CrockPot Cinnamon Apple Butter (No Sugar Added)

One of the main reasons why I wanted my boyfriend to get me a slow cooker was so that I could easily make homemade fruit butters. These sweet spreads made of cooked-down and pureed fruits are incredible on their own or spread on different kinds of bread. They're also lovely to bake with and can be mixed into oatmeal or yogurt for a sweet and spicy touch.

Fruit butters can be purchased commercially, but I've had a lot of trouble finding brands made without added sugars or sweeteners. It seems silly to me to add sugar to fruit that is already naturally very sweet. After searching on the Internet for a while I was unable to find any good apple butter recipes that didn't call for the addition of brown sugar or molasses.

I finally decided to just give it a shot myself, using only fresh apples, spices, and unsweetened apple juice. The results were fantastic and the slow cooker made the whole job practically effortless. I simply tossed all the ingredients into the CrockPot before going to bed, set it on low for 15 hours and when I got home from work the next day it was perfect. A quick pass through the blender and it was ready to serve.

This recipe makes enough to fill a large 24oz jar, which is just where I've been keeping it. If you'd like to preserve this for longer keeping, you can follow the same recipe and store using heated and sterilized jars. I admit that I haven't quite gotten around to doing it that way, which is why I like the nice usable amount that this produces.

Cinnamon Apple Butter (No Sugar Added)
This recipe is made without any added sugars to highlight the natural sweetness of the apples and juice. You can use any apples you'd like, but try to pick a sweeter variety such as Macintosh or Jonathan; Granny Smith apples don't work quite as well in this recipe due to their acidity. You can also play around with the juice for slightly different flavors. Try using grape, pomegranate, or pear juice (avoid citrus juices).

8 Macintosh Apples, cored & sliced but not peeled
3 cups apple cider or apple juice (preferably no sugar added)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

To make:
In the base of your slow mixer, add the apples followed by the spices, lemon juice, and apple juice. The cider should just cover the apples, but they shouldn't be swimming in it. If you need a little more, add it. Set the slow cooker to "low" for 12-15 hours. (I find it's best to get it going at night just before you go to bed; when you wake up it'll be just about done.)

Once the apples have softened, darkened, and much of the liquid has reduced, use a standard or immersion blender (or a food mill) to process until smooth.

If the apple butter is still a bit wet after the end of cooking time (due to the size of apples or the range of your slow cooker) transfer the apple butter to a large pot and cook over medium heat for 10-15 minutes until the liquid has reduced and the apple butter has thickened (take care because the mixture will splatter).

Let the apple butter cool completely before pouring into a glass jar or air-tight container. This will keep in the refrigerator for 3-4 weeks.


  1. it's a struggle for me to declare whether my favorite condiment is apple jelly or apple butter. both are just so glorious, and your version is an absolute masterpiece. i'm smitten. :)

  2. Fabulous! I made apple butter in my crockpot last fall using a recipe that had sugar - I cut it in half and it was still WAAAY too sweet based on the apples I had. I'm definitely going to try this!

  3. Sounds so delicious! My husband loves apple butter, so I look forward to trying this recipe!

  4. I love apple butter AND slow cookers!! I'm always looking for new ways to use my slow cooker and this seems like and awesome easy recipe.

  5. That's a top idea, fruit butter in the slow cooker! I just got a slow cooker recently too and I hadn't thought of using it for that

  6. Hmm, think I could try and make "pear butter?" Guess I probably should.

  7. I think you definitely could make pear butter! That's probably my next try too!

  8. Silly question, but how is this different from applesauce? I make mine in the slow cooker with just apples, cinn, sugar, and a small amount of water.

    I'm intrigued that more liquid at the start would make something thicker at the end. Is this where the cooking off the liquid comes into play?

    Also, my word verification is calmo, which is the universe's spanglish way of telling me to calm down...

