Apple Butter in the Slow Cooker – Homemade Christmas Gift Alert!


One of you brilliant readers left this recipe in the comments section.  I can’t remember which post now, so I can’t find out who it was.  If you’re the wonderful person who shared this recipe, please let me know so I can thank you!

If you’re looking for easy, homemade Christmas gift ideas you’ll want to consider this apple butter.  It makes a lot, which is good, because you’ll want to keep some for yourself too.

It starts with a couple jars of store-bought applesauce and a slow cooker.  The result is fragrant deliciousness that’s heavenly spread on a warm biscuit.  It will even perk up a plain old piece of toast.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 8 cups applesauce (I used 2 – 46oz jars)
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. allspice (not in photo)
  • 2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cloves

Stir all the ingredients together in the slow cooker.  Cook uncovered on high for 6-7 hours.  Don’t stir during that time, just enjoy how wonderful your house smells.

The apple butter will cook down quite a bit.  After the cooking time, put it in a metal bowl and set in a sink or bowl of ice water to bring the temperature down.  Store in jars or zip top plastic bags in the refrigerator or freeze for later.

I put the apple butter in my stand mixer bowl to cool it down.

Do you make Christmas gifts?  What are your favorites to make and give?

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  1. We sometimes make apple butter from fresh apples (same concept, I just let the mix cook longer and lift the lid to stir/mash occasionally). I hadn’t thought of giving it for Christmas gifts, though. Thanks!

  2. How much does it cook down? Do you end up with nearly 8 cups of apple butter? I just want to know how much I’ll be ending up with before I begin! It sounds divine!

  3. Oh, it was me with no blog. I left this on your apples as an ingredient post. I am so flattered that you tried it. We just love it and make it with either homemade or purchased applesauce. I basically do the same as Beverly with fresh apples but leave the lid on til the applesauce is done, add the spices and continue cooking with the lid off for the apple butter.

    I make food gifts every year. Here is a different, no bake cookie/candy that I have been making for many, many years. This recipe was in a Better Homes and Gardens, and I have never seen it anywhere else.

    Graham Marshmallow Drops
    1/2 c. butter or margarine
    1 c. sugar
    2 well beaten eggs
    1 t. vanilla
    1 1/4 c. graham cracker crumbs
    2 c. mini Marshmallows (fresh ones are best)
    1/2 c. chopped walnuts
    1/4 c. flaked coconut

    In heavy saucepan, melt butter, stir in sugar. Remove from heat. Let stand a couple of minutes. Add well beaten eggs slowly, stirring constantly. Return to heat; cook and stir over medium heat till mixture is thickened and bubbly. Remove from heat; let stand 25 minutes at room temperature, stirring once or twice. Add vanilla and stir. Add graham
    cracker crumbs and mix well. Blend in marshmallows, nuts, and coconut. Drop from teaspoons onto waxed paper. Let set. Makes 3 1/2 doz.
    The marshmallows will melt slightly, and the graham cracker crumbs give these a unique flavor that people can’t quite put there finger on, but like.

    • Loy, I’m so glad you saw this! I don’t know why I didn’t think to look on the apple spotlight post for the recipe. That makes perfect sense. Thanks so much for sharing it. And the Graham Marshmallow Drops sound great too!

  4. Why a metal bowl and why cool it down like that? Couldn’t you just “let it cool”? I don’t have a metal bowl.

    I made apple butter from scratch last year. I love it on homemade bread, but man it was ALOT of work.

    • Kristal, you could just let it cool down on its own. It will take a while. The metal bowl is just because it is so hot it might melt a plastic bowl.

      • You can also leave the apple butter hot and put in hot canning jars. Wipe rims and threads and put on a two part lid, lid and ring. Process in a water bath canner for 20 minutes. Canned apple butter is good for 18 months to 2 years. If you don’t have a water bath canner you can use a large pot with a rack in it to keep the jars off the bottom of the pan. If canning, cover with enough water so that the entire jar is covered with about 1 1/2 inches of water.

  5. Would I be able to can this recipe like a normal jam or jelly? I prefer to give gifts I’ve canned so that I or the recipient don’t have to worry about refrigerating it right away. Thank you!

  6. One Christmas gift I was given a few years ago from a friend named Jody was sugar scrub. It was a nice change for my morning shower.

  7. I make something similar. I cook peeled, sliced and cored apples down in the crock pot with cinnamon and nutmeg. When it is cooked down (about 8 hours on low) I blend them smooth. I add a bag of caramels and continue to cook until the caramels are melted.

    I can this in 1/2 pint jars and give as gifts during the holidays. I can either be served cold on toast or even better, warmed over vanilla ice cream. YUMMY!!

  8. Great idea! I’ve made apple butter from scratch, too, and it’s really good but this will be so much simpler and just as yummy, I’m sure!

