Apple Butter Recipe For Canning (Stovetop)

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This apple butter recipe is easy to put together and easy to preserve for months by canning in a water bath canner. This apple butter recipe is made on the stovetop and takes less time than in a crockpot.


When my neighbor told me to head to his property with buckets for picking apples I didn’t argue.

I piled the kids in the car, each of them equipped with a five-gallon bucket, and off we went.

We came back home with a whole lot of apples!

What’s a homesteader to do with a huge harvest of local apples? Well, there is a whole lot that can be done of course!

Apple Butter Recipe For Canning…

This apple butter recipe for canning is made on the stovetop. It's smooth and buttery and sweet. It's easy to preserve for months by canning it. This tutorial will show you how to make apple butter on the stovetop and can it!

I dried some apples in the oven just as a fun snack, I used many of the apples in my apple cake that I make for the farmer’s market every Saturday, And I canned some of the apples in light syrup.

Yet, I was left with a huge amount of apples.

For some reason, I didn’t feel like making and canning apple sauce this year so I decided instead to make apple butter.

This apple butter recipe is simple to make however when it comes to apple butter, or any kind of fruit butter for that matter, we are talkin’ low and slow…

It takes a long time to cook apple butter but it’s totally worth it!

Stovetop or Crockpot?

You can make apple butter on the stovetop or in the crockpot. The crockpot method might be bit more popular, but I made this batch of apple butter on the stovetop.

In the crockpot, it will take around 30 hours for the apple butter to cook. The crockpot is able to hold a very low temperature that is sometimes hard to reach on the stovetop.

On the stovetop, it might take up to 10 hours for the apple butter to cook.

Some will say that apple butter that is made on the stovetop is not as creamy as apple butter made in the crockpot but I disagree. The way that I make my apple butter produces a butter just as creamy.

On the stovetop, we cut the time, however, we have to supervise the butter a bit closer. It’s better to use a heavy bottom pot to make sure the apples are cooked evenly (a cast iron pot like a dutch oven works well), and a lot of stirring is involved.

But, at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter. You can take this recipe and make it in the crockpot as well if you wish.

Best Apples For Apple Butter…

In order to make apple butter, we first need to make applesauce so the best apples to use to make apple butter will be the same as for applesauce.

Feel free to use any apple variety that you come by but generally speaking, it’s better to choose a sweet variety (So… Not Granny Smith).

It really doesn’t matter what variety of apples you choose, they can be red apples or green apples or even crabapples.

Make sure though, that the apples that you choose are ripe, juicy, and sweet.

If you find a variety with softer, “sandier” texture like Golden delicious for example, that’s even better but not really mandatory. We are going to cook and puree the apples with an immersion blender anyway.

Making This Apple Butter Recipe Your Own…

You can follow my apple butter stovetop recipe exactly or you can change it and make it your own.

If you’d like, you can add a bit of stevia or molasses instead of sugar, or you can use nothing. Apples are sweet enough, the added sugar just helps preserve the color of the apple butter for a longer period.

Or, you can add a different amount of sugar…

To make apple butter, add 1/2 cup of sugar for every 1 pound of apples that you are processing. You can add less or a little more (but not much more).

Another popular addition to apple butter is apple cider vinegar (or you can use apple scrap vinegar). Feel free to substitute some of the water with apple vinegar, it adds a little tang to the sweetness.

Another option is apple juice instead of some of the water.

As far as seasonings, there is a lot of room to play here. Add allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon, clove, salt… Or any other fall spices that you wish.

In this recipe, I processed 8 pounds of apples with 4 cups of sugar, some water, and cinnamon and clove (no vinegar for me). I got 13 half-pint jars.

Tools That We Are Going to Need…

Cutting board, knife, and peeler (or an apple peeler, corer gadget) – if I’m going to keep processing this amount of apples every fall, I’ll be buying a nice apple peeler/corer for sure. It cuts on prep time considerably!

Right now, I’m just using a vegetable peeler and a knife to dice my apples.

Large bowl – to store the apples as we work on peeling and dicing them.

Kitchen scale – we are going to weight the apples so we know how much sugar to add.

Large pot – I used a large stockpot because I processed a large number of apples, if you are processing fewer apples use a smaller pot. Make sure it’s a heavy bottom pot.

Wooden spoon – to stir and stir and stir…

Measuring cup – to measure water and sugar.

Immersion blender – to make apple sauce and smooth the butter!

Jars, lids, and bands – I prefer canning apple butter in half-pint jars but you can also use pint or quarts. With apple butter, it’s better to use straight-walled jars because it’s easier to remove air bubbles from them.

Canning utensils – we are going to use all of them. We’ll also need a paper towel to clean the rim of the jar.

Ladle – to fill the jars with the apple butter.

Water bath canner – to process the jars if you decide to can your apple butter.

Stovetop Apple Butter Recipe…

A bowl of locally picked apples.

