Milton Family Apple Butter

Southern Kitchen

Serves: 64 (makes 4 quarts)

Hands On Time: 4 hours and 30 minutes

Total Time: 4 hours and 30 minutes

Appalachian Stack Cake Hero.


Half bushel of apples (about 24 pounds; see note)

3 to 6 cups sugar

8 to 10 cinnamon candies or Red Hots


Peel, core, and chop the apples into 1- to 2-inch pieces. Transfer the chopped apples to a stock pot. Add 1 inch of water to the pot (approximately 1 to 1 1/2 cups, depending on the size of the pot).

Let the apples cook, uncovered, on medium-low heat, until they are very soft, 60 to 90 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent the apples from sticking. The apples will start to brown as they oxidize; this is okay.

Taste the apples for their level of sweetness. Add approximately 3 to 4 cups sugar, adjusting the amount to taste. Stir in the sugar to dissolve and mash any remaining chunks of apples.

Stir in the cinnamon candies, to taste.

Continue simmering the apples until they’ve reached your desired thickness, 1 to 2 more hours. Add up to 2 cups more sugar, if desired.

If storing in the refrigerator, let the apple butter cool to room temperature and transfer to four quart jars.

If canning the apple butter for long-term storage, transfer the hot apple butter to four sanitized quart canning jars. Leave 1/4 inch of headspace on the top of the jars. Seal the jars fingertip tight and place in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes. Remove from the water bath and let the jars cool to room temperature before storing.

Photo Credit: Eric McNew

About the recipe

Heirloom varieties have more flavor. The Miltons like apples like Albemarle Pippins or Arkansas Blacks. If you can’t find either of these varieties, the Granny Smith will do just fine.

Recipe courtesy of Chef Travis Milton.