What is Apple Butter?
Apple butter is a creamy, buttery, silky smooth spiced spread made from cooking down apples. Although similar to applesauce, apple butter takes on more of a rich flavor, and is thick enough to spread.
Uses For Apple Butter
There are many ways to use apple butter, but these are my favorite uses:
As a topping
The flavors work so well when topped on Gluten-Free Pumpkin Bread. The spices are complimentary, and the apples brighten the taste.
Pairs well with Fresh Biscuits
Try it smothered between these fresh flaky Vegan Buttermilk Biscuits!
Serve it as a side for Thanksgiving.
As a Fruit Dip
Dip apples, bananas, or pears into apple butter for a treat.
Dollop on top of vanilla ice cream, banana ice cream, or pumpkin pie.
Use it served with gluten-free vegan apple cider doughnuts
It even works great in a Pumpkin Spice Smoothie. It is so versatile!
Substitute applesauce for butter?
Ok let’s get this out of the way. Apple butter, although similar to applesauce, is not quite that. To clarify, you can make applesauce with the same methods, but it is not cooked as long, and typically isn’t blended until a smooth creamy buttery texture.
Using applesauce in place for butter in a recipe usually calls for plain unsweetened applesauce. Whereas our apple butter recipe is sweetened with maple syrup and spiced to perfection. As a result, you will not want to substitute this particular recipe for butter in baking.
Certainly, if you’d like to make applesauce for baking in place of butter, you can! If that is the case, cook the apples in one of these methods listed below, but just use the apples, no spices or sweetener.
How to make Apple Butter
There are numerous methods to make apple butter. For example, in a crockpot, instant pot, or on the stove top! They all work great, dependent on how much time you have, and what equipment you have available.
A crockpot is a slow cooker. It works great if you want to throw everything in, and go about your day. They usually have a few different settings, for instance a high and low.
Making apple butter in a crockpot would be as simple as adding all the ingredients, and cooking on low for 6-8 hours. When finished, use an immersion blender or food processor until smooth.
PRO: You don’t need to watch the stove or worry about it burning. Also, it will make your home smell amazing all day.
CON: It takes 6-8 hours, which is a big investment in time if you want it made quicker!.
An instant pot differs from a crockpot in many ways. Firstly, it is a pressure cooker, not a slow cooker. As a result, meals can be made in a fraction of the time than in a crockpot. Secondly, in an instant pot, you can also use a slow cooking option, sauté, steam, warm up, and even cook rice.
For cooking apple butter in an instant pot, you are essentially just making applesauce & then blending at the end. However, you can leave the cooked apples chunky and make a chunky applesauce instead!
Simply put all the ingredients into the instant pot, and cook on high for 10 minutes. Then, use the slow pressure release for about 15-20 minutes. If you release the pressure quickly, the apples could burn.
PRO: The instant pot has so many options, so it’s a very versatile tool. In addition, it makes cooking potentially really quick! For instance, this recipe goes from 6-8 hours in a crockpot, to approximately 30 minutes.
CON: There are so many settings, you really need to learn when and how to use each one. It can be tricky to figure out when it’s important to use a slow release valve.
this is how I usually make it. However, the methods listed above are great too! I personally just enjoy the process and control I have when cooking on the stove. Certainly if I was going to be gone all day, the crockpot would be by choice.
Upfront, I usually do not make enough apple butter or applesauce to can them. I usually make just enough to last me for the week. But there are great benefits to canning. For instance, properly sealed canned fruits can last up to one year.
If you went crazy at the apple orchard, and have no clue what to do with all the extra apples you have, canning would be the best option! Then, you can have delicious apple butter all year round or to give as gifts.
To can apple butter properly, you need to follow proper safety procedures so you don’t introduce harmful bacteria into the jars. You also need to make sure your lids are sealed properly.
Making Apple Butter
Best Apples to Use
Any apple will work for this recipe, but I prefer granny smith apples.
Granny smith apples are very tart to begin with, but when you cook them down, they become very sweet! Other great apples to use are pink lady, fuji, and honeycrisp.
Sweeter & softer apples, like a golden delicious, work wonderfully if you want to make an unsweetened applesauce. They start off sweeter, but when you cook them they actually become more bland.
Easy Apple Butter Recipe
Gather your favorite tart apples and equipment, and let’s get cooking.
- 5-6 Granny Smith Apples Lemon
- 1/4 C Maple Syrup
- 1.5 tsp. Cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. Ginger
- 1/4 tsp. Cloves
- 1/4 tsp. Allspice
- 1/4 tsp Sea Salt
- Wash, core, and dice 5-6 granny smith apples. Absolutely no need to peel, as we will be blending at the end!
- Quarter and de-seed the lemon
Cooking Apple Butter on a Stovetop
Subsequently, toss the diced apples, the juice from the lemon, maple syrup, cinnamon, allspice, ginger, cloves, and a pinch of sea salt into a medium saucepan.
Then, turn the heat to medium/low, cover, and simmer on low for 1-2 hours.
The longer you cook, the thicker the constancy the apple butter will be.
When you are happy with the thickness of your apple butter, scoop it into a food processor and pulse until it is smooth and creamy.
If you wish, you can return to the stove and simmer on low until desired thickness, but it is not necessary.
Then, after you eat a big spoonful, you can store your apple butter, preferably in a glass jar for up to one week. I have not tried freezing or canning this, but if you do, let me know how it goes!
Have fun making this spiced vegan apple butter!
Homemade Vegan Apple Butter
- Large Saucepan
- Food Processor
- 5-6 Granny Smith Apples
- 1 Lemon
- 1/4 C Maple Syrup
- 1.5 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. Allspice
- 1/4 tsp. Ground Ginger
- 1/4 tsp. Ground Cloves
- 1/4 tsp. Sea Salt
- Wash, core, and dice 5-6 granny smith apples. Absolutely no need to peel!
- Quarter and de-seed the lemon
- Toss the diced apples, the juice from the lemon, maple syrup, cinnamon, allspice, ginger, cloves, and a pinch of sea salt into a medium saucepan. Turn the heat to medium/low, cover, and simmer on low for 1-2 hours. The longer you cook, the thicker the constancy the apple butter will be.
- Remove from the saucepan when the mixture has reduced significantly. Transfer to a food processor and pulse on high until well blended. Can use as is, or return to the saucepan to cook down further.
- Transfer to an airtight container. Store in the fridge for up to a week!