Monday, September 12, 2011

No Sugar Added Apple Butter

So I'm very excited because it's that time of year again, apple season!! Autumn is definitely my favourite time of year, from the start of September to the beginning of November, I fill my calender with fall festivities and begin picking apples, roasting (and carving) pumpkins and doing jigs in piles of leaves. Now is the time of year when I start drinking hot spiced tea in the morning and hot cocoa in the evening, and around lunch time a nice glass of apple cider.

But for the last few years, one of my go to fall foods has been apple butter. Smooth, thick, appley and delicious. We can buy lots of it locally, but I wanted to try my hand at making it at home. After 14 hours of being in the slow cooker and then another few hours for it to cool and set we were able to eat spoonfuls of it! After all that I work, I have to be honest, I think I will be buying it from our local apple farmers. Unfortunately, not everyone has the access to locally made apple butter, so this recipe is for you. Because who doesn't love apple butter?

Apple Butter - No Sugar Added
3 litres / 3 quarts of apples (about 10-12 medium sized apple)
6 cups of apple cider or unsweetened apple juice (reduced to about 3 cups)
1 tablespoon arrowroot powder (or sodium bicarbonate)
1 tablespoon of cinnamon
1 teaspoon cardamom
fresh ground nutmeg
pinch of ground cloves

Before chopping apples, pour apple cider/juice in a large saucepan with arrowroot powder, whisk to combine. Put on medium heat and bring to a boil. Continue to boil until the apple cider has reduced to half. The reduction of the apple cider adds an extra sweetness to the apple butter. I received this tip after contacting a local apple seller for advice on making apple butter. They told me that the reduction of the cider or juice adds enough sweetness to the apple butter and they use a variety of apples depending on what they have lying around. Advice from the experts!

While the cider/juice is boiling, chop the apples and core them. Leaving the skins on.
Toss the chopped apples into your slow cooker and sprinkle with spices.
Pour in apple cider or apple juice. Cover, put on low heat in slow cooker for 12ish hours or overnight.

Puree the apple butter. If it is still a bit runny, keep it at a low temperature and cover again, leaving the lid slightly ajar. You could also reduce the liquid by bringing the apple butter to a slight boil in a pot. Using a sweeter variety of apples will yield a sweeter result. Maple syrup or honey can be added to taste if you like super sweet, but honestly, I think the apple butter is great without the added sugars. Especially if you are going to be using it in recipes or eating on toast.

When the process is all done you will have a beautiful coloured, scrumptious tasting apple butter!

Applesauce can also be used to make apple butter. What I think I will do next time is make a large batch of apple sauce, set some aside after about 6 hours in the slow cooker for the apple sauce portion then add the apple juice reduction to the remaining apple sauce to make apple butter.

Some of my favourite recipes to use apple butter in are:

Stir fry sauce                   Lamb burgers
Barbeque sauce         Sweet n' sour meatballs

How do you use your apple butter?

Bon Appetit!
Chef Momma

Shared at Monday Mania,  Fat Tuesday,  Gluten Free Wednesdays, Pennywise Platter Thursdays, and Laura Williams Musings


  1. This is great! How long will it keep for in jam jars?

  2. Daniella, you can keep it in the fridge for about two weeks. Or you can freeze it or even can it if you're into canning. We have some apple butter opened already so I threw mine in the freezer. When I want it, I'll just put it in the fridge to defrost and then use it within a few days. Hope you enjoy it!

  3. Hi,
    This post is so informative. I would love for you to come
    share it at FAT TUESDAY. I hope you will
    put FAT TUESDAY on your list of carnivals to visit
    and link to each week!

  4. I love this recipe -- I wonder if I could use coconut flour to thicken instead of arrowroot?

    Thanks for linking your great post to FAT TUESDAY. Hope to see you next week!

  5. You might be able to use coconut flour, or just skip it all together. The apple farm that shared their methods with me uses sodium bicarbonate (aka baking soda), so you could use that as a substitute. I'm sure if you did not use anything it would still come out thick and creamy :D

  6. Wow! i plan on going apple picking this weekend so I will definitely try this recipe soon! Thanks so much!


  7. I have a ton of apples that I foraged recently, and need an easy way to use them up. This sounds like a great idea, thanks!

  8. That looks great. My mom always gives us applebutter, and I'm never quite sure how to use it except on toast or in muffins. I like your ideas.

  9. I do have a post on crockpot/slow cooker appleasauce from last year, you can check it out here:

  10. Linda, so glad that you are inspired by the ideas! We love to eat apple butter on toast and muffins as well, so simple and yet so delicious!

  11. I love apple season in Vermont. I've been making and posting about apple cakes, pies, butter and jelly. Please visit my blog

  12. just wondering how much apple butter does this make?

  13. I'm trying to remember how many jars I made this past summer... I thjnk I made about 4 quarts/4 litres.

  14. I've been searching for an apple butter recipe for a long time that didn't add sugar. Your recipe sounds wonderful!

    The apple butter I buy lists the ingredients as organic apples and baking soda. Do you know what the purpose of the baking soda is? Is it to give it that lovely dark colour.

    1. Hi Kathy! I believe the baking soda is added in to prevent the apples from becoming too acidic. But I'm not 100% sure.

      Last summer I used arrowroot powder to thicken mine, but this coming fall I want to try it without the thickener. I'm sure it would be just as good... unfortunately, we are on our last batch of local apples so no experimenting any time soon. Hope you enjoy this recipe :)

  15. Thanks for linking up at the Carnival of Home Preserving. Hope to see you next week.


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