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Monday, October 12, 2020

How to Make Homemade Apple Butter

Get your toast ready, because you are going to want to devour this homemade apple butter as soon as you are done making it!  

apple butter spread over toast

     This easy recipe turns unsweetened applesauce into a delicious flavorful apple butter with very little effort. All you have to do is give it an occasional stir. That's really it! So whip some up today and put it on everything from toast and English muffins to pancakes and more. Or use it to bake more tasty apple treats!

    Making your own apple butter is super simple and you have total control of the final product so it can be exactly how you want it. This recipe is a great starting point to make a tasty and naturally sweetened spread.

    You can also adjust the spices to match your tastes. Feel free to add nutmeg, ginger, allspice or whatever you like.

     My family makes their own maple syrup and they keep bees for honey. So we love using both whenever we can.

apple butter ingredients in pan ready to be cooked

      You can use one or the other of you don't always have both on hand.  You could also substitute in some brown sugar if you don't have honey or maple syrup

     MiMi originally shared this recipe with us back in 2016.  She had a fun wood stove in her great room, so she made hers on that. 

     I thought it was past time to share the recipe with you again. It is the perfect time to whip up some apple butter after all.

      Not only do you get to enjoy the taste, it's basically a natural air freshener while it's cooking. The aroma will fill your home with sweet goodness that the best candle could never some close to replicating! 

     Besides, I have a fun recipe in the works that is going to require a couple of cups of apple butter. So make a batch now and reserve two cups.

     Use the remaining cup to make your breakfasts that much tastier. Your toast will thank you! 

pan full of freshly cooked deep brown apple butter

Mimi's original post from 2016

   We started making our own apple butter a few years ago when I wanted to have control over the kind (and quantity) of sweeteners we were putting into our bodies. I love cooking with local raw honey so that is what I use most often. 

   I love the flavor that maple syrup adds to apple butter. Since my son, Clint, brings his homegrown apples to me in the fall I turn them into applesauce.   

     I hope to share that recipe with you this fall when I make more. It is very easy to make and we like it so much better than the store-bought applesauce. 

   Cooking some of it down into an apple butter is a great way to enjoy that taste of fall all year long. Just freeze small jars to use later.

cast iron pan filled with apple butter being cooked on wood stove

    My favorite way to cook it down is on my wood-burning fireplace. I shared this recipe making it on the stove because I know most people don't have access to a wood-burning fireplace.

   Doesn't that look homey for a cold day? And I wish I could share the aroma. It's wonderful!

Storing apple butter 

Apple butter can be stored in the refrigerator for several weeks. So one jar always goes straight into the fridge.

If you don't think you will use it all in a few weeks, freeze the rest. It will stay good in the freezer for several months or even as long as a year.

Store defrosted apple butter in the refrigerator. If you froze it immediately after making it the thawed spread will still have up to three weeks of life left in the refrigerator. 

jar of apple butter with knife and apple butter coated toast

Tips and tricks for making apple butter

The main difference between apple butter and applesauce is the amount of liquid.  The key to getting that thick, rich apple butter consistency is cooking it low and slow to evaporate the liquid without scorching the sugars.

Keeping the mixture over a steady low heat is the key to getting the job done.  All it takes is a little bit of occasional stirring to make sure nothing sticks.

As the mixture thickens, you will be able to see the color change in addition to seeing a trail that follows your spoon as you stir.  It should be a thick spreadable consistency when you are done.

If you grab a big spoonful of apple butter, it should stay mounded on the spoon and not run off the edges.  It will thicken slightly more as it cools, but you want to make sure you got it nice and thick before you call it a day.  

You may also like 

If you love apple butter, you should try making pumpkin butter as well. A batch of each is sure to make this the most delicious fall!

If you are wanting something great to spread it on, try a slice of toasted whole wheat sourdough sandwich bread.  Or better yet, make the cinnamon swirl sourdough bread version. The same dough makes both, so make one of each!

You can use your apple butter to bake up more great treats.  Cherry apple butter bars are a great option for that. 

Or bake up some caramel apple butter cupcakes for an extra tasty fall treat.  The apple butter adds big apple flavor to cake!

