Small Batch Stovetop Apple Butter

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What if you love the Fall flavors of apple more than pumpkin spice? This recipe is for you! It’s a simple spread that can be used in both sweet and savory ways. Use it to sweeten oatmeal or serve it with sharp cheddar on a biscuit, or thin it with a little vinegar to serve on a pork chop for something different.


  • 1 1/2 pounds assorted apples (about 5 medium apples), cored and coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup filtered water or apple cider (NOT vinegar)
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice (from 1 large lemon)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar, to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • pinch ground cloves
  • pinch sea salt


  1. Place apple pieces and cores in a large saucepan along with water, granulated sugar and lemon juice. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and cook apples for 20 to 25 minutes or until apples begin to soften and fall apart.
  2. Remove from heat and discard cores. Run softened apples through a food mill, discarding any remaining solids or seeds. (Alternatively, if you don’t have a food mill, blend softened apples in a food processor or using a hand blender until smooth.) You should have about 2 cups of apple puree.
  3. Return puree to saucepan and set over medium-low heat. Add brown sugar to taste, along with spices and salt. Gently simmer, stirring regularly to avoid spattering, until apple butter is deep caramel in color and thick enough to hold its shape on a spoon.
  4. Transfer to a jar or airtight container and keep refrigerated for up to 3 weeks.