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How to make apple butter in the Instant Pot
Wash the apples. Do not peel. Cut off any bad spots and discard.
Cut the apples as shown to remove the cores. (The cores can be turned into vinegar or composted.) Slice the apples.
Place the sliced apples in a 6 quart Instant Pot with 2 cups of water. Set the Instant Pot to “Sealing.” Pressure cook in the normal mode on high pressure for 10 minutes. Allow pressure to release naturally.
Pour off the excess water. Dump the apples into a colander and stir quite a bit with a spoon to break the apples down and release more liquid to drain off. A lot of juice will come off! I strained off approximately 6 cups of juice (you can save this!) and was left with about 5 cups of thick apple mash.
Let the apple mash cool a little (or a lot), then blend it completely smooth with a good blender – I use a Vitamix. Leave the vent in the lid open to prevent pressure from building up but cover the opening with a kitchen towel to avoid getting splashed in the face with hot apples. Be very careful and use common sense.
If you want to stop here for the night, that’s fine. Put the apple puree in the fridge and cook it down into apple butter in the morning. You’ll need a good 6 hours of cooking time during which you’re available to stir occasionally.
Return the apple puree to the Instant Pot. At this point it should be thicker than applesauce but not apple butter thick yet.
Whisk in the apple butter ingredients.
Cover the Instant Pot with foil, but bend a little bit of it back to let liquid escape. (see below) You’re trying to reduce the liquid in the apples to create a thick, spreadable apple butter consistency. The apples do spatter and the foil and rim of the Instant Pot will be hot, so be careful.
Slow cook on the normal mode for 6-7 hours, stirring hourly. Cook time may vary by appliance and the amount of juice you were able to take off the apples earlier. Cook until the apple butter is thick and sticks to a wooden spoon. Mine reduced to about 3 ½ cups. Adjust sweetener and seasonings to taste if needed.
This apple butter keeps well in the fridge for several weeks, but I recommend freezing it for long term storage. (Freezer containers or jam jars work well.) Leave an inch of headspace for expansion. You can probably can this recipe too, but I haven’t tried that yet. There are plenty of tutorials online if you’d like to try it!
I don’t have a 6 quart Instant Pot!
This recipe just fits into a 6 quart Instant Pot so do not multiply the recipe or use a smaller Instant Pot. HOWEVER the size is an issue only at the beginning when you’re cooking the raw apples down, so you could get around the problem by cooking the apples on the stove in a large kettle until very soft and falling apart. Then proceed with the recipe and finish in the smaller Instant Pot. (You may have to cook larger batches longer.)
I don’t have an Instant Pot at all!
If you don’t have an Instant Pot, cook the apples on the stove in a large kettle until very soft and falling apart. Proceed with the recipe, then cook in a slow cooker instead of an Instant Pot until it looks like apple butter! Leave the slow cooker lid cracked open to allow moisture to evaporate.
How do I use the juice I drained off the apples?
CLICK HERE for an idea on how to use that juice so it doesn’t go to waste! I like to ferment it and enjoy it kind of like apple cider.
How do I make apple cider vinegar using my apple cores?
CLICK HERE to find out how to turn your apple cores into apple cider vinegar so they don’t go to waste! It’s so easy.
Equipment I love:
- the 6 quart Instant Pot I used to make this apple butter
- my Vitamix blender that makes peeling the apples unnecessary (whoot whoot!)
- my Tupperware colander that I use almost daily – I have an old retro version like my mom had when I was growing up
- a long stainless steel spoon that I use for mixing and stirring all the things
- these 1.5 pint freezer containers that I use to freeze my applesauce! I actually bought mine directly from US Plastics. They’re cheaper there but the checkout process is a bit funky. I’m not sure how far ahead you’ll come out when you calculate in shipping.
Favorite ways to eat this apple butter:
pictured on sprouted bread from Aldi
As always, check out the Notes section of the recipe for helpful info and answers to frequently asked questions! You can also find links to the equipment I use and recommend.
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On the recipe print page you can select what kind of info you actually want to print. You can print the recipe with pictures or without!
This post has been on my website since October 6, 2014, but it used to link to someone else’s recipe. In November 2021 I updated the post with my own apple butter recipe and republished it.