Home Canned Apple Butter

Apple butter was one of the first things I learnt how to can at home.

This was for a few reasons, first of all it looked super easy. Secondly, when i googled it everyone said it was super easy, and thirdly it was one of the first recipes in the book so i assumed it would be super easy.

Now you might not guess it but it WAS super easy!

I’m not sure if apple butter is an American thing, im not really even sure where it originates from, but I had never heard of it before. No one in my family had heard of it. So i was watching all of these youtube videos on home canned apple butter (i know i need to get a social life) and everyone was saying how delicious it is and how you can eat it on toast and all this stuff.

It honestly, just seemed super bizarre to me. Like a butter that tastes like apples, looks like a dark brown weird goo, and i should spread it on my toast?

Still to this day i have never spread it on my toast, maybe i will one day. But one thing i can guarantee that it tastes heavenly on is my homemade applesauce streusel cake. I’m telling you it will change your life.

Head over here to grab that recipe and give it a go!

apple butter


The recipe is from the USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning so it is from a scientifically tested and reputable site. Head over here to check out their website.

Its a pretty basic recipe, you need some apples, cider, vinegar, sugar and some spices.

Just for all you Australians out there who are reading this, the USDA guide calls for 2 cups of cider. Now when i read that i was like weird why would i put cider into apple butter? I’m pretty sure you can’t can alcohol??

It took me a very very long time to realise that Americans call apple juice ‘cider’. So you basically want to grab yourself an unsweetened, unfiltered, non-alcoholic apple juice, or ‘cider’.

Just FYI, if someone asked me for a cider I’d hand them some sort of alcoholic apple or pear or maybe even strawberry ‘cider’ beverage lol.

Anyway now for the recipe…

Remember as this is a canning recipe, please follow the instructions EXACTLY, if you feel like changing things up then please freeze it or store it in the fridge and eat within a week or so.


Below is an outline of the canning information:

  • Headspace – 1/4 inch
Recommended process time for Apple Butter in a boiling-water canner
Process Time at Altitudes of
Style of PackJar Size0-1000 ft1001-6000 ftAbove 6000 ft
HotHalf-pints or Pints5 minutes10 minutes15 minutes
HotQuarts10 minutes15 minutes20 minutes



If you’re new to canning then make sure you check out my canning 101 page here to learn a bit more before you get started. And then give my water-bath canning page a read to really get a good understanding of everything!

Apple Butter is a fantastic beginners canning recipe to make!


Also if you need some help reading the processing time tables then check out this post here which will walk you through the whole thing.



Apple Butter

A delicious, smooth butter made from apples!


  • 8 (3.6) lbs (kg) apples
  • 2 cups cider (apple juice)
  • 2 cups vinegar (make sure this is at least 5% acidity, i personally use apple cider vinegar)
  • 2 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 1/4 cups brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp ground cloves


  1. Wash, remove stems, quarter, and core apples. 

  2. Add apples, cider and vinegar to a large pot on medium-low heat and cook until soft.

  3. Press apple mixture through a colander, food mill, or strainer. 

  4. Add milled apples back into a large pot on medium heat and add sugar and spices, stirring frequently.

  5. To test for doneness, remove a spoonful and hold it away from steam for 2 minutes. It is done if the butter remains mounded on the spoon. Another way to determine when the butter is cooked adequately is to spoon a small quantity onto a plate. When a rim of liquid does not separate around the edge of the butter then it is ready. 

  6. Fill hot butter into sterile half-pint or pint jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Quart jars need not be pre-sterilized but should be clean and kept hot until filling. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace if needed. Wipe rims of jars with a dampened clean paper towel. Adjust lids and process. 

Recipe Notes


Recommended process time for Apple Butter in a boiling-water canner
Process Time at Altitudes of
Style of PackJar Size0-1000 ft1001-6000 ftAbove 6000 ft
HotHalf-pints or Pints5 minutes10 minutes15 minutes
HotQuarts10 minutes15 minutes20 minutes



Follow recipe up until the end of step 5. Allow butter to cool, place in an airtight container and store in the fridge for 1 week. 



To pre-sterilize empty jars after washing in detergent and rinsing thoroughly, submerge them, right side up, in a boiling water canner with the rack in the bottom. Fill the canner with enough warm water so it is 1 inch above the tops of the jars. Bring the water to a boil, and boil 10 minutes at altitudes of less than 1000 feet. At higher elevations boil 1 additional minutes for each additional 1000 feet elevation. Reduce the heat under the canner, and keep the jars in the hot water until it is time to fill them. Remove and drain hot sterilised jars one at a time, saving the hot water in the canner for processing filled jars. Fill the sterilised jars with food, add lids, and tighten screw bands.