Instant Pot Apple Butter Anyone Can Make

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This quick and easy recipe for Instant Pot apple butter, using fresh apples and delicious spices, is one of my favorite fall recipes. I love it because we can freeze it or can it; not only that, it makes our home smell heavenly, and it tastes dreamy too.

This apple butter Instant Pot recipe is so easy to make, that I'll never buy store bought again.

spoonful of Instant Pot apple butter over jelly jar

I remember years ago making apple butter, and it was quite the chore, standing over the sink working up all the apples for the recipe. Not anymore, though, thanks to my Johnny apple peeler, which cores, peels, and slices all at once.

This kitchen tool is our best thrift store find ever because it does it all the work for me. I'm able to throw this Instant Pot apple butter recipe together in minutes.

What is Apple Butter?

According to Wikipedia, “Apple butter is a highly concentrated form of apple sauce produced by long, slow cooking of apples with cider or water to a point where the sugar in the apples caramelizes, turning the apple butter a deep brown.”

Well, yes, but you can make apple butter in your electric pressure cooker, and it's not a long, slow, painful process. It's actually pretty painless.

My apple butter is a mixture of apples and spices, with a texture that's very similar to Instant Pot applesauce; but the taste is a little sweeter, a little darker, and filled with cinnamon spice flavors.

Why Make This Recipe?

You'll love Instant Pot apple butter because it…

  • Is even easier to make, if you can imagine that – No stirring necessary. Simply put your ingredients into your electric pressure cooker, put the lid on, set it, and forget it while it cooks. And if you're thinking the apples will be a chore… Coring, peeling (if you choose to peel the apples), and slicing the apples is a job made much easier and quicker with a Johnny apple peeler.
  • Smells and tastes heavenly – It really does. I mean, would it really be fall without the scent of pressure cooker apple butter wafting through the house? Better than any candle out there!
  • Is budget-friendly – Depending where you buy your apples and your spices, you can make a batch of 5-6 half-pints or 3-4 pints for less than $10. A bit of advice… I'm very partial to canning apple butter in the fall because it's usually pretty easy to find apple seconds at a local orchard or farmer’s market. Buying seconds just means you can buy a bushel or half-bushel of less-than-perfect apples for a lot less than normal cost, which is going to save you a ton of money. I also like to buy spices in bulk at our local grocery discount store and sometimes thru Amazon; I especially love Badia spices and seasonings. When you compare the cost of making homemade to store bought apple butter, you save a little bit of money. But even more importantly, homemade is just better all 'round. Plus, if you're like me, you love the satisfaction of having your own jars of home canned food lining your pantry shelves.
Instant Pot apple butter ingredients on white marble countertop

Ingredient Notes

When I developed this pressure cooker apple butter, I knew I wanted it to taste similar to Cracker Barrel apple butter. Not a copycat recipe really, but similar.

  • Fresh apples – When it comes to picking the kind of apples to use, I recommend apples that are both sweet and tart to really give it a flavor kick. Some of the best apples for making apple butter include Jonathan, Jonagold, Braeburn, McIntosh Red, Winesap, Cortland, Fuji, and Gala. Jonathan and Jonagold are two of my favorites; I've also combined Fuji with Gala to make a really delicious apple butter.
  • Molasses – I prefer to use just regular molasses over blackstrap molasses.
  • Spices – I use nutmegclovesallspice, and cinnamon to really give this apple butter a kick of flavor.
  • Lemon juice – I prefer to use a fresh lemon juice, either straight from a lemon or my favorite shortcut, Minute Maid lemon juice you can find in the freezer section of some grocery stores; I've been able to find it at my local Walmart. There are multiple reasons for adding lemon juice to apple butter, but it's usually to help preserve or protect the color of your apples over time (making your apple butter stay pretty), and/or to make the apple butter more acidic for home canning. Wind fallen apples (including seconds) can have a lower acidity and a higher mold/bacteria count than umblemished apples.
  • Vanilla extract – This is my secret ingredient, and you'll understand why I add it when you take your first bite. It's so good!

