Apple Butter Recipe: No Sugar!

November 10, 2023   23 Comments

This apple butter recipe is a major update from my last one. About 6 years ago, I posted a recipe using one cup of sugar.

Apple Butter Recipe No Sugar

A friend of mine recently had a heart incident and is avoiding all sugar. She told me that she bought apple butter that had no sugar added and I said, “Wait a minute! You can make it.”

I took a look at my old recipe and realized that years ago, I wasn’t on the NO SUGAR ADDED band wagon as much as I am today. Check out my two posts: No Sugar Challenge and No Sugar Challenge:Part II. I used sugar in the recipe and wasn't worried about it. But, does it really need all that sugar? I was excited to give it a try.

These are are the ingredients that you need. I picked a relatively sweet apple (Gala) because I didn’t think it would work with a Granny Smith. But, I must say that I didn’t test that assumption.

I figured I could always add sugar if it was too sour - but it was quite good and I didn’t notice the lack of sugar! How about that?

I make apple butter in my slow cooker and the best part? You don’t have to peel the apples. Just core them, cut them into pieces, and toss them in.

After 12 hours at low, you have the perfect apple mush.

At this stage, I used my blender (or my immersion blender) to puree the apples. Then, I take the lid off of my slow cooker and cook it down until it is quite thick.

Now what? You can put it in a jar in your fridge and eat it up or freeze it in smaller containers. You can also can it which is a bit more intense but means you can hand it out to friends and family (and store it for a year).

Here are the steps involved in canning:

  1. wash the jars and lids (use whatever size you want)
  2. boil jars for 15 minutes in large stock pot
  3. remove a jar, dump out hot water
  4. fill with hot apple butter leaving about 1/2 inch at the top of the jar
  5. put lid on
  6. boil filled jar for 5 minutes
  7. wait 12 hours and test seal (repeat sealing if it didn't work)

I put this apple butter on my toast, in my yogurt, and on my turkey sandwiches. It tastes like fall.

Have you made apple butter without sugar? Did it work for you?

Apple Butter Recipe

2.6 from 40 reviews

makes 4 cups

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5 pounds apples, unpeeled, cored, and cut up
1 cup water
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground allspice
pinch of salt


Coat a 6 quart slow cooker with non stick cooking spray. Add the apples, water, cinnamon, allspice, and salt. Cover and cook on low for 12 hours (or overnight).

Blend cooked apples with an immersion blender, food processor, or regular blender and pour liquid back into the slow cooker.

Remove the lid and cook for additional 2-4 hours on low to reach your desired thickness.

Store in covered containers in the refrigerator for up to 2 months, freeze for up to 3 months, or can the apple butter via the above procedure. Use 4 - 8 ounce jars for canning 5 pounds cooked apples.

Nutrition Facts

For one tablespoon = 10 calories, 0 g fat, 2.5 g carbohydrates, 0.1 g protein, 0.5 g fiber, 4 mg sodium, 0 Freestyle SmartPts

Points values are calculated by Snack Girl and are provided for information only. See all Snack Girl Recipes

Other posts you might like:

No Sugar Challenge

No Sugar Challenge

This No Sugar Challenge is brought to you by my high cholesterol numbers in January......

No Sugar Challenge 2

No Sugar Challenge: Part II

Last month, I wrote about my No Sugar Challenge and I got a bunch of questions and responses.....

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What is difference between apple butter & applesauce? the butter? so if i leave out the butter it will be sauce?

I made apple butter from apples picked from my sister’s trees in New York (don’t know what kind) but used a mix of sweet and tart. It was delicious! I used a Foley Food Mill instead if a slow cooker.

Hi Kandy! There is no butter in apple butter. But, I was wondering the same thing. It may be how thick the end result is. Applesauce tends to be a little runny, whereas apple butter is spread like jam on bread.

@Kandy - Apple butter is like cooked down apple sauce. With apple sauce, you usually peel the apples so in this way it is different. You cook the unpeeled apples until you get something like a paste or jam. It is up to you how thick it becomes. If you have never had it - you are in for a treat! There is no butter involved - it is just the name.

Thank you for the great question!

Yes, apple butter is dark and a bit thicker and yum-o! I love it! I usually buy in Pennsylvania Dutch Country where it is super-popular. I am grateful for this sugarless recipe. Now I don't have to wait until I go there to have it. Thank you!

