February 28, 2024

Cafecharlotte Southbeach

The View On Cooking

Ridiculously Easy Slow Cooked Apple Butter (with free printable gift labels)

Ridiculously Easy Slow Cooked Apple Butter (with free printable gift labels)

Total Time:
8 hours 15 minutes

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Ready for the taste of fall? With minimal effort on your part? Welcome to our Ridiculously Easy Slow Cooked Apple Butter! Simply throw everything in the slow cooker and wait for the magic to happen! It’s fabulous on toast, biscuits, scones and English muffins and is a wonderful addition to cheese and charcuterie appetizer boards. 

The idea for this delicious slow-cooked apple butter came from an email from a Café reader. She said that she loved our jam and jelly recipes and was writing to inquire if I had “a recipe for apple butter made from applesauce”.

Horizontal overhead photo of a cheese and charcuterie board featuring Ridiculously Easy Slow Cooked Apple Butter.


What!? Apple butter from apple sauce? I replied that I didn’t but thought it was a brilliant idea and started doing a little online research. Sure enough, there were several recipes for apple butter from applesauce. That very day, while doing some grocery shopping. I picked up two large containers of applesauce.

I couldn’t wait to try this idea so as soon as I got home from the store, I pulled out my slow cooker, added the applesauce, some fall spices, a dash of both balsamic and apple cider vinegar as well as a shot of bourbon. I set the cooker on high, covered it for an hour then let it cook, uncovered for the rest of the day.

Oh my! The aroma that filled the house was amazing and I could hardly wait for the applesauce mixture to thicken up. That evening, I gave Scott a little taste and we were both quite smitten. I’ve made several batches since then, tweaking the recipe a bit but not veering too far from that original concoction.

Vertical overhead closeup of Ridiculously Easy Slow Cooked Apple Butter.

Buy it (and break the bank) or make it yourself?

One day while I was testing this recipe, Scott was out running some errands. I asked him to stop by Whole Foods and pick up a jar of nice apple butter so I could compare. He brought a small jar with a pretty gourmet label. I was surprised at the price, $7 for a fairly small amount. When I opened the jar and tried a taste, it was delicious but more like spiced applesauce rather than thick, spreadable apple butter and definitely not better than our home-brewed selection.

I love that, when making apple butter at home, you can go as thin or thick as you like. You also have control of the ingredients and don’t have to add anything besides apples, brown sugar and spices. In addition to these two factors, it’s super economical to make your own apple butter in comparison to purchased apple butter.

Horizontal extreme closeup photo of a bowl of Ridiculously Easy Slow Cooked Apple Butter on a charcuterie board.

This apple butter recipe includes 2 46-ounce  jars of applesauce (92-ounces total). I paid $3.49 per jar, a total of right around $7. The recipe yields 7-8 6-ounce jars, depending on how thick you allow the apple butter to get. Even with the added spices and brown sugar, that’s infinitely cheaper than purchasing prepared apple butter which runs from $5 on up per jar. (I was at Williams Sonoma yesterday and noticed a 12-ounce jar of apple butter for $16.95!)

What to do with apple butter?

If you didn’t grow up with apple butter, you might be wondering what to do with it. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Spread it on toast, scones, biscuits, English muffins.
  • Serve it on cheese and charcuterie boards.
  • Use it as a glaze for grilled pork, chicken or salmon
  • Dollop it on oatmeal for a tasty, gourmet breakfast.
  • Serve it on ice cream for a fall treat!
  • Stir it into your tea!
  • Spread it on a sandwich, especially delicious with ham and cheese!
  • Stir a couple of spoonfuls into mashed sweet potatoes.
  • Use it as a base for pizza.
  • Make an Apple Butter Barbeque Roasted Chicken.
  • Swirl it into cakes and muffins.
  • Make an Apple Butter Old Fashioned.
  • Give it as a gift!

Give it as a gift!

This apple butter makes a fantastic hostess gift or an anytime gift for friends, family, coworkers, teachers… anyone you want to say “I care” to in a very delicious way. We’ve created a pretty label to adorn our gifts and would be happy to share them with you. Just leave a comment in the comment section at the very bottom of this post, letting us know you’d like to receive them. We’ll email you a PDF for the labels along with instructions on how to use them.

So, if you’re ready for a fabulous taste of fall, pick up some applesauce, next time you shop. Check out the ingredient list but you probably have almost everything else you’ll need. Throw everything in the slow cooker and wait for the magical Autumn aromas to swirl into every nook and cranny of your home! ENJOY!

