Honey Apple Butter Recipe

Apple butter, something that starts popping up at farm stands once apple-picking season arrives, is a somewhat confusingly-named condiment. Despite the name, there's not a bit of butter in it, nor any kind of dairy, for that matter. Rather, it's a type of apple jam that recipe developer Catherine Brookes describes as "smooth, fruity and sweet with a delicious hint of spice." While she says most recipes use sugar as a sweetener, here she's supplementing it with honey for what she calls a "distinct slightly floral honey taste."

As for the apples here, she uses granny smiths, explaining that they "have a natural tartness that balances well with the sweetness of the sugar and honey." For a spice blend she likes the familiar pumpkin pie trio of cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger, although she does say the spices "can easily be adjusted or removed to your taste." As to what to do with apple butter, some suggestions we have are to try it on toast or scones, use it to make PBAB (peanut butter and apple butter) or apple/grilled cheese sandwiches, or use it as an ice cream topping or yogurt mix-in.

Assemble the ingredients for the honey apple butter

Honey apple butter, of course, requires both honey and apples (the aforementioned granny smiths), although Brookes also uses brown sugar as a sweetener. She cooks the apples in apple cider for extra apple-iness, and adds the cinnamon/ginger/nutmeg combo as flavoring along with salt and vanilla extract.

Prepare the apples

Your first step in making apple butter is to prepare all of those apples, something that may take a little time as you will need to peel, core, and chop all of the fruit. As the apples will be cooked and pureed, there's no need to cut them precisely into any particular shapes or sizes, so rough chunks that fit into a pot will do. The cores and peels, in this recipe, will not be put to use (even though apple peels, like pear peels, are edible and highly nutritious, they would interfere with the texture of this condiment), so you may compost them or otherwise dispose of them.

Cook the apples with the juice and sweeteners

Once they are peeled, toss those apple chunks in a pot and add the cider, honey, sugar, and salt. Heat them until the cider boils, stirring as you do so, then turn the heat down to a simmer and put a lid on the pot. No need to stir at this point as you'll be leaving the apples alone to cook for 90 minutes, although you may still want to check in periodically to make sure the simmer doesn't turn into a boil and leave a mess all over your nice clean stove.

Puree the apples, then simmer them with seasonings

After an hour and a half of cooking, the apples should be pretty soft, so put them, along with the juice, in a blender or food processor and puree them until they are smooth. Pour the apple puree back into the pot and add the spices, then simmer the mixture for about 30 minutes. At this point the apple butter should be darker and a bit thicker, although Brookes notes that it "will thicken further as it cools."

Once the apple butter is cooked, stir in the vanilla, then let it cool completely. Store it in some kind of airtight container — a pint-sized one should do. Brookes informs us that it should be good for up to 3 months in the refrigerator, or you can keep it for even longer in the freezer. In the latter case, though, opt for a Tupperware-style plastic container rather than a cute little mason jar.

Honey Apple Butter Recipe
5 from 48 ratings
This honey apple butter is sweet, warm, and inviting, and it's the perfect recipe to help immerse you into the fall spirit.
Prep Time
Cook Time
apple butter in jar
Total time: 2 hours, 10 minutes
  • 10 granny smith apples (approximately 2 pounds)
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup honey
  • 1 ¾ cup apple cider
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Peel and chop the apples, discarding the cores.
  2. Add the chopped apples, brown sugar, honey, apple cider, and salt to a large pot. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently, then reduce to a simmer and cover. Leave to cook for 1 ½ hours.
  3. Transfer the apple mixture to a food processor or blender and blitz until smooth.
  4. Return the blitzed mixture to the pot and add the cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Simmer for another 30 minutes, until darkened and thickened, stirring frequently.
  5. Stir in the vanilla extract and leave to cool completely. The apple butter will thicken further as it cools.
  6. Use as desired, and transfer to an airtight container to store in the fridge for up to 3 months. You can also freeze leftovers.
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