Smoked Apple Butter Recipe

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Move over apple butter, this Smoked Apple Butter is going to be your new favorite this fall. Imagine the sweet, comforting taste of apple butter, now infused with a subtle smokiness.

You only need a few ingredients and one pan. This recipe is easily customizable to your taste and equipment you have. Don’t wait any longer, get the apples out and let’s make Best Smoked Apple Butter ever.

Front on view of apple butter in a jar. Hands holding a spoon and spreading apple butter on a piece of bread

Did you know there is no butter in Apple Butter!

Shocking, right?! So what is Apple Butter? Keep reading and you will find out why it’s called Apple Butter and how to make this delicious apple spread. This apple spread is the answer to whatever you are needing at that moment. The best part is you can enjoy it in a sweet or savory pairing. Apple butter the ultimate answer to curb your cravings.

apples in a basket

Why you will love this Smoked Apple Butter Recipe!

Versatile – smoked apple butter is delicious and pairs very well with various dishes. Use it with lean protein, baked goods or on your toast along with morning coffee. 

Easy to customize – adjust the sweetness, spices and texture to your liking. 

Comfort food – yes, I know this is not that chocolate spread, but I guarantee it will curb your sweet cravings. It is literally like eating apple pie but much better

Join me as we explore the simple process of creating the best smoked apple butter. Let’s celebrate the flavors of fall and bring a touch of innovation to your kitchen.

ingredients to make apple butter

Ingredients, Variations and Substitutions you need to make Smoked Apple Butter

Apples – there are many different recommendations for the variety of apples you should use, but go ahead and use apples you have or like the most. In general the softer kind of apples, like Cortland, Fuji, Gala, Red Delicious are better when making Smoked Apple Butter. Soft apples break down faster and the butter will have a more intense apple flavor. 

Apple juice – when getting it at the store keep an eye for additives, sugar content and preservatives. Pick juice that is made from apples, not concentrate, if possible get organic apple juice. As a substitute you can use water, or white grape juice, but this may alter the flavor of the smoked apple butter.

Honey – I’m sure you know that honey never spoils! I don’t know who would keep honey for that long, but well, I guess it happens. If you can, use locally produced honey. Local honey reflects the specific flowers and plants in your area, giving it a distinct taste known as “terroir. It also will be minimally processed and fresh. If you don’t have honey you can substitute with maple syrup.

Cinnamon – did you know cinnamon doesn’t have a sweet taste but does amplify the sweetness in other ingredients. Cinnamon is considered a multi-sensory spice! Smelling it can boost mood and cognition; adding it to dishes elevates their flavor! Lets not forget about the warming qualities of cinnamon. It is often used to provide relief when suffering from the cold or flu. Optional substitute would be Nutmeg.

Lemon juice – freshly squeezed adds a great burst of brightness to this dish and also balances the sweetness of apples and honey. Good alternatives are orange, grapefruit, or lime juice, but the flavor may be slightly different.

Allspice – also known as Jamaica Pepper; did you know that Allspice is not a blend of spices! But its flavor resembles a combination of cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. Very versatile in the kitchen and pairs very well with sweet and savory dishes. To substitute, mix equal parts of cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg.

Vanilla extract – if you can splurge, get the real thing, pure vanilla extract. Look for one that is in a dark bottle, contains vanilla bean extract, alcohol and water. Anything labeled ‘vanilla flavor’ or ‘imitation vanilla’ will contain artificial additives. As a substitute you can use: vanilla bean paste, vanilla powder, or maple syrup.

Equipment you will need

  • Pellet Smoker, grill or you can make it in the oven and stove top
  • Medium size saucepan (heavy bottom, cast iron)
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Immersion blender or food processor
  • Cutting board  
  • Chef’s knife
  • Hand Juicer
  • Parchment paper

Tips for Success when making Smoked Apple Butter

#1: Low and slow is the name of the game when it comes to making apple butter; simmer the apples for longer time over low heat; this will intensify the apple flavor and also create perfect thick consistency

#2: Pick a soft variety of apples (Gala, Red Delicious, Cortland, Fuji) they will break down faster during the cooking process and you will get the perfect caramelized color and texture 

#3: Be mindful when adding sugar – taste the apples before adding any; add sugar or honey gradually to find the sweet spot!

#4: Experiment with spices and their ratios – cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves or allspice will elevate the flavor of homemade apple butter.

