Homemade Apple Butter | See in this post how I make my apple butter step-by-step.

Jar of apple butter sitting on white dish towel with some a couple of apples.

I don’t know about y’all, but I grew up eating Homemade Apple Butter. As a child, one of my favorite things was to dig into was mom’s, fresh out of the oven, homemade biscuits with a block of sharp cheddar cheese and a jar of homemade apple butter.  It never grows old…I still love to eat it.

I always make homemade apple butter when I do my homemade applesauce.  While I’m canning the applesauce the apple butter is in my roaster oven simmering away.  The bonus of this is the delightful aromas of mixed spices wafting throughout the house.  It smells amazing!  The recipe I’m sharing was my precious nanaw’s recipe.  I think of her and smile every time I make it.

If you have read my applesauce post here, I promised you I would explain the cooked apple cores on the bottom shelf of the cart.

Here’s the deal – I use apple cores to make my apple butter.  Before you think whatever it is you’re thinking let me explain.  One of my very smart sisters-in-law showed me this technique, and I have since been doing it for years now. The apple cores are run through the food mill after they’re cooked, the seeds and stems are separated from the sauce.  If any little specs make it through, they are not seen since apple butter is dark in color. You might be thinking you’ll pass on this idea, but before you do let me tell you that I got 25 pints of apple butter from 3 bushels of apple cores.  THAT’S a lot!  And…it would have all gone to waste. I like my applesauce to look pretty (we eat with our eyes first). In doing it this way, my applesauce is nice and spec-free, BUT if a spec makes its way into the apple butter I don’t see it since it’s seasoned with spices that make it turn it dark in the cooking process.  Waste not, want not, right!?

Homemade Apple Butter: The process…

Here are the cores beginning to cook.

A commercial pot full of cooked apple cores ready for apple butter.

Here are the cores beginning to cook.

A commercial pot full of cooked apple cores ready for apple butter.

This is after they’ve been dipped out of the steam pot and into the pan…ready for the food mill.

A 5-gallon bucket filled with homemade applesauce ready for making apple butter.

And, here’s what’s left of the cores after being run through the mill.  Can you believe it!  Who knew those little ole’ cores would yield that kind of sauce.

A large roaster oven filled with simmering apple butter.

I pour the applesauce into my roaster oven and then add brown sugar, cinnamon, cloves, and allspice.  So simple!  You will let this simmer for 3 hours.  Cook slowly until it’s thick enough to round up on a spoon.  Be sure to stir often.  If it becomes to thick you can add water or apple juice to thin.  If you do not have a roaster oven, a black enamel turkey roasting pan works great in the oven. They no longer make my roaster oven, but this one from Amazon is similar to what I have.

Ball jars filled with homemade apple butter - ready for the shelves.

Next, fill clean warm ball mason jars with the apple butter and process in a boiling-water canner for 10 minutes.   Perfection in a jar!

And a little FYI – a jar of this makes a great gift for the holidays.

These Are Similar To The Items I have And Use For Making Homemade Apple Butter:

Jar of apple butter sitting on white dish towel with some a couple of apples.

Jar of apple butter sitting on white dish towel with some a couple of apples.

Homemade Apple Butter (Oven Method)

Serving Up Southern
5 from 3 votes


  • 7 lbs of apples (16 cups sauce)
  • 3 lbs. brown sugar
  • 1 cup vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice


  • Cook apples until soft and run through a food mill (or press through a sieve). If you’re starting with sauce you will skip this step. Pour into a pan and add the remaining ingredients. Bake for 3 hours at 350 degrees, stirring often. Pour into clean, warm jars and process in a boiling-water canner for 10 minutes.
  • Note: The spices can be adjusted according to your own tastes.

Disclaimer: Nutritional values (per serving) are approximates only and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Have you tried this recipe?Tag @servingupsouthern and hashtag it #servingupsouthern

© SERVING UP SOUTHERN. Content and photographs are copyright protected. Sharing of this recipe is both encouraged and appreciated. Copying and/or pasting full recipes to any blog post or social media is strictly prohibited.