Yes! This is one of my all time favorite fall things to make. I’ve been making a stove top version of this for years. I don’t add salt though.

I make applesauce in the slow cooker - just fill it up with sliced apples (with their skin still on), and a few shakes of cinnamon. Cook on high for 3 hours and then smash them down with a potato smasher. It never occurred to me to leave the lid off and cook longer to thicken into "butter" then use the immersion blender. Thanks, Lisa!

If there are 2.5 grams of carbohydrates in one tablespoon, then it will have 10 calories. Sounds like it would be totally worth it, though!

@John - You are correct. That was a mistake. Thank you for catching it and alerting me to it. I have changed the above post to reflect 10 calories.

I've sometimes made a stove top apple butter that I got out of a newspaper DECADES ago:

¼ lb. dried sliced apples (2 cups)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground allspice
1/8 tsp ground cloves
2 cups unsweetened apple juice

Combine all ingredients in large saucepan. Bring to a boil. Simmer covered 20 min, stirring occasionally. Cool slightly.

Pour into blender & blend till smooth. Cool to room temperature & refrigerate in a tightly covered container. Will keep in fridge for months. Makes approx. 2 Cups.

My mother always loved it. Even gave it to her for Christmas one year. Your recipe sounds like a good one to try, too.

I don’t have a slow cooker and I don’t have allspice, so, I used a saucepan and substituted apple pie spice and this turned out delicious. My husband couldn’t believe I did add any sugar. Thank you!

I made the apple butter, however, if I make it again I will eliminate the cup of water. After having it on overnight and several hours with the lid off after blending, it never thickened to Apple butter consistency. Very delicious “applesauce”. I used honey crisp apples. Love your recipes, Lisa! I have made many.

I made this in the slow cooker. Started it around 6:00 PM so I could stir it a few times before going to bed. It was ready to blend when I woke up. I used an immersion blender. I got eight 8 ounce jars. I packed the crock because I have the kind that has a locking lid. I will be giving some as gifts and keeping some for myself.


If you can’t can it, how long will it keep in the fridge? My daughter wants to try it and doesn’t have space in her tiny apartment for all the canning accoutrements.

My go to recipe. Have made several times.easy, great taste...its a keeper!


I am cooking my apples right now. I had planned to can them. I used a little maple syrup as well. Now I am reading on other web sites that it needs a certain ratio of sugar and Lemon to be safe to can. Help. I am new to canning. We used to just add the hot food to jars and it sealed and all seemed well. But seems new rules require specifics and canning in hot water bath.

The recipe I usually use calls for cored and shredded apples, no added water and only 1/4C brown sugar. You simmer it on the stove top. I will give this no sugar recipe a try. It sounds so good!

My apple butter is same as your process. But it has apples only. Period. I use about 8 Granny Smith and 2 or 3 Galas for sweetness. I'd use Cortlands but can't find them here. Sometimes I add a splash of apple cider. No sugar, no spices. Yummy! If put into canning jars while very hot, turn jars upside down and let sit and cool on the stovetop. They will vaccuum seal. I only fridge or freeze if a jar doesn't seal itself.

I will try with fuji apples & cinnamon, no allspice, and maybe add a touch of a sugar-free brown sugar blend for a hint of maple-y brown sugar flavor.😊


Can you use your Instant Pot to make this? What would the adjustments be?

I'm afraid I'm afflicted with a VERY sweet tooth. I guess you could add a sweetner (xylitol or stevia perhaps?) of some kind to your great recipe? Ah me, the things we learn from that great country across the Atlantic! Many thanks, Peter

I started making apple butter in my instant pot a couple years ago. I make it aip friendly for someone I know on that gut healthy diet. That means they avoid refined sugar and certain spices, so I always use honey to sweeten. You pressure cook the apples for a short time, then take the cover off and use the Sautee function to cook out the moisture. It's faster, but splashes a lot, and has to be stirred often. I haven't tried canning it, bit I put ot in Mason jars and freeze them. I will absolutely try your version with no sugar. I buy galas and fuji by the bag at Sam's Club, and usually use any apples that sit out and get wrinkly or that have bruises. I sometimes add a couple of granny Smith for a little bit of tartness. Thanks


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