Apple Butter

To do ahead of time

*If you are new to canning, please familiarize yourself with the safest and most up-to-date boiling water bath canning techniques.  The Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving (often available where canning supplies are sold—make sure to get the most up to date edition) is a great resource for this, as is the National Center for Home Food Preservation.

*Wash and rinse half-pint jars, lids, and screw bands.  Set screw bands aside until ready to use.  Place jars in hot water bath canner, fill at least 2/3 of the way full with water, and bring to a boil.  Sterilize jars for 10 minutes, then turn down heat and let jars stand in hot water until ready to use.  Place lids in water in a small pan, bring to a low simmer, and hold there until ready to use.


  • 10 pounds apples
  • 3 cups sweet apple cider
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp cloves
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • 2 ½ cups maple sugar


1.) Peel and core apples, then slice into quarters.

2.) Place apples and apple cider into a large stainless steel sauce pan.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and cook until apples are soft, stirring frequently.  This should take between 20 and 30 minutes, depending on the variety and maturity of the apple.

3.) Remove the saucepan from the heat.  Ladle the apple pulp into a food mill, and press the pulp through the food mill.  If you do not have a food mill, you can lightly puree the apple pulp in a food processor instead.

4.) Return the apple puree to the saucepan, then add cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and maple sugar.  Heat the mixture to boiling, stirring frequently, then reduce heat.  Simmer, stirring frequently, until mixture has reduced and thickened significantly.   This will take about an hour, or possibly longer.   You’ll know that it’s done when the apple mixture retains its shape when mounded on a spoon.

5.) Remove hot jars from canner and immediately ladle hot apple butter into jars, leaving 1/4 inch of headspace.  Remove trapped air bubbles and wipe rims with a damp cloth.  Carefully put on lids and screw bands, tightening to fingertip-tight.

6.) Place jars in the hot water, ensuring that jars are covered with at least 1-2 inches of water.  Place a lid on the canner, return to a rolling boil, and boil for 10 minutes.  (Add one minute additional processing time for every 1000 feet above sea level.)

7.) Turn off heat and allow canner and jars to sit untouched for 5 minutes.  Then, remove jars from canner, placing them on a cooling rack or dishtowel.

8.) Allow jars to cool undisturbed for 12-24 hours. Then, confirm that jars have sealed.  Enjoy your apple butter!  Or, store properly for later use.

Makes approximately 12 half-pints

Photo courtesy of Delicious Musings.