Apple Butter (large or small batch)

October 18, 2013

A couple of weeks ago, my mom dropped off 3 half bushels of apples.  Incase you are unfamiliar with how many apples that is, I’ve used 20 pounds of peeled and cored apples and haven’t used a whole half bushel yet.  These apples were fresh from the trees in their backyard and I’m not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, so I quickly got to work.

Naturally Sweetened Apple Butter -- make in large or small batches

First thing I wanted?  Apple butter.  I made a lackluster apple butter last year, and yet everyone seemed to love it.  I was determined to make an even better version this year and totally blow everyone’s sock off.  But if you’re looking for the real reasons I wanted to make apple butter, they’re A. the wonderful smell that fills your house for days B. I love it on a grilled cheese with some sharp cheddar.  Expect an apple butter grilled cheese recipe sometime before the end of fall.

Naturally Sweetened Apple Butter -- make in large or small batches

Because I had so many apples, I definitely wanted to can some to give as gifts.  I realize that most people don’t have 80 pounds of apples taking up precious kitchen floor real estate  looming over their heads delightfully waiting to be made into apple butter, so I put a smaller batch in parenthesis.  Either way, this recipe is based off of a recipe that can be canned (per Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving), despite the fact that there’s no added lemon or other acid.  I amped up the spice levels but kept them within a safe range for canning — if you plan on canning this, do NOT increase the spices any further without doing a little research.  Spices actually contain a lot of bacteria and you can produce an unsafe product if you add too much.


As I’m not a canning expert, please utilize outside literature for any questions regarding how to sterilize jars, properly fill the jars, headspace, processing, etc.

Apple Butter (large or small batch)

  • 6 lbs peeled, cored, and quartered apples (1.5 lbs)
  • 2 c sweet apple cider (0.5 c)
  • 1½ c honey or agave (1/3 c), to taste
  • 3 tsp cinnamon (1 scant tsp)
  • 1 tsp clove (1/4 tsp)
  • 1 tsp nutmeg (1/4 tsp)

  1. In a large stainless steel saucepan, bring cider and apples to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and cook until apples are very soft, stirring occasionally (about 30 minutes).
  2. Let mixture cool slightly. Transfer to a blender or food processor and process until very smooth. (large batch will be around 12 cups, small batch 3 cups).
  3. Combine puree with remaining ingredients in a clean, large stainless steel saucepan. Bring to boil, stirring often, and reduce heat. Cover to prevent splashing and boil gently until desired thickens is achieved. Mixture should thicken like jelly and hold its shape on a spoon.
  4. If canning: ladle hot butter into hot, disinfected jars leaving ¼ inch headspace. Place in canner and process for 10 minutes, waiting 5 additional minutes before removing. Makes 8 to 10 half pints (large batch) or 1 pint (small batch).
  5. If not canning: Allow to cool and store in fridge. Consume within a month.

In ingredients list, the first value is for a large batch. Value in parenthesis is for a small batch.
If canning, store in a cool area for up to 6 months (After that, check jars thoroughly to ensure no color change or other signs of spoilage).
Note: do NOT increase spices if planning to can, as this may result in an unsafe product.
Based off Sweet Apple Cider Butter recipe in Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving


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    Kay Oct 17, 2015

    6 lbs before or after peeling and chopping? ty!

      Kelly Oct 18, 2015

      6 lbs after peeling and chopping! Hope you like the apple butter!

    Lisa Dec 05, 2013

    What kind of apples did you use for this recipe?

      Kelly Dec 05, 2013

      I think they were Braeburn, but I’m not possitive (they came off my mom’s apple tree) and last year I used a mix of gala and fuji. Literally any kind of apple will work. Softer varieties will cook down faster and you’ll obviously have the taste of the apple. I’d say any apple that has the light red orange coloring like what you see on a fuji produces what I think to be is the best apple butter.

    Lisa Dec 04, 2013

    I’m actually giving apple butter as co worker gifts and I’ve been trying to find the perfect recipe. I need to make about 20-8 ounce jars. Any suggestions on how to go about this? Thanks.

      Kelly Dec 04, 2013

      Hi Lisa, this recipe will make about half what you need (I find it varies between 8 and 10 half pints, depending on the variety of apple I use). I would recommend you make the large batch twice. I wouldn’t double the recipe because A. it took my absolute largest pot to make 1 batch and B. I’m not sure you could effectively and safely can everything at once. Peeling and chopping do take a good chunk of time, so I’d suggest starting one batch and prepping the other while the first cooks. You could start cooking the second batch while canning the first. Good luck! I always give applebutter to my relatives for Christmas.

        Lisa Dec 04, 2013

        Thanks! I’ll definitely give it a try.

    Apple Butter Pancakes - Hidden Fruits and Veggies Nov 11, 2013

    […] a thinner pancake (mostly so I can eat more) was the result, and it’s perfection.  If eating apple butter straight from the jar or slathering it on a grilled cheese hasn’t convinced you to make or […]

    Gretchen @ Two Healthy Kitchens Oct 31, 2013

    Apple butter on grilled cheese?!?! Mind = blown. I love apples on pretty much every single thing, so why not?!? Seriously sounds amazing – can’t wait to see that recipe! 🙂

    My grandma used to make apple butter, but hasn’t made any for a few years. Now I can! Thank you!!

    That’s a lotta apples!! I sure hope you have one of those handy-dandy apple peeler/slicer/corer contraptions!

      Kelly Oct 31, 2013

      I don’t! I really should’ve bought one 🙁 I’ve spent a lot of hours peeling and coring over the weeks. Next year 🙂 Oct 19, 2013

    Apple butter = yummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

    Joanne Oct 19, 2013

    Apple butter is one of my favorite fall treats!! I’m totally jealous of your apple abundance!

    Em @ Love A Latte Oct 18, 2013

    Now I want grilled cheese with apple butter! Oh myyy goodness that sounds fun! 🙂

    cleaneatingveggiegirl Oct 18, 2013

    Is it weird that I have actually never tried apple butter?? I LOVE pumpkin butter, though, so I bet I would enjoy this!

      Kelly Oct 18, 2013

      You would LOVE apple butter! It’s even better than pumpkin butter. I could (and do) eat this with a spoon