Canning Apple Butter Recipe: A Delicious Way Get Started (2024)

This is an incredibly easy recipe for canning apple butter and making it in a Crockpot. Slow cook the apples overnight, and your kitchen will smell heavenly in the morning.

After cooking in the Crockpot, you will need to process the jars in a boiling water canner. Or you can freeze it or just put it in the refrigerator to use now.

Homemade apple butter slathered on lightly toasted and buttered fresh bread with a cup of tea or decaf coffee on the side is a favorite snack for me!

Canning Apple Butter Recipe: A Delicious Way Get Started (1)

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Label your jars with pretty printable Canning Labels! Check them out.

This Page Includes:

  • Crockpot Apple Butter for Canning: Extended, Step-By-Step Directions
  • Recipe Card
  • {FAQ} Apple Butter in Quarts or Pints?
  • {FAQ} Canning Caramel Apple Butter?
  • {FAQ} What Should the Texture Be?
  • {FAQ} How Long Does Homemade Apple Butter Last?
  • {FAQ} What’s the Difference Between Applesauce and Apple Butter Recipe?
  • {FAQ} Using a Food Mill to Make Apple Butter
  • {FAQ} Cooking Apple Butter in a Crockpot or on the Stove? Is There a Difference?
  • {FAQ} Cooking Apple Butter Covered or Uncovered?
  • {FAQ} How Do You Store Canned Apple Butter?
  • {FAQ} Tip for Getting Fruit
  • {Video} Canning Apple Butter the Day After You Make It

Crockpot Apple Butter for Canning: Extended, Step-By-Step Directions

Sugar Measurements & Why I Do Things This Way

Note: My source for this recipe is the Ball Blue Book. The exact ratios from my source are…

4 pounds apples and 4 cups sugar.

I used to just add apples, sugar, and spices to the Crockpot and cook it all together (see picture below). However, the issue with that is knowing how much sugar to add.

Cooking the apples to a sauce and then measuring and adding the appropriate amount of sugar will allow you to follow the suggested ratios or at least remember how much sugar you added last time. And you’ll get the same results time after time. Either method will work.

Canning Apple Butter Recipe: A Delicious Way Get Started (2)

How to Make Crockpot Apple Butter

Gather your canning supplies:

  • water bath canner
  • canning jars
  • canning lids and rings
  • jar lifter and canning funnel
  • large pot or blancher
  • bowls
  • large spoons
  • sharp knife
  • towels and dish cloths
  • whisk
  • apple peeler-corer-slicer (This is optional, but I HIGHLY recommend it. They are worth their weight in gold! See if you can borrow one if you don’t have one. It is an incredible, time-saving tool.)

Apple butter ingredients:

  • apples – enough to fill your Crockpot very full
  • sugar
  • spices to taste

How to Make Your Apple Butter

First, peel, core, and slice your apples.

Canning Apple Butter Recipe: A Delicious Way Get Started (3)

For any apple butter recipe, the apple peeler-corer-slicer comes in handy. It will cut your time in half. (For my video review, click here.) If you do not have one of these, just prepare your apples the old-fashioned way, with a knife. If you do this with a knife, chop your apples up small.

Put your apples into your Crockpot. Fill it up to the brim. The apples will settle quite a bit as they cook and soften. You can add your sugar now, but I’ve been waiting until later when the apples are cooked to an applesauce consistency.

Canning Apple Butter Recipe: A Delicious Way Get Started (4)

Cook on high for 3 hours or so. This gets things cooking faster. Stir and set on low. Allow this to cook, stirring occasionally, as the fruit gets softer.

When it is an applesauce consistency, measure out your sauce, then add the following for every 2 quarts of fruit pulp:

  • 4 cups sugar
  • Spices to taste (I use 1 tsp. cinnamon, 1/4 tsp. ground cloves, and 1/4 tsp. salt)

(If you have more or less fruit pulp, use this ratio: 1/2 cup sugar to 1 cup fruit pulp, adjusting your seasonings accordingly.)

Alternatively… just add sugar to taste.

In a bowl mix sugar, cinnamon, cloves, and salt. Pour this mixture over the apples, stirring to combine. Continue cooking in the slow cooker until it is the consistency you like. Smooth and silky! Finish off with a whisk for a smooth product. This can cook overnight if you have a cooker that will not heat up too much. In my experience, new slow cookers cook too high to be left that long and will end up scorching.

As the apples cook, you will be able to go from stirring with a spoon to a whisk. They will whisk up nice and smooth. The color will get darker and darker as the apple butter thickens as well.

You can leave the lid off for the last hour or two to get a thicker consistency. The butter should round up on your spoon. Do not cook until it is pasty…that would be too thick.

