Apple Butter


Try this homemade apple butter recipe this fall. Made with apple cider, tart apples, and cinnamon, canning apple butter has never been so tasty. Serve on toast or drizzled over dessert.

two bowls of oatmeal topped with nuts, dried fruit, and apple butter
Photo: Karla Conrad
Total Time:
1 hrs
3 pints or 6 half-pints


  • 4 ½ pound tart cooking apples (about 14 medium apples)

  • 3 cup apple cider or apple juice

  • 2 cup granulated sugar

  • 2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon


  1. Wash, core, and quarter apples. In an 8- or 10-quart heavy pot combine apples and cider or apple juice. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes or until apples are very tender, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching.

  2. Place a food mill or sieve over a large bowl. Ladle the cooked apples and the cooking liquid into the food mill and press the mixture into the bowl. If you don't have a food mill, place a large sieve over a large bowl. Use the back of the spoon to press the mixture into the bowl. Measure 7-1/2 cups of this mixture. If you have leftover apple mixture, simply chill and serve as applesauce.

  3. Return the apple mixture to the pot. Stir in the sugar, cinnamon, and lemon juice. Bring this mixture to boiling then reduce the heat. Cook, uncovered, over very low heat, about 1-1/2 to 1-3/4 hours or until the mixture is very thick. The mixture should be the consistency of very thick applesauce. Stir often to prevent the mixture from sticking to the bottom of the pot.

  4. To fill the jars, place a wide-mouth plastic funnel in a hot, clean jar. Ladle apple butter into the hot jar, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Remove the funnel; wipe off the jar rim with a clean, damp towel. (Any food left on the rim will prevent a perfect seal.) Position the prepared lid and screw band on the jar and tighten according to the manufacturer's directions.

  5. Place each jar into boiling water in hot-water canner as it is filled. Place the jars so they do not touch one another. Cover the canner. Begin processing time when the water returns to boiling. Process in a boiling-water canner for 5 minutes (start timing when water returns to boiling). Remove jars from canner; cool on wire racks. Makes 6 half-pints.

Canning Tip

When the jars have cooled, press the center of each lid to check the seal. If the dip in the lid holds, the jar is sealed. If the lid bounces up and down, the jar isn't sealed. Unsealed jars should be stored in the refrigerator and used within 2 weeks. Label the sealed jars with content and date. Store in a cool, dry place for up to 1 year.

To Freeze

Place pot in a sink filled with ice water to cool apple butter. Spoon cooled mixture into freezer containers, leaving 1/2-inch headspace for wide-top containers or 3/4-inch headspace for narrow-top containers. Seal, label, and freeze for up to 6 months. Apple butter may darken slightly on freezing

Tart Apples

Varieties that we recommend using for this spiced butter include Granny Smith, Cortland, Jonathan, Jonagold, and McIntosh.

Apple-Pear Butter

Prepare as directed, except substitute 2 lb. cored, quartered ripe pears for 2 lb. of the apples.

Caramel Apple Butter

Prepare as directed, except decrease granulated sugar to 1/2 cup and add 1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

28 Calories
7g Carbs
Nutrition Facts
Calories 28
% Daily Value *
Total Carbohydrate 7g 3%
Total Sugars 7g
Vitamin C 0.6mg 3%

*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

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