There’s no better way to spend a chilly fall weekend afternoon than by making this nearly effortless apple butter. A bounty of sweet apples bake down into a rich, spreadable treat that’s infused with the warming notes of cinnamon, ginger, and bourbon. Check the refrigerated section of your produce department for pure apple cider without any preservatives or extra sugar to guarantee the best flavor. If you can bear to part with it, this apple butter makes an excellent gift; but once you try it on hot buttered biscuits or toast, you’ll find it hard to part with a jar.


Credit: Caitlin Bensel

Recipe Summary

8 hrs 30 mins
20 mins
Makes about 3 cups


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Preheat oven to 300°F. Stir together apples, apple cider, sugar, bourbon, cinnamon, salt, and ginger in a high-sided 10-inch stainless steel skillet. Bring to a boil over medium-high. Cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until apples are very soft, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat. Using an immersion blender, process apple mixture until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. (Carefully tilt the skillet to one side, if needed, to prevent splattering.) Scrape down sides of skillet with a rubber spatula.

  • Transfer skillet to preheated oven. Bake, uncovered, stirring every 30 minutes, until mixture is very thick, glossy, and reduced to about 3 cups, 3 hours to 3 hours and 30 minutes. Stir in lemon juice, and let cool at room temperature 1 hour. Cover and chill at least 4 hours or up to 2 weeks.