How to make apple butter from apple sauce!

a jar of apple sauce next to a jar of apple butter

Once you know how to make apple butter from a jar of apple sauce you’ll wonder how you ever lived without this easy hack. Apple butter is one of the joys of fall, but those little jars are expensive, and it takes forever to make it from scratch. This silky apple butter recipe is ready in a fraction of the time, and cost!

apple butter in a glass jar

I had such fun making this quick apple butter, and it’s one of my favorite types of recipes to share with you guys because it’s fast, fun, delicious, and definitely a little unexpected, Just imagine being able to transform plain old applesauce into a jar of thick silky apple butter, in no time. You’ll leap right over the most tedious steps!

I’ve been enjoying apple butter in a different way every day this week ~

a jar of apple butter with apples and cinnamon sticks

What you’ll need for easy one-hour apple butter:

  • 24 ounce jar of applesauce ~ you can use your favorite brand, sweetened or unsweetened.
  • Spices ~ feel free to use this as a guide and adjust according to your taste
    • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
    • 1/4 teaspoon each: nutmeg, allspice, cardamom, mace, cloves, ginger
  • A saucepan ~ a heavy bottomed pan works best to prevent scorching.
  • A blender is optional, but will give your apple butter a silky texture.
a jar of apple sauce next to a jar of apple butter

How to make apple butter from apple sauce

It’s so easy, but this hack doesn’t sacrifice anything. When you start with applesauce you’re just skipping over a lot of time and effort, but you’ll still end up with a delicious homemade product.

  • Put the applesauce and spices into a heavy bottomed saucepan. You want a heavy pot because that will help prevent the thick apple butter from scorching on the bottom of the pan as it cooks.
  • You can add sugar, or not, depending on what you like. If your applesauce has already been sweetened, then don’t add additional sugar. If you start with unsweetened sauce you can add white or brown sugar, honey, maple syrup, or other sweetener of your choice, to taste.
  • Bring the sauce up to a boil and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is nice and thick. This can take up to 45 minutes. The harder you boil the sauce the quicker it will be, but be careful, it splatters in the early stages. I like to cover the pot with a splatter guard. I also like to use a silicone ‘spoonula’ because it makes it easy to scrape the sides and bottom of the pan to prevent scorching.
  • The butter is done when it is thick and you can scrape your silicone spoon across the bottom of the pan and create a clear line that doesn’t fill back in right away.
  • You can now put the apple butter into a blender to make it silky smooth, but this step is optional.
silky apple butter in a jar

How to use apple butter

Apple butter is such a welcome little indulgence on a cold morning, it warms up everything from toast and English muffins to biscuits and pancakes. Put a little jar next to the cheddar on your next cheese plate, or cook with it. I’ve used it in:

  • cakes ~ some recipes call for apple butter, and you can substitute it in recipes that call for apple sauce.
  • breads ~ I use it in my paleo fruit and nut breakfast bread, which makes everybody’s favorite toast.
  • I even use apple butter in meatballs! My apple butter brandy meatballs are requested year after year during the holidays (it’s the apple butter!)
apple butter on an English muffin

An easy gift from your kitchen

Don’t forget, this makes an amazingly thoughtful gift, there’s no one who wouldn’t love to receive a little jar of homemade apple butter. (They don’t have to know you didn’t slave away all day making it.) Give it to teachers, friends, family, and anyone who needs a little love (don’t we all?)

To preserve apple butter

  • You can can the apple butter to preserve it for up to a year. Follow the instructions in the recipe card below.
  • You can freeze it, just remember to leave 1/2 inch headspace in your jars to allow to expansion in the freezer.
  • It will last several weeks tightly closed in the fridge.
a jar of homemade apple butter with cinnamon sticks

More fall jams, jellies, and preserves

Any of these would be fabulous on a fall cheese plate or with a holiday meal.

a jar of apple sauce next to a jar of apple butter
5 from 20 votes

How to Make Apple Butter from a Jar of Apple Sauce

Once you know how to make apple butter from a jar of apple sauce you'll wonder how you lived without this easy hack. Apple butter is one of the joys of fall, but those little jars are expensive, and it takes forever to make it from scratch!
Course fruit preserve
Cuisine American
Cook Time 45 minutes
Yield 1 cup
Author Sue Moran


  • High speed blender (optional)


  • 24 ounce jar of apple sauce, you can use sweetened or unsweetened. I used a sweetened applesauce this time.
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg, freshly grated is best
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp mace (leave out if you don't have)


