Lightened Up Apple Butter

Lightened Up Apple Butter that tastes amazing on everything. With just 60 calories per serving, this delicious spread is something your whole family will love.


With fall on the horizon, this healthy apple butter recipe needs to be part of your routine. It tastes amazing on everything and is much better for you than what you can buy in the store.

I have a deep and unrelenting love of peanut butter. I haven't met a peanut butter I don't like, and I almost sometimes wish I never met peanut butter at all. For those of you who possess self control, peanut butter can be a wonderful, protein-packed snack when it's limited to the recommended one (or even two) tablespoon serving. But for me, I turn that one or two tablespoons into a 16-tablespoon feast, scooping it right out of the jar and smearing on almost anything I can find to eat, and even things I can't, like my finger.

It is in this graceful fashion that I find myself consuming hundreds, if not thousands of calories in mere minutes. In an effort to curb my passion for peanut butter, I've taken a dive into developing other recipes for peanut-butter-like substances that are far less calories, but still delicious. I've yet to become addicted to apple butter, but that's probably just because I haven't found the right spoon yet.

If you have a problem with peanut butter, love apples, love butter, or just love condiments, dips, and spreads, then I promise you're going to love this easy recipe for apple butter.

Ways to Serve Apple Butter

I'm pretty sure you can use apple butter any way you want, including straight from the jar or through a straw like a milkshake (but you didn't hear that from me). Barring eating apple butter like an animal, I also enjoy apple butter in other ways.

  • Add it to chicken or pork as a glaze while grilling.
  • Top a cup of nice, hot oatmeal with apple butter. Stirring it in is optional.
  • Smear it right across the top of a piece of toast or on a sandwich. It'll kind of have that same feeling and flavor as adding leftover cranberries to a Thanksgiving turkey sandwich the day after the holiday.
  • Mix it into low-fat cottage cheese.
  • Add it to plain Greek yogurt with a few slivered almonds for some sweetness and texture.
  • Add it to vanilla ice cream as a healthier topping alternative to hot fudge (you can even warm up the apple butter first).
  • Add it to the top of your morning stack of pancakes. Or, better yet, layer it between your pancakes.
  • Try sprinkling some raisins, craisins, or nuts on top of apple butter on a piece of sourdough bread.
  • Add it when recipes call for applesauce, like in breads or pancakes.
  • Put a tablespoon or two to your favorite chia seed puddings.
  • Add it to overnight oats.

What Makes Apple Butter Healthy?

While apple butter does contain some sugar, it is a healthier alternative to peanut butter, so long as you stick to the serving size.

  • Apples not only help keep the doctor away, but also provide a lot of fiber that aids in digestion as well as vitamins B and C. The antioxidants found in apples can reduce your risk of developing diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, and some cancers.
  • Pumpkin pie spice blend has zero calories but adds a whole lot of flavor. Spices are great when eating healthy because they add so much flavor to food without adding salt, fat, or calories.
  • Some people swear by ingesting apple cider vinegar every day for good health, but here we are just using it to add a tangy flavor to the apple butter. However, apple cider vinegar is low calorie, and some studies have shown it can improve your cholesterol and possibly aid those with type-2 diabetes, improving insulin response.
  • Water is hydrating and so necessary. I'll take water any way I can get it.
  • Lemon juice is a great source of vitamin C and folate and is also low-calorie.

Ideas for Customizing Apple Butter

Like jellies and jams, I really think you can do a whole lot of experimenting with apple butter.

  • Have an older nectarine/peach/pear? Toss it in with your apple butter mix. No one will know the difference and you just saved yourself from having to throw food away (I hate that).
  • Switch up the spices. Try letting your apple butter simmer with some sage and lemon zest.
  • Use a tablespoon or two of apple butter when making a vinaigrette instead of regular vinegar.
  • Add a healthy dose of inflammation-reducing cinnamon to your recipe.
  • Mix your fruits. Try apple-blueberry butter, apple-banana butter, apple-pear butter, or just about any apple-fruit combination you can dream up.

This post was originally published in 2012 but has been updated with new photos, tips, and ideas. Here is the original photo.

Apple buttter in a glass mason jar with a spoon.

The Recipe
Healthy apple butter in a jar with a spoon.

Lightened Up Apple Butter

COOK TIME: 2 Hours, 30 Min
TOTAL TIME: 2 Hours, 40 Min
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  • 2 1/2 lb apples, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice blend
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar (or cinnamon and a pinch of nutmeg)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice

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Add the apples to a medium sauce pan and add the water and apple cider vinegar. Cook for 20-30 minutes until the apples have softened. Let cool for 5-10 minutes.


Puree the apples and liquid in a blender until smooth and well blended. Add back to the saucepan and stir in the sugar, lemon juice, and pumpkin pie spice. Bring to a simmer.


Let simmer for 1.5-2 hours until mixture turns a deeper brown and thickens up. Make sure to stir frequently throughout so it doesn’t burn. Store in an airtight container.

Nutritional Facts
Serving Size: 2 tbsp. (101g)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 67
Calories from Fat 1
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 0g
Saturated Fat 0g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 2mg
Total Carbohydrate 16g
Dietary Fiber 2g
Sugars 13g
Protein 0g

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.

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About the author Meet Kristen McCaffrey
Hi, I’m the cookbook author, recipe developer, and food enthusiast behind Slender Kitchen. I am obsessed with making healthy food that is easy to prepare and absolutely delicious. Meal planning is my secret weapon and I hope I can make meal time easier for you with our tried and tested recipes and foolproof meal plans. Learn More
On Lightened Up Apple Butter
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Rebecca Totzke
September 22, 2020 - 12:04
Add a Rating:
We made this today and it is delicious! Perfect! Definitely will be making again!!
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Rebecca Totzke
September 22, 2020 - 12:04
We made this today and it is delicious! Perfect! Definitely will be making again!!
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