If I remember correctly, the apples that we picked were Red Delicious apples. I started with about 10 pounds of apples…

Preparing the apples for apple butter.

We prepare the apples for apple butter the same way that we prepare them for applesauce. First, peel your apples. Then, remove the core. I quarter my apples. Then, I place my knife on an angle and cut the core out.

Dicing the apples.

Then, I dice my apples and add them to a large bowl.

A huge bowl of diced apples.

Next, we want to weight the apples. Don’t worry about the weight of the bowl, it doesn’t really matter. I ended up with 8 pounds of apples.

I add 1/2 cup of sugar per 1 pound of apples so now I know that I need 4 cups of sugar. It’s an easy calculation and one that will allow you to process as many apples as you come by.

Adding water and apples to a pot.

Add the apples to a large pot, and add 2 cups of water. The water will ensure that we don’t burn the apples and it will help them start cooking.

Bringing the apples and water to a boil.

Turn the heat to medium-high and bring the apples to a simmer, stirring frequently…

Blending the apples into a sauce.

After about 30 minutes, the apples will be soft enough to puree.

Remove the pot from the heat and let it sit for a minute. Then use the immersion blender to puree the apples into an applesauce.

Adding sugar to the applesauce.

Add four cups of sugar…

Seasoning the apple sauce.

Four teaspoons of cinnamon and one teaspoon of ground clove and stir.

Cooking the applesauce.

Now, turn the heat to low (very low), and place the pot back on the heat. Cover the pot but leave the lid slightly open to allow moisture to escape.

Apple sauce can be a mean thing! It bubbles and “explodes” in your face. From now on, every time that you want to stir your applesauce, which is going to slowly turn into apple butter, REMOVE THE POT from the heat first. Let it sit for a minute and then uncover, stir, cover, and return to the heat.

Cooking and mixing the apple butter.

Now it’s all a matter of cooking it down. Depending on the variety of apples that you used and the amount of moisture in them, this can take 4 hours, 6 hours, or 10 hours…

Apple butter after cooking for hours.

Just keep cooking on low heat, and every thirty minutes or so remove the pot from the heat, let it sit for a minute and then stir. Return it to the heat and cook some more.

If for some reason you need to leave the house or go to bed for the night, feel free to turn the heat off. When you come back or in the morning, you can turn the heat back on and keep cooking.

Blending the apple butter again.

The apple butter will keep thickening until you have a rich, dark, thick spread. This is when you know that it’s done.

Now, to make it extra smooth and creamy, I use my immersion blender again here. When the apple butter is done cooking, I remove the pot from the heat and let it rest for a few minutes.

Then I use the immersion blender one more time before I can my apple butter. This will give you an extra smooth apple butter!

Canning Apple Butter…

Filling the jars with apple butter.

Once the apple butter is ready it’s very easy to can it (it will last a few weeks in the fridge, but it is very easy to can if you want to free some fridge space).

Fill your water bath canner with enough water to cover your jars by about an inch.

You don’t really have to sanitize the jars but since I set the water bath canner on the stovetop to heat the water I simply place the jars on the rack in it.

Once the water in the canner is boiling, I let it boil for five minutes to sanitize the jars.

If you choose to not sanitize your jars that’s fine. Just make sure to wash them with hot water and soap before you fill them.

Fill the jars with the hot apple butter (using the funnel and a ladle), leaving 1/2 inch headspace.

It’s important to remove any air bubbles, so make sure to use your bubble remover and slide it along the inside of the jar. This is easier if you use straight-sided jars.

Cleaning the rim of the jar.

Then, use a clean paper towel to clean the rim of the jar…

Covering and closing the jar before processing in water bath.

Before centering the lid and closing the jar with the band.

Getting ready to process the jars of apple butter.

Keep filling the jars and setting them on the rack until they are all filled.

Then, lower the rack into the boiling water, cover the pot, and process half-pint and pint jars for 5 minutes and quart jars for 10 minutes.

If you live in an altitude above 1000 feet in elevation, adjust your processing time according to the table above.

Letting the jars cool overnight.

Once processing time is up, turn the heat off and uncover the canner. Let the jars hang in the hot water for 5 more minutes before removing them from the canner.

Set them on a towel on the kitchen counter and let them cool completely overnight.

Storing Apple Butter…

Getting ready to store the apple butter.

In the morning, check that all of your jars have sealed by pressing the center of each jar. If there is no movement there it means that the jar sealed and is ready for storage.

I wipe my jars and remove the band. It’s easier for me to see what’s going on inside the jars without the band in the way and I can use the band to can something else.

You can store your apple butter in the pantry or in a kitchen cabinet. It will last 12-18 months but I personally try to use all of my canned goods within a year.

Serving Apple Butter…

Serving apple butter.

This apple butter is an amazing way to start the day! It pairs very well with toast and your morning coffee.

