Apple Butter | Instant Pot recipe

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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! 

Instant Pot apple butter in a glass jar with waffles in the background.

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!

This is one of our favorite fall recipes using apples. We love to serve creamy apple butter for breakfast with Pressure Cooker Breakfast Quinoa, waffles, pancakes, or Overnight Baked French Toast!

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!

An overhead picture of ingredients for making Instant Pot apple butter, including a mix of red and green apples, salt, hard cider, and brown sugar.


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!
Overhead picture of quartered apples in an Instant Pot to make apple butter.

How to Make Apple Butter in an Instant Pot

This easy recipe will work in any brand of electric pressure cooker, including the Instant Pot, Ninja Foodi, or Power Pressure Cooker XL.

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. 

Overhead view of apple butter being mixed in a food processor to make 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.

Instant Pot apple butter in a glass jar with waffles in the background.

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.
Waffles topped with Instant Pot apple butter on a white plate with a jar of apple butter in the background.


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.

My normal go-to is this silicone Instant Pot steamer basket. However, for this recipe, I preferred the fine mesh steamer basket to ensure apple pieces didn’t fall through.

You’ll also need a food processor, food mill, or immersion blender to blend your apples into a puree. 

A glass jar filled with apple butter and placed in front of an Instant Pot, with waffles in the background.

Frequently Asked Questions about Homemade Apple Butter

Should I peel apples for 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. 

How should I store apple butter?

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.

Can I double the recipe?

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.

A close up if Instant Pot apple butter in a jar with sliced apples in the background.

More Instant Pot Apple Recipes

Recipes you can make with this or other recipes you might like:

A close up if Instant Pot apple butter in a jar with sliced apples in the background.

Apple Butter | Instant Pot recipe

Yield: 5 to 7 cups
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Additional Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

This Apple Butter recipe is just the right amount of sweet and perfect for fall. The apple flavor takes center stage, and it is delicious on bread, stirred into oatmeal, or over 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


  1. Add the apple cider, brown sugar, lemon juice, and salt to the bottom of the pressure cooking pot and stir until well combined.
  2. Place a fine mesh steamer basket in the bottom of the cooking pot.** Add the apple quarters to the basket.
  3. 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.
  4. Carefully remove the steamer basket from the pressure cooker. Run the apples through a food processor and blend until very smooth, then set aside.
  5. 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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