Apple butter used to seem like a delicacy, reserved for special festivals and events. I grew up thinking apple butter must be extremely time-consuming to make or involve too much work since we never made it. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen it made (and let me know down below in the comments section if you have!), but at fall festivals they usually show a large cast-iron pot being stirred for hours as apples, sugar, and spices are cooked until they reach the perfect consistency. Honestly, this is how I thought you had to make this apple spread – I guess I was a little naive.
As I started researching how to make apple butter, the recipes that kept catching my eye all used slow cookers to steadily cook the butter for hours. This opened up a whole new world for me! Making a simple and quick apple butter with hardly any work that I can walk away from as it cooks – uhhh… what more could I ask for?!
This almost sounds too good to be true, but it really does come together to create the perfect recipe for slow cooker apple butter. As the apples simmer for hours, your house will be filled with the aroma of cinnamon and sugar. And when it’s all done cooking, you’re left with a thick and delicious apple butter.
For the perfect bread to complement this apple butter (shown in the above pictures), make sure to try my bread recipe!
Ideas for how to use this apple butter recipe:
This year, I froze all of the spread I made and am super excited to use it with:
- Pork chops
- Homemade breads – yeah, the combo of homemade butter and homemade bread will make you a self-sufficient guru!
- As a mix-in for a fall-themed latte
When you make this recipe, leave me a comment letting me know how it turned out for you. Also, give the recipe a star rating so I know your level of enthusiasm!
Slow Cooker Apple Butter
- 4 qt apples sliced
- 2 ¾ cups brown sugar
- 2 ¾ tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp ground cloves
- 1 star anise pod (optional)
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- ¼ tsp salt
- Wash, peel, and take out the seeds from the apples. Slice thinly. Measure out four quarts of apples. Pour all apples into slow cooker.
- Add sugar, cinnamon, cloves, anise pod, salt, and lemon juice. Stir to incorporate everything.
- Turn slow cooker on high for 4-5 hours. After the first hour, remove the star anise pod, if added. Every hour, stir the apples.
- Once the mixture is bubbling and cooking well (after approximately 4-5 hours), turn the slow cooker to low and leave for 10-12 hours. I usually do this in the evening so it can sit on the low setting overnight.
- After ten hours, start checking the slow cooker. Stir mixture using a strong wire whisk or hand potato masher to break up the apples.
- Once the butter is the consistency desired, use a blender, food processor, or immersion blender to break down the rest of the apples to achieve an even consistency.
- Let cool. Freeze or can the mixture.
- Remember that apples contain a large amount of water and will cook down considerably. They also vary a lot in how they cook. My apples had a lot of liquid in them so I needed to give them 2 extra hours on high (with the lid off) to make sure my apple butter turned out as thick as I wanted.