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Dutch Oven Apple Butter

Apple Butter is a thick, caramelized, sweet, nutty spread that is perfect for morning toast to satisfy the longing for fall flavors. Cinnamon, nutmeg, and maple are just a few of the fall aromas to fill your house while this simmers on the stove.

A close up image of apple butter spread on a piece of pound cake and topped with blueberries. Pound cake is on a simple white plate with an antique fork.
Apple Butter makes for a delicious holiday gift and component to fall breakfast boards.

What is Apple Butter?

One could say Apple Butter is fall in a jar. The sweet, nutty, earthy aromas from the spices that go into homemade apple butter fill the house in just 30 minutes and linger there while the dutch oven simmers on the stove. Much like the fall favorites Apple Pie and Pumpkin Pie, this is a classic recipe you’ll fall in love with and come back to time and time again. Use Apple Butter as a thick, applesauce-like spread on your favorite homemade breads, drizzled on vanilla ice cream, or as a pork glaze.

Apple butter as part of a fall breakfast board with cheese, pound cake, nuts and berries.
Apple butter makes for a yummy spread, drizzle, or dip!

What is the difference between apple butter and applesauce?

Apple butter and applesauce have many of the same flavors. The big difference is the consistency. Apple butter is cooked down for longer, pureed thinner, and then thickens as it simmers on the stove-top, caramelizing in the process.

How to make Apple Butter in a dutch oven

What are the ingredients for dutch oven apple butter?

These ingredients resemble the smell and taste of an apple pie, without using apple pie spice. For this apple butter, you’ll need 5-6 pounds of Granny Smith apples, 1/2 cup of brown sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, 3 teaspoons of cinnamon, 2 teaspoons of nutmeg, 1/4 teaspoon of ground cloves, 1 Tablespoon of vanilla extract, 1 teaspoon of granulated maple (or 2 Tablespoons maple syrup) and one cup of water.

Ingredients for dutch oven apple butter are pictured on a grey/blue background. Ingredients are granny smith apples, granulated maple, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla extract, salt, and ground cloves.
Apple Pie Apple Butter – without the store-bought apple pie spice!

Dutch oven apple butter only takes a 3-4 hours to complete unlike Crock-Pot apple butter that sits for 7-8 hours. Making apple butter in the dutch oven has just four steps.

  1. Peel, core, and slice your apples into 1/4 inch – 1/2 inch pieces.
  2. Mix your choice of fall spices in a bowl and then toss apples in the spice mixture.
  3. Add apples, spice, and one cup of water to the dutch oven and bring to a boil over medium heat for 40 minutes with the lid half-off to allow some steam to escape.
  4. Use an immersion blender (affiliate link) to puree the apples and return to a simmer, uncovered, for 3 hours.

How to make Apple Butter in a Crock-Pot

If you love this recipe but can’t spare your dutch oven for 3-4 hours it will yield equally as delicious results in a Crock-Pot. Simply peel, core, and chop your apples as you would for the dutch oven. Combine all apples, spices, and water into the Crock-Pot, stir, and set to low for 7-8 hours. The apples will turn soft and thicken on their own, stirring once every two hours.

What are the best apples for apple butter?

If an apple tastes good to you to eat, it likely will make for a delicious apple butter. However, some apples are known to be better for cooking while others are better for eating. Here we chose to go with Granny Smith apples. We did that for a few reasons:

  • Granny Smith apples are commonly found across the United States in stores all year round.
  • Granny Smith apples are one of the best cooking apples and pair well with a caramelized sugar taste.
  • Of the bulk varieties found at the stores, Granny Smith are typically found in 3 or 5 pound ready to purchase bags.

How to store apple butter?

You can simply store it in a sterile container like a mason jar, and keep it in the refrigerator for up to a week. You can also freeze it in a mason jar, leaving a half-inch of headroom between the butter and the top. Just be sure to allow the apple butter to cool completely before transferring to the freezer. It will last in the freezer for 6-12 months as long as the seal is good. If canned, apple butter will last up to 12 months on the shelf – no refrigeration required. Find tips for canning apple butter here.

Apple butter is pictured stored in two different mason jar type containers surrounded by apples, star anise, and cinnamon sticks.
Store your apple butter in the fridge, freezer, or canned on the pantry shelf.

What to do with apple butter?

We canned it and used it as gifts at our wedding for our guests! I loved being able to offer something as a thank you that was both homemade and practical. Apple butter is delicious when spread on toast, turkey sandwiches (think leftovers from Thanksgiving), stirred into plain oatmeal, spread on pancakes or waffles, paired with pork, and even on a cheese platter as a dip! There are countless ways to enjoy this snack. Make it once or twice a year, can it, and have a fresh jar once a month all year round. Try some of these tasty options for your apple butter:

Try our apple butter with Chef Billy Parisi’s Grilled Pork Tenderloin!
Drizzle apple butter over this french toast casserole and suddenly you have a caramel apple french toast casserole!
Sourdough Irish Soda Bread is the perfect mid-day snack for the kids with apple butter!
apple butter on bread with blueberries on top
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Dutch Oven Apple Butter

Apple Butter is a thick, caramelized, sweet, nutty spread that is perfect for morning toast to satisfy the longing for fall flavors.
Print Recipe
Prep Time:20 mins
Cook Time:3 hrs 30 mins
Total Time:3 hrs 50 mins

Ingredients

  • 5-6 pounds granny smith apples
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon granulated maple or 2 Tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons nutmeg
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon cloves start with 1/4 and increase to taste at the end
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup water

Instructions

  • Peel, core, and slice your apples into 1/4 inch – 1/2 inch pieces.
  • Mix your spices in a bowl. Toss apples in spice mixture or pour spices over apples and toss within the dutch oven.
  • Add apples, spices, and one cup of water to the dutch oven and bring to a boil over medium heat for 40 minutes with the lid half-off to allow some steam to escape.
  • Use an immersion blender to puree the apples and return to a simmer, uncovered, for 3 hours until thick and dark in color.

Nutrition

Calories: 1690kcal | Carbohydrates: 434g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 1232mg | Potassium: 2573mg | Fiber: 58g | Sugar: 349g | Vitamin A: 1225IU | Vitamin C: 104mg | Calcium: 288mg | Iron: 4mg
Course: Appetizer, Basics, Breakfast, Snack
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Apple, apple butter, fall
Calories: 1690kcal
Author: Katie Chase

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