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crabapple recipe: apple butter spread onto biscuits
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4.95 from 18 votes

Crabapple Recipe: Slow Cooker Apple Butter

This crabapple recipe uses the small, tart apples and turns them into a delicious batch of slow cooker apple butter.
Yields approximately 7 cups of apple butter, and is easily multiplied.  Serving size is for 1 tablespoon of apple butter.
Prep Time1 hr
Cook Time7 hrs
Total Time8 hrs
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Servings: 112 people
Calories: 21kcal



  • 5 lbs crabapples Weigh apples before coring
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 ½ cups sugar (white, brown, or turbinado), plus more if desired
  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • 2 tsp cinnamon


  • Quarter and core the apples.  (Peel if desired, but it's not necessary.)
    Alternatively: Skip coring, and use a food mill to remove the seeds before blending the apples (in step 3).
  • Add the apples, water, sugar, and lemon juice to the basin of a slow cooker.
  • Cook on high for about 2 hours, until the apples begin to break down.  Use an immersion blender and blend the sauce.
    Alternatively: Ladle the apples into a regular blender or food processor, and then return it to the slow cooker.
  • Continue to cook the sauce for another 5-6 hours on high, until the apple mixture is thickened and golden brown.  (Total cook time will be 7-8 hours.)
  • Add cinnamon.  Taste, and add more sweetener if desired.
  • Store in the refrigerator for up to a month or freeze for up to 6 months.



  • I want to make my apple butter sweeter, without adding more white sugar.  Try replacing half the water with not-from-concentrate, no-sugar-added apple juice or apple cider to add natural sweetener to the apple butter.
  • My apple butter has a "gluey" consistency.  This happens when you don't add enough liquid to slow cooker when you start cooking, and the pectin in the crabapples over-thickens the apple butter.  Make sure to add the full 3 cups of water for every 5 pounds of apples.
  • My apple butter didn't turn brown.  This happens when you don't add the sugar to the apple butter when you start cooking.  In apple butter made from larger, sweeter apples, the natural sugars in the apple caramelize, and the butter turns brown.  Crabapples don't have enough natural sugars, so you have to add the sugar at the beginning.  (Also, keep in mind that most of the browning occurs at the very end of the cook time, between hours 6 and 8.)


Calories: 21kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Potassium: 24mg | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 10IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 2mg