Apple Butter

posted by Andrea | 09/27/2010

Have you ever tried apple butter? If not, you are missing out on one of life’s greated condiments! OK, well maybe that’s a little extreme, but take it from someone who loves apples as much as I do — which is a lot — this recipe is to die for!

If you’ve never tried apple butter, let me inform you about it’s deliciousness:

  • To date, this is the best recipe I’ve found.
  • There is no butter in Apple Butter!
  • Apple butter gets it’s name from it’s silky-smooth, buttery consistency {or so I’m told}
  • Apple butter is very versatile; I use it on everything from toast and bagels to ham sandwiches, pork chops, and even pork tenderloin.
  • It makes great gifts, especially packaged with a loaf of cinnamon bread.
  • It’s really easy to make…but it does take lots of stirring.

Fall is the perfect time of year to make this delectable treat —  and if you keep your windows closed, your house will be filled with the sweet smell of apples and cinnamon for the next few days!


  • 4 lbs. of good cooking apples (I like using Granny Smith, Gala, or a mixture of apples)
  • 1 c. apple cider vinegar
  • 2 c. water
  • 4 c. sugar (approximate — see #3 below)
  • Dash of salt
  • 2 t. cinnamon
  • 1 t. allspice
  • 1/2 t. ground cloves


1. Wash and quarter apples (no need to peal or core them). Put apples in a large pot with vinegar and water. Cover and bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until apples are very soft

2. Ladle apple mixture into a foodmill or chinois sieve. Collect apple puree in a large bowl or container.

3. Measure the puree and add 1/2 cup of sugar for every 1 cup of apple puree. Stir to dissolve sugar.

4. Add salt, cinnamon, allspice, and cloves. Taste and adjust spices as necessary.

5. Cook mixture uncovered in a large, wide pan; stirring to make sure the bottom doesn’t burn. {You’ll probably have to stir for about at least an hour, or until it gets nice and thick}

6. Ladle mixture into hot, sterilized jam jars using the “Fill & Flip Method” (or you can freeze the jars)

Fill & Flip Method:

  • Fill several jam jars with boiling water; allow them to sit for a few minutes
  • Taking one jar at a time; quickly pour boiling water out and ladle the hot apple butter into the jar
  • Fill each jar to within a 1/2 inch of the top
  • Place a sterilized lid on each jar and seal it with a ring
  • Turn jars up-side-down and let sit for 5 minutes
  • After 5 minutes, flip jars over and wait for them to seal (you’ll hear a “pop” and the center of the lid with be indented a bit)

7. Let the jars sit for 24 hours, then wash and label them and store in a cool dry place for as long as they lasts — which won’t be long!

A Few More Resources:

If you are looking to “cut a few corners” to make the process go a bit quicker, here are a few other recipes you can try out. However, I can’t guarantee they will be as delicious as my recipe!

What is your favorite way to eat apple butter?

Visit my virtual recipe box for more simple, delicious, family friendly, recipes!


Filed under: FoodPreserving

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  1. When Life Gives You Apples | Karen Seal


    […] came back after dinner and finished it up.  We didn’t do a canning bath.  Instead, I used the fill and flip method I discovered a few years […]

  2. Katherine


    I made your apple butter last week, and it was so much fun – looking forward to trying it again, but I wanted to be sure I had the measurements right on the spices. Are the cinnamon, allspice and cloves Teaspoons or Tablespoons? I guessed last week ☺ thanks!


    Andrea Reply:

    yay, glad you liked the apple butter — and a lowercase “t.” means teaspoon. the Uppercase “T.” means Tablespoon


  3. Karli


    I was so excited to try this, and I did- today!! I don’t own a food mill or a sieve either so I peeled my apples and then mashed them. It worked perfectly and still was a beautiful, dark color. I am totally new to canning and am awaiting my first big bunch of fruit so I can take off on pears, peaches and applesauce. My question is this- could you use the “fill and flip method” for applesauce or would that not be recommended? I was just curious how you know what must be done in a boiling water canner and what can be done using the “fill and flip”. I’m new to your site- love it, tons of fantastic information!!


    Andrea Reply:

    Yay – glad it turned out well for you! As far as the applesauce, I definitely would not try the fill and flip method because the apple sauce is not hot like the apple butter or jam — which is the only reason why the fill and flip method works. Plus, I guess for me it wouldn’t make sense because I do 50 jars of applesauce at a time 🙂 So I fill them all and then spend several hours processing them all in my canner!


  4. Jaime


    I don’t have a food mill or sieve either. This may a taboo question, but Could I use a food processor instead? I have not canned since I was young helping out Grandma’s kitchen. I really want to start and this Apple Butter looks like an amazing place to start. Thank you so much for your help and wonderful resources! 🙂


    Andrea Reply:

    Hey Jamie,
    Honestly, a food processor would not be a good idea — sorry! The food processor will just chop up the peelings and your apple butter will not be smooth (and I wouldn’t recommend this at all). And if you peeled your apples first, you still wouldn’t need to use a food processor because you could just mash them up with a potato masher.

    However, keep in mind that if you do peal your apples first, the color of your apple butter will be much lighter and it might have a little less flavor because the peelings really do lend a lot of flavor when you cook them down.

    A sieve is relatively inexpensive so you could always look for one on Craigslist or Ebay. Otherwise just try it with peeled apples and a potato masher.

    Good luck 🙂


  5. Lindsey


    Hey I really want to make this recipe, but I dont have those special strianers. Do you have any advice on where to get one or if I can use something other than those to strain the apples?


    Andrea Reply:

    Hey Lindsey, I actually got mine from a garages sale, but you might also try craigslist or ebay. I have seen them at grocery stores in the canning section and of course, you can get them at {via the link in the post}.
    If you can’t find one and don’t want to buy one, you can always just peel the apples first and then you don’t need the sieve… but you also won’t get the dark red color {it will be more yellowish}
    Hope this helps!


  6. 10 Ways to Enjoy Michigan Apples — Eat Local, West Michigan!


    […] Make apple butter. […]

  7. Kendra J


    I took one of your food preservation classes a while back and LOVED it 🙂 I have a question about the Apple Butter. In step 2 it says to “Ladle apple mixture into a foodmill”. Do you ladle everything (all of the juice too) or just the apple chunks and pieces?

    Thanks so much!


    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Kendra, glad to hear you are canning!
    And yes, you ladle everything into the foodmill…you’ll need all that liquid to allow for thickening later!

    Let me know if you have any other questions. Happy canning!