Homemade Apple Butter – Quick and Sugar-free!

This homemade apple butter only takes 1 1/2 hours and is free of added sweetener!

Homemade Apple Butter that's quick and sugar–free! Only takes a few minutes to put together and only needs apples, spices and lemon and apple juice. | texanerin.com

When I was looking for apple butter recipes, I found recipes that took 8 hours… even 15 hours. I don’t do anything for 15 hours, except perhaps sleep, so simmering something for 15 hours was out of the question.

With this recipe, you core and then cut the apples (something like this apple slicer makes this a breeze). Then you put them in a large pot, together with spices and a little apple and lemon juice, and let it go for 1 1/2 hours. You do have to stir it occasionally but I’d rather do that than let anything simmer for 15 hours. Then puree it.

This homemade apple butter is relatively quick and is sugar free! | texanerin.com

When I was looking for recipes, I also found that people usually use a load of sugar in apple butter. 1 cup of granulated sugar, or even more, per pound of apples. Why?! It could be that apple butter is supposed to be more like a dessert–item and I’ve just never had “proper” apple butter but I was super happy with this version.

I used it in some apple butter donuts (the recipe is coming this week!) and they were absolutely incredible. So I’m sure this sweetener free apple butter will do just fine in other baked goodies!

Back when I had a crockpot, I made apple butter in it and I honestly think that my two versions taste the same. The color came out darker with a crockpot, but taste and texture is spot on!

Homemade Apple Butter that's sugar free and quick to put together! | texanerin.com

If you wanted to do a cheater version of apple butter, you could buy some sugar free apple sauce, add spices to taste, and let it go at medium until it’s thick enough for your liking. I thought about doing this myself but figured you’d appreciate a totally homemade version. ;)

As far as canning goes – I have no idea how this would do. The lack of sugar has me paranoid about canning, so I wouldn’t recommend it.

I used a mix of Granny Smith and Gala apples but I would think that any apple would do well here. Except Red Delicious. I swear… those are the most worthless apples ever. ;)

Homemade Apple Butter – Quick and Sugar-free!

Rated 4.6 by 16 readers
Homemade Apple Butter – Quick and Sugar-free!
  • Prep Time:
  • Cook Time:
  • Ready in:
  • Yield: 3 1/2 cups (875 grams)


  • 3 3/4 lbs unpeeled apples (1.7kg, about 12 medium)
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/3 cup apple juice
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice


  1. Core and cut the apples into eights.
  2. Place the apples, spices, apple and lemon juice in a large pot and stir to get the spices evenly distributed.
  3. Cover and cook on medium heat for 30 minutes.
  4. Using a wooden spoon or something similar, smush the apples as much as possible.
  5. Remove the lid and continue cooking for another hour, stirring every 15 minutes. The closer to the end you get, the more important this step is or the apples will stick to the bottom of the pan and potentially even burn if you forget about them for too long!
  6. Turn off the heat and if it's thick enough for you, remove from the heat.
  7. If you want it a little thicker, let it sit on the burner for another 30 minutes or even longer.
  8. Using an immersion blender, puree the apple butter. You could also use a blender or food processor, but the immersion blender is the least messy option.
  9. When cool, pour into containers and refrigerate for up for 5 days. Freeze any apple butter left after 5 days.

Recipe by  | www.texanerin.com

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82 comments on “Homemade Apple Butter – Quick and Sugar-free!” — Add one!

  • N
    February 20, 2016 @ 7:59 pm

    I don’t think Apple Butter is a thing in Australia, so i’ve never eaten this before.

    Didn’t have any apple juice handy, just used water + some extra spices. I also threw in some old red apples I had lying around.

