Old Fashioned Apple Butter Recipe: Homemade for Canning

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If you’re like me, autumn just wouldn’t be complete without the sweet, spicy aroma of an old fashioned apple butter recipe wafting from the kitchen. This homemade delight is a staple in many households, and I’m here to show you just how to prepare it for canning. So, put on your apron, grab those ripe apples, and let’s start cooking!

What is Apple Butter?

Often mistaken for apple sauce, apple butter is a highly concentrated form of applesauce, cooked low and slow until the sugars caramelize, giving it a deep, rich flavor and dark color. The “butter” in the name is due to its smooth and soft consistency, not because it contains any butter. Apple butter is perfect as a spread for your morning toast or english muffin, a sweetener in fall cocktails, or even as a glaze for pork chops!

Choosing the Right Apples

The choice of apples is a personal preference, but a mix of sweet apples and tart apples usually gives the best balance of flavor. Granny Smith apples are a favorite for their tartness, while sweeter varieties like Fuji or Honeycrisp balance out the tartness. This is a great excuse to head down to your local apple orchard during apple season and pick up a bushel of apples.

Preparing the Apples

The easiest way to prep your apples is by using an apple peeler. But if you don’t have one, a good sharp knife will do the trick. Once peeled, core and slice the apples. You’ll need about five to six pounds of apples for a good apple butter recipe.

Cooking the Apple Butter

The slow cooking process is key to a rich, caramelized apple butter. You can use a crock pot or an instant pot on the slow cook setting. Add a little bit of apple juice or apple cider vinegar to prevent the apples from sticking, then just leave it to cook on medium-low heat.

Blending the Apples

Once your apples are cooked down to a homemade applesauce consistency, it’s time to blend. An immersion blender is the easiest way to do this. But, if you don’t have one, a regular blender or food processor will work just fine. Just remember to let the apple sauce cool a bit before blending to avoid any hot splashes.

Sweetening Your Apple Butter

Now, it’s time to sweeten your apple butter. Brown sugar and maple syrup are my favorite things to use. They not only sweeten the apple butter but also contribute to the dark color and rich flavor. Honey or honey substitutes can be used as well. Again, the amount of sweetener is a matter of personal preference, so add gradually, tasting as you go.

Canning Your Apple Butter

Once your apple butter is sweetened to your liking, it’s time to can! Fill your sterilized mason jars with the hot apple butter, leaving about a quarter inch headspace. Wipe the rims clean, put the lids on, and process the jars in a water bath canner or pressure canner.

Enjoying Your Homemade Apple Butter

There you have it, your very own old fashioned apple butter recipe, homemade and ready for canning. Whether you spread it on toast, waffles, or muffins, use it in your favorite recipes, or gift it to loved ones, this apple butter is sure to delight. Plus, apple butter freezes well, so you can enjoy it all year long!


So, here’s to embracing the fall season with the smell of apple butter lingering in your kitchen. This old fashioned apple butter recipe is a labor of love, but the finished product is worth every second. Now, all that’s left is to wait for the compliments to roll in!

apple butter with muffin

Old-Fashioned Apple Butter Recipe

Yield: 4 pints
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 10 hours
Total Time: 10 hours 30 minutes

This is an old-fashioned apple butter recipe that is perfect for spreading on toast, muffins, pancakes, or even straight from the jar. The rich, sweet, and spiced flavor is sure to take you back to simpler times.


  • 5 1/2 lbs apples, peeled, cored and finely chopped
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon


  1. Start by preparing the apples. Peel, core, and finely chop them.
  2. Place the chopped apples in a slow cooker. Add the sugar, cinnamon, cloves, and salt.
  3. Cover the slow cooker and cook on low for 10 hours.
  4. Remove the lid of the slow cooker. Stir in the vanilla extract, lemon zest, and lemon juice.
  5. Use an immersion blender to puree the apple mixture until it's smooth.
  6. Allow the apple butter to cool, then transfer it to sterile jars.


The type of apples you use can change the flavor of the apple butter. Tart apples like Granny Smith work well, but feel free to experiment with your favorite apple varieties.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 64 Serving Size: 2
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 45Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 2mgCarbohydrates: 12gNet Carbohydrates: 11gFiber: 1gSugar: 10gSugar Alcohols: 0gProtein: 0g
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