DIY apple butter is really versatile, adding moisture and flavor to recipes, is a great egg substitute and is so simple to make. Vegan, gluten-free recipe.
- Enough apples to fill a crock pot 3 times (that’s 3 crock pot’s worth of apples!), cored and chopped into large chunks (I don’t peel mine)
- Enough water to cover 1″ from the bottom of the pot (so about 2 cups for a large crock pot)
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- A few tbsp ground cinnamon
- Fill up your crock pot with the chopped and cored apples all the way to the top. Add in enough water to cover 1″ from the bottom of the pot (about 2 cups for my large crock pot, but you may need more or less depending on your crock pot size). This water is there just to get the cooking process started, and then the delicious juices from your apples will do the rest of the job, so don’t be tempted to add too much). Stick in the cinnamon sticks. Turn crock pot to high and cook covered for about 6 hours, giving it a stir occasionally. Store the remaining chopped apples covered in the fridge (don’t worry about protecting them from browning as that’ll happen anyways in the cooking process).
- At the 6 hour mark, reduce the heat to medium, and give the apples a good stir. You’ll see that the mixture will have reduced quite a bit. Add in more apples all the way to the top. Cover and keep the mixture cooking for another 5-6 hours. Then stir and add in more apples. Keep repeating the process until you’ve used up all your apples. As you keep the mixture cooking, you’ll find that the apples cook and break down much quicker so you can add more apples in every few hours or so. It takes about 24 hours for the process to be complete.
- Once all the apples have gone in and had time to cook down (approx. 24 hours), turn the slow cooker off. Give the mixture a good stir with a wooden spoon, mashing up any apples that haven’t fully fallen apart yet. Remove the cinnamon sticks and discard. Add in ground cinnamon to taste (I usually add about 2-3 tbsp for a large crockpot) and stir. If you find your apple butter is too chunky use an immersion blender to get it to the right consistency. You can also add sweetener if you like, especially if your apples were on the sour side, but I never do personally — I find it perfect the way it is and prefer to add sweetener later as needed.
- Spoon apple butter into jars (I recommend using smaller ones if you’re freezing, so you can defrost a bit at a time as needed), allow the apple butter to cool to room temperature and then freeze or store in the fridge (or can, if you’re a canning type of person ;) ). It keeps up to 3 weeks in the fridge.
Don’t fuss too much about the times — this recipe is very flexible. I just check on the crock pot every so often, or whenever I’m in the kitchen, give it a stir and add more apples in. The times I’ve put in are a rough guide.