Sweet, smooth Instant Pot Apple Butter is the perfect fall topping. Smear it over pancakes or waffles or stir it into ice cream or oatmeal for a treat. It also makes a great homemade gift!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
This apple butter is quick and easy to make and is versatile enough to use on any sweet dish. It also lasts a while in the fridge and is a delightful edible gift for the fall or holidays.
We’ve tested this apple butter with various kinds of apples to find the perfect balance of sweet and tart flavor. Making it in the Instant Pot takes a fraction of the time, and makes much less of a mess in the kitchen!
If you’re going apple picking this fall, be sure to get a mix of sweet and tart apples to make this easy homemade topping!
INGREDIENTS YOU NEED
Here’s what you need for easy apple butter in the Instant Pot:
- Apples. We used a total of 4 pounds, or about 5 large sweet apples and 5 large tart apples.
- Hard apple cider. You can use non-alcoholic cider if you prefer.
- Brown sugar. Choose light brown sugar.
- Lemon. Freshly squeezed juice will give you the best flavor.
- Salt. Salt enhances the flavor; you don’t need very much!
How to Make Apple Butter in an Instant Pot
To start, combine the apple cider, brown sugar, lemon juice, and salt in the pressure cooking pot. Add a fine-mesh steamer basket to the pressure cooker and add the cut-up apples to the basket.
Cook the apples on high pressure for 10 minutes, then let the pressure release for 15 minutes. Finish release pressure with a quick release, then remove the lid when the valve drops. Being careful (it’s hot!), remove the steamer basket from the Instant Pot and transfer the apples to a food processor. Blend the apples until they’re totally smooth.
Use Saute on the Instant Pot to bring the liquids left in the pot to a boil. Cook the liquid at a boil for about 15 minutes, until it’s reduced at least by half. Stir the liquids regularly to prevent burning. You can go past 15 minutes if you like a sweeter, more intense flavor.
To finish your butter, return the pureed apples to the pressure cooking pot and stir them into the sauce. If desired, continue thickening until ready. Enjoy!
Apple butters come in a wide variety of colors, from pale to caramel to deep brown. When I’m making apple butter with a hard cider, I feel like I get a lovely, complex flavor without having to spend the extra time to cook the apples to a deep brown.
However, if you love the caramel, deep-brown apple butter, I’d add a few minutes to the pressure cook time and then add quite a bit of time to the saute to cook the apples down until they’re just right.
Important Tips for Making Instant Pot Apple Butter
- We recommend using a mix of tart and sweet apples for apple butter. Though we tested with Granny Smiths and loved their tart flavor, the skins are quite thick. In the future, I plan to try \with Pink Lady apples and Envy apples.
- We use about 4 pounds of apples per batch of apple butter. We core them, but don’t peel them.
- Note that your apple butter will thicken up significantly as it cools.
- We recommend leaving the skins on the apples while you pressure cook because those skins really amp up the apple flavor. If you really hate the texture of the skins, I would use a food mill after cooking and discard the skins after milling.
- The alcohol in the hard apple cider cooks off and leaves a more complex flavor in the apple butter. If you’d rather use regular cider, you can reduce the liquids to 1/4 cup and just add everything to the cooking pot.
Aside from your Instant Pot / pressure cooker, you’ll also need a heat-safe strainer for this recipe. We like a deeper style one, so we can remove all the apples at once.
Frequently Asked Questions about Homemade Apple Butter
We found that leaving the peels on the apples adds to the flavor complexity in a delicious way. If you don’t like the texture, you can use a food mill to remove the skins after you puree them.
Store your butter in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week. We use mason jars.
If you wish to can your apple butter, make sure to follow all appropriate guidelines. (We live at altitude and haven’t done any pressure canning.)
You can also store it in freezer-safe jars for up to 6-months.
If you’re making this in an 8-quart pressure cooker, you can. Apples can tend to foam when pressure cooked. Don’t fill your pressure cooking pot beyond the max fill line. And I’d recommend a natural release to help minimizing foaming.
If you do want to make a double batch, you can pressure cook the apples, then set the apples aside, remove the juice to a sauce pan, and then repeat the recipe while you start thickening the juice on the stovetop.
More Instant Pot Apple Recipes
Recipes you can make with this or other recipes you might like:
- Instant Pot Apple Crisp is a delightful fall dessert with a buttery, crumbly topping.
- Homemade Instant Pot Applesauce is sweet and tart, and delicious as a healthy dessert or for an after-school snack.
- Apple Cherry Breakfast Risotto is a creamy, warming breakfast that will keep you full all morning long.
- Pumpkin Spice Apple Butter is packed with fall flavors, perfect to slather on fresh bread, pancakes, or even as a topping for ice cream.
- 5 large sweet apples*, cored and quartered
- 5 large tart apples*, cored and quartered
- 1/2 cup hard apple cider**
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Add the apple cider, brown sugar, lemon juice, and salt to the bottom of the pressure cooking pot and stir until well combined.
- Place a fine mesh steamer basket in the bottom of the cooking pot.** Add the apple quarters to the basket.
- Select High Pressure and 10 minutes cook time. When the cook time ends, allow the pressure to release naturally for 15 minutes, then finish with a quick pressure release.
- Carefully remove the steamer basket from the pressure cooker. Run the apples through a food processor and blend until very smooth, then set aside.
- Select Saute and allow the liquids in the pot to come to a boil, stirring frequently until reduced at least by half, about 15 minutes. Return the cooked apple puree to the cooking pot and stir until smooth. Continue to saute and stir until it reaches your desired thickness and color. (Keep in mind that the mixture will thicken slightly as it cools.)
*Cooking with skins on maximizes the apple flavor. I wouldn’t skip this step; however, if you dislike the texture of the skins in your apple butter, you can peel them prior to cooking and then add the peels above the apple quarters. Or, use a food mill and discard the skins after milling.
**Hard apple cider cooks off the alcohol and leaves a more complex flavor. If you’d rather use a nonalcoholic cider, you can reduce the liquids to 1/4 cup, like we do in our applesauce recipe. I'd still do the 10 minute cook time and the 15 minute release.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 45 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 31Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 13mgCarbohydrates: 8gFiber: 1gSugar: 6gProtein: 0g
Nutrition information is calculated by Nutritionix and may not always be accurate.
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