One Hour No Sugar Apple Butter Recipe

One Hour No Sugar Apple Butter Recipe ~ this healthy small batch fruit butter has the flavor of fresh apples with just a hint of spice, and best of all, this fresh fruit spread is ready in an hour!

Making one hour no sugar apple butter

I made this quick small batch apple butter with some beautiful apples I picked last weekend while visiting with my daughter in Madison. The orchard we went to (Appleberry Farm, in Cross Plains Wisconsin, if anyone lives nearby) grows over 20 different apple varieties, including heirlooms like Pink Pearl, Sheepnose, and Pitmason Pineapple! It’s such fun to see and taste all the subtle differences in these unusual apples, especially if you’re used to the limited supermarket selection.

Hand holding a just picked apple for 1 hour no sugar apple butter recipe!

What are the best apples for making apple butter?

Don’t know a Pippin from a Northern Spy? No problem, go by what you like.

  • Luckily, when it comes to apple butter, it really doesn’t matter, you can use any apple you like. I used a random mixture for my butter, and every batch will be a little different depending on the variety you use.
  • Any apple with a good strong flavor is a great choice.
  • Try mixing varieties, there’s no need to be loyal to just one kind.
  • Mix a tart and a sweet apple for a nice balance ~ how about Granny Smith with Honey Crisp?

1 hour no sugar apple butter in small glass jars

Making apple butter doesn’t have to be an all day affair.

With this recipe it all comes together in an hour, and that includes peeling the apples! I used 2 pounds, or about 8 large apples, and made about a pint of butter. Not bad for an hour’s work. (You can leave the peel on the apples for an even quicker project.)

TIP: The butter is done when you can drag your spoon across the bottom of the pan and leave a trail without any liquid filling it in. Another test: remove some with a spoon and if the butter remains mounded without spreading, it’s done.

fresh made apple butter in a small jar

This particular apple butter has a fresh apple taste and is pale in color. That’s because I didn’t add a lot of extra liquid to the apples, so they cook down quickly. I used whole spices to infuse their flavor into the butter rather than adding ground spices directly to it, which would result in a darker butter.

Love the flavor of fresh apples? Try my French Apple Jam.

fresh picked apples in a basket

TIP: If you want more of the classic dark spiced apple butter, increase the cider to 1 cup, add 1 cup brown sugar, 2 Tbsp of molasses, and ground spices rather than whole. You will need to cook it longer to get to a thick spreadable consistency.

fresh fall apples in a basket

Making apple butter is such a fun fall project! Try my Cranberry Apple Butter for another delicious no-sugar fruit butter variation.

If you choose to leave the peels on your apples, you will want to wash them well. The latest research shows that a 1% solution of baking soda/water does the best job of removing pesticides.

3.31 from 26 votes

One Hour No Sugar Apple Butter

One Hour No Sugar Apple Butter ~ this healthy small batch fruit butter has the flavor of fresh apples with just a hint of spice, and best of all, it's ready in an hour!
Course fruit butter, preserves
Cuisine American
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Author Sue Moran


  • 4 lbs apples about 8 large peeled, cored, and chopped
  • 1/2 cup cider
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 star anise
  • 10 whole cloves
  • 10 allspice berries


  • Put the apples and cider in a large heavy bottomed pot.
  • Tie the whole spices up in a cheesecloth bundle and add them to the pot. Bring to a boil, then cook, uncovered, for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Remove the spice sack, and puree the apples in a high speed blender or food processor. Work in batches, if necessary.
  • Return the puree to the rinsed out pot, and continue to cook for 10 to 15 more minutes, stirring often, until thick. I add the spice sack back in at this stage. Note: the butter will sputter quite a bit, so covering the pot with a splatter screen helps. The butter is done when you can drag your spoon across the bottom of the pan and leave a trail without any liquid filling it in.
  • Remove the spice sack, and fill a jar or jars. Let cool before capping and refrigerating. Plan to consume within 2 weeks, or freeze for longer storage.
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.

