Turn your apple harvest into delicious Instant Pot Apple Butter with this easy recipe! No peeling or canning required to make our sweet and tangy apple butter, although you can can this recipe if you want to.
I’m so excited to share this recipe with you!! Since we moved into our new house a few years ago, we love apple season since we have our own apple tree in our backyard.
Apple season it so much fun when we get to pick our own apples for recipes! This year we had a ton of apples, so I made lots of apple butter with them, but this year I decided to use my pressure cooker to make apple butter. I loved the result!
Cooking apple butter in the pressure cooker is so easy, you don’t need to watch it or stand over the stove, which is awesome.
Plus another great thing about this pressure cooker apple butter recipe is that canning is not required: I put my apple butter in the freezer! So if you are intimidated by canning, you don’t have to can this recipe at all if you don’t want to.
I’ve also included steps to make this recipe on the stovetop instead of the pressure cooker if you prefer to cook this on the stove (these instructions are right before the recipe card).
How to make Instant Pot apple butter
Start by preparing your apples: don’t worry about peeling them for this recipe (you can read more about why I do this below), but core them and cut them. Cut small apples into quarters, larger apples into eighths.
Don’t worry about the pressure cooker having too little water: the apples release a lot of moisture as they cook, so they will still cook fine in the pressure cooker with only 1/4 cup added water.
Once it’s done cooking, turn off the “keep warm” setting, and allow the pressure to release naturally for about 30 minutes until the pressure has dissipated completely. Open the valve with a utensil and release any residual pressure before opening.
Don’t use the quick pressure release method right after cooking or you’ll clog your release valve with apple puree. Use the slow/natural pressure release method!
Your apples will look like a mushy mess, but this is perfect! You’ll then take your immersion blender and blend the apples thoroughly into a smooth puree while they are still hot.
If you have a CrockPot Express with a pot that is non-stick, you’ll need to transfer your apples into a different metal pot to use the immersion blender on the apples or it can scratch and damage your non-stick pressure cooker pot (speaking from experience!).
Once your apples are pureed, stir in your sugar and spices, then divide into your jars. You can either can the jars of apple butter or freeze it (make sure to leave room at the top of the jar if you freeze them). We freeze ours.
If you want to make this recipe without added sugars, you can skip the brown sugar completely and add Stevia or monk fruit to taste (you’ll need to determine how much this is by tasting your apple butter until it gets to your preferred sweetness).
This apple butter will thicken as it cools, so it will thicken up nicely into a great spread! If you use liquid sweeteners however (like maple syrup or honey) it may change how thick your apple butter ends up being.
Please note: I do not give canning directions in this recipe since I put this in jars and freeze it. If you want to can this apple butter, you’ll need to follow water bath canning to can the apple butter. I don’t do a lot of canning, so I won’t be able to answer questions about canning apple butter.
We use freezer safe pint jars to store our apple butter in the freezer, but if you have a small family and don’t use up apple butter very quickly, or you want to give these away, you can use smaller jars to store your apple butter.
Just make sure that if you give the pressure cooker apple butter away, you make sure to tell your giftee that your apple butter isn’t canned and needs chilled or frozen if you haven’t used a canning process on it.
One of my readers made this recipe using the Stevia brown sugar blend and said it turned out great, so this is an option if you’d like to reduce the sugar in this apple butter.
How to store your apple butter
Since we freeze our apple butter instead of canning it, I put the apple butter in freezable pint jars, leaving about 3/4 to 1 inch of headspace at the top (this is important so the apple butter doesn’t expand and break your jar!!), let them cool to room temp, then put the lid on and pop it in the freezer.
The apple butter does great thawed from frozen, so this is my favorite way to store apple butter in our house since I don’t do canning (yet). 😉
Since this recipe is not canned, you cannot store jars of this apple butter in your pantry, these must be frozen or refrigerated to preserve them. If you are making several jars of apple butter and don’t intend to use them right away, you must freeze them.
When we make several batches of Instant Pot apple butter, we put one in the fridge to use right away and freeze all the other jars. The fridge will only keep your apple butter good for about a week or 2, so you must either can your jars of apple butter, give them away, or freeze them.
Why I leave my apples unpeeled
There are a couple of reasons why I make this apple butter recipe with unpeeled apples.
First off, I make apple butter with our home grown apples that grow on a tree in our backyard. The apples from this tree are pretty small, so peeling them is an extremely tedious with these apples. I just don’t peel them!
This isn’t a problem once you’ve cooked your apples and the skin gets soft, then you puree everything thoroughly with an immersion blender while everything is still warm and soft.
