Make Crock-Pot Apple Butter with low sugar or NO sugar at all. This easy, healthy recipe naturally sweetens breakfast foods and desserts.
Do you have extra apples on hand from a day at an orchard? Even if you pick them up at the grocery store, you won't regret making homemade apple butter in your slow cooker.
The best thing about making it yourself is that you control exactly how much sweetener is added.
You'll find so many ways to use it from stirring it into your morning oatmeal at breakfast to drizzling it over a dessert.
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.
It's not difficult to make, but it does take time quite a bit of time to cook. Make it overnight and your house will smell amazing in the morning.
Here's what you need to make the very best apple butter.
- Apples - only use sweet apples!
- Vanilla Extract
- Sugar - see the section below for options.
Best Apples for Reduced Sugar Apple Butter
Use sweet apples if you plan to cut back on the sugar. A mixture of types is always a good idea. Apples on the sweeter side include:
- Honey crisp
- Pink Lady
- Golden delicious.
Granny Smith apples are easy to find in the grocery store. They are tart! Use those in another recipe.
Do you have to use sugar to make Apple Butter?
No. You don't have to add any sugar at all. It's a matter of taste and dietary restrictions. The amount of sugar added is up to you!
I adapted this recipe from the one at My Baking Addiction. And, yes...the apple butter is divine. But, I found that I absolutely didn't need as much sugar. I cut the amount in half and in later batches I cut it down even further.
I've also made it with none at all.
The sweetness of the apples and the spices make up the difference, but a little sugar does help to thicken it, so I usually add just a little.
You can also try a sugar substitute like Splenda or make a sugar blend with a combination of granulated sugar and stevia or erythritol.
Step-by-Step with Pictures
Here's the easy process to make slow cooker apple butter with reduced sugar.
1. Core, peel and chop apples. It sounds like quite an ordeal. But, it's really not that bad, particularly if you use an apple corer. This recipe makes A LOT 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 jars away in the freezer.
Note: Peeling the apples is optional! The softened apples will be pureed and skins will almost disappear at the end of the process, with just a few small pieces here and there.
2. Place the apple chunks in a slow cooker and toss with spices (except for the vanilla) and sugar, if you are using some. Cover and cook on low in a slow cooker for 10 hours.
Tip: Cook it overnight and wake-up to a fantastic smelling home. Your welcome!
3. After the apples have slow-cooked for 10 hours, stir in the vanilla extract 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.
Apple butter has been cooked longer and is more concentrated than apple sauce. It's thicker and has a more intense flavor. It's generally flavored with spices and extracts too. Apple sauce is made by cooking and processing apples until they are smooth. It generally has a thinner consistency and fewer spices added.
The consistency of the apple butter will be thick, silky, and slide off a spoon slowly. Cook it as long as you like. It will fall somewhere between apple sauce and apple butter.
This recipe makes about 8 cups. So, there will be plenty to share!
Spoon apple butter into air tight containers. Store in the refrigerator up to 2 weeks or in the freezer for up to two months.
It makes a fun edible gift too. Decorate jars with ribbons and tags if you are giving some away. You may even want to pair it with a loaf of bread or crackers.
How to Use Apple Butter
There is no shortage of ways to enjoy it:
- Slather it on bread or cracker.
- Stir into oatmeal.
- Drizzle it over pancakes or waffles.
- Use as a dip for cookies and graham crackers
- Use as a sweetener for recipes that call for applesauce.
- Top yogurt or ice cream with it.
These recipes also use or would be perfect with healthy apple butter:
Did you make this recipe?
Please leave a rating and tell us how you liked it!
Crock-Pot Apple Butter Low Sugar Recipe
- 6 pounds apples A mixture of sweet apples, such as honey crisp, pink lady, gala or golden delicious works best
- 1 cup brown sugar Use up to this amount or none at all. See notes below regarding options.
- 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 spice 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.
- Honey crisp
- Pink Lady
- Golden delicious.
This post was originally posted on 12/17/13 and has been updated to improve the reader experience.