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!
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 ~
- on a toasted English muffin on Monday
- spread on a bran muffin Tuesday
- stirred into oatmeal on Wednesday
- used to fill soft sandwich cookies Thursday
- baked up in a cake Friday
- as a base for barbecue sauce Saturday
- baked into bread on Sunday
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.
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.
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!)
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.
More fall jams, jellies, and preserves
Any of these would be fabulous on a fall cheese plate or with a holiday meal.
- Mulled Cider Jelly
- Mulled Cranberry Jelly
- Crock Pot Cranberry Butter
- Blackberry Jam Recipe
- Cardamom Fig Jam
How to Make Apple Butter from a Jar of Apple Sauce
- High speed blender (optional)
- 24 ounces apple sauce, unsweetened or sweetened (I used sweetened 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, optional
- 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.
- 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, Note: 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.
- 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.
- For a silky apple butter, blend in a blender until smooth.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Process jars in boiling water to cover for 15 minutes, (if you live above sea level, adjust for your altitude.)
- 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.
- Remember to always check that your lids have sealed properly ~ the center should be depressed.
Questions and Reviews
Delicious and SUPER simple! 🙂
This is the best, family’s opinion also. Easy, I did use a crockpot bcause I was busy
Hi, Sue! This sounds yummy and would make great Christmas gifts! What kind of canning jars should I buy?
Thanks for all the great recipes!!
You can use any shape you like, but usually apple butter is best in smaller jars, so I’d go for 1/2 pint or even smaller, depending on the kind of gifts you want to give. Mason/Ball jars are great, and easy to find. I love Weck jars, from Germany, but I don’t recommend them for canning because I’ve recently read that they aren’t as reliable. You can definitely use them for refrigerator or freezer preserves, though.
Hi Sue! Can I double, or even triple this recipe? I’d like to can some for Xmas gifts, a little closer to the big day. Thanks so much for all the great recipes!
You can, but in that case be sure to use a large wide bottomed pan so it doesn’t take all day to reduce! And you’re welcome 🙂
I make this all the time except I put in 300 degree oven overnight my kitchen smells wonderful and its pretty hands off just stir every once in a while.
Nice idea, a great natural scent diffuser!
If I do this in the crockpot, what setting would you suggest? Would a food processor get it as smooth as a blender?
You can use either setting, it will just take much longer with the low setting. I’m not sure of the exact timing, and you’d need to leave the lid ajar so steam can escape so the sauce will reduce. The food processor will not get the butter as smooth as a high speed blender like Vitamix, but you might process and then strain for a smoother butter.