Sauced: Apple Butter

Sauced: Apple Butter

Previous falls have found me on apple picking excursions where I seem to overzealously use my fruit picker, resulting in a bounty of apples that one couple alone can hardly consume. In these times of extreme harvests, I need to justify this apple excess. I'm always on the lookout for good ways to use pounds of apples: pies, crisps, applesauce, and most recently, apple butter.

Four pounds of mixed apples are cooked until softened, then puréed in a blender until very smooth. Then it's back to the pot where they slowly simmer for hours with sugar and spices until the mixture becomes a deep brown, very thick, and fits nicely into one mason jar.

Now I haven't gone apple picking yet this season but as I sat on the porch on one of the first crisp, clear fall days, eating this sweet and appropriately spiced spread on a crusty baguette, I felt the desire to get out to the orchard and haul back boxes of apples to fill my kitchen.

About the author: Joshua Bousel brings you new, tasty condiment each Wednesday and a recipe for weekend grilling every Friday. He also writes about grilling and barbecue on his blog The Meatwave whenever he can be pulled away from his grill.

  • Yield:Makes about 3 cups
  • Active time: 45 minutes
  • Total time:2-3 hours
  • Rated:


  • 4 lbs of mixed good cooking apples (such as Fuji, Granny Smith, or Courtland), peeled, cored, and cut into large chunks
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoons ground allspice


  1. 1.

    Place apple and apple cider in a large heavy pot and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cover and cook until apples are completely tender, about 20 to 30 minutes.

  2. 2.

    Place half of the apples in the jar of a blender and purée until completely smooth. Pour into a medium bowl and repeat with remaining apples.

  3. 3.

    Pour puréed apples back into large pot and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Stir in sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and allspice. Continue to simmer, uncovered, until sauce turns a deep brown and thickens, about 1 to 2 hours, stirring regularly to prevent burning.

  4. 4.

    Let apple butter cool to room temperature, then store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three weeks.