    I slapped this on some homemade pancakes with some maple and It Was Delicious (:

    • Erin replies to N
      February 20, 2016 @ 9:11 pm

      I bet this is delicious on pancakes with maple syrup! I’ll have to try that next time. I’m happy you enjoyed it and thanks for your feedback. :)

  • Tea
    February 17, 2016 @ 5:29 pm

    I just made this, and love it. I have nothing to compare it to, since AB isn’t a thing in my country, but even though I can’t say if that’s real AB, it doesn’t really matter, cause it’s yummy. It’s essentially apple jam anyway, right? When I first heard about it I wanted to make it but was thrown off by the huge cooking times, amounts of sugar, and uses of gadgetry I don’t own, and I’d have to be willing to squeeze it through a fine mesh strainer, which would probably make me never wanna make it again. So your recipe saved the day! Can’t wait to use it in recipes! The only problem is that when I make something special like this, I always feel like no occasion is special enough to use it, so it’ll probably be waiting for me in the freezer this time next year:). It’s unfortunately quite rare that I get ahold of a some organic apples(because of using the peel in it). Oh, and btw, I added some lemon zest, ginger and nutmeg, cause I couldn’t resist :). Mine turned out quite darker than yours for some reason. And it’s so wonderfully sticky and gooey, I’m willing to bet it would make a great substitute for some of the honey in granola bars, for its sticky-factor. Will try that for sure!

    • Erin replies to Tea
      February 19, 2016 @ 8:10 pm

      Haha. I’m happy you’re happy with it despite not having had apple butter! And what you say about the freezer is so funny because I do exactly the same thing! I found some apple butter in there last week and I haven’t made apple butter for at least two years. Whoops! I need to make a freezer inventory list. I love that you added zest, ginger and nutmeg – that sounds fantastic. I hope the granola bars will come out well! Sounds like a yummy and healthy change. Thanks a ton for your feedback, as always. :) I’m always so happy to hear from you!

    • Michelle replies to Tea
      October 5, 2016 @ 5:49 pm

      I’ve lived in Canada for over a year now. I’m not much of a fan for apple butter. However, my ex has allowed my girls to come live with me up here. One of my girls likes apple butter, of course I can not buy it anywhere here. We just went apple picking over the weekend. Once I have all the spices I will be making this recipe.
      Anyway my point is. You don’t need to have a special occasion to have or make apple butter. My daughter loves it on toast. She even makes peanut butter and apple butter sandwiches for school. She dips apple slices in apple butter as well. I hope these ideas help.

      • Erin replies to Michelle
        October 6, 2016 @ 9:13 pm

        Thanks so much for the tips on how to enjoy apple butter. I love the idea of peanut butter and apple butter sandwiches! That sounds so tasty. I hope you’ll enjoy the apple butter!

  • Stacey says
    November 3, 2015 @ 5:42 pm

    Thank you for this recipe, it was very easy and yummy, love the no sugar. I wanted to ask if you had ever used peaches instead, or if you have a recipe for peach butter? Thank you again for sharing your recipes there are more I’m going to try. God bless you and yours.

    • Erin replies to Stacey
      November 7, 2015 @ 8:42 pm

      I am so, so sorry I didn’t see your comment until now! I haven’t tried this recipe with peaches but it sounds like it’d be delicious. But I’d be worry that it’d need a little sweetener. I have made this honey-sweetened spiced peach jam which just uses a little honey as sweetener. It’s quite thick like peach butter would be. Thanks so much for your feedback and sorry again!

  • Elizabeth says
    August 5, 2015 @ 3:39 am

    I’ve had good success canning chutneys that do not have sugar in them so a fruit butter should work.

    • Erin replies to Elizabeth
      August 5, 2015 @ 8:27 am

      That’s good to know! Thanks for the tip. :)

  • Sophie
    April 20, 2015 @ 2:56 pm

    I love the idea of this recipe, yum! I want to make it, but I don’t know what I’d put it on or use it for. Any ideas?

    Thanks in advance x

    • Erin replies to Sophie
      April 20, 2015 @ 9:09 pm

      You can use it in baking like in this apple butter cake or in these apple butter donuts. And I just found this apple butter board on Pinterest with lots more ideas! I hope that helps. :)

      • Sophie
        replies to Erin
        April 21, 2015 @ 1:12 pm

        Ah that’s perfect. I can’t believe how simple this is! Can’t wait to make it, thank you so much. Keep up the recipes, I can’t get enough x

        • Erin replies to Sophie
          April 23, 2015 @ 10:06 pm

          Thanks, Sophie! I hope you’ll enjoy it. :)

    • Sandra
      replies to Sophie
      October 24, 2015 @ 1:11 am

      I use this as a sweetener for my kefir and flax snack

      • Erin replies to Sandra
        October 24, 2015 @ 7:22 pm

        Sounds good! Thanks for the tip.