Canning Apple Butter

Fill your jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Wipe the rims clean, remove any air bubbles, and place your lids.

For more details, follow water bath canning instructions.

The National Center for Home Food preservation has you sterilize your pint-size jars and then process them for 5 minutes. To avoid the task of sterilizing jars, I use a 10-minute processing time. (Ball Blue Book just says 10 minutes, adjust for altitude.)

Read here for more information if you’d rather sterilize the jars first: Sterilizing jars for canning.

Make sure to adjust processing time according to altitude. Please read more about why altitude adjustments are important here.

Pinnable Recipe Card

Apple Butter Recipe

Instructions for making apple butter in a Crockpot and then how to can it!

Print Recipe

Canning Apple Butter Recipe: A Delicious Way Get Started (5)

Prep Time:16 hours hrs

Processing Pints (adjust for altitude):10 minutes mins

Total Time:16 hours hrs 10 minutes mins


  • Apples
  • Sugar to taste
  • Spices to taste, cinnamon, ground cloves, salt


  • Once the fruit butter is made, you will need to start by preparing jars and getting water in the canner heating. You want the canner hot, but not boiling, when the jars are ready to be processed.

    See full water bath canning instructions here.

  • Peel, core, and quarter apples. Simmer in 2 cups water until apples are soft.

  • Puree and measure out 2 quarts pulp.

  • Add sugar to taste. Suggestion is 4 cups sugar to 2 quarts pulp.

  • Add spices to taste. A suggestion is 1 tsp. cinnamon, 1/4 tsp. ground cloves, 1/4 tsp. salt.

  • Stir well and continue to cook on low, stirring occasionally until sauce is the consistency you like. Butter will round up on spoon. Leave lid off or ajar to allow steam to escape.

  • Process in a water bath canner.

For a Hot Pack

  • Fill jar, leaving 1/4” headspace.

  • Remove air bubbles, wipe rim clean, and place seal and ring.

  • Place jar in the warm canner. Proceed to fill all jars.

  • Process according to the chart below.


Processing with a Water Bath Canner

Place the jar in the warm canner. Proceed to fill all jars placing them in the canner.

When all the jars are filled, bring the water in the canner to a boil. When a boil is reached that is when you’ll start your timing. Process for the length of time on the chart below. Adjust for your altitude.

After your time is over, turn the heat off remove the lid and allow the canner to rest for about 5 minutes. Then bring your jars up out of the water. Allow them to rest for another 5 minutes. Then remove the jars and place them a few inches apart on a thick towel to cool completely. Leave them alone for about 12 hours.

When they are cooled remove the metal bands, check the seals, label the jars and store them away!

Processing Times for Water Bath Canner (Hot Pack)

Altitude – Half Pints and Pints are Processed the Same

0-1,000 – 10 minutes

1,001-3,000 – 15 minutes

3,001-6,000 -20 minutes

6,001-8,000 – 25 minutes

8,001-10,000 – 30 minutes

Adapted from: The National Center for Home Food Preservation and the Ball Blue Book.

Servings: 5 pints

Author: Sharon Peterson

Crockpot Apple Butter FAQs & Tips

Apple Butter in Quarts or Pints?

I always can these in pints or half pints. Half pints are processed the same as pints. You can make fruit butter in quart jars, but I’d suggest you think about it first. A quart of any fruit butter will last a very, very long time. I do not include processing time for quarts. I did one of my Canning Chats on canning apple butter in quarts here.

Canning Caramel Apple Butter?

Can caramel apple butter be canned?
No caramel should not be added to the apple butter. You could probably add caramel when you open the jar to use it though. I’d try heating it up a little and stir in a caramel sauce. Then store it in the fridge.

What Should the Texture Be?

“This is the first time canning apple butter & everything seemed fine until the next day when I noticed a thin liquid @ top of apple butter; is this bad or just normal separation?”

Assuming you processed it in a water bath, it is most likely just a normal separation. Just stir it in when you open the jar to use it. Apple butter will be a smooth sauce consistency. You’ll know it is done when it rounds up on a spoon. It should be spreadable…but not sticky/tacky.

How Long Does Homemade Apple Butter Last?

If I get a hold of it? Not long! 🙂 I LOVE homemade apple butter. In all seriousness, however, homemade apple butter will keep for at least 12 months, likely more, if you store it in a cool, dry place. Once it is opened and in the fridge, plan on a couple of weeks.

What’s the Difference Between Applesauce and Apple Butter Recipe?

Applesauce is a canned apple puree that’s meant to be eaten by the bowlful. Apple butter is cooked longer, so it takes on a different consistency than applesauce, much smoother. It’s also sweeter and more spiced than applesauce.

