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Crockpot Apple Butter Recipe (plus free printable labels!)

DIY Apple Butter

I am really happy that I decided to make homemade apple butter as one of my do-it-yourself projects for this year. I’m not typically that much of an apple butter fan, but I’m glad I didn’t let that deter me. Because let me tell you, this homemade apple butter is fantastic–much, much better than any storebought stuff I’ve ever tried.

I used two of the $0.59 bags of apples that I picked up on clearance at the health food store to make this, so it was very inexpensive.

And other than the peeling and chopping process, which did take me a little while (though it was relaxing–especially since I listened to an audiobook at the same time!), the whole process was so simple.

{The LEGOs have invaded our house–and my cooking space! :)}

Once the apples were peeled and sliced, the crockpot did the rest of the work!

Free Printable Labels

Now that I’ve made one batch of homemade apple butter, I want to make a lot more batches and freeze them or give them as gifts! And Joy from whipped up some free printable labels you can use if you’re going to give these as gifts.

Download the free Homemade Apple Butter Labels. There are two different sizes and labels available in this free download.

We used both labels on our jars–on one side we put the Homemade Apple Butter label and on the other side we put “From My Kitchen” along with the recipient’s name.

A special thanks to my wonderful assistant, Erika, who took the cute jarred apple butter photos. As is very obvious, she has much more flare for photography than me. 🙂

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  • Amanda C. says:

    Very cute and crafty, Crystal! Wonderful. Very impressed. Also, LOVED Dave’s shout out to you in his new book! I felt so proud . . . !

  • Brandy says:

    I have been trying to think of a frugal gift for my coworkers! I think something like this would be perfect!

  • Jesi says:

    Do you know how long this will stay fresh? It looks yummy! Thanks for sharing!

    • Joyce Johnson says:

      If you have it canned properly according to safety guidelines, it should be good up to 2 years. Usually with apple butter you only have to do a hot water bath. If you freeze it, it’s probably good for up to a year.

  • Karen says:

    I confess that I am thoroughly spoiled; my wonderful grandmother keeps us supplied in homemade applesauce and homemade apple butter from her apple trees. 🙂 It is yummy stuff though!

  • tonya says:

    looking forward to trying this…I think it may even be a great Christmas gift idea 🙂

  • Melody Rochford says:

    You could also can this so you can give as a gift without having to refrigerate…(fill mason jars with butter to 1/4″ headspace), place in big pot with a lid, pour hot water over them until covered by a few inches. Let water boil for 10 mins. Remove with tongs and let sit for 24 hours before moving to ensure proper seal.

    Love, LOVE the labels!

    • Chris Perry says:

      I have never canned before but would love to start and this looks like an easy place (especially living in the North East in the fall. We have no shortage of apples this time of year). Should I fill the jars while the product is still warm or wait until it cools or does it matter?

      • april says:

        Ball canning would be a great resource to consult but my understanding is we are doing what’s called “hot packing” our product and putting it in warm is what is recommended.

      • Can it while it’s warm and the jars are fresh out of your dishwasher. Then you put it in the pot of water (only a couple of inches of water needed). Bring to a boil and boil for 10 minutes (like Melody said). Then take the jars out and let them cool on a kitchen towel. Then you can take off the screw tops of the lids and store with just the seal flat lid on them (this also makes it easy to wipe them clean if they aren’t). Pears will also get you close to the same taste if you can find a deal on those easier.

        Here’s my recipe and instructions…

        • Brandi says:

          I don’t have a potato masher. Any ideas of another tool that would do the same job?

          • Brandi, you could just mash it around with a large spoon OR you could use a handheld blender stick OR you could take the time and run it through a blender. I guess it really depends on how smooth or chunky you like things, so it’s only a texture thing, the same will be great anyway you choose. I love chunky applesauce so I just mash. I love smooth apple butter, so I use my stick blender. Does that help??

        • Brandi says:

          Do you need to cover them while boiling for 10 minutes?