  • Kelly
    March 26, 2015 @ 4:17 am

    WHat a great recipe! I used orange juice instead of apple – had an orange about to go bad, but added that lovely citrus-y-ness. Love the no sugar, too. The amount of sugar in other recipes is mind-boggling.

    • Erin replies to Kelly
      March 26, 2015 @ 9:24 pm

      I’m with you! I have no idea why 1 or 2 cups of sugar is needed in apple butter or applesauce! It’s crazy. I’m happy that this recipe worked out well for you and I love your orange addition! Thanks for your feedback. :)

  • Linda Noble Brown
    November 2, 2014 @ 1:07 am

    How much does this make? I don’t want to make so much that it spoils before we can use it. Thanks! It looks great.

    • Erin replies to Linda Noble Brown
      November 2, 2014 @ 9:53 pm

      It makes 3 1/2 cups but you can freeze any leftovers for several months in small containers or baggies. :)

  • Catpainter67
    October 29, 2014 @ 8:42 pm

    Just found your website while looking for apple recipes – someone gave me a bag of fresh picked McIntosh apples. Would these work? Looks so easy – am ready to start!

    • Erin replies to Catpainter67
      October 29, 2014 @ 8:45 pm

      According to this, McIntosh would be good here. I hope you’ll enjoy the apple butter! :)

      • Catpainter 67
        replies to Erin
        October 30, 2014 @ 6:44 am

        Made it this afternoon. Followed reciped but it came out pretty tangy, so pulled out a couple of TBS and tested sweetening with Agave, then brown sugar. Brown sugar gave it a much smoother tastes, so added 2 TBS brown sugar and cooked it a little longer. Perfect! Thanks for the basic recipe – found lots of recipes using apple butter, from savory to sweet. So, will have plenty of options to use. Plan to freeze in many small containers. Will be great this winter for the two of us.

        • Erin replies to Catpainter 67
          October 31, 2014 @ 1:17 pm

          I’m happy to hear that it came out well and that the brown sugar made it a little less tangy! Canning scares me so I also freeze my apple butter so I can have it throughout the season. :) Thanks so much for the feedback!

  • sally says
    October 2, 2014 @ 8:01 am

    Great idea, but do you take the skin off the apples?

    • Erin replies to sally
      October 2, 2014 @ 11:51 am

      No need to do that! It breaks down during cooking and adds natural pectin which helps the process. :)

  • Molly
    September 27, 2014 @ 2:28 pm

    This post is perfect! I’m a diabetic teen and most of the “jams” or apple butters out there are loaded wih sugar. Or if they do have the sugarfree version, it tastes okay but you know you’re not getting the full benefits of the apples since they’re not fresh. Thank you so much!

    • Erin replies to Molly
      September 27, 2014 @ 7:53 pm

      I’m so happy that you found the recipe! I hope you’ll try it and enjoy it. :) Thanks so much for your nice comment!

  • marijke says
    September 21, 2014 @ 8:11 am

    I use the inversion method for canning all the time, for full sugar and low sugar recipes (which still have about 4 cups of sugar per batch — low is a relative thing!), but i wouldn’t use it for sugar free recipes. Apple butter is actually the only thing I’ve canned that I’ve ever had any jars mold. And I think that’s because when simmering the apple butter, it doesn’t end up as hot as the full rolling boil you get with regular jam. Go for a low sugar pectin and try canning some peach or plum or pear or pear raspberry or pear kiwi or pear blackberry or pear mulberry, or … (I had a lot of asian pears one year.) In defense of red delicious, they can be very good, but ONLY if allowed to actually ripen on the tree. The crap they sell as apples in the store is atrocious. the only store apples at all edible are fuji, gala, granny smith, and pippen, in my opinion.