Canning Apple Butter Recipe: A Delicious Way Get Started (6)

Using a Food Mill to Make Apple Butter

“Hi Sharon, I’d like to make apple butter in the slow cooker, but I want to use my food mill to clear skins and seeds first. So, my question is: HOW? Just take the applesauce result and put it in the slow cooker? For how long? Thanks. Irene”

Hi Irene, great question. I would just make applesauce as usual with your food mill. Check here for specifics on how to make applesauce. Then add that, plus the sugar, to your Crockpot. The cook time will be less, but I can’t give you an exact time. I’d estimate 6 hours maybe? It all depends on how juicy your applesauce is and how your cooker cooks. Try it out and let me know how it goes. 🙂 – Sharon

Cooking Apple Butter in a Crockpot or on the Stove? Is There a Difference?

“It’s apple butter time! I make mine in the Crockpot & then water bath. Wondering if there a difference between cooking in the Crockpot vs. stove in the sweetness level? Thanks for your help.

I’ve never tested it, but I don’t think there would be any difference in the sweetness. With the stove, the main thing is just being sure you are on hand to stir more often. The heat is all at the bottom of the pot; with a Crockpot the heat surrounds the apples and will be a gentler heat. It does take longer though. So it just depends on your preference in cooking style. The sweetness will be all about the type of apples and any sweetener you add.

Cooking Apple Butter Covered or Uncovered?

“Hello. My question is when I am cooking down my apple butter recipe, do I need to cover my pot or just leave it uncovered? I did this years ago, and I cannot remember. Thank you. Elise”

Elise, you should either leave the lid off or at least leave the lid ajar so moisture can escape. I’ll usually put it on high for the first hour or so. This gets things heated up quicker, but then turn it down. As the apple butter gets thicker, it may tend to splatter, so that is why I sometimes just suggest leaving the lid ajar. A splatter screen is also a good idea if you want to leave the lid completely off.

How Do You Store Canned Apple Butter?

You should store home canned apple butter in a cool, dark place. Read more about preparing canned food for storage here.

Tip for Getting Fruit

Gleaning from orchards after the main season is a great way to get free fruit. These will usually be seconds, but they’re still perfectly useable. Be sure and call ahead, and always treat the orchard with respect! That orchard owner is trusting that you won’t allow your children to climb trees
and break branches or otherwise be a nuisance. Pick up after yourself when you leave. This is their livelihood, so honor the trust they show by allowing you there.

Canning Chat: Canning Apple Butter the Day After You Make It

Transcript – Edited for Clarity

Hey there–This is Sharon from where you can find home canning food tutorials, tips, and advice, all taught in a way that even a beginner can get their pantry filled. We have a Canning Chat question today from Jennifer. She says, “Hello, I’m new to all of this. Here’s my question: Can I make apple butter today, but put it in jars and process it at a later date, like a week from now?”

Yes, you can make your apple butter today, put it in the refrigerator, and then bring it out, heat it up, and process it. I wouldn’t wait a week though. If you have your apple butter ready and you’re not going to be able to can it, put it in a container in the refrigerator. Take it out the next day. Waiting a week would be too long.

You’d be better off putting it in small containers in the freezer. That’s really fast. If you don’t have time to can it, freezing it is another really good option. Waiting for a whole week wouldn’t be a good idea.

Preparing it one day and processing it the next day is possible with quite a few things. It depends on the food. It works with apple butter, applesauce, tomato sauce, and things like that. Anything that you can put in a container to be refrigerated overnight, without affecting the texture. If you tried that with green beans, carrots, beets, or other vegetables, I’m afraid the quality of the food would go down.

Put it away, and then take it out again. But a week? No, I’d say that a week would be too long. I hope this was helpful. You guys have a great day. I’m going to put links to canning apple butter and canning applesauce in the article below. If you need directions on how to do that, check them out. We’ll talk to you later. Bye!

Related Pages

Apple Butter Recipe in Quarts?

Chas made 11 quarts of apple butter. Is it safe to open the jars, bring it back to a boil, and then recan it in smaller jars?

Pear Butter Recipe

A bit of orange and nutmeg in this pear butter recipe makes it delicious.

Peach Butter Recipe

A slow cooker is the easiest way to cook this peach butter recipe. You need low temperatures for a long time without scorching.

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Canning Apple Butter Recipe: A Delicious Way Get Started (10)

Adapted from: The National Center for Home Food Preservation and the Ball Blue Book.

Page last updated: 6/7/2021

Canning Apple Butter Recipe: A Delicious Way Get Started (2024)


How long is homemade canned apple butter good for? ›

*You can also preserve your apple butter via the water-bath canning method, which uses a canning pot. The recommending processing time is 10 minutes for pints and 15 minutes for quarts. Home-canned apple butter has a shelf life of about two years. Store in a cool, dark place.

