Closeup of homemade apple butter in a stainless steel dish

Simple Stovetop Apple Butter (No Added Sugar)

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Excess of apples? Apple butter is BY FAR the easiest way to use them up!

To make simple, no sugar added apple butter, you just need a little bit of patience. That’s seriously the hardest part of the whole process.

After letting this apple mixture simmer away and reduce down to a deep, caramelized butter, you’ll have a paleo, gluten free, low carb spread that pairs perfectly with the warm flavors of winter.

Which apples are best for apple butter?

Honestly, the apples you use is entirely up to you! That said, I recommend using a few different varieties in one batch if you have them on hand.

Still, you won’t be disappointed using just one variety of apple in this recipe, either.

For my apple butter, I like to mix tart and sweet varieties. For example, granny smith (tart) and smitten (sweet). That way, the resulting apple spread isn’t too sweet for me. But, if you want super-sweet apple butter, use all sweet apples!

Closeup of homemade apple butter in a stainless steel dish

How to make homemade apple butter

This is crazy simple. y’all. Just add the ingredients to a pot over medium heat. Cover and leave it alone for 30 minutes.

Then uncover, mash it all up, and continue to cook. Stir every so often to ensure it doesn’t stick.

Finally, after it’s deepened in color and reduced to your liking, use an immersion blender to blend it all up!

I find an immersion blender easiest, because I don’t have to transfer the apple mixture and I’m only getting one container dirty. However, you can definitely use a heat-safe blender to blend it up, too!

Depending on how fresh your apples are, the spread should keep for a few weeks in the fridge.

Do I have to peel apples for apple butter?

Nope! You always have the option to peel the apples, but I don’t bother. It all gets blended up in the end anyway!

And after all, much of the nutrition in an apple is in its peel. Might as well go for max micronutrients!

How to use apple butter

Equipment for this recipe

You won’t need much for this stovetop project! Just a good pot, a knife, an apple slicer to make life easier, and mason jars to store it in.

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Dish with apple butter surrounded by a chopped apple, cinnamon sticks, apples, and a spoon

Stovetop Apple Butter

  • Author: Chelsea at
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 90 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
  • Yield: ~ 1 quart
  • Category: Spread
  • Method: Stovetop


Homemade apple butter is super simple – and with no added sugar! It makes a wonderful, simple gift during the holidays.


  • 3 pounds apples (about 12 medium)
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup water


  1. Core, peel, and chop the apples. Add the apples, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, lemon juice, and water to a large pot and stir to evenly distribute the spices. Cover and cook on medium heat for 30 minutes.
  2. Using a wooden spoon or potato masher, mash the apples as much as possible. Remove the lid and continue cooking for an additional hour, stirring every 15 minutes. If, after an hour, the apple butter isn’t as thick as you’d like, continue cooking for 15 minutes at a time, stirring every 5 minutes to prevent the apples from sticking and burning on the bottom.
  3. Puree the apple butter using an immersion blender, high-powered blender, or food processor.
  4. When cool, pour the apple butter into jars and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks. Freeze for up to a month. 


Do you need to peel the apples? Nope! I don’t bother. It all gets blended up anyway – and most of the nutrition in an apple is in its peel!

Keywords: apple butter, stovetop, homemade, paleo, whole30



I'm Chelsea, the author behind Chelsea Joy Eats! I believe life should be full of flavor. I enjoy creating recipes that are nourishing, flavorful, and satisfying. When not experimenting in the kitchen, I usually have a camera, barbell, or mug of coffee in hand. My posts may include affiliate links, which means if you click through a purchase something, I make a small commission at no cost to you. It helps me fuel my coffee habit and pay rent!

2 thoughts to “Simple Stovetop Apple Butter (No Added Sugar)”

  1. Most recipes call for apple cider vinegar, can this be used as well or in place of lemon juice? For my grandmother. She cannot have added sugars but I wanted it to be like the brands she’s had. Got her homemade once but was too sweet, so wanted to try making it myself. Made applesauce before so this is an easy recipe, regardless. Can items be halves also? Thanks !

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