  • Ann says:

    I started making applesauce and apple butter in the fall 3 years ago and we have loved it. Who need scented candles when there is apple butter simmering in the crock pot? 🙂

    I actually can my applesauce and apple butter in a steam canner (not a pressure canner, it is similar to a water bath, but so much easier). I actually made a double batch this year to give to teachers at school and church along with extended family. I like to bake bread so what better gift than a loaf of fresh bread and homemade apple butter. 🙂

    I make my applesauce with the help of the fruit & vegetable strainer attachment for my KitchenAid stand mixer. That way you just cook the apples in chunks, no peeling and coring. The attachment “spits” out the core, seeds, and peel from one end and you get fresh applesauce from under the cover. (You also need to purchase the meat grinder attachment, but I have used that several times as well and love that too!)

    Here is a link to it on the KitchenAid site if you are interested.

  • Amy says:

    We make GALLONS of applesauce each fall here, but this is the first year my hubby asked to make apple butter. When we make our applesauce, we quarter the apples and cook on the stove (peels, seeds and all), then run the cooked apples through a victorio strainer.

    Does anyone know if we did the same thing, THEN added the ‘sauce’ and spices to a crockpot to finish out the apple butter recipe that it would turn out the same? The victorio strainer takes out SO much work and time and none of the apple pulp is wasted. Would like to try it this way, but don’t want to waste apples if someone knows it’s not a good idea! 🙂

  • Emily says:

    This looks so delicious! It brings back many fond memories of my grandmother, who made the best apple butter! Now that I’m a wife and homemaker, I wish so much that I had taken time to learn my grandma’s kitchen tricks and recipes before she was taken from us far too soon due to cancer.

    I made homemade crockpot applesauce this weekend for the first time, and boy, is it awesome!

    I also LOVE the pictures! I could never do that, either. 🙂

  • Lee says:

    About how many ‘jars’ does this recipe fill?

  • Koree says:

    This is *perfect* for the women’s gift exchange this Christmas at church! Thanks for the idea : )

  • Julie says:

    I’m currently enrolled in a Master Gardener course, and one of my fellow classmates makes crock pot apple butter using only leftover peels when she is making applesauce! That just lowered the cost of apple butter even more…what a great way to use up the peels!

  • Lauren says:

    I am totally going to try this, but was also wondering how long it would stay good for. Anyone know?

  • ALaina says:

    How many jars does 6 lbs fill???

  • Jena says:

    I’m curious as to how many jars this recipe fills as well. Also, do you have to go through the process of actually canning? How do you store it?

  • Kim says:

    Made some apple butter this weekend too! Used a Mennonite recipe; yum! Anyway, whenever I have to peel and cut apples, such as in this recipe, or for pie, crisp, etc. I use my Norpro apple peeler, slicer, corer and it makes prep a breeze. My 4-year-old loved using it when we made apple pie after our visit to the orchard last month. I just put the apple on for her and let her go at it 🙂

  • Kelly says:

    I made crock-pot apple butter yesterday/today! I used the recipe from the Ball Blue Book as a guide, but threw it all in the crock pot and cut way back on sugar. I think I used something like 4 pounds of apples, 1 cup white sugar, and 2/3 cup dark brown sugar, plus cinnamon and pie spice. My recipe called for adding 2 cups of water to start- I’ll cut that WAY back next time, as I’m sure it would cut down the cooking time! I got 2 full pint-size jars out of my batch (the recipe said “about 3 pints”).

  • Angie D says:

    Go Erika!

  • Kendra says:

    This sounds really yummy and an easy thing to make for gifts. From the recipe given with 6 lbs. of apples, how much does this yield?? And how long does it last in the fridge? Thank you, I’m looking forward to trying this recipe out!

  • Ooohhh! I am trying this out!! My hubby loves apple butter and I’ve never really thought to make it. Thanks, Crystal! 🙂

  • Jessica M says:

    What is apple butter used for? I’ve never heard of this before.

  • Michele says:

    I always check out your cooking plans and never have tried one until the apple butter recipe and I am glad because it was awesome! Even my very picky 3 year old loved it! The only difference was I had to make my own brown sugar and it might have changed the flavor a bit. But it was YUMMY! I will make more and use the awesome labels!

  • tina says:

    I remember seeing someone’s comment on making applesauce with pumkin in a prior post? Does anyone remember this? I cannot find it..and I would love the recipe!

