This easy Slow Cooker Apple Butter is made with apples, brown sugar, and lots of spice, and cooked long and slow for ultimate, super-concentrated, spiced apple flavor and thick, spreadable texture!
Are you even doing apple season right if you don't make apple butter in your slow cooker? It's the perfect way to use up lots of apples and tastes and smells like fall.
In this post - Everything you need to make perfect Slow Cooker Apple Butter:
In this Slow Cooker Apple Butter recipe, fresh apples are slow cooked with spices, brown sugar, and vanilla, for hours and hours, until meltingly soft, sweet. Then they are blended until smooth, then reduced until they become a thick, rich, spreadable, mahogany brown-colored apple butter that is basically screaming to be dolloped and spread over anything and everything.
Fluffy sliced bread, check. Pancakes, check. Oatmeal, check. Yogurt, check. Toast, Rounding out your vegan cheese board…Uh huh!
Here is what you need at a glance, along with some ingredient notes and substitution suggestions:
- Apples - Such as Mcintosh, Braeburn, Golden Delicious, Fuji, Red Delicious or Gala. The variety doesn't matter too much, although I prefer to use a couple of different ones because I think it makes for a better-tasting, more balanced apple butter. The only apples I don't recommend using are Granny Smith and Bramley unless you particularly enjoy their tartness.
- Sugar - I use dark brown sugar for the rich molasses flavor, and lovely color it gives the apple butter. You can use light brown if you prefer, or even half sugar and half maple syrup. For refined sugar-free and sugar-free options see the FAQs.
- Spices - I love the combination of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and vanilla extract, but you could experiment with pumpkin spice, apple pie spice, allspice, and ginger too.
- Apple cider vinegar - For balance and brightness. It intensifies the flavor and gives a very slight tang. Lemon juice is a great alternative.
Got lots of pears? This recipe will work really well with them too!
How To Make Slow Cooker Apple Butter
Can't wait to make it? The full printable recipe is below, but first, let me walk you through each step and show you some photos so you can have success when it’s your turn to make my Crockpot Apple Butter recipe! (No slow cooker? Give my Stovetop Apple Butter or Instant Pot Apple Butter a try instead).
Add everything except the vanilla to your slow cooker. Cook on low for 10 hours.
At the end of that time, it will look something like this:
Blend with an immersion blender.
Continue cooking with the lid off until the apple butter has reduced and thickened.
Turn off then add the vanilla before transferring to containers.
Success Tip - If you can, give your apple butter a few days to age before you enjoy it. A little time allows everything to mellow and meld together and the flavor will be way better.
Use your Crock Pot Apple Butter in the same way you would any other fruit jam or spread. Here are some ideas:
- On freshly baked sourdough, wholewheat bread, or no yeast bread.
- On toast, sweet potato biscuits, apple muffins, and English muffins.
- Dolloped on pancakes and waffles.
- Swirled through oatmeal, vegan yogurt, or ice cream.
- In cozy hot drinks and cocktails.
- Instead of pumpkin puree or applesauce in recipes.
- In grilled cheese sandwiches or with vegan cheese and crackers and on cheese/charcuterie boards. It's especially good with Miyoko's sharp cheddar!
- Tossed through veggies like squash and Brussels sprouts before roasting.
- As a glaze for vegan ham or chicken.
- Make apple butter BBQ sauce. Use my vegan BBQ sauce recipe and switch out half of the ketchup for apple butter. Or mix some apple butter with store-bought BBQ sauce.
- In pies, cakes, and hand pies.
- For gifting in a pretty jar with a ribbon!
Storing Slow Cooker Apple Butter
Store apple butter in a sealed container in the fridge for up to one month or freeze for up to 1 year. It can also be canned but this isn't something I have personal experience of. Ball Mason Jars Canning and Preserving Guide would be a great place to start for expert information on all things canning.
See my Instant Pot Apple Butter recipe for details.
See my Stovetop Apple Butter recipe for details.
I like to peel them, but you don't have to. By the time the apples are slow-cooked and the apple butter has been blended you probably won't notice the skins much anyway.
Yes you can. Switch the sugar for maple syrup or a few pitted Medjool dates. Artificial sweetener will also work, and no sugar or sweetener at all will also work. All of these options will mean you will need to reduce the apple butter for longer to get a nice, thick, texture, and of course they will change the flavor and appearance of the finished apple butter.
A little acid from apple cider vinegar adds brightness and works to balance and intensify the flavor of the apple butter.
More Slow Cooker Recipes
If you try this recipe, let me know how you like it by leaving a comment and rating below! And be sure to join my mailing list for more deliciousness!
Slow Cooker Apple ButterAuthor:
- Add everything to your slow cooker. Stir then put the lid on. (It will fit comfortably in a 6 quart. If you have a smaller slow cooker scale the recipe down accordingly).
- Cook on low for about 10 hours, until dark brown, soft, and fragrant.
- Remove the lid and blend the apple mixture with an immersion blender until smooth. Be careful because it will be very hot.
- With the lid off, continue cooking the apple butter for a further 2 hours or so, stirring occasionally. During this time it will reduce and thicken. You are looking for it to be a really rich mahogany brown color, and to be really thick. It should look almost like caramel. The longer you cook it the thicker and richer it will become. To test it's ready dollop out a spoonful onto a plate. Leave it to cool for a few minutes then scrape it back up onto the spoon. If you turn the spoon upside down it should stay there and not fall off immediately.
- Once ready, turn the slow cooker off and spoon the apple butter into clean and dry containers or jars.