    • Erin replies to marijke
      September 24, 2014 @ 9:07 am

      Thanks for your canning advice! I’m terrified of the whole canning thing so I just don’t even want to get into it. And I’ve probably just never had a properly ripened Red Delicious! I always skip by those rows at the apple orchard, just because the ones I’ve had from the store are so, so bad. I’ll have to give them a try! Thanks again. :)

  • Lisa March says
    September 14, 2014 @ 7:53 pm

    Would apple cider be a goid substitute for the apple juice?

    • Erin replies to Lisa March
      September 14, 2014 @ 7:58 pm

      That sounds like an amazing sub! I hope you’ll enjoy it. :)

  • Diane
    September 4, 2014 @ 3:55 am

    Haha, just had to comment about your RedDelicious scorn… Totally agree! As a kid, that’s all they had at the store and I could never figure out why anyone ate apples. Gala (or weird backyard varieties) only for me!

    Need to try this on the weekend. Just picked a sac of apples and made a Brown Betty with the girls tonight. I’m rating based on expectation!

    • Erin replies to Diane
      September 4, 2014 @ 4:12 pm

      Haha. Yeah. Those apples are worthless! Does anyone actually like them?! I hope that you’ll enjoy the apple butter. :)

  • Sherry Gooding says
    August 25, 2014 @ 12:30 pm

    I made your apple butter recipe this morning & it was very easy quick & very delicious. I had everything except regular apple juice instead i used cranberry-apple juice & too tell you the truth there was nothing different in the taste,it tasted like regular apple butter.Thanks for this easy,quick recipe. I had fun making it. I’ll continue making. I was the hit with my famil & friends.

    • Erin replies to Sherry Gooding
      August 27, 2014 @ 6:51 pm

      I’m happy to hear that it came out well! And cranberry apple juice?! Sounds good! Thanks so much for the feedback. :)

  • Klara says
    April 6, 2014 @ 2:42 am

    Do you need to peel the apples?

    • Erin replies to Klara
      April 6, 2014 @ 8:25 am

      Nope! Just core and cut. :)

  • Nancy says
    December 28, 2013 @ 11:54 pm

    Did I miss the crockpot instructions?

    • Erin replies to Nancy
      December 29, 2013 @ 9:23 pm

      Nope! This is meant to be a quick recipe, unlike regular crockpot recipes. But if you like, you can put your crockpot on low and let it go for 10 hours. :)

  • Maria says
    November 8, 2013 @ 12:12 pm

    Could I use homemade apple juice for this? I have soooooo many apples that I’m loathe to buy apple juice

    • Erin replies to Maria
      November 8, 2013 @ 12:25 pm

      Of course! I bet homemade apple juice is even better. :)

  • Alan Lewis
    October 15, 2013 @ 12:23 am

    Here is a question; what apple juice are you adding that does NOT add a sweetener? I used the half granny smith and half gala mix you recommended, and with NO added sweetener. The resulting flavor is weak and bitter. NO apple Juice, which has a sweetener added to it.

    • Erin replies to Alan Lewis
      October 15, 2013 @ 3:00 pm

      Just any regular no-sugar added apple juice. Mott’s, for example, has no sweetener added apple juice. “Mott’s 100% Apple Juice has no added sweeteners, artificial or natural. All sugar in the product is naturally-occurring and comes from the fruit juice.” Sorry you didn’t like the apple butter but the apple juice, which you didn’t seem to add, is an important ingredient.

  • Jenn says
    October 6, 2013 @ 5:35 pm

    You mentioned being worried about lack of sugar. I make conserves, butters, and applesauce without adding any extra sweetener. They can without issue.

    • Erin replies to Jenn
      October 9, 2013 @ 7:26 pm

      Thanks for the info, Jenn! I’m happy to hear that. Now if I just weren’t scared of canning. ;)

      • Janet replies to Erin
        November 24, 2013 @ 8:55 pm

        I also can homemade applesauce all the time with nothing added. I used to use the “inversion” method, but lately someone told me as long as everything is hot I do’t even have to invert the jar.

