Homemade Crock-Pot Apple Butter is easy to make and allows control over the amount of added sugar. Or add no sugar at all. It's a great gift idea too.
My affection for apple butter kinda snuck up on me.
I thought I was perfectly happy with strawberry jam and an occasional applesauce replacement for oil. I'd taste it every now and then. But, I didn't really feel the need to keep it on my grocery list.
Then, I used it to make Apple Cheesecake Parfaits...and it was divine.
When I needed a "glue" to hold together Vegan Stuffing Muffins, it was fully up to the task and gave them a spectacular burst of flavor.
The jar of apple butter quickly disappeared as my daughter slathered it on top of her pancakes. And, well...it does make a really tasty dip. 🙂
It was only a matter of time before I began to ponder making a homemade batch of apple butter in a slow cooker that used less sugar. It turns out it's easier than you might imagine.
Low-Sugar Crock-Pot Apple Butter Step by Step
1. Core, peel and slice 6 pounds of apples. It sounds like quite an ordeal. But, it's really not that bad, particularly if you invest in an apple corer (mine was under $7.) And, 6 pounds makes LOTS of apple butter. Make a half batch if you're not planning to share it as a gift or don't want to stow some away some jars in your freezer.
Best Type of Apples for Low-Sugar Crock-Pot Apple Butter
Use a sweet apple variety if you plan to cut back on the sugar. I used sweet honey crisp apples. A mixture of apple types is always a good idea. Other apples on the sweeter side include Ambrosia, gala, pink lady and golden delicious. Granny Smith apples are easy to find in the grocery store. They are tart!!! Use those for another recipe.
2. Mix together brown sugar and spices (except for the vanilla) and toss with the apple slices. Cover and cook on low in a slow cooker for 10 hours. Cook it overnight and your house will smell amazing in the morning. 🙂
Do you have to use sugar to make Apple Butter?
Nope. You don't have to add any sugar at all. It's a matter of taste. The amount of sugar added is up to you!
I adapted this recipe from one over at My Baking Addiction. And, yes...the apple butter over there is divine. But, I found that I absolutely didn't need all that sugar. I cut the amount in half. The sweetness of the apples and the spices made up the difference. You can also try a sugar substitute or sugar blend if you like the taste and use it in other recipes.
3. After the apples have slow-cooked for 10 hours, stir in vanilla and break up the apple slices with a spoon. Re-cover and cook for 2 hours more.
4. Allow the mixture to cool and then puree it with an immersion blender (or in batches in a food processor) for a nice smooth finish. It's okay to leave some chunks if that's how you roll.
5. Spoon the crock pot apple butter into air tight containers. Decorate with ribbons and tags if you are giving some away as gifts. Otherwise, use within 2 weeks or store in the freezer for up to two months.
It's makes about 8 cups. So, there will be plenty to share!
Video: Crock-Pot Apple Butter
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Low-Sugar Crock Pot Apple Butter
- 6 pounds apples A mixture of sweet apples, such as honey crisp, pink lady, gala or golden delicious works best
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 Tablespoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
- Core, peel and slice apples and place in a crock pot.
- Mix together sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.
- Toss apple slices with with sugar mixture.
- Cook on low for 10 hours.
- Stir in vanilla extract and crush large apple pieces with a spoon.
- Cook on low for 2 more hours.
- Allow apples to cool slightly and then puree with an immersion blender (or transfer in batches to a food processor.)
- Transfer to air tight containers and store in refrigerator for up to two weeks or store in the freezer for up to 2 months.