How to Make Easy Instant Pot Apple Butter

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How to make Instant Pot apple butter you can freeze or can. Filled with delicious cinnamon spice, this pressure cooker recipe is so quick and easy to make.

Instant Pot Apple Butter is so easy to make, kinda like my easy strawberry jam and blackberry jam recipe. I'll never buy store bought again.

I had myself psyched out before we actually made this apple butter recipe because I remembered years ago, slaving over the kitchen sink with a tub full of apples.

3 jelly jars full of Instant Pot apple butter

Not anymore, though, thanks to our handy dandy apple peeler (and corer and slicer). This kitchen tool has been the best thrift store find we've ever had because it does it all.

Making homemade apple butter is so much quicker now, we're able to throw this together in the Instant Pot in minutes.

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.

I think we did well. You'll have to let me know what you think in the comments.

WHERE CAN I FIND THE ACTUAL RECIPE CARD?

If you’d rather skip all of my apple butter making tips, important cooking info for this recipe, and similar recipe ideas – and get straight to the Instant Pot apple butter recipe – just scroll down to the bottom, where you’ll find a printable recipe card with a longer how to video.

WONDERING, “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.”

homemade apple butter on toast on white pioneer woman plate

Nah… You can make apple butter in your Instant Pot pressure cooker, and it's not a long, slow, painful process. It's actually pretty painless.

Apple butter is a mixture of apples and spices, very similar to applesauce and cinnamon applesauce, but a little sweeter, a little darker, and filled with cinnamon spice flavors.

For this recipe, we use spices like nutmeg, cloves, allspice, and cinnamon. It's delicious on toast or drop biscuits.

INGREDIENTS YOU'LL NEED:

Remember, all of the ingredient amounts you’ll need are in the printable recipe card below.

KITCHEN TOOLS AND EQUIPMENT YOU'LL NEED:

Apple Peeler/Corer/Slicer – My advice is to go with the one that clamps to your tabletop versus the apple peeler with a suction cup.

peeling and coring apples for apple butter with a clamping apple peeler

Paring Knife and Cutting Board – for trimming off any worm holes or bad spots.

Instant Pot We used our 6-quart Instant Pot.

Immersion Blender or Potato Masher – A hand blender (or immersion blender) really allows you to get the texture or consistency that you want. It makes it easy to purée the apples when they've fully cooked, without having to take them out and put them in a food processor or blender. You can just blend them up right in your Instant Pot. If you like your apple butter a bit chunky, a potato masher will work well too.

Jar Funnel for freezing or canning apple butter – This helps to pour the apple butter into the jars without spilling it all over the place.

Ladle or Funnel Pitcher – to pour the apple butter into the jars.

Jars – You can use 4-ounce jelly jars or pint jars. I’ve found 8-ounce jelly jars are just the right size for us with the amount of jam and apple butter we eat in about a month's time. If you already have jars, you may need new lids or a pack of lids and bands.

Water Bath Canner or Pressure Canner and Cooker

Sharpie and/or Jar Labels – so you can label your jars and know what it is and when you made this particular batch.

WHERE CAN I FIND THE BEST APPLES FOR APPLE BUTTER?

Fall is a great time to find the best apples for apple butter, but you can use any apples you find, whether you’re shopping at an orchard, a farmer’s market, or the store.

white sink full of Jonathan apples washing in water for apple butter

However, in the fall, you can usually buy seconds at just about any orchard, and sometimes at the farmer’s market. Meaning you can buy a HUGE box of apples for a lot less than normal cost, which is going to save you a ton of money.

Now I will say… It takes a LOT of apples for making apple juice, apple jelly, apple butter, or applesauce. But in my opinion, it’s totally worth it.

WHAT KIND OF APPLES SHOULD I USE TO MAKE APPLE BUTTER?

There are certain types of apples that are sweeter and certain types of apples that have a more tart taste.

In the case of homemade apple butter, I like to use a more tart apple, because I'm going to be adding a little sugar anyway.

I used Jonathan apples for this recipe because they were available as seconds at our local orchard. I also love eating and cooking with Jonagold apples.

Jonathans are sweet and tart. They're also crispy and juicy.

The best apples for apple butter may include:

  • Jonathan
  • Jonagold
  • Braeburn
  • Fuji
  • McIntosh Red
  • Cortland
  • Winesap

HOW TO MAKE INSTANT POT APPLE BUTTER

You can make this into a CrockPot apple butter recipe or a stovetop apple butter recipe. Of course, cooking times will differ, depending on the method you choose.

Before adding the apples to the Instant Pot, you'll need to wash the apples. I usually like to soak mine in a water/vinegar bath for about 10 minutes; then rinse.