Café Tips for making this Ridiculously Easy Slow Cooked Apple Butter

  • I like to look for applesauce for this recipe that has an ingredient list of simply “apples and water”.
  • The applesauce mixture cooks for one hour covered then the cover is removed for the remaining time. During that first hour, you can let it go, unattended. Once the cover is removed, it’s important to give the apple mixture a good stir and to scrape down the sides of the slow cooker once every hour. As this apple butter cooks, it tends to get thicker around the edges so an occasional stir helps distribute the
  • You can make this apple butter as thin or thick as you like by shortening or lengthening the cooking time. I like mine nice and thick but, as mentioned above, some delicious commercial apple butter is thinner than what’s pictured in this post.
  • Also, every slow cooker is a little different so your apple butter may need to cook less or more time than the recipe suggests.
  • Don’t skip the blending at the end to yield super creamy, “buttery” results.
  • This apple butter can be canned with a hot water bath to be shelf stable (follow directions carefully in the recipe below) OR, if not put through a hot water bath, it can be stored in the refrigerator or freezer when not in use. (Note separate directions below for shelf-stable, canned apple butter as well as for apple butter that will need to be stored in the refrigerator or freezer.


Thought for the day:

The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
    my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge,
    my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
Psalm 18:2

What we’re listening to for inspiration:

Rock of Ages


If you enjoy this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review! It’s so helpful to other readers to hear your results, adaptations and ideas for variations.

Ridiculously Easy Slow Cooked Apple Butter

A delicious taste of fall with minimal effort! This Apple Butter is fabulous on toast, biscuits, scones, cheese and charcuterie boards, etc.

Author: Chris Scheuer

Prep Time:
15 mins

Cook Time:
8 hrs

Total Time:
8 hrs 15 mins

Servings: 96 servings

Calories: 26 kcal


  • 92
    no-sugar-added applesauce
    I use 2 46-ounce jars, (I use Motts

  • cups
    brown sugar
    (I use dark brown sugar but light brown will also work)
  • 3
    apple cider vinegar
  • 2
    balsamic vinegar
  • 2
  • 1
    ground cinnamon
  • 1
    ground ginger
  • ½
    ground cloves
  • ½
    kosher salt
  • ¼
  • 1
    medium vanilla bean
    cut in half, lenthwise


For both canned (shelf stable) apple butter AND apple butter that will be stored in the refrigerator or freezer.

  1. Combine all ingredients (including the split vanilla bean) in the bowl of a slow cooker.

  2. Cover and cook on HIGH for 1 hour, undisturbed.

  3. Uncover and cook an additional 7-9 hours, stirring well then scraping down the sides of the bowl at least every hour. Cook until nice and thick. One way to tell if the apple butter is done is to remove a spoonful to a small clean plate. When the apple butter is done, there will not be liquid that separates around the edges and the mixture should hold its shape. (The apple butter will thicken slightly when cooled.)

  4. Remove the vanilla bean then transfer the apple butter to the bowl of a food processor or blender. (be sure to vent the opening to prevent pressure build-up and explosion – I use a small funnel in the opening of the blender or food processor.) Process or blend for 3-4 minutes until super smooth and creamy then transfer to clean jars (if canning with a hot water bath, the jars should be sterilized).

To finish apple butter that will be canned:

  1. Prepare jars, canner, and jar lids while making the apple butter, according to canner manufacturer and USDA canning guidelines.

  2. Ladle the hot apple butter into hot, sterilized canning jars. Leave ¼-inch head space. Tap the jars gently on a work surface to remove any air bubbles. You can also do this by stirring the apple butter with a small plastic knife. Wipe the rims of the jars clean, top with the flat lid followed by screw ring lid tightened to fingertip tight.

  3. Process apple butter on a rack in the prepared canner, and process for 10 minutes for altitudes 0-1,000 ft, 15 minutes for altitudes 1,000-6,000 ft. and 20 minutes for altitudes above 6,000 ft. (Per Penn State Extension EDU)

  4. When done, remove canner lid, wait 5 minutes, then carefully remove jars from canner; let jars cool on kitchen towel on counter (not directly on counter-don’t want them to crack due to temperature extremes). Once you have made sure jars have sealed (you should hear a “pinging” sound), let them cool for 24 hours, then store the apple butter at room temperature for up to a year.

To finish apple butter that will be stored in the refrigerator or freezer:

  1. Ladle apple butter into clean jars, leaving ½ inch of head space. Wipe the rims of the jars clean then top with flat lids followed by screw-on rings. Tighten rings, allow apple butter to cool then refrigerate or freeze for longer storage. Apple butter can be stored in the refrigerator for 3-4 weeks and in the freezer for up to a year.

Recipe Notes

See Café Tips above in the post for more detailed instructions and tips to ensure success.

If you prefer to use Metric measurements there is a button in each of our recipes, right above the word “Instructions”. Just click that button to toggle to grams, milliliters, etc. If you ever come across one of our recipes that doesn’t have the Metric conversion (some of the older recipes may not), feel free to leave a comment and I will add it.

Makes 7-8 6-ounce jars, depending on how long you let the apple butter cook.

Calories 26kcal

Fat 0.03g

Saturated fat 0.005g

Polyunsaturated fat 0.005g

Monounsaturated fat 0.001g

Sodium 14mg

Potassium 26mg

Carbohydrates 7g

Fiber 0.4g

Sugar 6g

Protein 0.1g

Vitamin A 8%

Vitamin C 0.3%

Calcium 5%

Iron 0.1%

Ridiculously Easy Slow Cooked Apple Butter (with free printable gift labels)