Autumn + Apples = Johnnie’s Apple Butter

It’s looking a lot like a great weekend to go apple picking. If you’re like us, when you get home, you’re hit with the reality of “what to do with all these apples“! Yes, you can make pies, you can make cakes. But, have you ever made apple butter?

For the uninitiated, apple butter has nothing to do with butter, it’s just spreadable and yummy on toast.

And, how do you make this yummy, spreadable, goodness?

Well, first you pull out the crockpot and get ready for 12 hours of heavenly, apple aroma wafting through the house.

BTW, once you realize just how easy this recipe is, do me a favor, when you’re sharing jars with friends and family, don’t tell them.

OK, let’s go!

I use a combo of Granny Smith and a softer, sweeter apple. You can use Fuji, Gala, Macintosh, Jonagold and toss in a few Granny Smith.

Peel and core 6 pounds of apples. That’s 10-12 medium apples–20 small. Slice or chunk apples and put in the crockpot/slow cooker.

In a bowl mix: 1 cup of white sugar 1 cup brown sugar (I use 1/2 dark & 1/2 light brown sugar) Add 1 TB of cinnamon 1/2 tsp of nutmeg 1/4 tsp ground cloves 1/4 tsp salt

Later you’ll need: 1 TB vanilla

Mix sugar and spices and add to apples. Toss apples to coat.

Put the lid on the crockpot and set the crockpot on low. Next, set your timer for 10 hours.

Yes, 10 hours!

In 10 hours take the lid off and add 1 TB vanilla extract. Stir and leave uncovered simmering on low for 2 more hours.

10 hours into the apple butter mission. I’ve added vanilla and it remains on low uncovered for 2 more hours. All that juice is from the lovely apples🍎

When time’s up use an immersion hand blender or potato masher and carefully (because its dangerously hot!) smash any pieces that are left intact.

You’ll have a deep brown smooth apple spread. When it cools, pour into jars and keep refrigerated. No canning process is necessary.

Now, go pick those apples … and remember, mums the word on how easy this is.


Stay safe,



About steveandjohnnie

Award winning Chicago Broadcasters, inducted into WGN radio's Walk Of Fame. Authors of the Les Paul memoir, "A Little More Les." You'll find even more about us at
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7 Responses to Autumn + Apples = Johnnie’s Apple Butter

  1. LINDA S JOHNSON says:

    Sounds yummy…and I already have an apple peeler/corer that you crank (it’s fun to use) and I already have people who need something good to spread!!!! TYSM!!

  2. Anna says:

    Hi Johnnie,
    Could you can this? I love your recipe but I like to make stuff like this for Christmas gifts and some have to travel a bit to get to their desired location.
    Thanks a bunch,
    Anna in Plano IL

  3. Sue May says:

    Sounds delish! Up until the vanilla it sounds just like my grandma Kate’s recipe for applesauce. She made it on the stove in a saucepan. And always told me to leave the apples chunky. It is delicious and brings back great memories whenever I make it. Thanks for sharing and reminding me of my beloved grandma’s recipe.

  4. Sue says:

    Did Johnnie ever do a cookbook?Was wondering if I missed it?

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