Spicy Apple Butter

This is a modification of the USDA Home Canning guide recipe for apple butter. When looking at that recipe, there appears to be an error; it says 8lbs of apples will yield 8-9 pints, but to get the right consistency it cooks down to far less than this volume. I believe this is an error, and the guide should say 8-9 half-pints.

I am posting a halved recipe here for those who want to make smaller amounts for the fridge and skip the boiling water bath step. The below ingredients should make about 4-5 half-pint jars.


  • 4 lbs apples
  • 4-8 hot peppers
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 1 cup vinegar (white or cider vinegar)
  • 1-1/8 cups white sugar
  • 1-1/8 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tbsp ground cloves


  • Wash, remove stems, quarter, and core apples, remove stems and halve peppers.
  • Add cider and vinegar and cook slowly until soft
  • Press fruit through a colander, food mill, or strainer. It may be easiest to mash the apples with a potato masher first, then push through strainer.
  • Return pulp to pot, and add sugar and spices.
  • Cook on medium, stirring frequently. The intent here is to evaporate some liquid and reduce the mixture until you have an apple butter consistency. To test for doneness, remove a spoonful and hold it away from steam for 2 minutes. It is done if the butter remains mounded on the spoon. Another way to determine when the butter is cooked adequately is to spoon a small quantity onto a plate. When a rim of liquid does not separate around the edge of the butter, it is done! Transfer to jars and place in refrigerator, or follow directions on the USDA guide for safe canning.

Using 8 ghost peppers or Carolina reapers will yield a very spicy batch of apple butter. 4 ghost peppers is still fairly hot, but 4 habaneros or scotch bonnets should make a more medium butter. 4-6 lower heat peppers like cayenne should make a mild-plus butter.