An old Pennsylvania Dutch specialty, apple butter—a smooth, spiced, long-cooked apple spread—is wonderful on buttered toast, served next to aged farmhouse cheddar with crackers and walnuts, or spread over our classic Pumpkin Pie recipe. If you plan to use it up within 5 days, you can store it in the fridge. Otherwise, plan to freeze or process according to our canning instructions.

For even more ingenious ideas on working it into your meals all fall, see our guide on how to use apple butter.

  • Yield: About 5 half-pint jars
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Total: About 4 hrs 
  • Active: 35 mins

Ingredients (10)

  • 3/4 cup water
  • 4 pounds tart green apples (about 9 apples), such as Granny Smith, peeled, cored, and roughly chopped
  • 2 cups apple cider
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract


  1. Heat the oven to 250°F. In a large ovenproof Dutch oven or heavy pot, stir together the apples, cider, sugars, spices, and salt and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cover partially and cook, stirring occasionally, until the apples are soft, about 20 minutes.
  2. Using a blender or immersion blender, puree the mixture until smooth (if using a standard blender, puree the mixture in batches).
  3. Return the pureed apple mixture to the pot and bake, uncovered, stirring every so often, until thick and deep amber, about 3 to 3 1/2 hours. Let cool completely, then transfer to sterile, airtight containers and refrigerate up to 5 days or freeze for up to 3 months.