  • Looks good! And your jars look so pretty. They’d make a nice gift!

  • Amanda says:

    I don’t have access to canning jars at the moment. Do you think old plastic peanut butter jars would work, or should I stick to glass? I have a few of each, but not enough to make this whole recipe.

    • Annie says:

      As long as you’re planning on refrigerating or freezing, you should be okay with any type of jar with a tight fitting lid. If you’re going to can it with a water bath, you’ll want to use canning jars. But, unless you need a huge quantity of canning jars, don’t buy them in the store. Check out your local Goodwill/thrift store. Here I can pick them up for 55 cents/each. Sometimes at garage sales you can get them for $3/dozen! If you need more than that, be sure to head to Big Lots or Dollar General at the beginning of/during canning season – I get them there for $1.50 less per dozen than at the big chains. Good luck!

  • bobbi jo says:

    I am wondering, as other’s have asked, how much does it make? How long will it last and does it only keep in the frig or the freezer as well and what would you store it in the freezer. Any suggestions on what to use it on or any recipes that you could add it too. Oh yes, I love this site and am on here a thousand times a day (well, maybe not a thousand, but alot) Thank you for all you do, it is much appreciated by me.

    • Stephanie says:

      Bobbi Jo,
      I make several batches every year in the fall when apples are cheap and put it in the freezer. I use several types of containers, plastic freezer containers (found in the canning section), glass freezer jars (also found in the canning section), and regular plastic containers. I have never had it go bad and have used it as much as 9 months after freezing; hoping to make it a full year this time. I know that it can be canned to keep at room temperature, but I am not the one to ask about that. We use it like jams or jellies on bread, toast, and also use it in place of jelly on peanut butter sandwiches. Hope this helps.

    • Crystal says:

      It made two jars, but I can’t say exactly how it will make because it will likely depend upon the size of your apples and how juicy they are/how much it cooks down.

  • I really love your website! Thank you for sharing, encouraging, and inspiring! I usually make apple butter from applesauce, but just found another recipe in the crock pot on all-recipes. Thanks for linking to the free label — how fun to put these on the jars.
    Keep doing your thing — we all benefitting from your diligence!!

  • Meredith says:

    I did this recipe when you posted it last week. It was fantastic!

  • Merrilee says:

    We make apple butter in very large batches in the oven when the weather is cold. It’s the one homemade gift our family keeps requesting for Christmas. I don’t even bother with apple sauce any more; it’s all apple butter! I never peel the apples, as the skins have so much flavor. Just core them and quarter them, and then puree once they have cooked down. Then add the sugar and spice and everything nice and keep cooking. Your labels and the jar toppers are really cute!

  • Merrilee says:

    P.S. Apple butter is also great over cream cheese, spread on crackers, and well as stirred into plain yogurt (even if the color is unappealing–no pun intended). Good with graham crackers as well.

  • Beth says:

    On these if you wanted to can them would you have to use paraffin to seal the top or just do a water bath? Not sure if anyone here knows the answer to that.

    • Candice says:

      Beth, I notice anymore that wax is more of a personal preferance. I have personally not used wax in years. I make apple butter for christmas every year & I acctually just finished putting up 45 lbs of apples yesterday. I just did the water bath & all jars are fine!

  • Bev says:

    Apple Butter in the Fall is my families pet project. We use the Pampered Chef apple-peeler-corer. Makes it a breeze. I love how we can control the amount of sugar, if any is needed, as opposed to the amount in store bought brands and it just tastes better.

  • Melissa says:

    I too am wondering how long this will keep in the fridge and how many jars does this make?
    Love your site! Thank you!

  • kristan says:

    I made pear butter last month, and canned them with the water bath. Very tasty as well, and I’m planning on gifting some during the holidays. You can can the apple butter too Beth.

  • JennieC. says:

    Yum! Would love to know if you can ladle this in jars while it is hot to can them? Would be a great Christmas gift for teachers, etc.

    • Beth says:

      Yes, Jennie I canned it and it sealed perfectly.

