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This easy and simple stovetop apple butter recipe only requires apples, sugars, and spices like cinnamon and cloves. Canning instructions also included.


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apple butter recipe

If you’re thinking of another way to savor the sweet-tart flavors of apples for an extended period, you’ve come to the right place.

Homemade apple butter isn’t just a condiment meant to add rich flavor to a single dish—it infuses a creamy, velvety dimension to many beloved classics, with warm spices and irresistible apple goodness.

Ready to make this delicious stovetop apple butter recipe? No actual butter or dairy products are needed—just your favorite apples, brown sugar, a handful of spices, and lots of patience!

What Is Apple Butter?

Apple butter is a thick, smooth spread made by cooking apple pieces until they turn dark brown. This color change results from the prolonged cooking process, which caramelizes the apples and gives the butter its rich flavor.

It’s typically seasoned with brown sugar and spices. Once prepared, it’s essential to store apple butter in sterile, airtight containers to preserve its freshness. Of course, you would want to enjoy the fruits of your labor for months to come!

apple butter recipe

There is a proper canning process you must follow for that. More on that later.

At home, we enjoy apples as they are or add them to salads for a refreshing crunch. I used to think that creating desserts with apples was a tedious task, but it turns out there’s a way to whip up something delicious without all the fuss.

The captivating flavors of apple butter can quickly turn a simple dish into a spiced creation. There are actually many ways to come up with this sweet sauce. Although many use the slow cooker, some just use a simple medium-sized pot to cook the apples.

You just need to find what works best for you. Even with the stovetop option, you can enjoy sheer simplicity and convenience. If you’ve never tried making apple butter using that method, now’s your chance!

While it might take up to three hours to prepare, it’s absolutely worth the wait! Just spreading it on buttered toast transforms it into an instant fall-flavored treat.

You can even set aside a portion to infuse your cookies with autumnal flavors. And don’t forget to feature it on that aesthetically pleasing fall charcuterie board you’ve been dreaming of making!

Why You’ll Love This Homemade Apple Butter

  • Beginner Friendly: This apple butter recipe might take a few hours, but it’s super easy.
  • A Great Way to Preserve Apples: Preparing this sauce is an excellent way to preserve apples. This means you can savor their goodness long after apple season is over.
  • The Perfect Homemade Gift: Homemade dishes make the most thoughtful giveaways! Just choose the best jars for gift giving, as the presentation can be just as important as the contents.
  • A Multipurpose Delight: It’s a versatile ingredient that you can incorporate in various dishes, whether sweet or savory.

What Does Stovetop Apple Butter Taste Like?

Apple butter is a favorite among apple lovers, and it’s easy to see why. It showcases buttery, fall flavors in a simple jar, blending fresh apple flavor with aromatic spices and sugar. Its sweet and spiced profile gives it a dessert-like quality that sets it apart from others.

What Does Stovetop Apple Butter Taste Like

If you’re ever in the mood for a quick dessert without baking, a spoonful of apple butter will hit the spot.

But take note: the overall taste and texture will depend on the apple butter recipe you choose. You can follow a more innovative approach or stick to a traditional version, like this one right here.

Ingredients For Easy Apple Butter Recipe

  • Fuji Apples – The stars of our apple butter recipe! You can also mix it with other varieties to get a delightful balance between tart and sweet.
  • Dark Brown Sugar – Dark brown sugar is richer in molasses and can lend a more intense caramelized sweetness.
  • Granulated Sugar – When combined with brown sugar, granulated sugar can enhance this apple butter recipe and introduce multidimensional sweetness.
  • Vanilla Extract – I often add vanilla extract to my baked desserts for that extra warmth and depth. I bet it would enhance this apple butter beautifully, too!
  • Ground Cinnamon – The heart of the apple butter recipe’s signature flavor.
  • Salt – Even just a pinch of salt does wonders for any dish.
  • Ground Nutmeg – I don’t use nutmeg much in my homemade creations, but it’s a must in this apple butter recipe! It can add a nutty flavor and make it irresistibly aromatic.
  • Ground Cloves – To add a subtle, peppery undertone to your apple butter. It works even for savory dishes. My dad uses cloves for his homemade barbecue sauces, and they also taste fantastic.

