Instant Pot Apple Butter

You won’t believe how easy it is to make this homemade Instant Pot Apple Butter Recipe. This healthy pressure cooker apple butter is sugar free, and can be made from applesauce – in fact, you can get unsweetened applesauce from the same batch. And of course, there are stovetop instructions for this unsweetened apple butter too!

two containers of instant pot apple bugger with apples and apple leaves on a grey background

If there’s one recipe that screams fall more than anything else it has got to be apple butter. Sooooooo good. Soooooo apple-y and delicious and cozy and comforting. 

If you haven’t made homemade apple butter before, boy oh boy are you in for a treat. If you *have* made homemade apple butter before you’re still in for a treat because THIS apple butter recipe is hands down my favourite.

Why? Because it doesn’t have anything in it other than apples, a bit of water, and a pinch of totally optional cinnamon. Also? You can call your Instant Pot into action and get your apple butter made in around about an hour, rather than standing and stirring apple butter on the stove pot for hours and hours. 

Have you ever seen a recipe for old fashioned apple butter? Holy crap, so much sugar! I saw one recipe that called for one cup of sugar per pound of apples. This recipe has four pounds of apples, so that’d be four cups of sugar. Thanks, but no thanks. 

What we have here today is what I call No Frills Apple Butter. Just a handful of ingredients, a bit of time, and the magic of cooking apples down into sweet, sweet apple butter. 

unsweetened applesauce and instant pot apple butter on a grey background

What’s the difference between applesauce and apple butter?

Great question! Apple butter follows the same process to make apple sauce to start with, but once we’ve reached apple sauce consistency we keep cooking it down to a) evaporate the liquid and b) caramelize the naturally-occurring sugars.

The end result is a thick, buttery preserve. So thick you can stand a spoon up in it (see the photo at the end of this post). 

For reference, the below picture has Unsweetened Applesauce on the top and Instant Pot Apple Butter on the bottom. See the difference? And you guys, those two bowls come from the same batch.

I simply scooped out a few cups of apple sauce when it had reached the right consistency, and then kept cooking down the remainder into apple butter. So this is kinda like two recipes in one!

a wooden bowl full of red apples

How to use apple butter

First of all, you can straight up eat that apple butter goodness with a spoon. But here are a few other ideas for ya:

WHAT Are the best apples for apple butter?

Truly, you can use any apples you like, although some varieties are better than others. 

Since you’re essentially making applesauce and then cooking it down into apple butter, you’ll want to choose what’s referred to as “saucing apples” by people in the know about that sort of thing.

The best “saucing apples” include Braeburn, Fuji, Gala, and Golden delicious. Remember that sweeter apples will produce sweeter apple butter, so since we’re making sugar free apple butter you’ll want to avoid tart apples such as Granny Smith, or do a mix of sweet and tart apples. 

sliced apples in a pyrex bowl

Are you ready to make Instant Pot Apple Butter?

I’m going to include instructions for making both Pressure Cooker Apple Butter and homemade apple butter on the stove top. If you do have an Instant Pot or other type of electric pressure cooker, I really recommend you use it for this recipe, as it’s fast, easy, and there’s very little mess. 

SHOULD YOU PEEL THE APPLES FOR APPLE Butter?

Nope! So long as I’m using organic, unwaxed apples, I prefer to leave the skin on for three reasons. First, because I’m lazy and would prefer not to waste my time peeling all those apples. 

Second, because there are a ton of nutrients concentrated in the peel, and leaving the skin on also ups the dietary fiber content in our healthy applesauce. 

And lastly, there is also a good amount of pectin in apple peels, so leaving the skin on will help to thicken the apple butter. Note that the thickness of your apple butter also depends on how long you cook it for. 

photo collage of apples being cooked in an instant pot

HOW DO YOU MAKE INSTANT POT APPLE Butter?

Super easy, my friends! 

Step 1: Core and slice your apples. 

Step 2: Place your sliced apples into the Instant Pot with 1/4 cup of water. 

Step 3: Set your Instant Pot to manual high pressure for 10 minutes. When the pressure cooking cycle is done, let it release naturally for 10 minutes, then flip to venting. 

Step 4: Purée the cooked apples! I used an immersion blender right in the Instant Pot. If you’d like to take any unsweetened applesauce out of the batch, now is the time to do it.

Step 4 is also when I add any seasonings, like ground cinnamon or any other spices. 

photo collage of applesauce being cooked into apple butter in an instant pot

Step 5: Turn your Instant Pot off, then turn it back on using the sauté setting on “normal”. Using a silicon spatula, stir the apple sauce every minute or so as it cooks down into apple butter.  

Note! As the apple butter thickens, it splatters a LOT as it cooks. You’ll want to use a splatter guard, or, if you have one, the slow cooker lid for your Instant Pot left ajar (this is what I did).

I got a “hot” warning several times as my instant pot apple butter cooked down, and this was generally when it started to stick to the bottom. A minute of vigorous stirring took care of it every time. 

The amount of time it takes to cook down your apple butter depends on how thick you’d like it to be in the end. Know that it will continue to thicken as it cools, so you can stop cooking a bit ahead of your desired thickness.

I cooked this particular batch of pressure cooker apple butter for one hour on the sauté setting, so I think that’s a good estimate. 