    • Candice says:

      JennieC, If you plan on canning them using the water bath method, you most definatly want to ladel in the butter while both jars and butter are hot. The easiest way I do this is I have a a sanitize option on my dishwasher, I start dishwasher with jars in it during the last hour of the butter cooking. I also start in the morning by putting my bands and lids for the jars in my old crockpot on high and let them sit until I am ready to use (usually about 5-6 hrs later). when the butter is done cooking I remove a hot jar from dishwasher, ladel butter in, tighten lid and band. Continue to hot water bath for 10 min. It’s super easy and will last around 2 years on the shelf!

      • JennieC. says:

        Thanks Candice! I don’t do a lot of canning, so this may be a dumb question…can you do the water bath in a regular pot, or do you need to use a canner? Also, do you put water in with the bands and lids in the crockpot?

        • Candice says:

          No dumb questions… It seems like 2nd nature to me cause I grew up canning with my whole family. 1st I have heard of people putting them in a pot I dont know how well that works, I can only imagine the jars that close to a burner and cracking. maybe worth a try with 1 jar. I always use a canner. Ball also sells a kit that has a funnel, magnet, blue book, canner, and a few other small items. last time I saw this it ran around $15. might be worth getting if you plan on doing more canning. And yes I put in bands & lids in crockpot 1st then fill with water to top. Hope it works out for ya… Many friends of mine have really taken to canning every year after I taught them a few basics! & its a great wither $$ saver!

  • Beth says:

    I made this apple butter last week after you posted the recipe. And you are right, it is the most delicious apple butter I have ever tasted. It was so easy to make and my house smelled WONDERFUL all day while it slow-cooked! Who needs a candle when you have the aroma of fresh apples, vanilla, and cinnamon?!
    This recipe will be a keeper and hopefully one to make for many years to come.

  • Katie says:

    Does anyone know how know how long this would keep fresh?

  • KellyH says:

    If you are going to do many apples, invest in a peeler/corer/slicer. They don’t cost much, maybe $30, dont’ take up much room, the kids can turn the handle and it saves MUCH time. I’ve had mine probably 10 years, and still works great.

    I put my apple butter in freezer, and sometimes it has probably been up to two years before the last is eaten, and it’s fine.


    • Crystal says:

      We had one growing up and I despised it. It didn’t work well, it always got icky and sticky, and I thought it was more work than it was worth. Maybe they’ve drastically improved the design in the last 20 years??

      • Lynette says:

        They work much better when using fresh apples–usually the discounted ones are a little soft and have some bruised spots and then it doen’st work well at all.

        • KellyH says:

          I doubt the design has changed much, at least for the one I have. It looks pretty simple. Everyone has those stories! I hated our dishwasher growing up, it was truly more trouble than it was worth (at least to me at the time) rinsing dishes, the noise, the waiting for it to be done. I know they are greatly improved these days, but I still don’t want one.


          • Cheri S says:

            I have an apple core , slicer, pealer thing and was wondering since the slices are smaller then the 4th cut apples if I need to cut the cooking time??? Thanks

  • Lesley says:

    I had planned on making apple butter this year as well since it is one of my favorites. I’m not sure with all the other apple recipes I’m trying for the first time that I will get around to it. I sure hope I do though! I’m glad your recipe turned out well.

    Did you “can” the apple butter or just seal it up and stick it in the fridge?

  • Sandy says:

    Next time, save the peels and cores. Throw them in a freezer bag and you can use them for air freshener! Small pot + 2/3 cores and some peels + cinnamon and cloves = yummy smelling house when simmered over low heat.

  • JoAnna says:

    We recentky purchased apple carrot butter at a farmer’s market–you would never know that there was carrot in the recipe. I may try this recipe and add carrots to it–more flavor depth and another source for veggies in the diet.

  • Lacey Wilcox says:

    Umm the fact that I’m drooling now is not a good sign–I can’t wait to try and make this. My husband and I just moved, and the house we moved into has an apple tree in the back. They’re teeny-tiny, but we picked one and took little bites and found out that they were DELICIOUS! I can’t wait to make homemade apple butter with them!! 🙂

  • Sarah J says:

    Crystal, I am so glad you liked the recipe! Thank you also for posting about how it turned out for you!!!

  • Liz M says:

    I was wondering about the labels… I clicked on the link and it brings it up but I don’t see the size and where did you buy the stickers to print on?