#5: Blend it for the best texture and smooth experience 🙂

Step by Step Instructions How to make Smoked Apple Butter

Let’s get into making the Smoked Apple Butter. The preparation is very easy, the best part is, you don’t need to peel the apples. Just wash, core, chop and mix with the rest. 

  • Start by washing the apples. Check each one for any bruises and damage, leave them out to avoid spoiling the apple butter.
  • Carefully core and chop the apples. You can also just halve them, but chopping speeds up the cooking process. No need to peel!

  • In a medium size cast iron pan combine the cut apples, apple juice and honey. Stir to combine. Leave the vanilla and spices out.

  • Smoke low at 225F – 250F and slow for at least 2 hours. Stir few times during the cook to combine the flavors and ensure even cooking of the apples. 
  • When apples reach the desired consistency, are soft and easily falling apart remove the smoked apples the smoker.
  • Transfer the smoked apple butter to a high speed blender or you can also use an immersion blender and process until smooth. 
  • Return the processed smoked apple butter to the pan, add lemon juice, vanilla and spices. Smoke for another 30 minutes. 

  • When done, let the mixture cool before transferring to glass jars. Store in the refrigerator for up to 6 weeks.

How to use Smoked Apple Butter?

Ohh, this delicious smoked apple butter spread is very versatile. Check the list below, but don’t hesitate and experiment. You really cannot go wrong with using smoked apple butter paired with other dishes:

  • Spread it on toast, biscuits or muffins
  • Add to yogurt, granola or oatmeal bowl
  • Use as a topping for pancakes or waffles 
  • Add apple butter to your smoothie
  • Use it in place of pumpkin puree or applesauce in recipes
  • Use with cheese and crackers on a charcuterie board
  • Make smoked apple butter bbq sauce
  • Make a delicious glaze for pork chops or turkey
  • Make a marinade especially good with poultry and pork loin
  • Homemade apple butter is also a wonderful gift
apple butter in a jar. Hands in frame spreading it over toast

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Storage and Reheating instructions for Apple Butter

  • Refrigeration:
    • transfer to an airtight container once it has cooled to room temperature.
    • Apple Butter can last for several weeks to few months stored in the refrigerator.
  • Freezing:
    • Portion the apple butter into freezer-safe containers. Leave some space for expansion.
    • use within 2-3 months for the best quality and taste.  
  • Reheating:
    • If your apple butter has been in the refrigerator, you can simply spoon out the desired amount and warm it gently in a saucepan on the stovetop. Use low to medium heat, stirring frequently until it reaches your preferred temperature.
  • Thawing Frozen Sauce: Transfer container with frozen apple butter to the fridge. Thaw overnight in the fridge. Follow the above instructions for reheating.  

Smoked Apple Butter Substitutions & Variations

Fruit Variations

  • Pear Butter: Substitute apples with pears for a different flavor profile. Pears offer a subtly different sweetness and texture.
  • Mixed Fruit Butter: Combine apples with other fruits like cherries, plums, or peaches for a complex flavor blend.

Sweetener Options

  • Brown Sugar: Replace honey with brown sugar to add a rich, molasses-like sweetness.
  • Maple Syrup: For a vegan alternative, use maple syrup instead of honey. It adds a unique flavor especially suitable for autumn.

Spice Adjustments

  • Nutmeg or Cloves: Replace or mix cinnamon with nutmeg or cloves for a different spice note.
  • Pumpkin Spice: Embrace the fall season fully by adding pumpkin spice to your apple butter.

Liquid Substitutions

  • Cider Vinegar: A splash of cider vinegar can add a tangy twist and balance the sweetness.
  • Different Juices: Experiment with different fruit juices like cherry or grape for varying acidity and sweetness levels.

Flavor Twists

  • Bourbon Cocktail Inspired: Add a splash of bourbon for an adult version, perfect for pairing with autumn cocktails.
  • Garlic or Spicy Version: For a savory twist, add minced garlic or a pinch of chili powder.
apple butter in a jar

Smoked Apple Butter Recipe

Sylwia Vaclavek
This smoked apple butter is the essence of slow-cooked, caramelized apple goodness that's rich and spreadable, just like butter. Enjoy it with with sweet or savory dishes.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 45 minutes
Course Appetizer, sauce, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine American
Servings 32
Calories 38 kcal

Equipment

  • 1 wood pellet smoker stove top
  • 1 medium size sauce pan (cast iron or heavy bottom pan)
  • 1 immersion blender or food processor
  • 1 measuring cups and spoons
  • 1 hand juicer
  • 1 cutting board
  • 1 chef's knife

