Spiced Honey Apple Butter

Love to give homemade gifts, but don’t have time for a lot of last-minute baking? Well, that’s where canning can come in really handy!

Over the past few years, I’ve started doing a lot of canning and preserving throughout the summer. One reason is that I love to save the best of each season to enjoy throughout the year. The other reason is that it helps me to build up a stock of gifts for the holidays (and any time of the year when I need a last-minute gift). While it may be a bit too late in the year to make fresh strawberry jam or to pickle garden fresh cucumbers, there are still plenty of things that you can make now for the holidays!

Apple butter is one of my favorite canned items to have on hand for gifts. I haven’t met many people who don’t love to slather some apple butter on a slice of toast. And, of course, apples are pretty easy to find this time of year.  But, the best part about apple butter is that it can be made in your slow cooker. There’s no need to slave over a hot stove and wait patiently for the apple butter to thicken. Simply prepare it one evening, let it simmer overnight, and can it the next morning. Easy!

Apple butter is also pretty versatile and lends itself well to different spices and flavors.  Always start with a tried and true recipe (I love the basic apple butter in the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving) that is safe for canning, and go from there. Many recipes will even suggest ways to change up the spices or reduce the sugar in the recipe. For this recipe, I used honey to sweeten the apple butter and added my favorite fall spices. I’ll be giving some away, but I’m keeping a few jars for myself, too!

Spiced Honey Apple Butter
Yields about 6 or 7 half-pint jars
(Adapted from the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving)

  • 6 pounds apples
    (Organic is best since they are cooked with the skin on)
  • 2 cups apple cider
  • 1 cup honey
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Cut the cores out of the apples and cut them into large chunks (leaving the skin on). Combine the chopped apples and the apple cider in a large pot and bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer, and cook until the apples are soft, approximately 20 minutes.

Pass the cooked apples through a food mill to puree and remove the skins. Measure out 10 cups of the apple puree and transfer it to a slow cooker. Stir in the honey and spices. Cook on low for about 8 hours, or overnight (with the lid slightly elevated to allow some steam to escape). The apple butter should thicken and hold it’s shape on a spoon.

While the apple butter is still hot, sterilize your jars, lids, and bands and prepare a boiling water canner. Carefully ladle the apple butter into the prepared jars leaving 1/4-inch of headspace in each jar. Wipe the rims of the jars and fit with lids and bands. Process in boiling water for 10 minutes. Then, remove the canner lid and let the jars sit in the hot water for 5 minutes before removing and cooling the jars.

Please Note – The links to the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving provided in this post are Amazon affiliate links.

23 Responses to Spiced Honey Apple Butter

  1. I love the honey in your apple butter, Jen! I’ll have to try your recipe the next time I make some. It really does make the perfect gift!

  2. I know that I am missing out on so many wonderful canned/preserves not to mention super gift ideas by still being afraid to try making my own. I love the look of your apple butter and I know I would love eating it. I have an (irrational)fear of canning as I’m always worried that I will do something wrong and end up making people I care about sick with my gifts. Some day I hope to get over this and then…watch out!

    • I understand how you feel. I was the same way! I was afraid of what could happen. My first time, I followed the directions to the letter. Every little detail. It worked so easily that I was surprised that I was so comfortable with what I had done. I now help people to learn to can and I share my experiences. Good Luck and good canning!

  3. I really need to figure out this canning thing. I’m totally intimidated by it, but I need to conquer my fear so I can do things like this!

  4. As the recipient of many of your canning endeavors, I can speak to the fact that you’re a pro at it. The peach butter from this summer was phenomenal, and I imagine this is just as good, if not better.

    I usually can my salsa to give away as housewarming/hostess gifts. It’s so easy to grab a jar as you walk out the door to a dinner party, and the hostess has the option of serving it or saving it for later to enjoy.

    Great idea, Jen!

  5. this is making my mouth water! my mother in-law does lots of canning on her farm from the fruits and veggies her garden produces…. and she is comming to visit in october, and I believe this will be great to make while she is here are as part of our bonding time =) tho I was wondering what apples did you use?

  6. This sounds so good, but I’m totally intimidated by canning. Is it possible to just freeze the part of it until ready to use?
    Thanks! I really enjoy your blog!

  7. I would substitute the spices and use Pumpkin Pie Spice. Just in-case you didn’t have all the spices listed.

  8. What type of lid did you use for your cans? I am trying to make apple butter as wedding favors and I am also trying to find the best deal on jars. I have found 8 oz smooth economy jars, but they come with plastisol lids. Are these lids okay to use in a water bath? I am not sure and I have never really canned anything except for the occasional jam, but never attempted anything alone.

    Oh by the way this is the apple butter I have chosen for my wedding favor. :)

    • Hi, Christi – I have never used anything but Ball lids and bands for Mason jars. That’s what I would recommend for canning. You need to be sure that the lids you use are safe for canning (i.e. won’t melt) and also that they will seal the jars properly so that the food is safe to eat.