As we transition from Autumn into winter, this recipe for homemade Slow Cooker Maple Apple Butter will allow you to capture the best flavors of fall and jar them in a delicious little spread you can use all year!
Growing up in upstate New York, I loved fresh juicy apples in the fall. Apple season meant leaves transformed to a hazy golden hue, crisp chilly mornings, and lazy afternoons wrapped in a thick sweater, with a cup of hot apple cider. Now that I live in Arizona, the taste and smell of apples immediately take me back to New York and those cozy fall days, even when the weather is not as chilly here. What better way to capture that homey feeling of fall all year than in a jar of homemade apple butter?
Slow Cooker Maple Apple Butter
Mmm. Not only does this Slow Cooker Maple Apple Butter taste incredible on biscuits, morning toast, or dolloped on a dish of vanilla ice cream, it’s super easy to make and the house smells incredible while it is cooking. Even better? For those trying to live a healthier lifestyle (like me), I use natural sugars in this recipe to make it healthier than most apple butter recipes full of refined sugar. Slather a thin layer of this on some fresh seeded whole wheat bread and you will be in heaven!
Apple Butter vs Applesauce
Applesauce is similar to apple butter but is chunkier and cooked for less amount of time. Apple butter is smooth, meant to be used as a spread or topping, and is cooked twice as long as apple sauce. Apple butter may also have more spices than applesauce, depending on your taste.
Although MacIntosh apples are not the best for pies, they are perfect for apple butter and applesauce because they are a softer apple and will break down easier. Also, the tangy-sweet flavor is well suited for applesauce and apple butter. If you don’t have any MacIntosh apples available, use Cortland, Empire, or Jonas Gold. You could also use Granny Smith, but mix with a sweet apple to balance the flavor. I usually use a combination of MacIntosh and Jonas Gold for my Slow Cooker Maple Apple Butter, but if you live in an area where you can get many varieties of apples, go crazy and add a variety of them to your recipe.
Make it Healthier
Apples got a bad rap for years because they are higher in sugar, but apples are surprisingly healthy for you. A good source of Vitamin A, B, C, fiber, and polyphenols, apples help you feel full longer and the fiber can help with weight loss.
I used two natural sugars instead of refined white sugar – coconut sugar and maple syrup. The coconut sugar adds more nutrients and fiber to the dish, and the maple syrup gives the apple butter a unique natural sweetness. Be sure to use pure maple syrup, don’t use the fake stuff because it will not taste as nice. Medium amber maple syrup is fine to use in this recipe, or dark amber if you like the bold, rich taste of dark.
Finally, this Slow Cooker Maple Syrup has a healthy dose of spices, including ground cinnamon, ginger, clove, and cardamom. Each spice brings a unique, unforgettable flavor to this apple butter.
What Can You Use Apple Butter On?
Here are some of my favorite ways to use apple butter:
- Biscuits or Rolls
- Toast or Bread
- As a cookie or cake filling
- On pancakes or waffles
- On baked brie
- A dollop on top of vanilla ice cream
- On a charcuterie plate with sharp cheddar or brie
- On grilled cheese
- As a topping for pork roasts
More apple flavors to enjoy: