Enjoy a jar of homemade Sweet Spiced Apple Butter, an easy slow cooker recipe that makes a perfect hostess or Christmas or teacher gift!

a jar of apple butter

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There’s nothing quite like a memorable homemade gift at Christmas, that just makes me smile. But I also love a good hostess gift for giving!

Sweet Spiced Apple Butter

This Slow Cooker Sweet Spiced Apple Butter recipe might be just what you’ve been looking for!

bowl of Sweet Spiced Apple Butter

Last week, I made something easy that anyone can make, especially if you have a slow cooker. For this recipe, you use already prepared, store-bought applesauce.

As I made Sweet Spiced Apple Butter, I turned the music up in my house, added the ingredients into the slow cooker, and cooked this recipe all day long. By the end of the day, the apple jam was ready to jar, and a perfect gift idea!

ingredients for apple butter

Crock Pot Apple Butter ingredients:

  • Applesauce (you can make homemade or buy store-bought)
  • Dark brown sugar
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Butter
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Salt
  • Ground cloves
  • Vanilla

jars for crock pot apple butter

Equipment used

5-quart or smaller slow cooker (we love this one from Crockpot!)
If you have a larger (7 or 8-qt) slow cooker, we recommend doubling the recipe to prevent the apples from drying out (or even burning if you use high heat) over a long cook time.
We recommend using small Mason jars with lids and rings.

adding butter to Sweet Spiced Apple Butter

Additions and Substitutions

Use brown sugar or honey or maple syrup if you want to use less white sugar. Use more or less cinnamon and/or cloves if you prefer. Add a few tablespoons of whiskey for extra flavor.

I canned pint size jars to give away, but if you want to wait until the week of Christmas, fill the jars (just skip the canning process), and make sure and put an expiration date on each jar!

stirring Sweet Spiced Apple Butter in slow cooker

What to serve with apple butter

  1. Serve apple butter as a spread on a fall cheese board, as a spread over crostini with sliced Brie.
  2. Don’t forget peanut butter and apple butter sandwiches!
  3. It’s delicious on a round of baked Brie with toasted pecans on top, served with crostini.
  4. Serve warm on vanilla ice cream.
  5. Add it to German pancakes or waffle boards.
  6. Delish with your favorite scones.
  7. Use for a sauce for pork chops or chicken or pork tenderloin.

jars flipped over of Sweet Spiced Apple Butter

Is canning apple butter safe?

Use my Flipping the Jar Over to Seal the Jam Method if you don’t want to use a water bath. If you use a water bath, while the apple butter is cooking, prepare your canner, jars, and lids, according to manufacturer and USDA canning guidelines.

Flipping the Jar Over to Seal the Jam Method

When you’ve completed the recipe and the jam is boiling for the last time, you’re now ready to fill the jars.

  1. Jars are sterilized and kept hot (optional in oven at 170 – 175 degrees).
  2. The lids are kept in hot almost boiling water until I put them on the full jar.
  3. The jam is poured into the jars while boiling hot. (I USED A FUNNEL)
  4. Very quickly the jar rims are wiped down with a hot cloth and the hot lids are put on along with the bands.
  5. Invert and allow the jars to sit in this position for 30-40 minutes.
  6. When the lid does not pop, or move up and down, then the jar is sealed.

This recipe has not been tested for pH levels or other safe home canning practices. My mom and I have used this method for years.

If you’d like an apple jam recipe that’s been tested for home canning, we recommend this one from Ball that uses a canner.

making homemade apple butter

How long does homemade apple butter last?

It will keep in your refrigerator for up to three months, or in the freezer for up to one year.

Will apple butter thicken as it cools?

Apple butter will thicken as it cools, so don’t worry if it still looks a little runny in the slow cooker! If you still need to thicken your apple butter, you can continue to cook it uncovered in your crock pot, or simmer it on the stove.

gift jars of Sweet Spiced Apple Butter

Can you freeze apple butter?

YES! Freeze this apple butter in an airtight container for several months and defrost as needed. I’ve kept it in the freezer for up to a year with no problems, as long as the container has a good seal!

Let apple butter defrost overnight in the fridge or remove any metal lid pieces, and microwave when you’re ready to use it!

I just love this recipe! It screams fall, holiday, and the perfect gift to give!


jars of homemade apple butter

a jar of apple butter
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Get the Recipe:

Sweet Spiced Apple Butter

No time for a slow cooker? Cook on the stovetop for the same great results.Use brown sugar or honey or maple syrup if you want to use less sugar. Use more or less cinnamon and/or cloves if you prefer. Add a few tablespoons of whiskey for extra flavor.
Makes about 12 small jars.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 8 hours
Total Time: 8 hours 15 minutes
Yield: 12
Print Recipe Pin Recipe


  • 12 cups applesauce, I made my own, but you can also use pre-made applesauce
  • 2 cups packed dark brown sugar
  • 6 T. balsamic vinegar
  • ¾ cup butter, divided
  • 3 T. ground cinnamon
  • 1 ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. ground cloves
  • 4 tsp. vanilla


  • Slow Cooker
  • Canning Jars


  • Combine applesauce in the slower cooker, along with sugar, vinegar, 1/2 cup butter, cinnamon, salt and cloves. Cover; cook on LOW for 8 hours.
  • Stir in remaining 1/4 cup butter and vanilla. Cool completely.
  • Enjoy right away or jar into small canning jars. Optional to can (use Ball.com method), a water bath, or "flip-the-jar-over" method.
Cuisine: American
Course: condiment
Did you make this recipe?Tag @reluctantentertainer on Instagram and hashtag it #reluctantentertainer!

how to make slow cooker Sweet Spiced Apple Butter