Second, the apple peels contain natural fruit pectin in them which help to thicken and almost gel the apple butter. This works awesome to get a nice thick apple butter without having to simmer it to evaporate excess water.
What kind of apples should I use for Instant Pot apple butter?
You’ll want to use tart, firm apples for this recipe. We used our home grown apples from the apple tree in our backyard, and our apples are small, tart, and very firm.
I’d recommend using Granny Smith apples since they are firm and tart, but if you choose a sweeter apple, you may have to use less brown sugar.
Using a tart apple makes this recipe even better because you don’t have to add lemon juice to this to make it tart, it’s naturally tart on it’s own and when you add the brown sugar, it’s perfectly sweet and tart.
Don’t use soft and bland apples like Golden Delicious or Red Delicious apples or this apple butter will not turn out with the right texture or taste. I prefer my apple butter to be quite thick and buttery, so I love using firm apples in this recipe.
One of my readers who made this recipe used small and firm Gala apples with this recipe and it turned out perfect for her!
My apple butter is slightly green looking because the apples I used for this recipe are small homegrown apples from our apple tree. If you use apples that are more red or pink, you’ll have more reddish colored apple butter.
Cooking this apple butter on the stove
If you don’t have a pressure cooker but still want to make this apple butter, you can cook this on the stove. I tried this same recipe on the stove and it works great, you’ll only need to change a couple of things.
Everything in the recipe will stay the same, except the amount of water and the cooking directions. You’ll add the apples to a large 6-quart cooking pot with 1/2 cup of water instead of 1/4 cup water.
Cover the pot with a lid, simmer over medium low heat for about 30 minutes until the apples and their peels are soft. Proceed with the rest of the instructions with the immersion blender and spices. Easy!
Make sure to leave the lid on the pot so the water doesn’t evaporate out of the pot while it’s cooking!
Since I had a bunch of apples and only one pressure cooker, I made a batch of apple butter in the pressure cooker at the same time that I made a batch on the stove. Worked perfect!
Serve this apple butter with:
- Gluten Free Drop Biscuits
- Apple Cider Pancakes
- Cinnamon Roll Pancakes
- Gluten Free Zucchini Muffins
- Chocolate Zucchini Bread
Tools you’ll need for this recipe:
- Apple corer (or just use a knife to core your apples if they are small)
- Paring knife
- Pressure cooker (CrockPot Express or Instant Pot)
- 6-quart pot (if making on the stove)
- Immersion blender
- Freezer safe pint jars
Easy Instant Pot Apple Butter
Instant Pot method:
- Start by preparing your apples: core the apples and cut into 8ths (or quarters if you have very small apples). You don't need to peel the apples for this recipe.
- Place your apples in the pressure cooker with 1/4 cup water and cook on the "Steam" setting (CrockPot Express) or "Manual" setting (Instant Pot) on high for 8 minutes.
- Once it's done cooking, turn off the "keep warm" setting, and allow the pressure to release naturally for about 20-30 minutes until the pressure has dissipated completely. Open the valve with a utensil and release any residual pressure before opening. Don't use the quick pressure release method here, or apple puree will get into your steam valve.
- While the cooked apples are still hot, use an immersion blender to puree the apples thoroughly until smooth. If you have a non-stick pressure cooker pot, transfer the apples to a different pot to blend them, or the metal immersion blender can damage your non-stick coating.
- Once your apples are pureed, stir in the brown sugar, spices, and salt, then divide into freezable jars. You can either can the jars of apple butter or freeze it (make sure to leave room at the top of the jar if you freeze them). We freeze ours.
- If you want to can your apple butter, follow these water bath canning instructions to can your apple butter.
- If you are freezing your apple butter (this is what we do), scoop the apple butter into jars, leaving about 1 inch of space at the top of the jar, allow to cool to room temperature (covering with a light towel to prevent anything from getting into the jars while they cool), and put the lids on and put in the freezer.
- When you want to thaw your apple butter, just set it in the fridge to thaw, or place it in a cool water bath to thaw.
- Everything in the recipe will stay the same, except the amount of water and the cooking directions. You'll add the apples to a large 6-quart cooking pot with 1/2 cup of water instead of 1/4 cup water.
- Cover the pot with a lid, simmer over medium low heat for about 25-30 minutes until the apples and their peels are soft. Make sure to leave the lid on the pot so the water doesn't evaporate out of the pot while it's cooking!
- Proceed with the rest of the instructions with the immersion blender and spices.
Sarah Jane Parker is the founder, recipe creator, and photographer behind The Fit Cookie. She’s a food allergy mom and healthy living blogger based in Wyoming. Sarah is also an ACSM Certified Personal Trainer, ACE Certified Health Coach, Revolution Running certified running coach, and an ACE Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist