In a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat, combine apple slices and cider. Bring to a boil and cover. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until after apples are very soft, about 30-35 minutes.
Working in batches, transfer the apples to a food processor and process until smooth.
In a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-low heat, combine apple puree, granulated sugar, brown sugar, lemon juice, and salt. Simmer until mixture has browned and thickened, about 60-90 minutes.
Transfer apple butter to a jar and let cool to room temperature before refrigerating. Apple butter can be stored up to a month in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Apples: I recommend a combination of sweet (Fuji, Jonagold, or Gala) and tart (McIntosh, Jazz, Pink Lady, Granny Smith, or Braeburn) apples for the best flavor.
Apple cider: Opt for still, not sparkling, and spirit-free rather than spiked hard cider.
Granulated and brown sugars: If your apples are all among the sweet varieties or taste sweet when you give one a sample, feel free to omit a tablespoon or two.
Lemon juice: I promise this won't make things too tart! Just as I call for a splash in my homemade Applesauce recipe, this citrus helps balance the sweet sugars and apples.
Yield: This recipe makes 6 generous 1/2-cup servings.
Storage: Store covered in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.
Make ahead: This condiment will last well in the refrigerator for 4 weeks, so feel free to make a batch on a lazy weekend to enjoy later.
Freezer: Pack freezer-safe containers with apple butter, leaving 1/2-inch head space for expansion. Freeze for up to 1 year. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
Share the Apple Butter bounty: Add a bow to a small mason jar of Apple Butter for a sweet fall food gift idea (write down the recipe and storage instructions on an index card to share alongside, if you want to). And for ultimate bonus points, pack the Apple Butter with a batch of 3-ingredient biscuits, no-knead bread, or cornbread.