crockpot apple butter.

Course: Canning, Condiments
Cuisine: American
Keyword: how to can apple butter, instant pot apple butter, slow cooker apple butter
Servings: 160
Calories: 10 kcal
Ingredients
Instructions
Slow Cooker Apple Butter 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 canned apple butter in a cool dry place for up to 12 months.

Freeze apple butter in jars with 1/2 inch of headspace for 6-12 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 apple butter quickly in the Instant Pot if you'd like. Manual>high pressure>5 minutes>natural release. You cannot safely can in the Instant Pot.

Makes five 8 oz canning jars.

Nutrition Facts
Canning Apple Butter {Crockpot Apple Butter}
Amount Per Serving (1 tbsp)
Calories 10
% Daily Value*
Fat 0g0%
Saturated Fat 0g0%
Cholesterol 0mg0%
Sodium 0mg0%
Potassium 12mg0%
Carbohydrates 2g1%
Fiber 0g0%
Sugar 2g2%
Protein 0g0%
Vitamin A 5IU0%
Vitamin C 0.5mg1%
Calcium 2mg0%
Iron 0mg0%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

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:

 

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18 comments on “Canning Apple Butter {Crockpot Apple Butter}”

  1. Pingback: The Difference Between Jam & Jelly - The Flour Handprint

  2. Hi! How many 8 oz jars does this recipe make!!?