    Thanks, Sunshine

  9. Hi Sunshine! Thanks for stopping by. That's not at all a silly question! I actually wondered about the difference between apple sauce and apple butter for a while before I found out the answer. Basically the difference is in the cooking time and end result. With apple SAUCE you cook the fruit down just until it is soft and cooked through, then you puree it. With apple BUTTER, the apples are cooked down for a long time until the natural sugars in the fruit caramelize. Even without many added spices, the apple butter takes on a much deeper tone than the apple sauce and it's naturally quite a bit sweeter. The thicker consistency is ideal for using as a spread or stirring into things such as oatmeal or cottage cheese. Apple sauce is much lighter and usually fine consumed all on its own (apple butter can be consumed on its own too, but it's much richer). The added juice in the recipe is actually there for sweetening purposes (and also to keep the fruit from burning while it is cooking).

  10. oh that butter looks like a real treat. that bagel is making me drool.

  11. Mmmm. That looks yummy. I might have to make some soon. We make ours in the crock pot too and we're out. This has definitely caused a craving!

  12. Huh, that's interesting. I must be making apple butter and eating it as sauce. My applesauce is always dark (even when I don't cook it as long so that it's chunkier). Also, I never puree it. It's always a great consistency to me.

    Whatevs, if it works, right?



  13. Apples have a lot of natural pectin in them, and the long cooking process brings it out and helps to thicken the whole deal. This sounds really, Really tasty. Since I am the Ambassador of putting salt in all sweet food (for balance), next time, try adding a healthy pinch of kosher or sea salt. You'll be surprised at the added depth of flavor:)

  14. Delicious! And a good use for the little-used crockpot :)

  15. I LOVE apple butter. I could eat it by the spoonful. I can't tell you how much I want to eat that bagel.

  16. Lovely recipe! I agree compeletely, why add any extra sugar on naturally sweet fruit.


  17. I love how this is so much easier to make than jam. Plus, it's got a whole lot less sugar, too. A very nice alternative for your morning shmear.

  18. I just made apple butter in my new crock pot and thought it had a ton of sugar in it. Thanks for figuring out for me how to do it without the sugar next time!

  19. I just discovered your blog, and I fell immediately in love! I love that a lot of your recipes are relatively healthy, and they all look like something I could make and would definitely eat! I can't wait to try your bagel recipe! and your apple butter recipe and your flourless chocolate torte recipe...

  20. I agree with several others who stated what a great idea to do this in the slow cooker.:) I have one quick question. At the end of the directions, you have:

    "If the ransfer to a large pot and cook over medium heat for 10-15 minutes until the liquid has reduced and the apple butter has thickened (take care because the mixture will splatter)."

    Now, I can gather based on context you're saying, "If (something happens), transfer to a large pot..." Is it if it's thinner than you'd like or if the apples released too much liquid or if enough of the liquid hasn't simmered off? It's a small issue, but I'm just curious what you had planned to say.

  21. Thank you so much, Ashley!!

    sdterp: Thanks for catching that! Sometimes wrestling with the HTML eats a few of my words. Anyway, you were exactly right in your guess. Since slow cookers can vary by brand, and apples can come in all sizes, you might end up with a sauce that is a bit thinner than you'd like. Reducing it over the stove is a great way to finish it off, assuring that you've cooked it down completely. It can be messy though! A splatter guard or foil with holes punched into it can keep sticky spots of hot apple butter off your stove (and arms!).

  22. Thank you for this recipe a million times. As a little girl, my great-grandma would always feed me apple butter and fresh bread when I'd been asking her too many questions, and it's my first love always. This is what I've been trying to find!

  23. I have been searching for an amazing apple butter recipe and I found it! Yeah! I have made it three times this week. Thanks for sharing!

  24. thanks for the tip about reducing on the stove. I started to make some yesterday and it's cooked for over 30 hours now and it is still the consistency of applesauce. So I'll have my husband unplug and I'll put it on the stove tonight.


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