        Just heat the jars it he over for 20 minutes at 220 degrees, be sure the rings are clean and dry, and pour boiling water over the lids and keep hot until you place them on the jars and secure with the rings. Oh, I also make sure the top of the jars are wiped off before securing the lids. Don’t move them and as they cool you’ll hear that wonderful “ping” sounds of sealing.

        • Ashley replies to Janet
          September 18, 2014 @ 6:22 pm

          Now this post is perfect! Fast, easy Apple butter and canning instructions!

        • Erin replies to Ashley
          September 19, 2014 @ 6:14 pm

          I’m happy Janet stepped in with canning instructions! I’m clueless as far as canning goes. ;)

  • Robyn says
    October 6, 2013 @ 2:44 am

    I have been researching apple butter recipes and, like you, have no patience for this 10+ hour business! I am sooo excited to try this! Thank you for sharing it!

    • Erin replies to Robyn
      October 6, 2013 @ 1:54 pm

      Haha. Exactly! There’s no way I’m waiting 10 hours for anything to get done. Especially not something that I could do in a fraction of the time. ;) I hope you’ll enjoy the apple butter!

  • lisa says
    September 23, 2013 @ 4:54 pm

    YUM!! Any idea the calorie count per tablespoon?

    • Erin replies to lisa
      September 24, 2013 @ 7:48 pm

      I’m afraid that I don’t and can’t really calculate it since it cooks down so much. Sorry! :(

    • Crissy replies to lisa
      December 12, 2014 @ 7:58 pm

      We have a jar of apple butter (the brand is Filsinger’s) with ingredients of only apples and baking soda, and it’s 40 calories/tbsp. This recipe is probably similar!

      • Erin replies to Crissy
        December 12, 2014 @ 10:57 pm

        Thanks for the info, Crissy! :)

  • Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking says
    September 19, 2013 @ 12:44 am

    I love this chunky sugar-free apple butter, Erin! I would spread it on my morning toast and whatever else I could find. Can’t wait to try it!

  • Maria G.
    September 18, 2013 @ 11:01 pm

    Apple is my favorite fruit and I often ad it to different pies, cakes and cookies. And I have never heard anything about apple butter! But if apples are not that sweet, what to do? What else can be added to make it sweeter?

  • Kelly @ A Girl Worth Saving
    September 18, 2013 @ 6:58 pm

    I like the way you cook lady. I hate spending a million years waiting for something to cook. First, I more than likely will forget about it and burn it. Second, I hate waiting that long to eat it :) I’m buying a case of apples this weekend so I’m going to try this recipe as well as makes some apple chips.

  • Tracey says
    September 18, 2013 @ 2:21 am

    I seriously love the simplicity of this recipe! We’ll be going apple picking in the next few weeks and I’m adding this to my to-do list after stocking up :)

    • Erin replies to Tracey
      September 18, 2013 @ 12:35 pm

      Me too! And I can’t wait. :) I hope you’ll enjoy the apple butter. Let me know how it comes out!

  • Cass at That Old House says
    September 18, 2013 @ 1:46 am

    Delicious Apples are apples that are trying to be pears, and not making it. They are FEH.

    Question about the apple butter — do you peel the apples? Did I miss that in the instructions? When I make apple sauce, I do not peel the apples — don’t even core them. I wash them well, cut them up, cook them with a MINIMUM of water — just enough to generate a little steam — and then put them through a food mill which leaves all the icky bits behind, but gives amazing flavor and a gorgeous pink COLOR, as you get all of the goodness of the apple except the oink.

    But since this butter is blended, I don’t think this method will work. Hmm . . . if I try it that way, and Foley food mill it, I’ll let you know!

    Thanks for the inspiration.

    • Erin replies to Cass at That Old House
      September 18, 2013 @ 12:42 pm

      Hahaha. Love this comment.

      I didn’t peel the apples! The peel has pectin in there, which helps it set up, so I didn’t bother with peeling. Plus it would have taken a lot longer. ;) Putting the apple butter though a food mill would work here, too! I just went for the less messy and quicker way here. I guess that could be why my apple butter wasn’t a pretty color like apple butter usually is?