How to Make Apple Butter in the Instant Pot

Before starting anything, it's important to wash your apples. I always soak mine in a vinegar/water bath for at least 10 minutes, then rinse. You'll need about 4 pounds of apples.

It's also important to prep your jars for canning or freezing. That means washing, sterilizing, etc.

Keep in mind, you can make this recipe in any brand of electric pressure cooker you have, including the Instant PotNinja Foodi, or Power Pressure Cooker XL.

Just Follow These Steps…

  1. Core, peel, and slice the apples; again, an apple peeler for apple butter makes this step so easy. Cut out any worm holes or bad spots, as well. Note: While I do leave the peeling on when making applesauce, and you can do that for apple butter too, I usually choose not to for this recipe.
  2. Put the sliced apples in your Instant Pot.
  3. Add water, molasses, sugar, brown sugar, spices, lemon juice, and vanilla extract to the Instant Pot. If you want to mix everything together, you can; but there's no need to until after it all cooks.
  4. Put the lid in place on the Instant Pot. Press Manual or Pressure Cook for 15 minutes; when it's finished cooking, allow the pressure cooker to do a natural release.
how to make apple butter by coring, peeling, and slicing apples into the pot with spices, sugars, and other ingredients, then pressure cooking in the Instant Pot
  1. Then using an immersion blender, blend the apples into smooth apple butter, or 'til you reach the consistency/texture you want.
immersion blender blending up apple butter in Instant Pot

Freezing Instructions:

I stored apple butter in the freezer quite a bit before I learned how to can it, so it works just fine without any worries. And frozen apple butter should keep for at least a year.

  1. When your apple butter has cooked, allow it to cool to room temperature.
  2. Then just ladle or pour it into freezer safe containers that seal; leave 1/2 inch headroom at the top, to allow for expansion as it freezes.
  3. Label the containers, and place them in the freezer.

Canning Instructions:

I prefer water bath canning apple butter. Canned apple butter should keep for 1-2 years in the pantry.

While your apple butter is cooking, wash half-pint jars (jelly jars) or pint jars in hot soapy water, rinse, and keep warm. We like to place ours on a baking sheet in a lower temp oven to stay hot.

  1. Once you've mashed up the apples, promptly ladle or pour the resulting apple butter mixture into the hot jars you prepared ahead of time. This is where a funnel pitcher comes in super handy. Be sure to leave about a 1/2-inch gap at the top of each jar.
  2. Wipe the rim of each jar with a wet towel or rag. Place the lid on, and tighten the band. Then place the hot jars down in a boiling hot water bath canner with 1-2 inches of water over the jars, and process those jars in the hot water bath for about 20 minutes.
pouring apple butter into canning jars with funnel pitcher, and placing jars in hot water bath canner with jar lifter
  1. Allow your jars to rest for at least 24 hours, but be sure to check every lid to make sure it's sealed shortly after canning.
  2. Before moving to the pantry, write what it is and the year on the lid, so you know when you made it. There are plenty of options for pretty jar labels for apple butter, and you can even turn your home canned apple butter into holiday gifts or hostess gifts.

If you choose to can your Instant Pot apple butter, Ball has wonderful Canning Guides to guide you through the process. You can also consult the Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving.

Expert Tips and Recipe FAQ's

How do you thicken apple butter?

After blending the apples into apple butter, you can place the apple butter back on low heat on the stove, and cook uncovered for 30 minutes to 1 hour if you want it to thicken up more. While I have never had to do this, it's a good way to make homemade apple butter thicker. Keep in mind, your apple butter will also thicken as it cools.

What's the best way to store it?

If you're not freezing or canning your apple butter, it should be kept in the refrigerator. It should keep in the fridge for about 2-3 months.

How can I best use apple butter?