How do I thicken apple butter for canning? ›

Leave the crock of apple butter uncovered, and continue to cook on LOW heat for another hour or so before giving it another stir. The apple butter will be fairly thick, but still run off the spoon–like the texture of commercial apple sauce. Don't worry, the apple butter will thicken as it cools.

What causes apple butter to turn brown? ›

Apple butter (Dutch: appelstroop) is a highly concentrated form of apple sauce produced by long, slow cooking of apples with apple juice or water to a point where the sugar in the apples caramelizes, turning the apple butter a deep brown.

Why isn't my apple butter thick? ›

The longer you cook it, the thicker it will be. Apple butter is high in natural sugar so if you want don't want to add sugar, then use sweet apples. The thing about sugar is that helps thicken your apple butter. I used about 5 tablespoons of coconut sugar so my apple butter was satisfyingly sweet.

Can apple butter go bad? ›

If stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator, homemade apple butter can last up to 6 months. If you store it in the freezer, it can last up to a year. It's important to check the apple butter for any signs of spoilage before consuming. Discard if it has an off odor, mold or discoloration.

What are the best apples for canning? ›

The best varieties for canning apples are crisp, not mealy, types. Some of the best apples for canning include Fuji, Braeburn, Jonagold, Granny Smith, Golden Delicious, Pink Lady, Jazz, Honeycrisp, and Cortland.

Why does my canned apple butter have air bubbles? ›

Apple butter is notorious for air bubbles, since it is so thick they don't rise to the surface as they would in a product that had liquid in it. The jars should be fine as long as it was processed properly and all the lids are sealed.

How do you know if apple butter is thick enough? ›

If it's the consistency of applesauce, no ma'am! To check for doneness: Spoon out some of the apple butter, turn the spoon upside down. The apple butter should cling to the spoon without falling off right away. If it does fall off, continue cooking to remove more of the liquid.

Why isn't my apple butter dark? ›

The apple butter's consistency is the main indicator to know when it is done, not color. Color will depend on the cooking method, how much sugar has caramelized, and even the color of your spices and sugars.

Why use a copper kettle for apple butter? ›

It is advisable to cook apples and other fruits in a brass or copper kettle. Apples cooked in iron will have a poor flavor and will be discolored because of the acid reacting with the metal. Copper's ability to heat its contents evenly is also advantageous in making apple butter.

What are some interesting facts about apple butter? ›

Other Interesting Facts Related to Apple Butter:

Copper pennies are placed in the apple butter kettle to scrape the bottom of the kettle and prevent the apple butter from burning. It was said that a young woman who splashed the butter when she stired the kettle would make a poor housewife.

Why does my apple butter looks like applesauce? ›

While both applesauce and apple butter are made by slow-cooking apples with water, spices, and maybe a little sugar until you have something soft and saucy, apple butter is cooked much longer so that the mix cooks down even further to become a thick, glossy, caramelized spread.

What if my apple butter is too sweet? ›

If apple butter is too sweet: Mix in a few squeezes of fresh lemon juice or a little lemon zest to help balance the sweetness.

Why does my apple butter taste metallic? ›

It also may be that the kettle was not well seasoned allowing the apple butter to make more contact with the metal of the pot. There is no way to remove the metallic taste or the metallic elements from the finished product.

Why is there no butter in apple butter? ›

The only thing apple butter has in common with regular butter is its spreadability. But it's actually more comparable to preserves or jam than it is butter; it's really just concentrated fruit, maybe a bit of sugar, with no dairy in sight.

How long are homemade canned goods safe to eat? ›

As long as the can is in good shape, the contents should be safe to eat, although the taste, texture and nutritional value of the food can diminish over time. Home canned foods should be used within 1 year.

How long does homemade fruit butters last? ›

Spread it on toast, heat it up and serve on ice cream, even use it on grilled meat. Use apple butter on top of brie or melt havarti cheese on bread and top with peach butter. Fruit butters will last for one to two weeks in the refrigerator but they can also be frozen, using freezer-safe packaging.

How long will canned butter last? ›

Canned butter has a longer shelf life, so you don't have to worry about it going bad anytime soon. It can last up to 5 years on your pantry shelf. Canned butter is more convenient to travel with. If you go camping, you don't have to worry about lugging around butter in a cooler.

How long does canned apple jam last? ›

A: For best quality, it is recommended that all home-canned foods be used within a year. Most homemade jams and jellies that use a tested recipe, and have been processed in a canner for the recommended time, should retain best quality and flavor for up to that one year recommended time.

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