      I found recipes where you cook the apples, put them through a food mill, and then add the spices and cook further. Maybe that’d work for you! I figured most people don’t have a food mill so I try to find other ways of doing things.

      I hope you’ll enjoy the apple butter! :)

  • Laura (Tutti Dolci) says
    September 17, 2013 @ 11:19 pm

    Your apple butter looks so good, and i love that it’s sugar-free!

  • Erin @ Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts says
    September 17, 2013 @ 10:08 pm

    I just made apple butter for the first time this year (never had it before), and I did the crock pot method. Plus mine had sugar :) Love this version, wish I had seen it first. Made muffins with my apple butter today!

  • Susan says
    September 17, 2013 @ 9:49 pm

    This looks great! I really like your spice proportions.

    If you want to can this, it would require pressure canning, due to the lack of sugar and/or acid. I used to make large quantities of pumpkin butter all the time, and I always had jars go bad despite using a pressure canner, and despite having a good amount of sugar in it. Most of us are probably better off just making a small batch that we can keep in the refrigerator and not worry about.

    • Erin replies to Susan
      September 18, 2013 @ 12:53 pm

      Thank you, Susan!

      And I agree. Canning this sounds slightly… worrisome. The whole canning things scares me to begin with and then you add a total lack of added sugar. I’ll just freeze what I can’t use in a few days. Thank you for your advice! :)

  • Sara
    September 17, 2013 @ 6:55 pm

    Hi Erin! I totally love your web! And this recipe looks so easy and healthy!!
    I just have a question… what’s apple butter? I have never heard about this in my country (Spain) and I don’t know what it is. It looks like chunky applesauce, but the name says “butter”, so… Is it like peanut butter or something like that?
    But anyway, I think it will taste great on a toast.
    Have a nice day! :)

    • Erin replies to Sara
      September 17, 2013 @ 9:19 pm

      Hi Sara! Thanks for your comment. :) Apple butter is like a thicker version of apple sauce, but with autumn spices. It’s totally smooth and you can spread it on toast like peanut butter or you can bake with it. It’s great stuff! :)

  • Gwen Charles says
    September 17, 2013 @ 6:08 pm

    A crock pot works great for apple butter. throw apples in and go to bed. in the morning serve hot apple butter on oatmeal! Jar the rest.

    • Erin replies to Gwen Charles
      September 17, 2013 @ 9:19 pm

      If only I hadn’t broken my crockpot. :(

  • Jessica @ A Kitchen Addiction says
    September 17, 2013 @ 4:38 pm

    Love that this apple butter isn’t loaded with sugar! Can’t wait to see the donuts!

  • Charlotte Moore
    September 17, 2013 @ 4:34 pm

    You are right about red delicious apples. I do not like the taste of them and you can’t cook them hardly. The only thing I can think of is in a Waldrof salad the red peel looks good. Hahahaha!! My favorite apple to cook with is the golden delicious. It will stay firm if you don’t over cook it but it will get soft if you want it that way. I like the honey crisp for a tart taste too.

    • Erin replies to Charlotte Moore
      September 17, 2013 @ 9:23 pm

      Hahaha. So you only use Red Delicious for their looks? ;) And yeah, they don’t even taste good! Worthless things. Thanks for the apple tips! I’ll keep them in mind when I go apple picking. :)

  • Jennie @themessybakerblog says
    September 17, 2013 @ 4:14 pm

    Considering I get bored after about 2 hours of doing the same thing, this is recipe is perfect. Fifteen hours is a bit drastic. Your version looks absolutely wonderful!

  • Erin | The Law Student's Wife says
    September 17, 2013 @ 3:36 pm

    Every year I think about making homemade apple butter, then cave and buy it at the orchard. This year, I think I should do BOTH!

  • Aimee @ ShugarySweets says
    September 17, 2013 @ 2:50 pm

    I love that this is sugar-free!! Now I can eat the whole jar :)


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