I’m not sure where apple butter has been all my life, but I recently discovered it and wow it’s amazing. I want to put it on everything: pancakes and English muffins and toast and ice cream. And graham crackers. Don’t get me wrong, I love homemade jam, but right now it’s apple butter all the way. Caramel apple butter, to be exact. I combined a few recipes to come up with an easy way to make apple butter in the slow cooker, adding in a hefty dose of melted caramel to take it from delicious to divine.
And then because it’s so pretty and yummy (and my big batch of apples made such a big batch of apple butter) I made a cute little label to put on jars of the stuff for an easy, inexpensive DIY Christmas gift.
This quick video shows how easy it is to make:
How to make caramel apple butter in the crockpot
You can use any kind of apples you like for this recipe, but different apples will yield slightly different results. The first time I made this recipe I used mostly Jazz apples, which are tart-sweet, and the end result was an extremely flavorful apple butter. The second time I made it I tried using Red Delicious apples, since they’re so inexpensive, and I tossed in a couple of Granny Smiths for good measure. That batch had a slightly mellow-er flavor, still very delicious, but I have to say I prefer the first batch. (If you do use Red Delicious apples, you can probably decrease the sugar amount from what’s listed in the recipe.)
But both batches were fantastic and something I’d be proud to give as a gift (and I’m pretty picky about that). If you do use Red Delicious apples, you can make an entire batch for under $10.
My batch yielded about 7 cups of apple butter. I split that up into 12 4-oz jars and 2 8-oz jars, so that makes a lot of gifts! You can see the different sizes of the jars in the photo below. Links to the jars I used: 4 oz jars | 8 oz jars
Be aware that your yield may vary a little depending on how long you cook the apple butter for. If you stop when it’s a medium caramel color, like you see here, it will be plenty thick to spread nicely. This is what you get if you cook the apple butter for 1 hour after blending (as directed in the recipe).
But if you want it a deeper brown and even thicker (so that when you tip the jar upside down it won’t move from the bottom) you can cook it longer, which will reduce it further and give you a smaller yield. This would probably take 2+ hours of cooking time after blending. If you do decide to cook it longer, be sure to give it a stir every once in a while to make sure it doesn’t burn.
One last note: I used the HIGH setting on my slow cooker to make this apple butter because I didn’t want it to take so long. However, you could also use the low setting and double the time listed (for example to let it cook overnight). If you are going to decrease the amounts to make a half batch, it will cook faster, so watch it to make sure it doesn’t burn.
Crockpot caramel apple butter recipe
Caramel Apple Butter
- 15-16 Medium Sized Apples about 7-8 pounds
- 1 cup Brown Sugar
- 1.5 teaspoons Cinnamon
- 3/4 teaspoon Ginger
- 3/4 teaspoon Ground Cloves
- 2 teaspoons Vanilla
- 30 Unwrapped Caramels most of an 11 oz bag
- Peel and dice the apples. You should have about 16 cups of apple.
- Mix in the brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves, then place apples in a slow cooker and cover with lid. Cook on high for 6 hours.
- Blend the apples until smooth, either using an immersion blender or by transferring apples into a blender.
- Return apple mixture to slow cooker. Stir in vanilla.
- Melt caramels by microwaving for 30 second intervals until they are soft enough to stir.
- Pour melted caramels into apple mixture and stir or blend to combine.
- Replace slow cooker lid, but pit it on crooked so air can vent.
- Continue cooking on high for 1-2 more hours until mixture starts to thicken (it will get even thicker as it cools).
- Transfer apple butter to airtight containers. Keep in the fridge for 2 weeks or freeze for up to 6 months.
And you can download the printable tags by clicking here. I recommend printing them on cardstock. If you print at 100% they will fit the jar lids for these jars: 4 oz jars | 8 oz jars