How to Make Apple Butter on the Stove


A visit to the country fair is likely to reveal rows of sweet, spicy apple butter ready for winter storage. Spread on thick slices of toasted homemade bread, or topping hot biscuits straight from the oven, this country treat is bursting with flavor. Although you may not know Aunt Bertha’s secret ingredient that sets her apple butter apart from the rest, you can make your own by following a basic recipe.

Step 1

Select firm, fresh apples free of blemishes or bruises. The University of Maine Extension recommends Jonathan, Golden Delicious, Winesap, Stayman or McIntosh apples for making apple butter, while Washington State University Extension supports the use of crab apples for apple butter.

Step 2

Wash apples, remove stems and core the apples. Slice into ½-inch slices. Some prefer to cut apples into 1- to 2-inch chunks.

Step 3

Pour the cider and vinegar in a medium cooking pot. Add the apple pieces and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until apples are soft. Cooking time depends on the type of apple and size of the pieces. Time typically ranges from five to 20 minutes.

Step 4

Press the cooked apples through a colander or sieve. Do not discard liquid. Return the apple pulp and liquid to a cooking pot.

Step 5

Add the sugar and spices and simmer until the mixture is thick and most of the moisture has evaporated. Test for doneness by placing a spoonful of apple butter on a cool plate. If a ring of liquid does not form around the apple butter, it is ready for eating or canning.

Things You'll Need

  • Paring knife/apple corer
  • Cooking pot
  • Sieve/colander
  • 4 lbs apples
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 1 cup vinegar
  • 1 1/8 cup white sugar
  • 1 1/8 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 ½ teaspoon ground cloves


  • University of Maine Extension: Let’s Preserve Apples
  • Washington State University Extension: Culinary Crab Apples

Who Can Help

  • University of Illinois Extension: Apple Facts
Keywords: make apple butter, apple butter recipe, cook apple butter

About this Author

Nannette Richford is an avid gardener, teacher and nature enthusiast with 4 years experience in online writing and a lifetime of personal journals. She is published on various sites, including Associated Content. Richford holds a Bachelor of Science in secondary education from the University of Maine Orono and certifications in 7-12 English, K-8 General Elementary and Birth to age 5.