I had grand plans this fall. I knew I’d be making the drive to Maryland in mid-November to celebrate Thanksgiving with my family, and I knew I’d be getting pretty pregnant by then {aka I’d need to stop a lot}. Charlottesville, which is almost exactly half way between my two destinations, also happens to be the home of a pick your own apple orchard.

carter mountain apple orchard

I grew up somewhat near a pick your own farm and loved going up every season to pick whatever fruit or vegetable was ripe. Apples are one of my favorite things to pick because they’re a) delicious and b) the waxy coating from the grocery store varieties gives me the skeevy jeevies.

Breaking up the drive with a stop at the apple orchard sounded like the perfect solution: a chance to get outside and walk around, enjoy the beautiful scenery, and load up on bushels and bushels of apples.

apple picking

There was only one kink in my plan. Apple season ended in October. Gah!

So grocery store apples it is this year. But that didn’t stop me from stocking up. I had visions of apples dancing in my head for months. First and foremost on the list: apple butter. {Apple pie was a close second.}

apple butter

I love apple butter. Had I known all these years how easy and insanely delicious homemade apple butter is, I’d probably have turned into a big giant puddle of the stuff by now.

apple butter recipe

Let me summarize the process for you:

Cut up apples.

Dump in crockpot.

Walk away for a few hours.

Stick an immersion blender in the pot for a couple seconds.

Add some juice and spices.

Walk away for a few more hours.

The end.

crock pot apple butter

Seriously. Again, slow cooker to the rescue– it does all the work while I go about my business. Meanwhile the house fills with the most delicious, irresistible apple and spice aromas.

And now I’ve unleashed a monster. I foresee many a apple butter concoctions in my future: cranberry…plum…pumpkin…chipotle…pear…

Maybe I should finally learn how to can. Although judging by the rate I went through this batch, I won’t need to. I put it on everything in sight- English muffins with peanut butter, apple pancakes, oatmeal…heck I even ate it by the spoonful.

how to make apple butter


Easy Crockpot Apple Butter {No Added Sugar}

by with a Side of Sneakers


  • 7-8 apples {I used Gala & Fuji}
  • 1 cup no sugar added juice {I used cranberry pomegranate}
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp cloves


Dice apples- leave skins on.

Put apple in crock pot, cover, and cook on high ~4 hours.

Add in juice & spices. Feel free to adjust spices to taste.

Cook another 4 hrs on high. When it looks like apple sauce, use immersion blender to puree apples.

Continue cooking with lid slightly ajar until apples have thickened and darkened {aka caramelized}.

Note: all slow cookers are different- keep an eye on yours as you may need more or less time, or to use high or low heat.

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You can bet I’ll know to get my butt to the apple orchard before October next year.