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Spiced Apple Butter (Crock Pot)

What is a girl to do when she has 25 apples to use up and very little free time?

Apple butter–easy, smooth, warmly spiced, sweet, and tangy.  It’s heaven in a crock pot. 

It takes a long time in the crock pot (mine was a full day and night–probably around 20 hours!) but you don’t need to babysit it at all, so it’s a piece of cake.

Apple Butter (makes 3-4 pints)

  • about 10 lbs of apples (I had 20-something small and medium apples, all different varieties)
  • 2-3 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 t freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 t ground cloves
  • 1 C water
  • sugar to taste (optional)

First off, peel the apples.  I’m proud to report that I peeled 24 or 25 apples in 19 minutes, and several of those apples without breaking the peel.  You know what I mean?  One long spiral of peel for an entire apple.

I know.  I was impressed, too.

Core the apples and roughly slice them (again, I strongly suggest you get those apple corer/slicer deals–it’ll only cost you a few bucks but it’s so helpful! I use mine every day!).  Dump them all in the crock pot, top with the spices and water, cover, and cook on high for an hour or two.

I couldn’t fit all my apples in the crock pot at once, so I let the first half cook down a bit then crammed the rest in there.  The apples will reduce by a lot, so you’ll have room!

Turn the crock pot down to low, and cook (I left it covered) for 8 hours, during which time I went to class.  Once I came back, I put the crock pot down to low again (it turns off automatically), and removed the cinnamon sticks.  We had a lot of young, green apples, so my apple butter needed a little sugar–I added half a cup.  If you have sweeter apples, it may not be necessary at all to add any.  Totally up to you.  I propped the lid open with a knife and went to bed.  In the morning, my every apple butter dream had come true.

Toast magic!

I put some into jars to keep (and maybe give away–we’ll see!), and the rest in the freezer.  You can process these jars to seal and store them, but I think that in order to do this safely, there should probably be a higher sugar content.  You could always do a little more research if you want to go that route.

I also had some in my giant bowl of steel-cut oats this morning, with some wheat germ and ground flaxseed.  I was full for a good four hours, which felt great since I was back at my clinical playing with the cutest kids ever all day.

What can you use apple butter for?  On toast, in oatmeal, in yogurt, mixed in a green monster, with your cereal, in baked goods, scooped up with fruit, and eaten with a spoon.  Since you probably won’t be able to resist (I sure couldn’t!).

How gorgeous is that dark brown apple butter?

The spices were a perfect balance–no overwhelming cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice taste, but just enough to fill me with glee about the continuing fall weather.

Fall…I love you.

Here’s our CSA box for the week!  Another small one, but they should be getting bigger soon.  So sad that week 17 is already here and we only have 9 left–I’m definitely going to miss it. 

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.fullmeasureofhappiness.com/2011/09/22/spiced-apple-butter-crock-pot/

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  1. breanna

    oh mah gosh girl, looks delish!! I wish I could taste it! XO

  2. Shauna

    Yum! And no food mill needed, right?
    I found this about canning “reduced sugar apple butter” http://www.uga.edu/nchfp/how/can_02/apple_butter_reduced.html
    Their recipe is with sucralose, which I don’t think does anything to help the canning process. The apples are acidic enough. I just canned applesauce (safely) without any added sugar.

    1. Lauren Zietsman

      No food mill needed! You could use one if you wanted it to be smoother:) If I make this again I’ll definitely try canning

  3. Clarissa

    This looks amazing!

  4. Deb @ knitstamatic

    Apple butter is one of my all time favorites but never thought to make my own. That may be about to change.

    1. Lauren Zietsman

      This was my first time making it, too, and I definitely suggest you try it!

  5. Lauren

    How easy is that? I am totally in love with this idea!

  6. florence

    Welcome home! Your new web site is beautiful.Always happy to read you and cook your recipes (tomorrow it is roasted carrots).Thank you for everything.Florence.

  7. debbie losier

    hi I can’t seem to get subscribed in I really enjoy this site so please send me daily your blogs thank you so much have a great day

    1. Lauren Zietsman

      Did you try entering your email address into the suscribe box? It should work, but it might not look exactly the same as the last website!

