Milton Family Apple Butter is the fall cooking project you didn't know you needed

Southern Kitchen
Apple stack cake with apple butter.

About the recipe

Try using heirloom apple varieties in this recipe, which often have a different flavor than your traditional grocery store standards. Some may be tart, some may be bitter-sharp. The Miltons like apples like Albemarle Pippins or Arkansas Blacks. If you can’t find either of these varieties, the sweet-tart Granny Smith will do just fine.

Recipe courtesy of Chef Travis Milton.

Serves: 64 (makes 4 quarts; perfect for canning)

Hands On Time: 4 hours and 30 minutes

Total Time: 4 hours and 30 minutes


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 stockpot. 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.