Homemade Stovetop Apple Butter Recipe

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How to make crisp apples and delicious spices into the best stovetop apple butter. Easy recipe for canning or freezer. Loads of cinnamon spiced flavor!

Just a couple of weeks ago, I gave you my favorite CrockPot apple butter recipe. I've had a lot of readers ask for a stovetop version of both that and my Instant Pot apple butter.

So, drumroll… I leave here my absolute best, most favorite apple butter recipe, stovetop edition.

stovetop apple butter in 8 ounce jelly jar with tiny wooden spoon

That's right; you don't need any special appliances to make this more traditional apple butter recipe. All you need is your stove and a stock pot or Dutch oven.

Now as I've mentioned before, I do highly recommend an apple peeler for easy stovetop apple butter. It just makes the job of coring, peeling, and slicing apples so much quicker and easier, as in 5 minutes compared to 30 minutes.

When I make homemade apple butter, I also like to add a secret ingredient, a splash of vanilla extract. It really adds to the flavor and gives it an even cozier feel than it already has.

blue Dutch oven with old-fashioned apple butter and wooden spoon

We'll talk all the details of this deliciously homemade cinnamon apple butter as we go along. But first…

WHERE CAN I FIND THE ACTUAL RECIPE CARD?

If you’d rather skip all of my apple butter making tips, important cooking info for this recipe, and similar recipe ideas – and get straight to the stovetop apple butter recipe – just scroll down to the bottom, where you’ll find a printable recipe card.

WHAT IS APPLE BUTTER?

Wikipedia says, “Apple butter is a highly concentrated form of apple sauce produced by long, slow cooking of apples with cider or water to a point where the sugar in the apples caramelizes, turning the apple butter a deep brown.”

Basically, this old-fashioned apple butter recipe is a mixture of apples and spices, very similar to canned applesauce and Instant Pot cinnamon applesauce, but a little sweeter, a little darker, and filled with cinnamon spice flavors.

gluten-free toast with homemade cinnamon apple butter on green Texas Ware saucer

For this recipe, we use spices like nutmeg, cloves, allspice, and cinnamon to really give it a delicious flavor.

INGREDIENTS YOU'LL NEED:

Remember, all of the ingredient amounts you’ll need are in the printable recipe card below.

KITCHEN TOOLS AND EQUIPMENT YOU'LL NEED:

Apple Peeler/Corer/Slicer – This kitchen tool is worth every penny we spent at the thrift store, but I’d order one brand new too. My advice is to go with the one that clamps to your tabletop versus the apple peeler with a suction cup.

Paring Knife and Cutting Board – for trimming off any worm holes or bad spots.

Stock Pot or Dutch Oven – I prefer to use my Dutch oven.

Immersion Blender or Potato Masher – A hand blender (or immersion blender) really allows you to get the texture or consistency that you want. It makes it easy to purée the apples when they've fully cooked, without having to take them out and put them in a food processor or blender. You can just blend them up right in your cooking pot. If you like your apple butter a bit chunky, a potato masher will work well too.

Jar Funnel for freezing or canning apple butter – This helps to pour the apple butter into the jars without spilling it all over the place.

Ladle or Funnel Pitcher – to pour the apple butter into the jars.

Jars – You can use 4-ounce jelly jars or pint jars. I’ve found 8-ounce jelly jars are just the right size for us with the amount of jam and apple butter we eat in about a month's time. If you already have jars, you may need new lids or a pack of lids and bands.

Water Bath Canner or Pressure Canner and Cooker

Sharpie and/or Jar Labels – so you can label your jars and know what it is and when you made this particular batch.

WHAT KIND OF APPLES SHOULD I USE FOR APPLE BUTTER?

There are certain types of apples that are sweeter and certain types of apples that have a more tart flavor. Galas and Fujis are sweeter with a slightly tart taste.