  • Suzanne says:

    The labels are super cute, do you print them on cardstock or is there an avery adhesive label for these?


  • Ruth says:

    I followed this recipe and it took a LOT longer to make apple butter than stated. I started on Wednesday and didn’t can until Saturday. Crock pots keep moisture in and add moisture to what is cooking. I slowly figured out to make apple butter you need to take moisture away so it will thicken. So I took the top of my crock pot off, which helped a little. My apple butter was still a little watery at the end. Anyways, as much as I love my crock pot, I am not sure I will attempt this recipe again in it.

    • Sarah J says:

      Each Crock pot will be different but this isn’t the typical turn out for this recipe. I haven’t heard this with any of the comments I have on this particular recipe. Sorry it didn’t work out so well for you!

    • Ann says:

      I make my applesauce first then make a batch of apple butter in my crockpot using a different recipe. That recipe tells you that the juice needs to evaporate to thicken the apple butter and suggests placing table knives (I use chopsticks) across the top of the crockpot and then placing the lid on top. That allows the steam to escape, but keeps it covered. The recipe also mentions covering the area around the crockpot because it may splatter.

      Here is the recipe if you are interested –

    • Kathy says:

      don’t give up Ruth … try it one more time! … the trick is to cook it with the top off and cook it about an hr. … hr. and a half longer than the recipe states … you basically eye ball it until it cooks to the desired thickness … having the lid off helps it to reduce …

  • Joy says:

    Just want to say wait until the Legos get smaller and multiply overnight. 😉 With three boys we have Legos strewn from room to room most days. And, let me tell you those things hurt when you step on them, esp. in the middle of the night! We try to keep them contained, but it’s a losing battle. LOL.

  • maggie says:

    Crystal, I know you have said you skip Vanilla in a lot of recipes…. Did you skip it for this recipe or is it essential for the flavor?

  • This is such an awesome and inexspensive gift idea for the Holidays! Thank you so much for posting this! I can’t wait to get started on it.

  • Carol says:

    When we make apple butter, we add a bag of redhots in addition to the spices and it gives it a nice little “zing” that my husband loves.

    • Beverley says:

      As a Brit what is apple butter.

      • Brandy says:

        It is a very delicious apple flavored “jelly/jam”

      • Elizabeth says:

        It’s more of a spread than jam or jelly. There is not actual “butter” in it like many people would think. It’s got it’s name because it’s a “smooth as butter”. It’s a thinner consistency than either jam or jelly that make it’s easy to spread. It’s very good on buttered toast or on toasted English Muffins. Hope that helps 🙂

  • Cheri S says:

    I plan on starting this today. I have a question first, Do the apples need to be cut in 4th? I have a apple coreing machine that will slice and core apples and make it easy to get through this set. Do you think I can do that?? Thanks for the recipe

  • This looks so yummy. I’ve never canned anything before but I’m thinking I may need to learn just to try this.

  • Priscilla says:

    I tried making apple butter too this year form the first time, but here is my EASY recipe. Wash and core apples (no need to peel!) enough to overfilled a large crockpot. Add 4 tsp. cinnamon and 4 c sugar. Add lid and cook on low 8-12 hours. Puree with an immersion blender right in the crock.

  • KimH says:

    Thanks for the great Apple Butter inspiration. I made some for the first time this year. I got 3/4 of a bushel Northern Spy seconds for $5 and made 3 batches. I quartered, and cored enough to fill the crock pot almost overflowing, added 1/2 cup water, & 2 T vanilla and let it go from 8pm until around 5am on low. I used my immersion blender to puree, then added 2 cups brown sugar, 2 T cinnamon, and about 10 clove buds. I skewed the lid a little bit & let it continue to cook on low until about 5pm when I got home from work. I refrigerated it and started another batch until all 3 were done and on Saturday, I combined them in a large pot and let them boil until they thickened up a little bit more. Then I water bathed them in a turkey frier outside which is much faster than trying to do it on the stove. Fast, easy, & so simple.
    Thanks again for the inspiration & the how tos!

  • Patty says:

    The immersion blender idea is brilliance!! As I spent an hour quartering, peeling, and coring I kept thinking “there’s GOT to be an easier way!” and sure enough there is. Next time, peels stay on!!

