October 10th, 2012

Slow Cooker Chai-Spiced Apple Butter

OneHungryMama Slow Cooker Chai Spiced Apple Butter

I love apple butter, and I love my slow cooker, too. Lucky for me, they work well together.

You throw apples and some spices into a crock pot in the morning (or before bed), your house smells amazing for 10 hours, and you scoop out a sweet and spicy, dark amber spread that makes anything it touches more delicious.

This easy recipe is an adaptation of my original slow cooker apple butter. Though more heavily spiced, this chai-inspired version is my new go-to thanks to its incredible depth of flavor. If you prefer mulled cider to plain, then this is your new go-to apple butter, too.

Be forewarned: it may seem like there is too much black pepper when you first try this, at least for the kids. Once the flavor settles, though, it hits just the right note, even for little ones who will likely eat this in combination with oatmeal, toast, yogurt or other foods that absorb flavor.

As for me, I eat this right off the spoon to feel the light bite of fall.

Slow Cooker Chai-Spiced Apple Butter
(can be shared with kids 6+ mos)*
makes about 5 cups

12 medium apples, peeled, cored and roughly chopped (into about 16 pieces each)
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1. Combine all ingredients in a 5-quart slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 10 hours, until the apples have completely broken down into a dark brown butter.

2. Uncover and break up any large, soft pieces with the back of a wooden spoon. Allow to cool and place in an airtight container to store in the fridge for up to 5 days, or follow canning procedures to process in sterilized jars. Properly canned apple butter can be stored in a dark spot at room temperature for up to a year.

*Note: This can be shared as is for eaters as young as 6-months-old, just keep in mind that apple butter is not interchangeable with apple sauce. It is a concentrated sauce that has a much stronger flavors and higher sugar content. A little bit mixed into plain yogurt or baby cereal goes a long way with little ones.

13 Responses

  1. I was just about to make some slow cooker apple butter and my husband decided to make some apple crisp! Just when I’d finally gathered enough apples, too..ah, well. I’m sure his will be delicious :)

    Thanks for an amazing sounding recipe, though, it’s going in the books!

  2. Tracey G says:

    What a great way to use up surplus apples from the apple trees in our backyard. I wonder if the recipe will freeze.

    I’m also wondering if it would work as well using pumpkin instead of apples.

  3. @Christy – glad you’re going to come back to this one. it’s worth it. (i’m sure your husband’s apple crisp was amazing, too :-)

    @Tracey – I’ve never frozen apple butter (I’ll do a simple small batch can instead). Let me know if you try it. It should work out okay since, unlike apple sauce, much of the water is cooked out. As for using pumpkin, i’m sure it would be delicious!

  4. Liz says:

    This was so good! I used a huge glop of it into my homemade granola bars and they were amazing. I will definitely make it again, thanks!

  5. @Liz – so glad that you liked and brilliant way to use this stuff. i’m totally going to do the same!

  6. Emily says:

    I freeze the original apple butter recipe all the time in ice cube trays. I then pop them out and store them in ziploc bags in the freezer. Has worked great every time and makes it easy to pull one out and mix into my sons oatmeal or yogurt.

  7. One Hungry Mama says:

    Thanks for the tip, @Emily. Easier than canning and also preserves in smaller amounts, which is super convenient. Love it!

  8. Heather says:

    Slow-cooking away today. I can’t wait for the results!!!

  9. Heather says:

    Just a quick note to let you know this turned out heavenly! I paired it this morning with Gluten Free Persimmon bread, (grandma’s recipe turned GF!) and the flavor combo was out of this world. Thank you for all the wonderful recipes and tips.

  10. One Hungry Mama says:

    Thanks for reporting back, Heather. I’m so excited… and wished that I had your GF Persimmon bread recipe! :-)

  11. Liz says:

    Stacie, I made this again the other day, it is amazing! I also froze it into small cubes for breakfast oatmeal, etc. Plus, I made a baked oatmeal from Snack Girl and put a few large spoonfuls in there as well. I have found so many uses for it and I love how easy it is to make. I am so lazy (or pressed for time, either way) that I leave the appke skins on and use my immersion blender to puree at the end and you can’t even tell. I’m thinking of making a batch and giving it as holiday gifts in small jars to the staff at my kids’ preschool, along with a Starbucks gift card or something like that. Thanks again for such a wonderful recipe!

  12. I’m so happy, Liz! I love that you’re going to can this for gifts. I’m going to do the same! (Thanks for the thought of pairing with a gift card. Genius!) Continue to enjoy. xo

  13. Julia says:

    This recipe sounds awesome. My fiance and I went to the north Georgia mountains this weekend and I bought 2 bushels of apples to prepare for gift baskets this season. I was looking for a different kind of apple butter and I love chai flavor. Thank You in advance!

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