But you can also use your apple butter in many other recipes. Here are a few ideas…

Apple Butter Roasted Chicken – because chicken and apple butter go together so well.

Apple Butter Bars – simple and moist, covered with a delicious frosting.

Apple Butter Overnight Oats – a filling and healthy snack.

Double Apple Carmel Bundt Cake – apples, caramel, and apple butter partying together.

Apple Butter Bacon Scones – because apple butter and bacon are best friends.

Sausage Apple Butter Pasta – well, yes. Apple butter goes very well with sausage as well!

These are just a few. I hope that these recipes will give you an idea of were to start, but the options for using apple butter are endless. It’s truly a great ingredient to have on hand.


It takes some time to make apple butter but it’s totally worth it. The creaminess and sweet apple flavor is a great way to welcome fall and the apple harvest season.

If you happen to find yourself with a huge amount of apples, making apple butter is a great way to cook down all those apples into a delicious butter that is very easy to preserve and has endless uses.

Apple butter is also a great addition to any holiday gift basket (just like persimmon jam)! Add a nice label to the jar or a colorful string and anyone will be more than happy to receive this delicious dish.

If you liked this post, make sure to check these as well…

Cranberry Apple Jam

Apple and Plum Jam Recipe

Peach Jam Recipe

Low Sugar Cantaloupe Jam

Low Sugar Fig Jam

Apple Butter Recipe For Canning

Apple Butter Recipe For Canning

Yield: 13 half-pint
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 8 hours
Total Time: 8 hours 20 minutes

This apple butter recipe for canning is done on the stovetop. It's simple, sweet, creamy, and delicious.

Ingredients

  • 8 pounds of apples, peeled, cored, and diced (I started with 10 pounds of apples).
  • 2 cups of water (see notes for possible substitutions)
  • 4 cups of sugar
  • 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground clove

Instructions

  1. Add apples and water to a heavy-bottomed pot. Turn the heat to medium-high and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 30 minutes stirring frequently.
  2. Remove the pot from the heat and let it rest for a minute. Use an immersion blender to puree the apples into an apple sauce. Add the sugar, cinnamon, and clove and stir them in.
  3. Turn the heat to low and return the pot to the heat. Cover the pot but leave the lid slightly open to allow moisture to escape.
  4. Cook your applesauce on low heat until it becomes a rich, thick, and dark apple butter (paste consistency). This can take anywhere from 4 hours to 10 hours depending on the variety of apples that you used.
    Stir your apple butter every 30 minutes to an hour.
    Make sure to REMOVE THE POT from the heat before you uncover and stir. The thick sauce bubbles and "explodes". Take the pot off of the heat, let it rest for a minute, then uncover, stir, cover, and return to the heat.
    If at any point you need to leave the house or go to bed, feel free to turn the heat off and keep cooking when you return.
  5. When your apple butter is ready, remove the pot from the heat and let it rest for a few minutes. Then use the immersion blender once more to blend the butter into an even smoother paste (this step is optional).
  6. To can your apple butter, fill your water bath canner with enough water to cover your jars by about an inch. Set the canner on the stovetop and turn the heat to high. Bring the water to a boil.
  7. Wash your jars well with warm water. Use the canning funnel and a ladle to fill the jars leaving 1/2 inch headspace.
  8. Use the bubble remover to remove air bubbles from the jar by running it along the inside of the jar. This is important and is easier to do if you use straight-sided jars.
  9. Use a damp paper towel to clean the rim of the jar before centering the lid and closing the jar with the band.
  10. Set your filled jars on the rack of the canner. Once they are all filled, lower the rack into the boiling water and process half-pints and pint jars for five minutes (adjust processing time according to the table in the notes).
  11. Turn the heat off and uncover the pot. Let the jars rest in the hot water for five minutes before removing them. Set the jars on a kitchen towel on the counter. Let them cool completely overnight before storing them in the pantry.

Notes

If you live above 1000 feet in elevation, make sure to adjust processing time according to the table below...

Make this apple butter your own...

If you'd like, you can add a bit of stevia or molasses instead of sugar, or you can use nothing. Apples are sweet enough, the added sugar just helps preserve the apple butter for a longer period. 

Or, you can add a different amount of sugar...

To make apple butter, add 1/2 cup of sugar for every 1 pound of apples that you are processing. You can add less or a little more (but not much more). 

Another popular addition to apple butter is apple cider vinegar (or you can use apple scrap vinegar). Feel free to substitute some of the water with apple vinegar, it adds a little tang to the sweetness. 

Another option is apple juice instead of some of the water.

As far as seasonings, there is a lot of room to play here. Add allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon, clove, salt... Or any other fall spices that you wish. 

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 208 Serving Size: 1 tablespoon
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 24Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 0mgCarbohydrates: 6gFiber: 0gSugar: 6gProtein: 0g

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