I really enjoy apple butter on my toast in the mornings with breakfast. It's also really delicious on Grandma's biscuits and butterhorn rolls. My friend Kelly makes a Dutch Baby apple puffed pancake that would pair so well with apple butter. So good! 

slice of toast with pressure cooker apple butter on log plate

If you try this recipe, why not leave a star rating in the recipe card right below and/or a review in the comment section further down the page? I always appreciate your feedback. You can also follow me on PinterestFacebookInstagram, and YouTube. And subscribe to my email list too!

Find my original recipe for apple butter over on Adventures of Mel!

Instant Pot Apple Butter Anyone Can Make

How to make quick and easy Instant Pot apple butter, with fresh apples and delicious spiced flavor. Freeze, can, or store in the fridge!
4.41 from 22 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Canning and Preserving
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 3 pints
Calories: 673kcal
Author: Mel Lockcuff

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Before starting anything, it's important to wash your apples. I always soak mine in a vinegar/water bath for at least 10 minutes, then rinse.
  • Core, peel, and slice the apples*; again, an apple peeler for apple butter makes this step so easy. Cut out any worm holes or bad spots, as well.
  • Put the sliced apples in your Instant Pot.
  • Add water, molasses, pure cane sugar, brown sugar, spices, lemon juice, and vanilla extract to the Instant Pot. If you want to mix everything together, you can; but there's no need to until after it all cooks.
  • Put the lid in place on the Instant Pot. Press Manual or Pressure Cook for 15 minutes; when it's finished cooking, allow the pressure cooker to do a natural release. 
  • Purée the mixture with an immersion blenderstanding blender, or food mill; or if you want a chunky applesauce, you can mash the apples with a potato masher. It’s up to you how you prefer the texture and consistency.

Freezing Instructions:

  • When your apple butter has cooked, allow it to cool to room temperature.
  • Then just ladle or pour it into freezer safe containers that seal; leave 1/2 inch headroom at the top, to allow for expansion as it freezes.
  • Label the containers, and place them in the freezer.

Canning Instructions:

  • While your apple butter is cooking, wash half-pint jars (jelly jars) or pint jars in hot soapy water, rinse, and keep warm. We like to place ours on a baking sheet in a lower temp oven to stay hot.
  • Once you've mashed up the apples, promptly ladle or pour the resulting apple butter mixture into the hot jars you prepared ahead of time. This is where a funnel pitcher comes in super handy. Be sure to leave about a 1/2-inch gap at the top of each jar.
  • Wipe the rim of each jar with a wet towel or rag, place the lid on, and tighten the band.
  • Then place the hot jars down in a boiling hot water bath canner with 1-2 inches of water over the jars, and process those jars in the hot water bath for about 20 minutes.
  • Allow your jars to rest for at least 24 hours, but be sure to check every lid to make sure it's sealed shortly after canning.
  • Before moving to the pantry, write what it is and the year on the lid, so you know when you made it.

Video

Notes

While I do leave the peeling on when making applesauce, and you can do that for apple butter too, I usually choose not to for this recipe.
How do you make homemade apple butter thicker?
After blending the apples into apple butter, you can place the apple butter back on low heat on the stove, and cook uncovered for 30 minutes to 1 hour if you want it to thicken up more. While I have never had to do this, it's a good way to make homemade apple butter thicker.
How should I store it, and how long will it last?
  • Canned apple butter will last about 2 years on the shelf.
  • Frozen apple butter will last about 1 year in the freezer.
  • In the fridge, apple butter will last about 2-3 months.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 673kcal | Carbohydrates: 175g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 29mg | Potassium: 1121mg | Fiber: 15g | Sugar: 153g | Vitamin A: 330IU | Vitamin C: 29mg | Calcium: 134mg | Iron: 2mg
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6 thoughts on “Instant Pot Apple Butter Anyone Can Make”

  1. I use 3 tbsp. Cinnamon & all the peelings, also full cup brown sugar, no white. Also use 2 tbsb. lemon juice. Perfect apple butter. This recipe is awesone, just a cinnamon freak & the lemon juice seems to allow longer keep time.

    Reply

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