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A Pinterest graphic of homemade apple butter

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  1. Made this apple butter and it is the best I have tasted yet. For a snack, I love to put the apple butter on Ritz crackers. It’s also good on bread. Whenever I take it somewhere to share, someone always asks for the recipe. Thanks Kim

  2. Thanks so much for sharing Shirley. I’ll have to try it on the Ritz crackers. I’ve never thought of that, but I bet it’s really good. This is an old recipe that has been requested many, many times, so I figured the folks here would enjoy it too. Thanks again and keep checking back for new things.

  3. Just found this recipe and I’m hoping to try it soon! But I don’t have a roster oven or a black roasting pan. Would a slow cooker work?

    1. Kim at Serving Up Southern says:

      Angie, I’ve never made this recipe in a slow cooker so I can’t vouch 100%, but I really don’t see why it wouldn’t work. It’s certainly worth a try. If you do, I’d love for you to come back and let us know how it turned out.

  4. Stephanie says:

    What oven roaster do you recommend?

    1. Kim at Serving Up Southern says:

      Hi Stephanie,
      I have a Hamilton Beach. I have had mine for years, but it doesn’t look like they’ve changed all that much. It really is a versatile appliance. I use mine for many things. I hope this helps. :)

  5. vernon cullum says:

    5 stars
    kim. do you peel the apples? I’am going to try and make this apple buter” I love it”’i was raised in the south down tenn, and we ate apple butter all the time’ boy, I really have been missing it’.glad I found your site.how much does this recipe make?

  6. Kim at Serving Up Southern says:

    Hi Vernon! If you are not starting off with applesauce you will need to cook the apples and them run them through a sieve. I don’t peel them before running them through the sieve. I use to and then realized it was just an extra step that wasn’t necessary. It should yield somewhere between 20 to 25 jars. It varies slightly according to moisture loss and thickness, but it’s always good. Here is a link to my applesauce recipe in case you have any questions. – https://servingupsouthern.com/homemade-applesauce/ I’d love to hear how it turns out. Thanks for stopping by!

    1. vernon cullum says:

      5 stars
      thanks kim’. how much water do you use to cook your apples in?

  7. What a great idea! I don’t see any problem with using all the parts of an apple! Smart! Pinned!

    1. Kim at Serving Up Southern says:

      Thanks, Julie! And thanks for the Pin! :)

  8. OH boy that looks good! I never knew it was so easy to make apple butter. Well, at least you make it look and sound easy.
    :) gwingal

    1. Kim at Serving Up Southern says:

      Thank you, Nikki! Once the sauce is made the rest really is easy.

  9. What a great idea Kim! Who knew you could use those apple cores in such a useful way. I don’t want to think how many apple cores I’ve thrown out over the years!

  10. Kim at Serving Up Southern says:

    Thank you, Debi! It is amazing how much apple butter I have made using apple cores.

    1. Kim at Serving Up Southern says:

      Thank you for pinning, Catherine! And, thanks for stopping by. :)

  11. I’ve never made apple butter, but I’ve always wanted to! This looks so good, pinning!

    1. Kim at Serving Up Southern says:

      Thank you, Roxanne! I really enjoy making it, and the house smells so good when it’s simmering. Thanks for pinning too!

  12. 5 stars
    I made this yesterday and it’s the BEST apple butter I’ve ever had! And so easy to make! I didn’t have a roaster so I put my apple butter in a oven safe bowl and it came out perfect!

    Took some for my family to try and they LOVED it!

    1. Kim at Serving Up Southern says:

      Yay, Margaret! I’m so glad you (and your family) love it. Thanks for letting us know how it turned out in the oven. And, thanks for stopping by! ;)

  13. Rebekah Beste says:

    What temperature do you roast it at?

  14. Jill Gilley says:

    Would you leave the lid off of the roaster to allow it to reduce?

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