Unless you’re shopping at your local Amish market, you probably won’t find apple butter in your grocery store. Amish apple butter is a creamy spread made from slow-cooked, caramelized apples that can be used to add some sweetness to a variety of dishes.
The good news is, it’s super easy to make—all you need is a couple of apples, some spices, and a whole lot of patience. Learn how to make it below with our Amish apple butter recipe, and find some ideas for how to use it to spice up your cooking.
What is Amish Apple Butter?
To understand what apple butter is, it might be easier to explain what it is not. Though it shares some qualities with each, apple butter is not an apple sauce, jelly, or jam. As its name suggests, Amish apple butter is a thick spread that resembles the creaminess of butter.
The way it’s prepared can drastically impact its texture and taste. You can prepare it to be as chunky, smooth, sweet, or tart as you like by experimenting with different recipe variations or preparation methods.
What Does Apple Butter Taste Like?
Generally speaking, apple butter tastes like caramelized apples, but the taste of your apple butter can depend on the apple varieties you use and the number of spices you include. Mild apples will result in a sweet apple butter and sour apples will result in a more tart spread.
Spices will also make a difference in your flavor. Most Amish apple butter recipes include warm spices like ground cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and allspice, but where sweeter, fuller apple butter recipes will use water and pure vanilla extract, tart recipes will opt for apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, and lemon zest.
It’s really up to your taste preferences— that’s the beauty of this Amish delicacy! You can experiment with different recipe variations to yield a result that excites your taste buds.
How To Make Amish Apple Butter
If you’ve ever made homemade applesauce, then you’re already familiar with the process of making apple butter. The main difference between the two is that your apples will brown for longer to cook out more of the water content.
To get the fullest flavor, we suggest slow cooking your apples on the stovetop or in the crockpot for at least 8 hours. However, you can still make some apple butter if you’re in a time crunch using an Instapot. We’ll give you recipe variations for all three methods below.
Slow-Cooked Amish Apple Butter Recipe
For the purposes of this blog, we’ll be sharing our favorite, sweet Amish apple butter recipe. (But keep in mind, if you’d prefer something more tart, you can easily swap out the sweet apples for granny smith’s and the vanilla extract with lemon juice.)
There are a few tools you’ll need to make apple butter at home. For the easiest preparation, we recommend using an
- apple peeler
- immersion blender
- And a crockpot
If you don’t have these items on hand, you can core and peel your apples by hand, swap the immersion blender out for a food mill, and slow cook your apples on the stovetop. Aside from that, there’s no difference in the cooking method.
Amish Apple Butter Ingredients:
- 6 Sweet apples*
- ½ cup Sugar
- ½ cup Light brown sugar
- 1 ½ tsp. Ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp. Ground nutmeg
- ¼ tsp. Ground allspice
- ¼ tsp. Ground cloves
- ¼ tsp. Salt
- 2 tsp. Pure vanilla extract
- ¼ cup Water
*Notes: For chunky apple butter with more nutrients, keep the skin on your apples. Peel your apples if you prefer something smoother and sweeter. If you’re using an immersion blender to puree your butter, your apples should be cored. If you’re using a food mill, there’s no need to de-core them.
Crockpot Apple Butter Instructions
Follow these 6 easy steps to make this Amish apple butter recipe in your crockpot. You can also follow this process if you’re cooking over the stovetop. We’ll list the minor variations for stovetop cooking below each step in italics.
Step 1) Use your apple peeler to peel and core your apples. Quarter them, then place them in your crockpot or large pot.
Step 2) Add your remaining ingredients and toss to coat your apples.
Step 3) Cover your crockpot and cook on low for 6-8 hours, stirring occasionally.
*If you’re cooking on the stovetop, bring your pot to a boil, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer until the apples are soft (about 20 minutes).
Step 4) Blend your apples with an immersion blender.
Step 5) Continue cooking your apples uncovered on low for an additional 2 hours, stirring occasionally. This is really where your mixture should start to thicken.
*If you’re cooking on the stovetop, stir your apple butter more frequently to avoid scorching. You might also have to cook for 2 ½ hours for your mixture to thicken.
Step 6) Remove from the heat and spoon your apple butter into airtight jars or containers.
Instant Pot Apple Butter Instructions
You can make your apple butter in under 4 hours with this instant pot Amish apple butter recipe.
Step 1) Peel, core, and quarter your apples. Transfer to your instant pot.
Step 2) Add your remaining ingredients and toss to coat your apples. Pressure cook your apples on high for 90 minutes.
Step 3) Naturally release for 10 minutes before releasing any remaining pressure.
Step 4) Use an immersion blender to puree your apples until smooth. Turn your pot to “slow cook” and cook on high for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
*DO NOT latch the lid; you want the steam to release during these final 2 hours so keep your lid proposed about halfway.
Step 5) Spoon your apple butter into airtight jars or containers.
How to Store Your Amish Apple Butter
Unless you process your jars by canning, your apple butter must be stored in the refrigerator. It will stay fresh in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. Anything you don’t use can be frozen for up to a year in the freezer.
Tip: scoop your apple butter into an ice cube tray to freeze for the easiest way to use in the future. Just pop a cube — or several — out when you need it to easily defrost and sweeten up your meal.
What Can You Use Amish Apple Butter In?
Not sure how to use your apple butter? Remember, it’s considered a condiment, so you can spread it on bread, crackers, cheese, and even savory dishes like beef or turkey burgers. There are tons of recipes out there that use apple butter, but we’ve listed 3 that you need to try below.
Apple pie meets pumpkin pie in this recipe for Amish apple butter pie. It tastes wildly reminiscent of the fluffiness and spice level of pumpkin pie, and it’s made in a similar way, too!
Try this recipe for Amish apple butter barbecue sauce for your next bbq night. It’s the perfect blend of sweet and tangy to give your meat a flavorful bite.
Amish Apple Butter Barbeque Sauce Recipe
Make a very simple, fall-flavored old-fashioned at home using some Amish apple butter. All you need is some apple butter, apple cider, bourbon, and bitters!