Tools Needed To Prepare the Best Apple Butter Recipe

  • Medium-Sized Pan: If you want to make a bigger batch, feel free to use a larger one.
  • Knife: Investing in high-quality knives can save you money in the long run!
  • Apple Corer: Without it, getting all the seeds out can be a bit tricky.
  • Cutting Board: Having a clean, flat surface to chop ingredients not only makes the job easier but also protects our countertops from scratches.
  • Spatula: Make sure that the flavors are evenly distributed.
  • Immersion Blender or just a regular blender: To achieve a smooth, consistent texture.

Ingredient Additions & Substitutions For Simple Apple Butter Recipe

Apple Cider

Consider adding apple cider to enhance the flavors of this apple butter recipe. If you do, think about reducing the granulated sugar a bit, as cider brings its own natural sweetness. A lot of recipes actually use cider to get that ideal sweet and tart combo.

Apple Juice

I occasionally savor store-bought apple juice for its mild and refreshing taste. However, when considering an ingredient for an apple butter recipe, I personally prefer apple cider. If you’re after a gentler, sweeter flavor, apple juice fits the bill!

Ground Ginger

I usually let ginger shine on its own, like in ginger cookies or ginger tea, but it’s also a fantastic addition to apple butter! It adds a warm, spicy twist and balances out the sweetness of the sugars and apples.


Allspice is basically cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg all rolled into one, but it has its own unique note. It has a strong flavor, so a little goes a long way.

How to Make Stovetop Apple Butter Recipe


Tools you need:


STEP 1: Gather all your ingredients.

How to Make Stovetop Apple Butter Recipe

STEP 2: Peel the apples, core them and then cut them into even-sized chunks.

How to Make Stovetop Apple Butter Recipe

STEP 3: Add the sugars and spices.

How to Make Stovetop Apple Butter Recipe

STEP 4: Stir everything together until the apples are well-coated.

How to Make Stovetop Apple Butter Recipe

STEP 5: Place the pot on the stovetop over low to medium heat. Let the mixture come to a gentle simmer.

STEP 6: Cook the mixture for about 2 to 3 hours, stirring occasionally. Make sure the apples soften completely and the mixture thickens without burning.

STEP 7: Once it has cooked down, remove it from the heat. Use an immersion blender to blend everything until smooth.

If you don’t have an immersion blender, transfer the mixture to a regular blender and blend.

How to Make Stovetop Apple Butter Recipe

STEP 8: Done and done! Yay 😍 Now you can savor your homemade apple butter on various dishes. If you plan to can it, allow it to cool for about 20 to 30 minutes before beginning the canning process.

An enticing jar of homemade apple butter, infused with the warmth of cinnamon sticks and made with freshly picked apples.

What To Serve With Spiced Apple Butter Recipe

  • For Your Smoothies: I’ve always preferred fresh fruits for my smoothies, but unfortunately, apples aren’t always on hand. That’s where this apple butter recipe comes in! In fact, it might be even better—it’s creamier and tastier when combined with yogurt and other fruits, especially bananas.
  • For Your Morning Oats: My go-to oatmeal with low-fat milk, chia seeds, and tropical fruits can be a bit monotonous. Mixing in something richer and spicier, like apple butter, every now and then really spices things up!
  • For Pie Fillings: I always like it sweet. And when it comes to tarts and pies, the sweeter the filling, the better! It’s especially wonderful when there’s a dash of spice.
  • For Marinades and Meat Glazes: When I first told my dad (aka the head chef in our house👨🏾‍🍳) that fruits can be used in marinades, he thought it was a joke! But trust me, apple butter takes it to another level. It adds a distinctive, flavorful touch to pork, chicken, and even beef.

Looking for more delicious ideas on how to use your homemade apple butter? Use it to bring extra sweetness to your caramel apple pancakes and pumpkin shaped bread!