  9. My grandparents use to eat apple butter and I think my mom likes it, but I never had much interest in it until I started baking with it. There are are lots of recipes you can use it in.

    As for Christmas gifts, I like to give people those jars of homemade cookie mix. Over the years I’ve tried a few recipes and the one people seem to love is this one from I heard the one called Hootie Cakes was really good, too.

  10. I made this last week. My youngest son loved it! He has eaten it on rolls, sweet corn bread, crescent rolls, and by itself. He told me it was a good treat.

    Thanks for the recipe.

  11. I was looking for a new recipe to give as Christmas gifts. I love apple butter, so this looks really good. I’ve never made it before, or canned any foods. What I need to know, is if I do give it as gifts, what type of containers should I use to keep it safe from spoiling. I’m guessing some type of glass container. How should I go about preparing the container? I’m sure the apple butter should be completely cool before placing it into the container. Suggestions anyone?

    • Mary-Jo, you have a couple of options for giving/storing this. The apple butter does need to be cool before you put it in the containers. You can store it in the fridge for a couple of weeks. Or you can freeze it. Or if you want to can it, you can do that. I’ve never canned anything in my life, but I do have a guest post about canning you can read – Home Canning – Is It Worth It or Will I Just Blow Up My Kitchen?

      • I was really trying to avoid canning it! I’ve never canned before and I just don’t want or have time to learn how to can. I just didn’t want to give anyone food poisoning as a “gift” as well. I felt that since the recipe was made from applesauce, which is already processed, and not made of fresh produce, the risk of spoiling would be decreased. Also, I would definitely use well washed and dried jars, refrigerate it, and give instructions to to my friends to refrigerate it, too.

  12. 12/21/2010 Ok, I tried the recipe as shown, and it didn’t turn out that well. It seemed to have too many spices in it, and was over powering. The cloves made it almost bitter. So last night, I tried it again, and it turned out terrific. Packing it up for friends right now. This is the recipe I used:
    2, 46 ounce jars of all natural, no sugar added, applesauce
    4 cups sugar
    4 teaspoons cinnamon
    1 tsp allspice
    1 tsp nutmeg
    (omitted the cloves)

    I think you just have to play around with the recipe to suit your taste. You can start with fewer spices and add them as you go along. Obviously, I love cinnamon! Merry Christmas everyone!

    • Mary-Jo, I’m glad you were able to tweak the recipe. I also cut back on the cloves from the original recipe. Interesting that they made it bitter in your first version. Thanks for sharing your fix! Merry Christmas!

  13. What a simple way to make the apple butter, from applesauce instead of having to clean/cut up all those apples – and of course, gift giving is perfect when you have something so yummy to give. What a delightful way to fill your home with these wonderful fragrances huh? I love to make lots of dry mixes to give as gifts…folks can use them at their own will. I’m not surprised it was Loy who shared the recipe…she’s got a ton of yummy ones. Appreciate all you are doing here Tiffany. Great job!

  14. Just wondering….if you can this, do you still need to cool the apple butter down? I’d like to make this and can it for gifts, but usually when you can jelly or jam, you put a hot mixture into the jars before “processing” them…

    • Maritez, I’ve never canned anything before but if the mixture has to be hot before processing I would do it while it’s still hot. I think it just needs cooling down if it’s going straight to the fridge.

  15. Hello, great cheat 🙂 Do you think I could half this recipe and how wouldit effect the cooking time??

    • Debbie, I don’t think it will effect the cook time if you use a smaller crockpot. If you use a much larger crock than you need, it will cook hotter, so it might be faster. But if the crock is mostly full, it should be about the same cook time. Does that make sense?

  16. Does it REALLY need a full four cups of sugar? Would it change anything important if I cut back on the sugar? (Besides making it healthier, I mean.)

  17. Haley @ Cheap Recipe Blog says:

    Wow, this looks so delicious and easy! And the bonus is that it makes your house smell good? Sign me up!

  18. I was just wondering if it’s normal, as the butter cooks, for a bit of lighter brown crusting to appear around the edges?
    Although as I watch it cook, it only appears to be happening in one particular spot, so it may just be my cooker.

  19. Tiffany, I want to make the
    Apple butter but only half
    Of it. (it’s just me and my husband)
    And I’m diabetic I was wondering
    If I could use one cup of splenda
    Instead of 2. When I make apple
    Sauce I never use any Sugar or
    Splenda and it taste fine. But
    Apple butter is something different.
    What do you suggest? Thank
    You for your help. Monica

    • Monica, I’ve never cooked with Splenda before. The applesauce is very sweet on it’s own, so if you’re used to less sweet than recipes call for you might be fine with no sugar. I’m not sure what the best option would be for you, but I think it’s worth experimenting.

  20. Could you do this in a le cresuet if you don’t have aslow cooker?


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