Make this apple butter recipe your own ~

  • If you like things a little sweeter, add some sugar, or brown sugar, to the pot with the apples and cider.
  • If you want a spicier butter, try using ground spices, start with 1/2 tsp of each cinnamon and allspice, with 1/4 tsp of nutmeg and cloves. Add more to taste.
  • Leave the peel on for added flavor, color, and texture.



Thanks for pinning this one hour no sugar apple butter!


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    Leave a Reply

    Please rate this recipe!

  • Reply
    September 26, 2021 at 7:10 am

    5 stars
    omg I was craving apple butter the other day and stumbled on your recipe, it is so incredibly silky! I’m making another batch today.

  • Reply
    Robyn Gleason
    October 26, 2017 at 2:55 am

    5 stars
    Oh gosh, Sue, your photos and recipes are in the stratosphere now! I love this post so much – those apples, that easy, healthy butter – fantastic.
    Each time I visit you I’m reminded why I started stalking your blog 5 years ago, haha.
    Thanks for another great recipe!

    • Reply
      October 26, 2017 at 8:40 am

      You’re a sweetie, and right back atcha!

  • Reply
    October 25, 2017 at 10:56 pm

    Hello, Sue.

    That apple looks so lovely. I never actually tried an apple butter before. I am so curious what does it taste like. I sure know its so tasty. I hope to try it soon.

    • Reply
      October 26, 2017 at 9:05 am

      It tastes like a thicker, more spiced version of applesauce, Susie. You can moderate the flavor by adding more or less spices. It’s delicious on toast, biscuits, scones, etc.

  • Reply
    October 25, 2017 at 6:58 pm

    I just made my first apple butter this year and I love it. I have a friend with a bunch of apple trees and I always like to try new recipes. Thanks for the recipe.

    • Reply
      October 26, 2017 at 9:09 am

      You’re so welcome Gerlinde ~ how lucky you are to have a friend with fruit trees ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    Vicki Bensinger
    October 25, 2017 at 1:49 pm

    This looks beautiful Sue. I actually have had a batch in my slow cooker since about 8:00 this morning and wont be done until late this evening. It’s the perfect time of the year for Apple Butter – it’s so tasty!

    • Reply
      October 26, 2017 at 9:10 am

      I bet your kitchen smells great Vicki ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    John/Kitchen Riffs
    October 25, 2017 at 7:41 am

    You know your apples! And your apple butter. Terrific recipe. And photos. And a really fun read. Thanks!

  • Reply
    Tricia @ Saving Room for Dessert
    October 25, 2017 at 6:33 am

    We went apple picking this past weekend and it was such fun! I love this simple, and delicious looking apple butter, and I bet my grandchildren (and their parents) would love it too. Thanks for sharing and happy travels.

    • Reply
      October 25, 2017 at 6:49 am

      My daughter said it looked like baby food, lol, but I love the fresh flavor! Our flight home was delayed today, so I get to spend a little more time looking out at the beautiful leaves…

  • Reply
    Jennifer @ Seasons and Suppers
    October 25, 2017 at 5:25 am

    How wonderful that you got to spend time with your daughter! I love apple picking and all things apple, so I can’t wait to try this one ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Reply
      October 25, 2017 at 6:36 am

      I love apple picking, too, and I’ve never been to a farm where there were so many varieties, that was really special.

  • Reply
    October 25, 2017 at 4:51 am

    For me, this is perfect. I always feel like apples are sweet enough and apple butter/sauce don’t need added sugar! So I am delighted to see this easy recipe!

    • Reply
      October 25, 2017 at 6:32 am

      This is definitely a change from the really dark spicy butters, but I think there’s something to be said for both!

  • Reply
    Chris Scheuer
    October 25, 2017 at 3:55 am

    How fun that you got to be with your daughter. I know Wisconsin is beautiful right now. I was there at the end of September and the colors were just starting to change. The apple butter looks so silky smooth and I love that there’s not sugar! Thanks for all the ways to use it too!

  • Reply
    [email protected]'s Recipes
    October 25, 2017 at 3:48 am

    I love those freshly picked apples! Your apple butter looks so creamy.

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