What’s Apple Butter and the Best Apples To Make it With

Filled with warm spices, apple butter is a fall favorite. It’s delicious spread onto a piece of toast for breakfast or it can be added to cookies, pies, and cakes when baking. While picking up a jar at the market is convenient (and there are many tasty brands out there), making it at home is super easy. When apple picking season arrives, it’s a fantastic way to use extra apples. But what is apple butter? The logical guess is it’s a mixture of apples and butter. But that’s not the case.

What is Apple Butter?

Apple butter dates back to the Middle Ages. Monasteries in Limburg (now known as Belgium and the Netherlands) and Germany typically had large fruit orchards. They created a spread, what we now know as apple butter, with the apples. With high sugar content and little water, apple butter had a long shelf life. Villagers began making apple butter too and the spread gained in popularity. As people emigrated to America, they continued to make apple butter in their new country.

Are Apple Butter and Applesauce Similar?

Apple butter and applesauce are similar in the fact that they’re made with chopped apples and cooked. After that, the similarities end.

To make applesauce, apples are cooked just until soft and then pureed until smooth. Spices are added and, in the end, it has a semi-watery consistency.

For apple butter, though, the apples are cooked much longer. The apples break down, become caramelized and turn into a spread. When combined with warm spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger, and sugar, the consistency is much smoother, and spreadable than applesauce with a more intense apple flavor.

What are the Best Types of Apples for Making Apple Butter?

Soft apples are best for making homemade apple butter because they break down easier and create a better texture in the end. Combining different types of apples – both sweet and tart – enhance the flavor of the end product. Try a combination of McIntosh, Cortland, Red Delicious, Braeburn, Cortland, Fuji, and Granny Smith when whipping up a batch at home.

What’s the Best Way to Eat Apple Butter?

We can’t think of only one way. That would be like saying there’s only way one way to eat an Oreo. If you want suggestions, read this article on the best ways to use apple butter. But, here are a few quick and easy ideas:

  • Smeared on a piece of toast, a biscuit or bagel with a dab of butter
  • Add a dollop on top of pork chops
  • Spoon it into oatmeal
  • Create a sandwich with turkey, brie, and apple butter (extra good if grilled)
  • Substitute oil with apple butter when baking
  • Use it as a topping for buttermilk pancakes or French toast
  • Spread it on baked ham
  • Add a layer to cinnamon rolls
  • Dip sweet potato fries into it

How Can I Make Apple Butter?

Now you KNOW we have you covered with Blue Ribbon apple butter recipes.

Crock Pot Apple Butter
“This apple butter recipe makes some of the best apple butter we’ve ever eaten. It turns out rich and silky. While this was simmering in the Crock Pot, it made the Test Kitchen smell like apple cider.” – The Test Kitchen

Spiced Whiskey Apple Butter
“This apple butter is warm and spicy and enhanced with the flavor of your favorite whiskey. (Bourbon works just fine, too).” – Naomi

Homemade Apple Butter
“This is made in a Crock Pot. It takes about 12 hours so I prepare it in the evening and by morning it’s done. It is well worth the wait. There is nothing like homemade!” – Gail

Mind-Blowing Apple Butter Recipe
“An almost forgotten delicious sandwich spread.” – Russ

Recipes With Apple Butter

Apple Butter Pie
“It’s very simple to make, not a lot of ingredients because most of the sweetener and spices are already in your apple butter. This would be a great pie for your kids to bake as it would teach them about history and baking.” – Dave

Apple Butter Pumpkin Pie
“I have had this recipe for some time and think that it is a terrific rendition of pumpkin pie. The apple butter lends its fruity flavor to this harvest pie.” – Gay

Fresh Apple Butter Cake
“I can honestly say this is one of the most delicious cakes I’ve ever eaten. The recipe was given to me by an aunt many years ago, and I’ve never changed one thing about it. Simply divine!” – Angela

Apple Butter Oatmeal Cookies
“These cookies are sweet but not too sweet and I used Granny Smith apples for the chopped apples because of the tartness they provide.” – Lorah