Slow Cooker Maple & Bourbon Apple Butter is such a wonderful – and easy – way to enjoy apples. Just prep the apples and let your slow cooker do all the work. While it cooks, your house will fill up with all of the beautiful aromas of Fall – apples, cinnamon, maple, and bourbon.

We love any chance to have apple pie, apple crisp, or applesauce and this apple butter tastes just like a flavorful bite of the delicious filling of a pie. Spread it on your favorite biscuits and have a nibble of apple pie for breakfast.

a jar of apple butter with a dish towel, a spoon, cinnamon sticks, and some apples.

🥘 Ingredient Notes

the ingredients in maple apple butter in small bowls, labeled.
  • Sweet Apples – Gala, Honeycrisp, and Macintosh are best.
  • Cinnamon (Optional cinnamon sticks as well.)
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Bourbon – I like to use Bulleit Bourbon and have also used Woodford Reserve, but you can use your favorite bourbon – whatever you have in the house. You can also use apple juice or apple cider if you do not consume alcohol.
  • Maple Syrup
  • Nutmeg
  • Ground Cloves
  • Kosher Salt

* Be sure to see the recipe card below for full ingredient amounts & instructions!

🍽 Equipment Needed

  • A Slow Cooker or Large Pot
  • A KitchenAid Spiralizer or Paring Knife/Cutting Board
  • A Rubber Spatula
  • An Immersion Blender, Regular Blender, or Food Processor
  • Measuring Cups and Measuring Spoons
  • Mason Jars for Storing

🥣 How to Make It

Apple butter is really easy to make – the time-consuming part is peeling and cutting up all of your apples. I like to use the spiralizer attachment for my KitchenAid Mixer – it makes little piles of apple rings, and then I just roughly slice the piles into quarters. It takes a LOT less time.

If you do not have the mixer attachment, use a sharp paring knife to remove the skin from the apples – if you leave a little on, it’s okay. Next, cut the apples into quarters around the core, then roughly cut the meat of the apples into thin slices.

an apple slicer slicing an apple.

Once apples are peeled and cut up, just add all of your ingredients to your slow cooker and mix it all together. Top with a cinnamon stick if you want. (Pictures 1 – 5)

a collage of images showing how to make apple butter, steps 1 - 5.

Cover and cook on low for 8 – 10 hours or on High for 4 – 5 hours, stirring halfway through the cooking process. (Picture 7) The apples will get a little softer and they will smell like boozy cider. (Picture 8)

When 8 hours (on low) or 4 hours (on high) has elapsed the apples should be really soft. (Picture 8) Use an immersion blender to puree the apples. (Picture 9) (If you do not have an immersion blender, transfer the apples to a blender or a food processor and carefully blend them up. Blending hot ingredients is dangerous, so be careful that you don’t burn yourself.)

Return the blended apples to the hot crockpot. At this point, you will basically have thick applesauce (you can stop here if you want applesauce – it is REALLY yummy!) (Picture 10)

a collage of images showing how to make apple butter, steps 6 - 10.

The last step is to turn the heat off but leave the lid on the crockpot and let it sit for one more hour. The residual heat will thicken the butter up and make it so good.

A crockpot with cooked apple butter in it.

After an hour has passed, stir the butter and transfer to jars. Let the butter cool and store it in the refrigerator. It will keep for about three weeks or you can freeze it for 3 to 4 months (just make sure to leave room in your jars for expansion.)

a jar of apple butter with a spoon in it next to a dish towel, cinnamon sticks, and some apples.

🙋‍♀️ Frequently Asked Questions

I don’t drink alcohol – can I use something else in place of bourbon?

Of course. If you don’t want to use bourbon, replace it with apple juice or apple cider – just reduce the amount of maple that you use as the juice will add sugar and the apple butter will get very sweet.

Can this apple butter be canned?

Unfortunately, no. This recipe has not been tested for canning.

What kind of apples are best for making apple butter?

Contrary to what you might think, you want to use sweet apples for making apple butter, unlike baking, where you use more tart apples like Granny Smith. For apple butter, I like to use Gala, Honey Crisp (favorite), Macintosh, or Fuji. Red or Golden Delicious apples are sweet and flavorful as well – almost like honey, but I have noticed that they are a little juicier, so if you use these varieties, you might need to cook your apples longer to get them to fully thicken up into butter.

🍳 Serving Suggestions & Uses

I love apple butter spread onto homemade drop biscuits, banana bread, or even pancakes. I even like mixing apple butter INTO pancake batter or cookies – sometimes I even eat it off a spoon or use it to make apple butter pop-tarts.

Button linking to the Pinterest page for Southern Bytes.

🥫 Storage/Shelf Life/Reheating

Apple butter will keep in the fridge for 3 weeks or in the freezer for 3 to 4 months. If freezing, remember to leave a little bit of space in the jar. Also, remember that it is not shelf-stable, so if you give this apple butter as a gift, you must be sure that it is kept cold.

✏️ Helpful Tips

  • Make apple butter early in the day so that it has plenty of time to cool before you need to put it away.
  • You can prepare this apple butter long in advance of needing to use it and store it in the freezer, allowing 24 hours in the refrigerator to defrost. (Stir before serving as it might separate while defrosting.)
  • If you taste the apples before blending them up – they are SO good. You can eat them as stewed apples, puree some as maple bourbon applesauce, or as the recipe suggests – continue cooking to make apple butter!
a jar of apple butter with a dish towel, a spoon, cinnamon sticks, and some apples.

