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Instant Pot Apple Butter

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There is nothing better on a cool, crisp morning than apple butter on toast, and guess what? You can make it right in your instant pot. This instant pot apple butter recipe is simple and easy. You can make a large batch to can, or make half a batch to put in your refrigerator. 

instant pot apple butter on a serving place with toast and apples.

It seems like pumpkin spice is such a “viral sensation” every fall, that apples kind of by the wayside, and I say that’s not fair. 

There are so many things you can do with apples! You can put them in cinnamon rolls, make fried apples, gluten-free apple crisp, and of course the traditional apple pie. Although I have to admit I think I might like Dutch apple pie a little more. 

Last year we canned quite a bit of caramel apple butter, but this year I’ve been mostly making this instant pot recipe. Partly for time constraints, and partly just to have some variety. 

Choosing the best apple for apple butter

I’m always a big fan of “use what you have”. 

Everywhere you look there will be someone telling your to use this or that variety only. It’s definitely fine to have a preference, and we all know that some varieties are better for some things than others. 

It is important to know that a more flavorful apple will result in more flavorful apple butter. But if you bought bulk apples, or one variety is significantly less expensive, you can use those too. Pro tip: If your apples are bland, add a few tablespoons of lemon juice to the instant pot.

That said, if you’re choosing, here are the best types of apples for making apple butter: 

  • Golden Delicious
  • McIntosh
  • Fuji
  • Jonagold
  • Gala

These five varieties are softer, and tend to leave you with a smoother apple butter. My least favorite of these five is Golden Delicious, as I feel like it has the least flavor. 

while it doesn’t make the list, because it’s a more firm baking apple, I like to also add some granny smith to balance out the sweetness of the other varieties. 

Ingredients for Instant Pot Apple Butter

Apple butter really only uses a few ingredients, which you likely already have in your pantry. 

ingredients for making instant pot apple butter
  • Apples
  • Brown sugar 
  • Cinnamon 
  • Cloves (optional)
  • Salt
  • Vanilla extract (optional)

Other than the ingredients for the apple butter itself, you will also need containers to put it in. These can be canning jars (and you can can your apple butter!), or other types of jars or airtight, refrigerator-safe containers. This recipe makes about four pints or eight cups (8 half-pints), so keep that in mind when preparing your containers. 

Additions, and Substitutions

You can customize your apple butter by changing, adding, or omitting ingredients.

  • Sugar. You can switch to granulated sugar, or turbinado. However, I don’t recommend changing the quantity of sugar, as that affects the preservative quality of your finished product.
  • Spices. You can change the amount or type of spices. Cloves, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, etc. are all very good additions. You could also substitute for apple pie spice blend.
  • Vanilla. Optional, but highly recommended. You will add this at the end after it’s been cooked.

How to Make Instant Pot Apple Butter

This is a very simple recipe to make. While the total time if fairly long, it’s mostly hands-off.

For this recipe, you’re going to need an Instant Pot that is at least 6 quarts. 

First, peel, core, and quarter your apples. 

apple slices on a cutting board

Add them to your instant pot with the rest of the ingredients except for the vanilla.

apples, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt in an instant pot.

Add about 1/2 a cup of water to the pot to keep the apples from scorching as they heat, before they start releasing their own juice.

If you’re using a 6 quart pot, it may be very full – over the fill line even. This is okay. Keep in mind that there is quite a bit of air between your apple slices, and it will pack down as the apples cook. 

Put the lid on the instant pot, and close the steam valve. 

Set to manual for 90 minutes.

When the 90 minutes is up, turn instant pot off, and let cool for 7-10 minutes before releasing the pressure.

Remove lid, and use a stick blender to puree the apples. This should be very easy, since the apples have been cooked down so much

If you don’t have a stick blender, you can also blend the apple butter in batches in a regular blender or food processor. Be careful though! It’s really, really hot. 

Turn the instant pot on to sauté on low heat, and let cook down until the apple butter has become just a little thinner than you expect apple butter to be – it will thicken up as it cools.

When apple butter is done cooking, transfer to hot butter to jars, and screw on lids.

apple butter in jars for canning

If you’re using a plastic container such as a freezer jam jar, or rubbermaid storage container, I’d recommend letting it cool in the pot before transferring. 

If you’re using a plastic container such as a freezer jam jar, or rubbermaid storage container, I’d recommend letting it cool in the pot before transferring. 

How to can apple butter

Canning this instant pot apple butter is a super simple process using the water bath canning method. 

All you need is a kettle with a lid (such as this canning kettle) that is at least two inches taller than your jars, a grid or rack to keep the jars off the bottom of the kettle, and water. 

  1. When canning hot apple butter, prepare your canner by fitting the rack inside, and filling it with hot water.
  2. You can use the hot canner to sterilize your jars for several minutes before filling them with apple butter. You can never be too clean when you’re canning! 
  3. Fill the sterilized jars with hot apple butter, leaving 1/2 inch headspace
  4. Screw down sterilized lids and bands Firmly
  5. Place jars in canner, making sure the water covers jars by at least an inch, but preferably two inches
  6. Cover, and bring to a boil
  7. Boil pint jars for 15 minutes, and half pints for 10 minutes
  8. Remove from heat and let cool in the kettle until safe to remove
  9. After jars are removed, check for a seal when completely cool
  10. After 24 hours, you may remove bands, and store in a cool, dark place
jar of apple butter with a serving knife

Can you Freeze Apple Butter?

Absolutely! I like the shelf-stableness of canned jams, jellies, and butter, but if you have freezer space, freezing them is a quick and easy way to go. 

I recommend using plastic freezer jam jars, which virtually eliminate the worry of breaking in the freezer. 

When you’re ready to use your apple butter, just move a jar to the refrigerator to thaw for 2-3 days beforehand, or put it on your countertop for a few hours. 

What to use homemade apple butter on

Personally, I use apple butter on anything I’d use jam or jelly on (except for jalapeño jelly – that’s different). 

And more. Whatever sounds good, you know? I also found an apple butter cookie recipe that sounded really good! 

Other pantry recipes to try

If you liked making your own apple butter, you will probably love some of these recipes. Putting homemade food in your pantry is a wonderful skill to have, and well worth the time it takes. 

Here are just a few: 

Print

Instant Pot Apple Butter

Simple apple butter made in the instant pot.

  • Author: Elise New
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 2 hours
  • Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Yield: 8 cups 1x
  • Method: Instant pot

Ingredients

Scale
  • 6 lbs apples
  • 1 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla

Instructions

  1. Peel, core, and quarter apples
  2. Place in 6 quart or larger instant pot
  3. Top with brown sugar, cinnamon, cloves, salt, and 1/2 cup water
  4. Secure lid, and close pressure valve
  5. Set pressure to manual, and time to 90 minutes
  6. When time is up, turn instant pot off, and let cool 7-10 minutes
  7. Release pressure, and open pot
  8. Use an immersion blender to blend apple butter, or carefully transfer in batches to blender or food processor, being careful not to burn yourself
  9. Place back in instant pot, and turn on to manual, toggling to low heat
  10. Let apple butter cooked down to just a bit thinner than desired consistency, as apple butter will thicken as it cools
  11. Transfer to sterilized jars, or refrigerator containers
  12. To can, see section above recipe card labeled “how to can apple butter”

Keywords: instant pot, apple butter

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