  • Put the applesauce and spices into a heavy bottomed saucepan.  You want a heavy pot because that will help prevent the thick apple butter from scorching on the bottom of the pan as it cooks. Stir to combine everything and bring up to a boil.
    spices and apple sauce in sauce pan
  • Cook at a medium boil, stirring often, for about 30-45 minutes, until the butter is nice and thick. Be careful, the mixture will sputter in the begining, I use a splatter guard. You don't have to stir constantly, but keep an eye on it for scorching and stir often. I also like to use a silicone 'spoonula' because it makes it easy to scrape the sides and bottom of the pan.
    cooking apple butter in a sauce pan
  • When it is ready, you will be able to drag a spoon across the bottom of the pan and leave a trail that will not fill in immediately. The butter will continue to thicken as it cools.
    Cooking apple butter in a pan
  • For a silky apple butter, blend in a blender until smooth.
    silky smooth apple butter in jar
  • Put the apple butter into a jar and refrigerate. It will last several weeks. To freeze, be sure to leave 1/2 inch headspace at the top of the jar to allow for expansion. To can, see directions below.
    apple butter in a small jar

Cook’s notes

  • If you use unsweetened apple sauce and want to sweeten your butter, add white or brown sugar, maple sugar, maple syrup, honey, or other sweetener to taste.  Add your sweetener along with the spices to the pan at the very beginning.
  • There are many flavored apple sauces on the market, and you can use those, too.
Canning instructions
  1. Carefully spoon the hot apple butter into a clean hot jar leaving a ¼ inch headspace. Wipe down the rim of the jar. Screw on the lid to fingertip tight. 
  2. Process jars in boiling water to cover for 15 minutes, (if you live above sea level, adjust for your altitude.)
  3. Turn off heat, remove the lid from the pot, and leave for 5 minutes. Remove jars and let them cool on a kitchen towel for  12-24 hours.
  4. Remember to always check that your lids have sealed properly ~ the center should be depressed.
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.
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    Leave a Reply

    Please rate this recipe!

  • Reply
    April 9, 2022 at 3:23 pm

    5 stars
    I love apple butter! I use it in many of the ways you do. I also use it as a condiment with grilled cheese sandwiches. Nothing like cheese and apples.

  • Reply
    March 29, 2022 at 1:51 pm

    5 stars
    Is thw cloves necessary?

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      March 29, 2022 at 2:12 pm

      No, feel free to leave them out.

  • Reply
    March 10, 2022 at 7:38 am

    5 stars
    Working on my third batch in the crockpot. Makes the house smell like home while cooking and tastes so good on toast or biscuits. Thanks so much for sharing this.

    • Reply
      March 10, 2022 at 7:44 am

      Forgot to add that I do run this through the blender when done and then put it back in the crockpot for an hour or so just to cook down a bit more. Thanks again.

      • Reply
        Sue Moran
        March 10, 2022 at 8:00 am

        I blend it as the final step, after it’s nice and thick. But you can do it either way.

  • Reply
    Julie K
    December 4, 2021 at 8:25 am

    Maybe it’s in here somewhere, but how much apple butter does this yield?

  • Reply
    Chrys Phillips
    October 6, 2021 at 5:00 pm

    how much sugar do you use sue?

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      October 7, 2021 at 7:33 am

      Since I use sweetened applesauce I don’t add sugar, but if you use unsweetened, I would add it to taste, it won’t take much.

  • Reply
    Colleen Bonadonna
    June 23, 2021 at 6:32 am

    5 stars
    Made this yesterday after cooking on the stove put into oven at 300 for 3 hours, for deeper color and intense flavor, it was fabulous!

  • Reply
    January 8, 2021 at 5:26 pm

    I have been simmering for eight hours and it is still applesauce. It is tasty applesauce but has yet to begin that caramelization that turns the applesauce into brown apple butter. I did stand at the stove for the first hour then turned it to a simmer when I saw that the process was not complete. I am using Whitehouse brand applesauce,

    • Reply
      January 9, 2021 at 7:03 am

      5 stars
      Cook at a medium boil, uncovered.

    • Reply
      January 9, 2021 at 9:04 am

      5 stars
      I did finally get apple butter but if I counted the electricity, the time and the reduction factor the price of apple butter in the store is not as extreme as it appears. However the applesauce at the 45 minute point is delicious in al the ways suggested, just not quite as good as apple butter.

  • Reply
    Katherine Burns
    October 12, 2020 at 9:18 am

    Sue, did you try it in the crock pot?

    • Reply
      October 12, 2020 at 9:38 am

      I didn’t, I find it just goes a lot faster on the stove. You could do it in the crock pot, with the lid partially opened. You’d need to stir occasionally to prevent sticking.

  • Reply
    October 11, 2020 at 3:10 pm

    5 stars
    I made this early this morning and enjoyed it on toast for breakfast. It was so good! I look forward to having it on oatmeal as well. Next I’m trying the Cranberry Apple Butter.

    The recipe and notes were well done. I appreciate all the tips–the spoonula was a good call and the splatter guard was NECESSARY! Thanks so much for the great recipe. I enjoy your blog.

  • Reply
    October 8, 2020 at 1:11 pm

    Could I use homemade apple sauce rather than a store bought jar?

    • Reply
      October 8, 2020 at 5:36 pm

      Yes, sure.

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