  8. Mercedes

    I wonder if this cooks the apples enough for me to eat it. I have oral allergy syndrome which, because I’m allergic to Birch trees and apples (and most fruits) when they’re raw. Maybe I’ll try it and see… if not, I’ll just give it to my coworkers!

  9. Meg

    What a great idea to use the crockpot for jamming! Thanks for sharing!

    I made this yesterday…well at least I used the crock-pot method. I didn’t peel my apples, because I’m lazy. Which means I had to use a food processor to break down the skins. I wanted a more complex flavor so I made a few adjustments which included using orange juice and and the rind of 1 orange mixed with 2 oz. of bourbon in lieu of water. Instead of sugar I opted to use molasses and honey for the sweetener.

    I brought the mixture up to high in my crock pot (which is simmering) before canning it in a 10minute hot water bath. And everyone is raving about it.

    1. Lauren Zietsman

      Ummm wow that sounds so good! Specially the bourbon and orange and molasses combo!

  10. Rachel (teacher-chef)

    I LOVE Apple Butter and grew up knowing how HARD it was to make it (constantly stirring over a fire the old fashioned way). I decided that after apple picking this year I was going to make my own – well after less than 30 minutes of prep time I have this sitting on the counter and cannot wait until tomorrow afternoon to enjoy it (and sneak a taste along the way for quality control).

    This recipe looks perfect with great photos and instructions – awesome (and I will be linking back once I finish mine)

  11. Theresa Dansin

    Love this recipe, and seems so easy to do, I can’t wait to try it. I made applesauce this season, but didn’t think of apple butter.

  12. Tonya

    How long do they stay good in the freezer? Thanks

    1. Lauren Zietsman

      should last a couple of months at least!

    2. Heather Reed

      from experience – apple butter in the freezer will be good up to a year AS LONG AS, you pack it properly and remove the air. We do this with Apple sauce and butter often. Never had a problem as long as we either 1) use individual freezer bags or 2) **our method** use quart storage bags and squeeze the air out, then store in 1 large freezer bag. I try to put 2 cups of apple butter or sauce per bag.

      1. Lauren Zietsman

        thanks Heather! :)

  13. Aimee @ Chickenville

    I never thought about putting it in our oatmeal. I’m gonna have to try this because I love the two separate, so why not together??? Genius. I love making apple butter in the crock pot. It’s easy and what a taste. I have also made pear butter the same way. After you are done, it’s taste very similar to the apple butter. We go apple picking and I always ask for the “seconds” that are perfect for this recipe, because they don’t need to look good. I love to serve mine on cinnamon bread, here’s the recipe I use for the cinnamon bread…

    http://fromchapelhilltochickenville.blogspot.com/2010/11/crock-pot-apple-butter-with-cinnamon.html

  14. Hannah Naczi

    Trying this today – went to get more honeycrisp apples, and all they had was a full bushel of “drops” (that look great) for $15. Now I’m overrun with apples…..

  15. Nell

    Where do you purchase an inexpensive food mill?

  16. Katy

    I can’t find cinnamon sticks in our local grocery store, we only have 1 store locally, I live in the boonies. Would ground cinnamon work? If so how much? Thank you!

  17. Kelsey

    Tried your recipe today and it turned out fabulous! I was wondering how long you think the slow cooker was on for (since you said it automatically turns off) both closed and then cracked open? I did a small batch (7 or 8 apples) and was afraid to leave it overnight since it had already gotten pretty dark and thick. I didn’t want to ruin it! I’m planning on getting more apples to do a bigger batch since we like it, but would like a better idea of cook time. Thanks!

  18. Krist

    I’d like to know how much cinnamon I could use as well.

  19. Dontoya Willett

    Looks good ill make this

  20. Melanie

    Sorry but why do you need to prop the lid open?

  21. Twisted Mommy

    Sounds and looks amazing! I am definitely going to try this.

  22. Christi Simone Nail

    Question: when you said you left the lid propped with a knife over night, did you leave the crock pot on?

    1. Lauren Zietsman

      Yes, I did!

  23. Anita

    It helps to thicken it up and reduce some of the liquid. And yes you leave the crock pot on.

  24. Binta

    Does Apple butter taste like cinnamon apple sauce?

    1. Lauren Zietsman

      kind of, but thicker and more cooked-tasting, if that makes sense

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