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How to Make Homemade Apple Butter From Applesauce

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Get your toast ready, because you are going to want to devour this homemade apple butter as soon as you are done making it.  Luckily turning applesauce into apple butter is really easy to do.

apple butter spread over toast.

This easy recipe turns unsweetened applesauce into a delicious flavorful apple butter with very little effort. All you have to do is give it an occasional stir. That’s really it!

So whip some up today and put it on everything from toast and English muffins to pancakes and more. Or use it to bake more tasty apple treats!

Why make your own apple butter?

Making your own apple butter is super simple and you have total control of the final product so it can be exactly how you want it. This recipe is a great starting point to make a tasty and naturally sweetened spread.

You can also adjust the spices to match your tastes. Feel free to add nutmeg, ginger, allspice or whatever you like.

My family makes their own maple syrup and they keep bees for honey. So we love using both whenever we can.

apple butter ingredients in pan ready to be cooked.

You can use one or the other of you don’t always have both on hand.  You could also substitute in some brown sugar if you don’t have honey or maple syrup.  

MiMi originally shared this recipe with us back in 2016.  She had a fun wood stove in her great room, so she made hers on that. 

I thought it was past time to share the recipe with you again. It is the perfect time to whip up some apple butter after all.

Not only do you get to enjoy the taste, it’s basically a natural air freshener while it’s cooking. The aroma will fill your home with sweet goodness that the best candle could never some close to replicating! 

pan full of freshly cooked deep brown apple butter.

Besides, I have a fun recipe in the works that is going to require a couple of cups of apple butter. So make a batch now and reserve two cups.

Use the remaining cup to make your breakfasts that much tastier. Your toast will thank you! 

What Makes This Apple Butter Recipe Great?

  • It is really fast and easy to make on your stove top. You just need a pan, some patience and little bit of stirring.
  • Because it starts with applesauce, the prep work is next to nothing.
  • You can use homemade applesauce or pick up a jar from the store.
  • It makes the house smell like fall while it’s cooking.
cast iron pan filled with apple butter being cooked on wood stove

MiMi’s favorite way to cook it down is on my wood-burning fireplace, but don’t worry a stove works just fine!

Storing Apple Butter 

Apple butter can be stored in the refrigerator for several weeks. So one jar always goes straight into the fridge.

If you don’t think you will use it all in a few weeks, freeze the rest. It will stay good in the freezer for several months or even as long as a year.

Store defrosted apple butter in the refrigerator. If you froze it immediately after making it the thawed spread will still have up to three weeks of life left in the refrigerator. 

Tips and tricks for making apple butter

The main difference between apple butter and applesauce is the amount of liquid.  The key to getting that thick, rich apple butter consistency is cooking it low and slow to evaporate the liquid without scorching the sugars.

Keeping the mixture over a steady low heat is the key to getting the job done.  All it takes is a little bit of occasional stirring to make sure nothing sticks.

jar of apple butter with knife and apple butter coated toast.

As the mixture thickens, you will be able to see the color change in addition to seeing a trail that follows your spoon as you stir.  It should be a thick spreadable consistency when you are done.

If you grab a big spoonful of apple butter, it should stay mounded on the spoon and not run off the edges.  It will thicken slightly more as it cools, but you want to make sure you got it nice and thick before you call it a day. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is my apple butter not thick?

The longer you cook the apple butter, the more moisture will evaporate resulting in a thicker texture. So keep cooking and stirring the apple butter until you reach your desired consistency.

What can you use apple butter for?

Apple butter is pretty versatile. You can spread it on toast or stir it into oatmeal. It is great on pancakes or waffles. It is wonderful in cheesecake, cupcakes, gooey butter cake and more. You can even serve it with pork chops.

More Recipes to Try 

If you love apple butter, you should try making pumpkin butter as well. A batch of each is sure to make this the most delicious fall!

