Instant Pot Apple Butter: an easy and delicious fall favorite! This recipe requires no peeling, minimal chopping, and only a fraction of traditional cooking time.
In this post we will be making Instant Pot Apple Butter. This sweet and warmly-spiced spread tastes just like fall. Read on for how to make the recipe, recipe FAQs, how to can apple butter, and more!
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Homemade apple butter: a hallmark childhood favorite recipe.
Growing up my mom would make large batches of the butter, seasoning with apple cinnamon and sugar; nutmeg and cloves. Though, of course, we referred to it as applesauce.
All of that changed when mom volunteered to make a batch of said applesauce for our 3rd grade Thanksgiving celebration.
I was so excited for and proud of the applesauce that mom brought into class that day. There was nothing like the warm spiced apples and how fun it was to share them with my friends.
That was, until my teacher, Mrs. Allebach, notified my mom that this applesauce was, "Not applesauce, but apple butter."
I was upset. Not only did Mrs. Allebach not like my handwriting (she hasn't been the only one throughout the years), but she also disapproved of my favorite snack?! Also, I didn't see any butter in the fruit!
Mom informed me later that apple butter was similar to apple sauce, but thicker and with more sugar and spices added. It's more of a spread or dessert than a side dish.
Regardless of what we called it, I still enjoyed it. And fast forward approximately 20 years, and I still get cravings for it.
Determined that now's the time to learn how to make this butter in the Instant Pot, I called up my mom to get her recipe. And, as many of the best family recipes go, she never wrote down the exact measurements.
So, we went to work and brainstormed the ingredients together. I went off of memories of making the sauce in high school and tinkered with different ratios of the spices while learning how to make this spread in the Instant Pot.
The secret? Pressure cook the apples for a long time. Blend them down until they're smooth and then simmer the sauce until it becomes thick and luscious like butter.
Then, enjoy it all your favorite ways! And I won't judge or call you on it if you refer to it as applesauce, either. 😉
This apple butter recipe is...
- Warmly spiced
Go for this warm and comforting spread whenever you want to enjoy a taste of fall!
- Apples - a mixture of Fuji, granny smith, Cripps, Honey Crisp, Pink Lady, and other sweet, crisp, and tart apples work best for this recipe
- Granulated sugar
- Light brown sugar
- Ground cinnamon - Saigon cinnamon (sold at Costco and many boutique spice shops) adds a fantastic sweet & spicy flavor, but standard ground cinnamon also works
- Ground nutmeg
- Ground cloves
- Apple juice
- Juice - water or apple cider can substitute for the apple juice.
- Sugar - any combination of 1 cup total of brown and white sugar will work for this recipe. So, if you like apple butter with less molasses flavor, use more white sugar and less brown; if you like more molasses flavor use more brown sugar and less white.
How to make apple butter in the Instant Pot:
- In a large mixing bowl combine the apples, white sugar, brown sugar, spices, salt, and apple juice until the apples are evenly covered in the spice mixture. Pour the apples into the bowl of the Instant Pot.
- Lock the Instant Pot pressure cooking lid on and seal the pressure vent. Cook the apples on high pressure for 1 hour.
- Release the pressure naturally for 15 minutes. Quick-release the rest of the pressure.
- Blend the apples with an immersion blender until smooth.
- Turn on the sauté setting to low and cook the blended apples for 30 - 40 minutes, stirring every few minutes, or until the liquid has reduced and the apple butter is thick enough to mound on a spoon but isn't pasty.
- Serve the apple butter warm or cool to room temperature and enjoy!
- Peeling the apples: you don't need to peel the apples, the skins will break down as they cook and blend in when pureed so you don't notice or taste them. You can peel them if you prefer, however. Whatever works best for you.
- Stir the apples & spices together until combined, or until the spices evenly cover all the apples. If it is easier, you can do this in a large mixing bowl and then pour them into the Instant Pot. You can also just stir the ingredients together in the pot.
- How to know when apple butter is cooked down sufficiently: apple butter is cooked down when it is thick enough to mound and hold its shape on a spoon, but not so thick that it's pasty. If your apple butter needs to cook down slightly longer than directed (some apples have more water than others), that is fine-- just cook until it achieves that consistency.
- Blending options: if you don't have an immersion blender, you can easily blend the apple butter in a stand blender. If using the stand blender, remove the vent from the lid so the heat from the apples can escape as it blends.
- Use a mixture of apples: for the best flavor, use a mixture of apples in this recipe. This way, the flavor is balanced because of the different notes each of the types of apples provide. If you only have one type of apple available to you the butter will still be delicious, but using a mixture brings this recipe to the next level.
How to can pressure cooker apple butter:
I will be the first to admit that I don't know how to can apple butter-- or anything, for that matter. I'm more of a "throw it in the freezer" kind of gal. But, I can refer to you a lady who is a canning queen!
Click here for Sharon Peterson's apple butter canning instructions. Just make the recipe in the Instant Pot and then follow her canning instructions to preserve it.
Yes, if a double recipe of apple butter (or about 10 pounds of apples with the seasonings) fits in your Instant Pot underneath the maximum capacity line inside the pot, go for it! You won't need to adjust the cooking time on this recipe, either. The Instant Pot will naturally take longer to come to pressure with the increased volume, naturally adjusting the recipe cooking time for you.
Yes, you can make low sugar apple butter in this Instant Pot recipe. Just cut the sugar in half. You may need to cook the apple butter down longer after blending, as the sugar can work to thicken the sauce, so add on extra sautéing time if needed.
Enjoy this fall spread almost anywhere you'd enjoy jam or pumpkin butter. I recommend stirring into oatmeal or overnight oats; spread on toast or a bagel; or using it as a dipping sauce for pretzel thins or honey wheat pretzels.
To enjoy this recipe in a more savory way, I recommend using it in this apple butter pork chops recipe!
Leftover apple butter keeps in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 weeks. It can be frozen in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months.
Tools needed to make this recipe:
- Cutting board
- Measuring cups & spoons
- Silicone spatula
- Instant Pot
- Immersion blender or stand blender
More apple & fall recipes:
- Apple Cranberry Sauce
- Healthy Apple Cinnamon Bread Recipe
- Gluten-Free Apple Cake
- Pumpkin Pasta Sauce
- Gluten-Free Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies
- Peanut Butter Pumpkin Dog Treats
If you made and liked this recipe, don't forget to rate the recipe and let me know how it went for you in the comments! It always makes my day to hear from you!