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Bill’s Apple Butter

Since retiring, I have more time to tend to our 75 apple trees and to experiment in the kitchen. I came up with this old-fashioned apple butter after some trial and error. The red-hot candies make it unique.—Bill Elliott, Urbana, Missouri
  • Total Time
    Prep: 3-1/2 hours Process: 5 min.
  • Makes
    8 pints


  • 15 pounds early-season apples (Gala, Jonathan and/or Cortland), peeled and quartered
  • 3/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 5-1/3 cups packed brown sugar
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 cup red-hot candies
  • 1 cup boiling water


  • In a stockpot, combine apples and vinegar; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, 30-40 minutes or until tender. Remove from heat; cool slightly. Process in batches in a food processor until blended. Return all to pan.
  • Add brown sugar, sugar, cinnamon, salt, extract, cloves and allspice. Dissolve red-hots in boiling water; stir into apple mixture.
  • Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, 2 hours or until mixture reaches a thick, spreadable consistency.
  • Remove from heat. Carefully ladle hot mixture into eight hot sterilized 1-pint jars, leaving 1/4-in. headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace, if necessary, by adding hot mixture. Wipe rims. Center lids on jars; screw on bands until fingertip tight.
  • Place jars into canner with simmering water, ensuring that they are completely covered with water. Bring to a boil; process for 5 minutes. Remove jars and cool.
Nutrition Facts
2 tablespoons: 92 calories, 0 fat (0 saturated fat), 0 cholesterol, 22mg sodium, 24g carbohydrate (22g sugars, 1g fiber), 0 protein.

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  • Faerie1
    Aug 15, 2019

    I am just learning to make some simple jams and jelly's but none of the the recipes I have made have said "remove air bubbles". I'm sure this is not difficult but will someone tell me what is the best way to do this? No one in my immediate family ever canned, so I'm on my own here. Thanks!

  • sstetzel
    Sep 29, 2017

    Hi Sara,If you look at the last line of direction it says Yield: 8 Pints. So your calculations are correct.Susan StetzelRecipe Support SpecialistTaste of Home Magazine

  • Sara
    Sep 26, 2017

    Hello, This sounds delicious! 128 servings at 2 TBS per serving is not very helpful. Generally a canning recipe is converted to the pints, 1/2 pints, or quarts. So this comes out to about 8 pints? Just making sure my calculations are correct. Thank you so much! Sara

  • Susan M
    Sep 26, 2017

    This is exactly the perfection of a apple butter recipe to be handed down generation to generation. You can smell it wafting from our fall pickings bringing back a slew of memories.

  • Psalm127-3
    Sep 26, 2017

    Bill OH Bill-love your secret ingredient of RedHots. I've slipped those secretly into many an apple pie~I cud kick myself for not buying the ultra huge bag of Jonathans I saw in market an hr ago. This is right up my alley of desired flavors especially on almost anything including a nice slice of pork tenderloin. can't wait to get crackin on this- will report when I do-saving to computer-thanks again for post

  • SWuebbens
    May 29, 2015

    My grandmother's secret was red hots! I'll have to try yours, because, alas! No one thought to keep the recipe