If you are wanting something great to spread it on, try a slice of toasted whole wheat sourdough sandwich bread.  Or better yet, make the cinnamon swirl sourdough bread version. The same dough makes both, so make one of each!

Bake up some caramel apple butter cupcakes for an extra tasty fall treat.  The apple butter adds big apple flavor to cake!

For an easy and decadent treat, use some of your apple butter to make apple spice gooey butter cake. It is easy to make and packs a yummy apple and spice punch.

But the top recipe in my book is apple butter pie! It’s perfect.  You’ll have one cup of apple butter to use on toast and the other two can get made into this deliciously creamy pie. It will be love at first bite!!

Love this recipe? Give it a ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ review in the recipe card below!

apple butter spread over toast.

How to Make Homemade Apple Butter

This easy recipe turns unsweetened applesauce into a delicious flavorful apple butter with very little effort. All you have to do is give it an occasional stir. That's really it! So whip some up today and put it on everything from toast and English muffins to pancakes and more. Or use it to bake more tasty apple treats!
4.94 from 15 ratings
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 35 minutes
Course Sauces, Dressings & Condiments
Cuisine American
Servings 24 Serving (3 cups)
Calories 32 kcal


  • 1 quart 4 cups unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon cinnamon or apple pie spice
  • 2 Tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • Juice of ½ a lemon optional


  • Spread the applesauce in the bottom of a thick bottomed skillet. The more surface area there is for evaporation – the quicker your apple butter will be ready to enjoy, so pick a bigger one if you can.
    1 quart 4 cups unsweetened apple sauce
  • Turn your burner to the lowest setting. Stir in the cinnamon, syrup and honey. If you like it sweeter you may add more syrup and or honey as you choose. Also add the lemon juice if you are using it. I think it gives a fresher flavor to your apple butter.
    1 Tablespoon cinnamon or apple pie spice, 2 Tablespoons pure maple syrup, 2 Tablespoons honey, Juice of ½ a lemon
  • Continue to cook over low heat stirring every half hour until it is thick and the consistency that you like. I use homemade applesauce and it takes about 2 1/2 hours for it to cook down the way we like it. There is a lot of flexibility in this recipe. You can cook it at a higher temperature but it will need to be stirred more often and it will splatter. If you like it spicy, feel free to add more spices. I would suggest waiting until it cooks down before adding extra sweetener or spices so you have a chance to taste the actual product and adjust accordingly.
  • Enjoy immediately on a piece of your favorite toast. Store the rest in a glass jar in the refrigerator or freezer in the freezer for longer storage.



Serving: 1ServingCalories: 32kcalCarbohydrates: 7gFat: 1gSodium: 17mgSugar: 5g
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Recipe Rating

Barbara Mucha

Monday 18th of March 2024

I don't have a slow cooker or crockpot. How can I make apple butter another way?


Monday 18th of March 2024

I usually just make it in a skillet on the stove. It goes pretty quickly, you just have to keep an eye on it and stir it every so often.

Courtney king

Tuesday 12th of September 2023

If i dont have maple syrup i have lemon juice and honey and cinnamon how much brown sugar do i use


Tuesday 12th of September 2023

You can use 2 Tablespoons of brown sugar. A 1:1 replacement works perfect. Enjoy!

Two Chicks and a Mom

Thursday 28th of April 2016

This looks so tasty, Carlee! Thanks for sharing at Funtastic Friday:).


Friday 29th of April 2016

Thank you!


Wednesday 27th of April 2016

Apple butter is my fav! I love it with some warm biscuits. Thanks so much for the recipe! So glad you stopped by Inspiration Thursday.


Thursday 28th of April 2016

Ooh! I wish I had some warm biscuits right now, that sounds so good!

Pamela S

Friday 22nd of April 2016

When I was growing up, my parents always made apple butter and there is just nothing better! I have not made it myself for years. I have not seen a stove like what you cook it on but I bet it truly does help make it delicious.


Friday 22nd of April 2016

If nothing else, it makes it more fun! There is something really good about fresh homemade apple butter!