For this batch of apple butter, I used apples from my mom's apple tree, and we're not really sure what kind of apples they are. They're very crisp when they come off the tree, and they tend to turn a blush red and yellow-green color. They have amazing flavor, a little sweet and also a little tart.

traditional apple butter in jelly jar with tiny wooden spoon

When you're looking for the best apples for apple butter, you might keep an eye out for any of the following:

  • Jonathan – one of my favorites.
  • Jonagold – another one of my favorites.
  • Braeburn
  • Fuji – makes a delicious apple butter.
  • Gala – I've combined these with Fuji to make a really delicious apple butter.
  • McIntosh Red
  • Cortland
  • Winesap

HOW TO MAKE STOVETOP APPLE BUTTER

Before starting anything, it's important to wash your apples. I always soak mine in a vinegar/water bath for at least 10 minutes, then rinse.

Note: You'll need 4 pounds of apples.

It's also important to prep your jars for canning or freezing. So, that means washing, sterilizing, etc.

THEN JUST FOLLOW THESE STEPS…

  1. Core, peel, and slice the apples; again, an apple peeler for apple butter makes this step so easy. Cut out any worm holes or bad spots, as well. Note: While I do leave the peeling on when making applesauce, and you can do that for apple butter too, I chose not to for this recipe.
apple peeler for apple butter peeling, coring, and slicing apple on white countertop
  1. Put the sliced apples in your Dutch oven pan.
peeled and sliced apples for apple butter in blue Dutch oven
  1. Add molasses, sugar, brown sugar, spices, lemon juice, and vanilla extract to the apples.
adding molasses, cinnamon, sugar, brown sugar, and spices to sliced apples in blue Dutch oven
  1. Stir everything together well.
stirring apple butter ingredients in blue Dutch oven with wooden spoon
  1. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat; then reduce the heat to low and simmer, with the lid on the Dutch oven, for about an hour, or 'til the apples are softened and tender. How long it needs to cook will depend on the type and texture of your apples. If using a harder, crisper apple, it may take longer.
cooked apple butter in blue Dutch oven with wooden spoon
  1. Remove the lid, turn off the heat, and remove your Dutch oven from the stove. Allow the apple butter to cool for 5 to 10 minutes.
  2. Then using an immersion blender, blend the apples into smooth apple butter or 'til you reach the consistency/texture you want.
blending stovetop cinnamon apple butter in blue Dutch oven with immersion blender
  1. At this point, you can place the apple butter back on low heat on the stove, and cook uncovered for 30 minutes to 1 hour if you want it to thicken up more. I have never done this, but it is an option if you want a thicker consistency to your apple butter.

TIPS FOR FREEZING OR CANNING APPLE BUTTER

Using a jar funnel, pour the hot apple butter into each prepared jar… You can use a ladle, but I like to use my funnel pitcher to pour. It makes the process so much easier and cleaner too.

pouring easy stovetop apple butter from funnel pitcher into jelly jar using red jar funnel

Wipe the top rim of each jar with a wet towel or rag. Then place the lid on, and tighten the band.

Choose to can or freeze it…

  • You can freeze apple butter, but be sure to leave about a 1/2-inch gap at the top of each jar to allow for expansion in the freezer. Also, allow the jars to completely cool before placing in the freezer.
  • We prefer to use a hot water bath canning method (at least 15 minutes in a boiling hot water bath) to can the apple butter. If you choose to can it, Ball has wonderful Canning Guides to guide you through the process. You can also consult the Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving.
hot water bath canning jars of apple butter in water bath canner

Before you put your apple butter in the freezer or the pantry, be sure to write what it is and the year on the lid, so you know when you made it. There are plenty of options for pretty jar labels for apple butter, and you can even turn your home canned apple butter into holiday gifts or hostess gifts.

This recipe makes around 4-6 pints.

spoonful of old-fashioned apple butter over jelly jar with drips of apple butter on rim

WHAT TO DO WITH APPLE BUTTER

I really enjoy apple butter on my toast in the mornings with breakfast. It's also really delicious on Grandma's biscuits and Grandma's dinner rolls.

homemade apple butter spread on toast on green Texas Ware plate

My friend Heather actually adds apple butter to the meatloaf in her meatloaf sandwich recipe, and I want to try this; it sounds so delicious.

HOW LONG WILL APPLE BUTTER LAST?

