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spoonful of homemade apple butter above a jar full
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5 from 6 votes

How to Make Apple Butter

Homemade apple butter is a delicious condiment on toast, bagels, or biscuits. Or, make this recipe with fresh apples to use in other recipes! This makes 8 cups total. Nutrition/Serving per tablespoon (16 per cup).
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time2 hrs 30 mins
Total Time3 hrs
Course: Condiment
Cuisine: American, Western
Keyword: homemade apple butter
Servings: 128
Calories: 32kcal


  • 4 lbs Granny Smith apples (See Note 1)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 4 cups sugar (See Note 2)
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp ground cardmom


  • Wash and quarter each apple, keeping skin and core on.
  • Add the cut apples to a large stock pot or Dutch oven with lid. Add water and vinegar. Bring to a boil, cover with lid and simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Carefully scoop apples and liquid to a food mill (See Note 3) and puree into a larger bowl (See Note 4). I typically have 8 cups total.
  • To a large stock pot or Dutch oven add the apple pulp, sugar, lemon juice, vanilla, cinnamon, clove, allspice, salt and cardamom. Whisk to mix thoroughly.
  • Cook on medium low, uncovered for 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Stir often to ensure bottom doesn't scorch. Apple pulp will cook down, reduce and get thick (See Note 5).
  • Allow to cool slightly and puree if you prefer a smooth apple butter (See Note 6).
  • Use right away and store in an airtight container refrigerated for up to 1 month, give as gifts, OR can immediately. If canning, follow the canning directions (I do the water bath canning method) in Note 7 below.


  1. I use Granny Smith, but any other tart cooking apple works like Jonathan or Jonagold.
  2. You will need a half cup of sugar per one cup of apple pulp.
  3. If you do not have a food mill, use a chinois or large sieve, pressing apple pulp and skin to extract as much pulp as you can. Discard skin and seeds.
  4. I extract the apple pulp into a large, 8 cup glass measuring cup, otherwise measure apple pulp after to decide how much sugar to use.
  5. You can cook on simmer, but it will take longer, 3 hours.
  6. Puree in a blender, food processor or hand blender if you desire a smooth product. I prefer to leave mine the consistency of a thick apple sauce.
  7. For a more detailed description of the canning process, read this tutorial: A Visual Tour of Hot Water Bath Canning: (https://www.thekitchn.com/hot-and-steamy-a-visual-walk-t-93802) and Water Bath Canning: (https://www.simplycanning.com/water-bath-canning.html).


Calories: 32kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 5mg | Potassium: 17mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 8IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 1mg | Iron: 1mg