Applesauce vs apple butter – what is the difference? I made my first apple butter a few years ago and I called it applesauce. I didn’t know the difference between applesauce and apple butter back then. The sauce I made was actually apple butter – a lovely thick and creamy, almost buttery spread.
What’s the difference between applesauce vs apple butter?
Applesauce is quicker to make than apple butter. It’s usually made on the stovetop and is not as smooth as apple butter. Here’s how to make applesauce:
- Peel and chop apples into small pieces
- Cook it on the stovetop in a saucepan with a little bit of water
- Add spices if you like: cook with a cinnamon stick or star anise or add ground cinnamon
- Simmer on low heat until apples are soft
- After cooking: add sweetener such as maple syrup or sugar, but taste the apple sauce first and only then add sweetener
- Add a squeeze of lemon after cooking
- Smash the apple sauce or use an immersion blender to make it smoother, but not completely smooth. Some bits and pieces of apple can be left in the sauce.
Apple butter can also be made on the stovetop or slow cooker, but I prefer to use the oven. It takes about 1,5 hours to make apple butter but the active time is only about 10 minutes.
The main difference between applesauce and apple butter is what happens to the apples. When cooking them slowly in the oven you have beautiful caramelized apples with a yummy rich apple (pie) flavor.
- No need to peel apples! Just chop into a few pieces.
- Cook in the oven in a low temperature in a baking pan or other oven safe dish. No need to add water when cooking in low temperatures.
- After and hour of cooking, turn the oven off and cover the baking dish to let the apples soften further
- Another major difference between apple sauce and apple butter is that apple butter is pureed until smooth, no bits and pieces are left in the butter.
- Before blending, you can add spices and sweetener, a squeeze of lemon too.
- Blend or puree until smooth and buttery.
How to use applesauce or apple butter?
I love to use both applesauce and apple butter in similar ways. Here are some tips:
- In baking either as an egg or butter substitute as a way to moisture.
- To flavor cakes, pies, cookies and bread.
- In smoothies such as this Caramel Apple Pie Smoothie. I’ve included an apple in the recipe but it’s even better with applesauce or apple butter.
- Also works well in green smoothies! I’ve had this version almost every day: kale, mint, frozen pineapple, fresh ginger, lemon, applesauce or apple butter and water.
- In overnights oats. Here’s one recipe in which to add either applesauce or apple butter: Apple Cinnamon Overnight Oats.
- On top of porridge so it tastes like apple pie 🙂
What spices to use in applesauce and apple butter?
Here are some spices which I think are perfect in both applesauce and apple butter:
- Ceylon cinnamon and cinnamon sticks
- ground cardamom
- star anise
- vanilla powder, vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
- pumpkin spice or gingerbread spice
- turmeric (either ground or fresh)
- ginger (either ground or fresh)
Recipe for Apple Butter
- about 16 apples (I used quite small local ones)
- ~3 tbsp maple syrup (taste before adding sweetener)
- 1,5 tsp Ceylon cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground cardamom
- 0,5 tsp vanilla powder
- pinch of salt
- squeeze of lemon
Preheat oven to 150 C / 300 F. Core and chop apples into big pieces (a small apple in four pieces, a bigger one in about 6-8 pieces). Cook in the oven in a baking dish for 60 minutes. Turn the oven off and cover the baking dish. Let apples soften for another 30 minutes.
Remove pan from the oven. Blend soft apple pieces with spices in a high-speed blender. Taste and add sweetener, lemon juice and pinch of salt. Pour apple butter into a clean glass jar with a tight lid.
The apple butter keeps in the fridge for up to 10 days – two weeks.
If you want en even more buttery apple butter with a twist, I recommend my Apple Pumpkin Butter!
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