But the top recipe in my book is apple butter pie! It's perfect.  You'll have one cup of apple butter to use on toast and the other two can get made into this deliciously creamy pie. It will be love at first bite!!

thumbnail for youtube video

How to Make Homemade Apple Butter
Make Homemade Apple Butter from Applesauce a jar of applesauce into delicious apple butter. This recipe is sweetened with honey and maple syrup making it extra good. Plus there is plenty of cinnamon. It is great for baking with or for spreading over toast.

How to Make Homemade Apple Butter

Yield: 24 servings (about 3 cups)
Author: Cooking With Carlee
Prep time: 5 MinCook time: 2 H & 30 MTotal time: 2 H & 35 M
This easy recipe turns unsweetened applesauce into a delicious flavorful apple butter with very little effort. All you have to do is give it an occasional stir. That's really it! So whip some up today and put it on everything from toast and English muffins to pancakes and more. Or use it to bake more tasty apple treats!


  • 1 quart (4 cups) unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon cinnamon or apple pie spice
  • 2 Tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon, optional


  1. Spread the applesauce in the bottom of a thick bottomed skillet. I use a 3.6 quart enameled cast iron braiser or 12inch pre seasoned cast-iron skillet for this so there is plenty of surface area for evaporation. The more surface area there is for evaporation – the quicker your apple butter will be ready to enjoy.
  2. Turn your burner to the lowest setting. Stir in the cinnamon, syrup and honey. If you like it sweeter you may add more syrup and or honey as you choose. Also add the lemon juice if you are using it. I think it gives a fresher flavor to your apple butter.
  3. Continue to cook over low heat stirring every half hour until it is thick and the consistency that you like. I use homemade applesauce and it takes about 2 1/2 hours for it to cook down the way we like it. There is a lot of flexibility in this recipe. You can cook it at a higher temperature but it will need to be stirred more often and it will splatter. If you like it spicy, feel free to add more spices. I would suggest waiting until it cooks down before adding extra sweetener or spices so you have a chance to taste the actual product and adjust accordingly.
  4. Enjoy immediately on a piece of your favorite toast. Store the rest in a glass jar in the refrigerator or freezer in the freezer for longer storage.



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Get your toast ready, because you are going to want to devour this homemade apple butter as soon as you are done making it!


  1. Ohhhh, this sounds like such a good recipe for apple butter! I haven't tried making my own yet, it's on my list. One of my girlfriends makes it and I always get some from her, but I think I need to try my own!

    Hope you had a great weekend Carlee! :-)

    1. MiMi loves to make it with homemade applesauce, but any applesauce would do. It is really easy to make and so good!

  2. Apple butter makes me so happy! We always have a jar on hand and I just love it on homemade bread! My boys prefer the Amish peanut butter but I'm in Applebutter girl all the way!

    1. Mmmm! I've never had Amish peanut butter, now I need to try that too!

  3. Wow Carlee, this sounds so good. Thanks for the recipe. Hope you have a nice week. :)

    1. Thanks, Julie! Have a lovely one yourself!

  4. Great post, I'd love you to consider sharing it at

  5. This is great! Always wanted to learn to make apple butter. Thanks for posting!

    1. It is really easy and so good! MiMi loves making it with her homemade applesauce and the maple is so yummy in it!

  6. Oh, I love how good this looks! I'm a huge fan of apple butter, so I might just have to try this recipe! Thanks!

  7. Would you think I was weird if I said I was in love with your wood burning stove? Thanks for sharing on Creative K Kids Tasty Tuesdays.

  8. When we were kids my mom used to make apple butter. This brings back lovely morning memories in a warm kitchen eating a piece of toast with apple butter. I've never tried to make my own. I don't know why. This looks extremely tasty and I am pinning this so I can come back to it. Tell Mimi I love her wood-burning stove! What a great way to spread the aroma of apple butter throughout the whole house!

    1. Isn't her stove cool? Of course the apple butter comes out great on the stovetop too, but there is something about doing it on the wood stove!

  9. When I was growing up, my parents always made apple butter and there is just nothing better! I have not made it myself for years. I have not seen a stove like what you cook it on but I bet it truly does help make it delicious.

    1. If nothing else, it makes it more fun! There is something really good about fresh homemade apple butter!

  10. Apple butter is my fav! I love it with some warm biscuits. Thanks so much for the recipe! So glad you stopped by Inspiration Thursday.

    1. Ooh! I wish I had some warm biscuits right now, that sounds so good!

  11. This looks so tasty, Carlee! Thanks for sharing at Funtastic Friday:).


Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment. I love reading your ideas!