Whiskey-Raisin Apple Butter


In response to requests for this recipe, here it is! This has become my favorite way to make apple butter.

First, plant an apple tree. Wait five years. (Just kidding.)

Start by making applesauce. I recommend my new best friend, a food strainer. If you don’t know how to make applesauce….. Depends on whether you are using a peeler, a food strainer, a food mill, or doing it by hand, but get the apples peeled, cored, and processed into sauce one way or another!

I’ve written this recipe per quart so that you can multiply it by however many quarts of sauce you have available.

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How to make Whiskey-Raisin Apple Butter:

Per quart applesauce–
1 1/2 to 2 cups sugar*
1/2 cup raisins
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon cloves
1/4 cup whiskey

*Adjust amount of sugar to suit your tastes. Start with the lower amount and see how you like it. I use 1 3/4 cups.

I simmer my apple butter in crock pots. Whatever you’re using, combine the applesauce, sugar, raisins, cinnamon, and cloves in the pot (NOT the whiskey yet) and mix well.

I use half and half golden raisins and “regular” raisins. I just think it looks pretty.

Simmer for several hours, stirring occasionally. When the butter is thick–rounds up on a spoon–stir in the whiskey.

Get your sauce as thick as you can before adding the whiskey. The less you cook after adding the whiskey, the better–you don’t want to cook it out. I try to not cook it more than another 15-20 minutes after adding the whiskey.

Process pints or half-pints in a boiling water bath 10 minutes.

I made a total of 37 pints! On to pear recipes now. (You can substitute pears and make Whiskey-Raisin Pear Butter, too, by the way.)

I grew up on apple butter and molasses, when most kids in my suburban neighborhood didn’t even know what they were. My dad always loaded up on apple butter and molasses to take home when we visited West Virginia. Those are two things that feel very “homey” to me and will always be in my home. Along with a cat. I’ll be selling most of this apple butter, but believe me, I’ll be keeping a few jars for me!

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Posted by Suzanne McMinn on October 4, 2012  

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14 Responses | RSS feed for comments on this post

  1. 10-4

    ok,,,color me kinda non-educated:::lol,,,,but does the alcohol cook out? is this stuff, kid friendly? ? would hate to send my sone off to school a very HAPPY & LOOPY kid:::hee hee

  2. 10-4

    By the time it’s cooked a few minutes more in the pot then processed, it’s not alcoholic, LOL.

  3. 10-4

    How do you get sauced on only a 1/4 cup whiskey. :)

  4. 10-4

    Suzanne, I must try this next year with the apples from our 5-graft tree. Too late this year…last night we had a killing frost. Harvest is OVER! Quick question: how deep are your counters? If I had stored appliances at the back and tried to squeeze a crockpot in front as well, it would be hanging off the edge! Not a safe way to go. So, are they a bit deeper because yours is a teaching studio…the roomier, the better?

  5. 10-4

    hahaha,,,my kid:: go’s crazy on a teaspoon of cough syrup:::strangest thing ever! and he does not toerate caffeine at all, so I really have to watch him w/ certain ingreidents::better to be safe and appear silly by asking:::or sorry and making a trip to the DR (cause that would be my luck!)

  6. 10-4

    I grew up eating sorghum molasses on biscuits and apple butter on toast too… In Texas. No WV influence here. I think it’s just a country thing. My grandparents were both country people. My grandmother and mother were raised on a farm in South Texas… so small if you sneezed you would miss it according to my Mom.

  7. 10-4

    That is actually a stainless steel work table that I use as a counter. It’s 30 inches deep. I believe the normal kitchen counter depth is 24 inches.

  8. 10-4

    Suzanne, do you cover the Crockpot while it’s cooking? (I know that’s usual with Crockpot cooking, but I didn’t know if you’d need to leave it uncovered to cook down.)

  9. 10-4

    whaledancer, I leave it uncovered to cook down.

  10. 10-4

    If you use a steam juicer you can save a lot of the cook down time. I used a corer/peeler a couple years ago and then steamed them. The sauce came out of the steamer and only needed to go into the pot to add and heat the rest of the ingredients before I put it in jars. I was amazed at how quick it went and that apple juice was terrific too! The peeler did waste more apple then using the strainer, but the leavings went to the pigs, so not a lose at all. Thanks for the recipe. Now I need to find some apples!

  11. 10-5

    Thanks for this, Suzanne! I’ve got a mix of fruit, so I’ll probably use a combination of apples and pears, and rum instead of whiskey (I like it better and the only whiskey we have is my boyfriend’s Glenlivet and I think he’d probably prefer not to share it). ;)

  12. 10-7

    thanks so much for the recipe. I have a triple batch cooking down in the crock pot right now and it smells delicious. I had a couple of “nips” that I got as samples when we were in Scotland a couple years ago and since we do not drink it, this is a perfect use for them. Oh, and these are blended, not single malt like Glenlivet… that would definitely be a serious offense!

    Off to start peeling and coring apples to make some apple sauce and some spiced apple jelly from the apples we picked yesterday. Its a big apple day today!

  13. 10-7

    Just a follow-up . . . I made the rum raisin pear butter and it was just fantastic! We both really loved it–tasted like fall in a jar! I’m planning to make more, maybe with apples this time, in order to give some as gifts.

    Couple of other changes I made to the recipe: I don’t have a food mill or press and my pears were very ripe and soft, so I just chopped them into large pieces, then pulverized them in the food processor and cooked briefly to make my pear sauce; I also subbed brown sugar for the white sugar, used the smallest amount suggested, and it was plenty sweet for us.

    Thanks for this, Suzanne!

  14. 10-11

    Yum! I really need to learn and start canning so I can make some of your fantastic recipes!

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