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a jar of apple butter with a dish towel, a spoon, and an apple.

Maple and Bourbon Apple Butter – Slow Cooker

4.50 from 2 votes
Slow Cooker Maple & Bourbon Apple Butter is such a wonderful – and easy – way to enjoy apples. Just prep the apples and let your slow cooker do all the work. While it cooks, your house will fill up with all of the beautiful aromas of Fall – apples, cinnamon, maple, and bourbon.
Author: Kari
Servings: 32
Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 8 hrs
Resting Time: 1 hr
Total: 9 hrs 15 mins

Ingredients  

  • 3 pounds apples, sliced Sweet Apples – Gala, Honeycrisp, or Macintosh – NOT Granny Smith
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup bourbon or substitute apple cider/juice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • teaspoon ground cloves

Optional

Instructions 

Peel and Dice Your Apples

  • Begin by peeling and cutting up all of the apples. I like to use the attachment for my KitchenAid Mixer – it makes little piles of apple rings, and then I just slice the piles into quarters. It takes a LOT less time.
    3 pounds apples, sliced
    An apple slicer slicing an apple.
  • If you do not have the mixer attachment, use a sharp paring knife to remove the skin from the apples – if you leave a little on, it's okay.
  • Next, cut the apples into quarters around the core, then roughly cut the meat of the apples into thin slices.
    A bowl of sliced apples being dumped in a crock pot.

In a Slow Cooker

  • Once apples are peeled and cut up, just add all of your ingredients to your slow cooker.
    3 pounds apples, sliced, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, ½ cup bourbon, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, ½ teaspoon nutmeg, ½ cup maple syrup, ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
    a crockpot with sliced apples in it.
  • Mix it all together and top with a cinnamon stick if you want.
    1 – 2 cinnamon sticks
    a crockpot with apples coated in cinnamon and maple in it.
  • Cover and cook on low for 8 – 10 hours or on High for 4 – 5 hours, stirring halfway through the cooking process. The apples will get a little softer and they will smell like boozy cider.
    a crockpot with cooked apples coated in cinnamon in it.
  • When 8 hours (on low) or 4 hours (on high) has elapsed the apples should be really soft.
    a crockpot with cooked apples in it.
  • Use an immersion blender to puree the apples. (If you do not have an immersion blender, transfer the apples to a blender or a food processor and carefully blend them up. Blending hot ingredients is dangerous, so be careful that you don't burn yourself.)
    a crockpot with cooked apples in it and an immersion blender.
  • Return the blended apples to the hot crockpot. At this point, you will basically have thick applesauce (you can stop here if you want applesauce – it is REALLY yummy!)
    a crockpot with apple butter, an immersion blender, and a red spatula in it.
  • The last step is to turn the heat off but leave the lid on the crockpot and let it sit for one more hour. The residual heat will thicken the butter up and make it so good.
    A crockpot with cooked apple butter in it.
  • After an hour has passed, stir the butter and transfer to jars. Let the butter cool and store it in the refrigerator. It will keep for about three weeks or you can freeze it for 3 to 4 months (just make sure to leave room in your jars for expansion.)

On the Stove

  • Add all ingredients to a large pot or dutch oven and bring the heat to medium/medium-low. Once the liquids start to boil/bubble, stir and reduce heat to low.
  • Let apples cook for 45 minutes – 1 hour, stirring every 15 – 20 minutes.
  • After 1 hour, the apples should be really soft. If they are not, cook for another 30 minutes.
  • Next, use an immersion blender to puree the apples. (If you do not have an immersion blender, transfer the apples to a blender or a food processor and carefully blend them up. Blending hot ingredients is dangerous, so be careful that you don't burn yourself.)
  • Return the blended apples to the warm pot. At this point, you will basically have thick applesauce (you can stop here if you want applesauce – it is REALLY yummy!)
  • Turn the heat off but leave the lid on the pot and let it sit on the burner for one more hour. The residual heat will thicken the butter up and make it so good.
  • After an hour has passed, stir the butter and transfer to jars. Let the butter cool and store it in the refrigerator. It will keep for about three weeks or you can freeze it for 3 to 4 months (just make sure to leave room in your jars for expansion.)

Notes

Maple Bourbon Apple Butter will keep in the fridge for 3 weeks or in the freezer for 3 to 4 months. Remember that it is not shelf-stable, so if you give it as a gift, make sure it is kept cold.
Tips
  • Make apple butter early in the day so that it has plenty of time to cool before you need to put it away.
  • You can prepare this apple butter long in advance of needing to use it and store it in the freezer, allowing 24 hours in the refrigerator to defrost. (Stir before serving as it might separate while defrosting.)
  • If you taste the apples before blending them up – they are SO good. You can eat them as stewed apples, puree some as maple bourbon applesauce, or as the recipe suggests – continue cooking to make apple butter!

Nutrition

Serving: 2tbspCalories: 46kcalCarbohydrates: 10gProtein: 1gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 19mgPotassium: 58mgFiber: 1gSugar: 7gVitamin A: 23IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 12mgIron: 1mg

Nutrition information is approximate and is automatically calculated, so should only be used as a guide.

Course: Breakfast, Condiments, Snack
Cuisine: American, Southern
Keyword: apple butter, maple bourbon apple butter, slow cooker apple butter
Did you make this recipe?Mention @southernbytes or tag #southernbytes!

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Hi, I’m Kari!

I am a newlywed, food blogger, health coach, and mama to a hot mess of a border collie. I love to put a new spin on old family recipes and I try to make as many meals as possible with an Instant Pot.

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