  • Canned apple butter will last about 2 years on the shelf.
  • Frozen apple butter will last about 1 year in the freezer.
  • In the fridge, apple butter will last about 3 months.
canned apple butter in jelly jar with small wooden spoon

MORE APPLE RECIPES:

GET THE PRINTABLE RECIPE

If you love this stovetop cinnamon apple butter as much as I do, please write a 5 star review, and help me share the recipe on Facebook and Pinterest!

double image of stovetop apple butter with top image of small wooden spoon in jar of apple butter and bottom image of wooden spoon stirring homemade apple butter in blue Dutch oven

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Yield: 128

Homemade Stovetop Apple Butter Recipe

Homemade Stovetop Apple Butter Recipe

How to make crisp apples and delicious spices into the best stovetop apple butter. Easy recipe for canning or freezer. Loads of cinnamon spiced flavor!

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Canning Time 15 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 15 minutes

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Before starting anything, it's important to wash your apples. I always soak mine in a vinegar/water bath for at least 10 minutes, then rinse. It's also important to prep your jars for canning or freezing. So, that means washing, sterilizing, etc.
  2. Core, peel*, and slice the apples; again, an apple peeler for apple butter makes this step so easy. Cut out any worm holes or bad spots, as well.
  3. Put the sliced apples in your Dutch oven pan.
  4. Add molasses, sugar, brown sugar, spices, lemon juice, and vanilla extract to the apples.
  5. Stir everything together well.
  6. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat; then reduce the heat to low and simmer, with the lid on the Dutch oven, for about an hour, or 'til the apples are softened and tender.*
  7. Remove the lid, turn off the heat, and remove your Dutch oven from the stove. Allow the apple butter to cool for 5 to 10 minutes.
  8. Then using an immersion blender, blend the apples into smooth apple butter or 'til you reach the consistency/texture you want.
  9. At this point, you can place the apple butter back on low heat on the stove, and cook uncovered for 30 minutes to 1 hour if you want it to thicken up more. I have never done this, but it is an option if you want a thicker consistency to your apple butter.
  10. Using a jar funnel, pour the hot apple butter into each prepared jar. You can use a ladle, but I like to use my funnel pitcher to pour.
  11. Wipe the top rim of each jar with a wet towel or rag. Then place the lid on, and tighten the band.
  12. You can freeze apple butter, but be sure to leave about a 1/2-inch gap at the top of each jar to allow for expansion in the freezer. Also, allow the jars to completely cool before placing in the freezer.
  13. We prefer to use a hot water bath canning method to can the apple butter, immersing the closed jars in boiling water for at least 15 minutes. If you choose to can it, Ball has wonderful Canning Guides to guide you through the process. You can also consult the Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving.
  14. Before you put your apple butter in the freezer or the pantry, be sure to write what it is and the year on the lid, so you know when you made it.

Notes

*While I do leave the peeling on when making  applesauce, and you can do that for apple butter too, I chose not to for this recipe.

*How long it needs to cook will depend on the type and texture of your apples. If using a harder, crisper apple, it may take longer.

WHAT KIND OF APPLES SHOULD I USE FOR APPLE BUTTER?

There are certain types of apples that are sweeter and certain types of apples that have a more tart flavor. Galas and Fujis are sweeter with a slightly tart taste.

For this batch of apple butter, I used apples from my mom's apple tree, and we're not really sure what kind of apples they are. They're very crisp when they come off the tree, and they tend to turn a blush red and green color. They have amazing flavor, a little sweet and also a little tart.

When you're looking for the best apples for apple butter, you might keep an eye out for any of the following:

  • Jonathan – one of my favorites.
  • Jonagold – another one of my favorites.
  • Braeburn
  • Fuji – makes a delicious apple butter.
  • Gala – I've combined these with Fuji to make a really delicious apple butter.
  • McIntosh Red
  • Cortland
  • Winesap

HOW LONG WILL APPLE BUTTER LAST?

  • Canned apple butter will last about 2 years on the shelf.
  • Frozen apple butter will last about 1 year in the freezer.
  • In the fridge, apple butter will last about 3 months.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

128

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 15Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 1mgCarbohydrates: 4gFiber: 0gSugar: 3gProtein: 0g

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