Tips About Making Stovetop Apple Butter Recipe

  • Choosing the Right Apples: Don’t stick to just one apple type. Mix it up with both tart and sweet varieties for a layered, yummy flavor. It’s like making a fruit salad but all apples!
  • To Peel or Not to Peel: It’s up to you if you want to peel the apples. But, sometimes leaving the skins on is a better option. Not only are they packed with goodness and flavor, but they also help thicken the butter. Just make sure to core them.
  • Mind the Sweetness: All apples aren’t made equal. Some are sweeter, while some are tarter! Begin with a small amount of sugar and adjust as needed. Remember, it’s easy to add more sugar later, but you can’t remove it once it’s in.

How To Store Stovetop Apple Butter Recipe

  • Fridge: Place the uncanned apple butter in an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator. It’ll stay fresh for 2 to 3 weeks. Always use a clean utensil when scooping to keep it fresh.
  • Shelf: Properly canned and sealed apple butter can be stored in a cool, dark place for up to a year. Once opened, refrigerate and use within a few weeks.
  • Freezer: Uncanned apple butter can be frozen for up to 6 months. Just thaw in the fridge before use.
  • Usage Tip: If you detect an unusual odor or see any mold, it’s time to discard it. Always give it a quick check for freshness before digging in.
An irresistible jar of homemade apple butter featuring flavorful cinnamon sticks and fresh apples.

A Simple Guide to Apple Butter Recipe Canning

  • Sterilize Your Containers: Place your jars in a large pot of boiling water for 10 minutes. Boil the lids separately in a smaller pot. Once sterilized, use a lifter to remove the jars carefully. Let them cool on a clean towel.
  • Boil the Jars: Once you’ve filled the jars, return them to the large pot. There should be a canning rack at the bottom, but if you don’t have one, you can use a folded kitchen towel as a substitute.
  • Water Bath: Fill the pot with enough water so that the jars are covered by at least 1 to 2 inches. Bring the water to a boil and allow the jars to process for about 10 minutes.
  • Cool and Store: Using a jar lifter, carefully remove the jars and set them on a towel to cool down. You should hear a “pop” as they cool. That’s the sweet sound of success—it indicates they’ve sealed properly.
A Simple Guide to Canning Stovetop Apple Butter

Tools Needed for the Canning Process

  • Jars: Choose the most durable ones that can withstand the high temperatures of the canning process.
  • Large Pot: It should be large enough to hold all your jars.
  • Jar Lifter: For easy and safe jar lifting! So nice to have these special tools!
  • Ladle: For scooping the hot apple butter into jars.
  • Paper Towels: Don’t forget to clean the jar rims before sealing with lids.
  • Canning Rack: The jars can crack or break if they come into direct contact with the high heat at the bottom of the pot.

What Is the Difference Between Applesauce and Apple Butter?

Applesauce and apple butter differ in texture, taste, and preparation. Applesauce also delivers comforting, spiced flavors, made by cooking apples until they’re soft and then mashing or pureeing them.

It’s similar to apple puree but typically has a slightly chunkier consistency and usually doesn’t contain additional ingredients.

On the other hand, apple butter involves a longer cooking process. Apples are slowly cooked with sugar and spices until they caramelize. The result? A spreadable consistency with a deep, rich flavor.

Because of the longer cooking time, the moisture evaporates, causing the mixture to thicken and become denser than applesauce and apple puree.

So, by preparing this apple butter recipe, you can help your lactose-intolerant loved ones enjoy buttery goodness, complete with the warmth and nostalgic scents of fall. The brown color looks beautiful, too!

Which Apples are Best for Your Stovetop Apple Butter Recipe?

If you’re going to ask me, the best one to use is my favorite variety—Fuji apples. I feel like I can whip up a remarkable apple butter even with some leftover chunks from yesterday’s snack.

Like you, I’m currently researching fruit-based sauces and fillings. And what I’ve noticed in many apple butter recipes is that they use softer varieties.

Soft apples break down more easily and typically yield a smoother texture in less time. Aside from Fuji, Granny Smith, Golden Delicious, and Gala apples are great options!