Ingredients
  

  • 4 lb of apples
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ cup apple juice or water
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • ¼ tsp allspice
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Instructions
 

  • Start by washing all the apples.
  • Core and dice the apples into smaller pieces. No need to peel them!
  • Preheat your smoker to 275℉
  • To a medium size sauce pan add: the cut apples, 3 tbsp honey, ½ cup apple juice or water, 1 tbsp lemon juice ¼ tsp allspice. Stir to combine.
  • Smoke for at least 2 hours. Stir occasionally to mix all the ingredients and ensure even cooking.
  • After 2 hours the apples should be soft and breaking apart.
  • Carefully remove the pan from the smoker. Using immersion blender, blend the apples until you get desired, smooth consistency.
  • Return to the pan, add vanilla and cinnamon. Smoke another 30 minutes.
  • Remove the pan from the smoker. Let the Apple Butter cool before serving.
  • Transfer the butter into jars or airtight containers and store in the fridge for 3-4 weeks.
  • You can also freeze it up to 1 year.

Notes

  • Low and Slow is the name of the game. Cooking at lower temperature for longer period of time gets the best out of the apples. 
  • Pick softer variety of apples. They will cook faster.
  • No need to peel the apples. The skin adds flavor, fiber and pectin. It will naturally help create thicker consistency of the butter. 
  • Be mindful when adding sugar or other sweetener. Tate the apples before to get the sense of how much sweeter you want the Apple Butter to be
 

Nutrition

Serving: 2tbspCalories: 38kcalCarbohydrates: 10gProtein: 0.2gFat: 0.1gSaturated Fat: 0.02gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.03gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.005gSodium: 1mgPotassium: 67mgFiber: 1gSugar: 8gVitamin A: 31IUVitamin C: 3mgCalcium: 5mgIron: 0.1mg
Keyword apple butter, apple jam, apple juice, apple spread, apples, cinnamon, sauce
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
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Smoked Apple Butter Conclusion

And there you have it – your very own homemade Smoked Apple Butter. Move over chocolate spread, I just found new favorite. The unique blend of sweetness and smoky notes pair wonderfully with savory or sweet dishes.

From a simple toast to an intricate marinade, the Smoked Apple Butter is sure to be a huge hit. Remember, the key to perfect apple butter lies in the love and care you put into its preparation.

FAQs about Apple Butter

Do I need to refrigerate apple butter?

Yes, because we did not use the canning method when making this spread you will need to refrigerate it. Let it cool on the counter, spoon into jars or airtight containers and refrigerate for up to one month. Click HERE to read more about storage options.

Can I place it in the jars and freeze it, or should I cool it first and then jar and freeze?

It is recommended to cool down the apple butter before adding it to the jars and placing in the freezer. Remember to leave up to 1 inch head space in the jars or air tight container. Apple butter will last up to 1 year in the freezer. 

What is the difference between applesauce and apple butter?

Applesauce is cooked for a shorter amount of time, resulting in runnier consistency and less intense apple flavor. 

Do I need to peel the apples?

No, you don’t. Apple peel contains pectin that during the long cool will act as a thickening agent. Leaving the peel on will also enhance the flavor of the apple butter and give it that smooth texture.

What can I do if my apple butter is runny after pureeing it?

Return it back to the pot and cook for additional time, stirring occasionally.  Make sure to keep the lid off to let the moisture evaporate, resulting in thicker consistency.

How do I know the apple butter is thick enough?

When it can hold its shape on the back of the spoon without running off, it is done and thick enough.

What can I do if my smoked apple butter is too sweet?

Start by adding 3 tablespoons of vinegar to the mixture and cook for a bit longer. You can also add lemon juice or lemon zest to offset the sweetness. Start with 1 tablespoon.

How can I fix too much cinnamon in apple butter?

To keep the overall flavor balanced to ‘fix’ too much cinnamon you would need to add more apples.

What makes apple butter thicken?

Cooking low and slow and letting the moisture evaporate will make the butter thicker (keep the lid off). Also leaving the peel on will improve the texture and consistency. Apple peel contains pectins that act as a thickening agent. It will also get thicker as it cools down.

What are the best apples for making Apple Butter?

The recommendation is to use softer varieties of apples, like Gala, Red Delicious, Cortland, Fuji. The cook much faster and create smooth final texture.

toast with apple butter

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