Step 6: Turn off the Instant Pot and allow your apple butter to cool completely. 

instant pot apple butter on a grey surface with three apples and cinnamon sticks

HOW LONG WILL Instant Pot APPLE Butter LAST FOR?

Since there’s no added sugar or preservatives in this pressure cooker apple butter, it’s got a pretty short lifespan. Kept in the fridge in an airtight container this applesauce will last you 7-14 days.

You can also freeze your apple butter! I like to freeze it in these reusable silicon freezer bags, but you can also use wide-mouthed mason jars – just remember to leave enough head space for the apple butter to expand in the freezer.

Frozen apple butter is good for up to 3 months (although I’ll admit to keeping it for much longer, and it’s always been perfectly fine).

If you’d like to can your homemade apple butter so it will last longer, my homegirl Sarah from Sustainable Cooks has got your back with this tutorial for canning apple butter

instant pot apple butter in a white bowl with a spoon sticking straight up in it

HEY NUTRITION LADY, ARE APPLES GOOD FOR YOU?

Does an Apple a day keep the doctor away? Well, they’re definitely good for your heart. Apples boast well-documented cardiovascular benefits. These benefits are associated with the water-soluble fiber (pectin) content, and the polyphenol mixture in most apples.

Both total cholesterol and LDL (bad) cholesterol are decreased through regular intake of apples.

Another health benefit of apples is blood sugar regulation. This occurs in a number of ways, including slowing down of carbohydrate digestion, stimulating the pancreas to produce more insulin, and stimulating insulin receptors so that more sugar flows out of our bloodstream and into our cells.

Apples also appear to have anti-cancer benefits when it comes to breast, colon, and lung cancer. Apples are a good source of fiber (both soluble in the form of pectin, and insoluble), and vitamin C. The nutrients in apples are concentrated skin, so buy organic, give them a good wash, and keep the skin on whenever possible.
 
overhead photo with two bowls of pressure cooker apple butter and a spoon full of apple butter on a white plate

Other recipes you might enjoy:

Pumpkin Seed Butter
Unsweetened Applesauce
Strawberry Chia Jam
Cinnamon Roasted Apples

Instant Pot Apple Butter

You won't believe how easy it is to make this homemade Instant Pot Apple Butter Recipe. This healthy pressure cooker apple butter is sugar free, and can be made from applesauce if you don't want to start from scratch.

Course Preserves
Cuisine American
Keyword Apple Butter, Instant Pot
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 10 servings
Calories 95 kcal
Author Katie Trant

Ingredients

  • 4 lbs apples cored and sliced
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tsp cinnamon optional

Instructions

Instant Pot Apple Butter

  1. Core and slice your apples.
  2. Place the apple slices into your Instant Pot with 1/4 cup water.

  3. Set to manual high pressure for 10 minutes. It will take about 10 minutes to come up to pressure.
  4. Once the pressure cooking cycle is complete, allow the Instant Pot to vent naturally for 10 minutes, then quick release the remaining pressure.
  5. Purée the applesauce using an immersion blender, or let cool slightly and transfer to a stand up blender to purée.
  6. Turn the Instant Pot off, and then turn it back on using the Sauté setting set to "normal".

  7. Cook the apple sauce down to apple butter, stirring every couple of minutes, for about an hour. You'll need to use a splatter guard or slow cooker lid as it cooks.

Stovetop Instructions

  1. Place the cored sliced apples into a large heavy-bottomed pot with 1/2 cup water.
  2. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cover the pot.
  3. Stir every few minutes to break up the apples and move them around.
  4. Continue cooking until the apples are very soft and starting to break down. This can take up to 30 minutes.
  5. Purée the applesauce using an immersion blender, or let cool slightly and transfer to a stand up blender to purée.
  6. Return the apple sauce to the pot, and with the heat on low, cook the apple sauce into apple butter, stirring occasionally, until it has become very thick. This will take 3-4 hours on the stove top.

To finish

  1. Allow the apple butter to cool completely and transfer to glass jars to store in the fridge, or freezer bags to store in the freezer.

Recipe Notes

  • Nutrition values are an estimate only.
  • This recipe yields about 6 cups of apple sauce, which cooks down into about 2 cups of apple butter.
  • Apple butter can be kept in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, or frozen for up to 3 months. 
Nutrition Facts
Instant Pot Apple Butter
Amount Per Serving
Calories 95 Calories from Fat 9
% Daily Value*
Fat 1g2%
Saturated Fat 1g5%
Sodium 2mg0%
Potassium 194mg6%
Carbohydrates 25g8%
Fiber 4g16%
Sugar 19g21%
Protein 1g2%
Vitamin A 98IU2%
Vitamin C 8mg10%
Calcium 13mg1%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Originally posted on October 21, 2011. This recipe was re-tested, re-photographed, and updated on September 14, 2019.

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Comments

  1. Cammy says

    Awesome. I have a huge bag of apples foraged from a friends backyard tree. I actually looked up recipes online and found many that had a 2:1 sugar to apple ratio! I knew that wasn’t what I was after…

  2. heather says

    Now I know the difference between apple sauce and apple butter.Think will try this in the slow cooker.
    Bought a big Sweet meat squash at the farmers market last week. Will process that as per your instructions from last year. It is the best, creamiest , sweetest squash/pumplkin I’ve ever tasted.

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