That said, there’s no harm in experimenting with different apple varieties or even mixing them to achieve a unique flavor profile.

        Description: A jar of apple butter with cinnamon sticks.

Even in other dishes, I mix things up and experiment, even if that means making a huge mess in the kitchen and wasting ingredients. It’s a fun learning process for beginners like us!

Just remember that experimentation also means frequent adjustments to cook time and ingredients.

For example, if you plan on using crisper varieties, they may take longer to break down, so you’ll need to extend the cooking time to achieve your desired consistency.

If it’s a tart variety, you might need to adjust the amount of sugar or spices to balance the tartness. Just use your chosen apple butter recipe as a guide.

The choice of apple variety can also influence the final color of the apple butter. Some apples can give a deeper brown hue, while others might yield a lighter color.

FAQ About Apple Butter

What is apple butter used for?

Apple butter is a concentrated apple spread commonly used on bread and pancakes or as a filling for pies.

Can you freeze apple butter?

Yes, apple butter can be frozen. Simply store it in an airtight container and keep in the freezer for up to a year.

Does apple butter need to be refrigerated?

Yes. After opening, apple butter should be refrigerated to maintain its freshness and prevent spoilage. Unopened jars can be stored in a cool, dark place until ready to use.

Can you can apple butter?

Yes, apple butter can be canned for long-term storage. Check out the easy-to-follow canning instructions above, so you can enjoy your homemade apple butter throughout the year!

How long does homemade apple butter last?

Homemade apple butter usually lasts for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator. For longer storage, consider canning or freezing it. 

what is apple butter

Stovetop Apple Butter Recipe

Yield: 3
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 45 minutes

This easy and simple stovetop apple butter recipe only requires apples, sugars, and spices like cinnamon and cloves. Canning instructions also included.


    1. Gather all your ingredients.
    2. Peel the apples, core them and then cut them into even-sized chunks.
    3. Add the sugars and spices.
    4. Stir everything together until the apples are well-coated.
    5. Place the pot on the stovetop over low to medium heat. Let the mixture come to a gentle simmer.
    6. Cook the mixture for about 2 to 3 hours, stirring occasionally. Make sure the apples soften completely and the mixture thickens without burning.
    7. Once it has cooked down, remove it from the heat. Use an immersion blender to blend everything until smooth.
    8. Done! Now you can savor your homemade apple butter on various dishes. If you plan to can it, allow it to cool for about 20 to 30 minutes before beginning the canning process.


  • When making apple butter on the stovetop, it's important to maintain a low and steady heat. Stovetops can have "hot spots" that don't heat evenly, unlike slow cookers. If you notice the mix bubbling too quickly or sticking to the pot, it likely means the heat's turned up too high.
  • The flavors intensify as the apple butter cooks. Make sure to taste it occasionally and adjust the spices as you see fit. If it's thickening up too much, a splash of water can help smooth things out.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 3 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 270Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 51mgCarbohydrates: 66gFiber: 5gSugar: 57gProtein: 1g

* Please note that all nutrition information are just estimates. Values will vary among brands, so we encourage you to calculate these on your own for the most accurate results.

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Making this apple butter recipe can keep that cozy fall feeling going in your home for just a bit longer! And it doesn’t have to be complicated. This version requires only a few ingredients and is flexible enough for adjustments and substitutions.

For instance, if some of your loved ones aren’t fans of cinnamon (my dad and uncle aren’t either! 🤦🏽‍♀️), you can omit it and experiment with another spice. It might be hard to imagine an apple butter recipe without cinnamon, but hey, you’re the boss in your kitchen!

Apple butter on a cookie on a wooden cutting board with cinnamon sticks, perfect for your apple butter recipe.

There are plenty of other spices that can infuse your dish with rich flavors. With a little creativity, you might even discover a new, innovative twist!

Don’t forget to bookmark this apple butter recipe. The next time you grab some fresh apples, you’ll know exactly what to do!

Forever in love with apples and the warm flavors of fall? You’ll enjoy making these irresistible recipes:

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