Slow Cooker Vanilla Rum Apple Butter

Posted on 12 October 2012

Slow Cooker Vanilla Rum Apple Butter

There’s apple butter on my ceiling.

That’s the issue with making any kind of fruit butter on the stovetop. It gurgles; it burbles; it spits. It gets in your hair. It tries to blind you. At a minimum, you get burned. A lot.

That’s the beauty, I learned while making a second batch, of apple butter in the slow cooker. It’s never hot enough to burble. Your hair remains clean; your eyes undamaged. You are likely to emerge unscathed!

Slow Cooker Vanilla Rum Apple Butter

The downside is, of course, that it takes freaking forever. After 7 hours in the slow cooker, the apple butter was still not thick enough. I unplugged the slow cooker, put the insert with apple butter in the fridge, and waggled off to bed…only to restart the process in the morning.

But this method warrants the sacrifice. Besides not getting burned — always a big plus — the slow cooker offers convenience. Since the heating element’s temperature is never above 170 degrees F on the low setting, I could have started this recipe just before bed and let it run overnight, which I am likely to do for the next batch. Despite last week’s snow and frosts, there are bushels of apples left on the backyard tree.

Slow Cooker Vanilla Rum Apple Butter

I researched various fruit butter methods before trying them myself (because research is how I roll). Initially, I tried cooking the apples with the skins on and later food-milling the result. Not so good and not so easy to mill. Then I tried peeling and coring the apples — which also took freaking forever — and preferred the resulting texture after food-milling. The best (and arguably easiest) method was to peel and core the apples and to use the immersion blender to puree the cooked product.

So, was all this labor worth it? Matt said yes. He asserted that the consequent flavors were well-blended, while also remaining distinct. He’s already consumed 3/4 of a jar straight; I’ve had to hide the remaining 7. I suspect that this butter will be requested every fall.

A fine kick-off to Can It Up.

Slow Cooker Vanilla Rum Apple Butter

Slow Cooker Vanilla Rum Apple Butter

Yield: 8 8-ounce jars


6 lbs apples, peeled, cored, and quartered
2 cups sweet apple cider
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup rum
2 teaspoons ground vanilla (or vanilla extract)


Combine apples and apple cider. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and boil gently, stirring occasionally, until apples are soft, about 30 minutes.
Puree using an immersion blender, food mill, or food processor just until a uniform texture is achieved. Do not liquefy. Measure 12 cups of apple puree.
In a large slow cooker, combine apple puree and sugar. Stir until sugar dissolves. Prop lid open with using the handle of a wooden spoon and allow to reduce gently for about 8 hours.
Stir in rum and ground vanilla and cook for 1 hour. Finished apple butter will be thick and hold its shape on a spoon.
Can (process for 10 minutes) or refrigerate for up to 1 month. If it lasts that long.

Adapted from the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving, which I am giving away over here.

65 responses to Slow Cooker Vanilla Rum Apple Butter

  • Ashley C. says:

    I do not have an immersion blender, just a regular ole blender. Can I use it successfully for this recipe?

  • Cindy says:

    Hi, I bought a jar of organic vanilla bean. It is one long strip and since I’ve never cooked with the bean, do I just add the whole strip into my crock pot of apple purée? The vanilla bean is about 4 inches long. Do I also need to add vanilla extract? Thanks for your help.

  • Hilda says:

    Would adding cinnamon matter?

  • Dee says:

    I need to leave out the rum too & wondered what your response was to kerri’ question. Thanks!

  • kathy paige says:

    The rum just adds depth to the flavor, it is not too strong. You do not need to add it

  • Copyright © 2010-2014 All Four Burners. All Rights Reserved.