    I had the same moisture problem as a couple of other posters. I used 5 lbs. of Galas and cut the sugar back to 1/2 c white and 1/2 c brown. I did not prop the lid at first, and by the end of the 2nd 6 hours, my mix was very liquid-y. I cooked it another 6 hours on low and made some progress. Then I propped the lid with a skewer, cranked it to high, and 4 hours later was okay with the consistency. 22 hours cooking time seems a bit much, so next time I’ll prop the lid when I add the sugar and spices.

    The finished product is delicious!! Great recipe.

  • I don’t even peel mine and they cook so long that you would NEVER know if it had peels in it or not! Save a step or two 🙂 You can see my Sugar Free version here.

  • Marissa P. says:

    You can get an apple peeler/corer/slicer @ Bed,Bath, and Beyond for under $20. Use a 20% off/1 product coupon its a really awesome deal. It works really well and super easy, vacuum seals to your counter when in use, and it SAVES so much time! I love mine and is essential in my kitchen. Thank you for the idea and recipe for the apple butter!

  • Kathy says:

    I am nearly 60 yrs. old and have been married nearly 40 years and this is my first attempt to make homemade apple butter … it was such a success! I made it this past Friday … didn’t do things too much differently than you … used the Jonathan apples as you did … instead of a potato masher, I used an emersion blender (hand blender) to make the apples smooth … cooked it about an hour longer and with the lid off in order for it to reduce to the proper thickness. My picky eater husband loves it! Thank you … thank you … we used to bring homemade apple butter from Maryland to Florida on our visit back home … but no need to now … I can have it anytime I want! Thanks again! So nice to know there are still young people that are interested in doing things homemade!

  • Beata says:

    Thank you for sharing this recipe. This is so yummy and so easy to do. I love it. My kids managed to eat it all in three days.

  • Mindy says:

    Ooo… I have been wanting to make apple butter, and you’ve just inspired me. Yours looks easy and yummy! I have one of those apple coring/slicing contraptions… so I might try it to save time.

  • Haley Johnson says:

    Thank you so much!!!! I love this recipe! I left the peels on my small apples, put in crockpot around 10pm last night, then stirred overnight a few times (ick 1am the neighbors woke us up- but took it as a sign that my apples needed stirring, and again at 4 when my hubby left for work). I was expecting to have to leave it in the crockpot while I was at work today but it reached a great consistency around 7/8 am this morning. I used a few chopsticks to let the steam out so that may be why it went so quickly! My batch filled 2- 24oz (spaghetti sauce) jars, and 1-16oz mason jar, that is after I had some on a bagel for breky 🙂 I used the labels too- they came out so cute!

  • Dee Holler says:

    I made this last week and it is AMAZING. I think it’s better than that of one of our favorite restaurants that serves breakfast any time. The consistency may be slightly thinner, but the whole family loves it and doesn’t know any different. Still need to find the stickers so I can print some labels for my jars.

  • Angie says:

    Does it have to be refrigerated? How long does this last? Would love to give as gifts!

  • Carolyn Barker says:

    Made this recipe last night, first time I have ever made applebutter. It seemed that the cloves made it taste a little bitter, maybe too much, so think next time I will only use 1/2 tsp cloves. All in all it was very easy, and after adding more sugar to offset the the cloves it tastes really good.

    • Carolyn Barker says:

      The longer this sets the better it is. The cloves have tamed down and now it is delicious. Great recipe. Still I might use a little less cloves on the next batch, and there will be another batch made soon. Thanks for the recipe. Wondering how long this will last in the fridge. I did not water bath it after putting it in jars.

  • Beverly Bloom says:

    What do you mean by the immersion blender Method?

  • Mel says:

    Can anyone tell me how many cups of apple butter the featured recipe makes? Thank you

  • Cam says:

    Can you then can this with a boiling canner to preserve?

  • Kate says:

    what brand of printable labels did you use?? And which labels did you print? The 12 per page or the 15 per page?? I’m going to use 8 oz mason jars and want to know before I order my labels. Thanks!

  • Sarah says:

    How long will the apple butter last and how should it be stored? Want to make some for gifts.

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