Spiced Apple Butter

Summary: Although time-consuming, this fruit butter is an absolutely delicious way to use lots of apples! This recipe comes from Canning for a New Generation by Liana Krissoff.

Yield6 half-pints

Note: Optimally, you'll have a food mill for this recipe. If you do, don't bother peeling the apples, but do core them; even the fine-holed disk will tend to let bits of core through (boo!). If you don't have a food mill, you'll need to puree the apples in a food processor or blender which means you need to core and peel themfirst (sorry). 


  • 6 pounds apples, cored and peeled only if necessary (see note), cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 2 cups apple cider or water
  • ~1½ cups sugar
  • 1½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ teaspoon ground allspice

Instructions: In Lissa's words

Put the apples in a 6- to 8-quart stock pot. Add the cider and 4 cups water and bring to a boil over high heat. Boil, stirring occasionally, until the apples are completely broken down and the peels have separated from the pulp, 30 to 40 minutes.

Pass the mixture through a food mill to remove the peels and cores. (Or, if you cored and peeled the apples-puree it in batches in a food processor or blender.) Measure the puree.

Rinse out the stock pot and return the puree to it. Add 2 tablespoons sugar per cup of puree, and add the spices. (Puree with an immersion blender, if you want an extra-smooth apple butter. I did not do this.) Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer, stirring carefully every 10 minutes or so with a long-handled spoon or spatula, for several hours, until the puree is dark and thick enough that it mounds up in a teaspoon, and you can dollop a bit of it onto a plate and no liquid seeps out around the edges of the dollop.

After an hour or two, prepare for water-bath canning: Wash the jars and lids and keep them hot in a canning pot.

When the apple butter is done, bring it back to a boil.

Ladle the hot apple butter into the jars, leaving ½ inch headspace at the top. Use a damp paper towel to wipe the rims of the jars, then put a flat lid and ring on each jar, adjusting the ring so that it's just finger-tight. Return the jars to the water in the canning pot, making sure the water covers the jars by at least 1 inch. Bring to a boil, and boil half-pints or pints for 10 minutes to process. Remove the jars to a folded towel and do not disturb for 12 hours. After 1 hour, check that the lids have sealed by pressing down on the center of each; if it can be pushed down, it hasn't sealed, and the jar should be refrigerated immediately. Label the sealed jars and store.