Note: You'll need 4 pounds of apples.

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

  1. Core, peel, and slice the apples. Cut out any bad spots, as well. Note: While I do leave the peeling on when making homemade applesauce, and you can do that for apple butter too, I just chose not to for this recipe.
slice apples for apple butter
  1. Put the sliced apples in your Instant Pot.
sliced apples in the Instant Pot for making apple butter
  1. 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.
spices, sugar, apples, and ingredients for pressure cooker apple butter in the Instant Pot
  1. Put the lid in place on the Instant Pot. Press Manual or Pressure Cook for 15 minutes.
  2. When it's finished cooking, allow the pressure cooker to do a natural release.
  3. Purée the mixture with an immersion blender, or mash the apples with a potato masher. It's up to you how you prefer the texture or consistency.
blending apple butter in Instant Pot with immersion blender after pressure cooking

TIPS FOR FREEZING OR CANNING APPLE BUTTER

Using a jar funnel, pour the hot apple butter into each prepared jar… You can use a ladle or a measuring cup, but I like to use my funnel pitcher to pour. It makes the process so much easier and cleaner too.

pouring apple butter in canning jars using a yellow jar funnel

Wipe the top rim of each jar with a wet towel or rag, so it's clean and the lid will seal during the canning process (if canning). Then place the lid on, and tighten the band.

water bath canning jars of homemade apple butter

Choose to can or freeze it…

  • You can freeze apple butter, but be sure to leave about a 1/2-inch gap at the top of each jar to allow for expansion in the freezer. Also, allow the jars to completely cool before placing in the freezer.
  • We prefer to use a hot water bath canning method (at least 15 to 20 minutes submerged in a boiling hot water bath) to can the apple butter. If you choose to can it, Ball has wonderful Canning Guides to guide you through the process. You can also consult the Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving.
submerged jars in water bath canner using water bath canning method for apple butter recipe

Before you put your apple butter in the freezer or the pantry, be sure to 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.

WHAT TO EAT WITH APPLE BUTTER

This recipe makes probably about 4-6 pints of apple butter. It's so delicious served on homemade biscuits and especially scrumptious on a Dutch Baby apple puffed pancake. Yum!

spoonful of homemade apple butter from canning jar

MORE APPLE RECIPES YOU MAY ENJOY:

Learn how to quickly use your Instant Pot with our Instant Pot Quick Start Guide, filled with practical tips, Instant Pot recipes, Instant Pot accessory ideas, and more!

GET THE PRINTABLE RECIPE

If you love this apple butter recipe as much as I do, please write a 5 star review, and help me share the recipe on Facebook and Pinterest!

double image of Instant Pot apple butter including top image of spoonful of pressure cooker apple butter over jar and bottom image of fresh apples soaking in sink full of water

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Yield: 128 servings

How to Make Easy Instant Pot Apple Butter

Instant Pot apple butter recipe made with fresh apples

How to make Instant Pot apple butter you can freeze or can. Filled with delicious cinnamon spice, this pressure cooker recipe is so quick and easy to make.

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes

Instructions

  1. Core, peel, and slice the apples.* Cut out any bad spots, as well.
  2. Put the sliced apples into your Instant Pot.
  3. 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.
  4. Put the lid in place on the Instant Pot. Press Manual or Pressure Cook for 15 minutes and let it cook. 
  5. When it's finished cooking, allow the pressure cooker to do a natural release.
  6. Purée the mixture with an immersion blender, or mash the apples with a potato masher. It's up to you how you prefer the texture or consistency.
  7. Using a jar funnel, pour the hot apple butter into each prepared jar… You can use a ladle or a measuring cup, but I like to use my funnel pitcher to pour. It makes the process so much easier and cleaner too.
  8. Wipe the top rim of each jar with a wet towel or rag, so it's clean and the lid will seal during the canning process (if canning). Then place the lid on, and tighten the band.
  9. You can freeze apple butter, but be sure to leave about a 1/2-inch gap at the top of each jar to allow for expansion in the freezer. Also, allow the jars to completely cool before placing in the freezer.
  10. We prefer to use a hot water bath canning method to can the apple butter, immersing the closed jars in boiling water for at least 15-20 minutes. If you choose to can it, Ball has wonderful Canning Guides to guide you through the process. You can also consult the Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving.
  11. Before you put your apple butter in the freezer or the pantry, be sure to write what it is and the year on the lid, so you know when you made it.

Notes

*While I do leave the peeling on when making homemade applesauce, and you can do that for apple butter too, I just chose not to for this recipe.

WHAT KIND OF APPLES SHOULD I USE TO MAKE APPLE BUTTER?

There are certain types of apples that are sweeter and certain types of apples that have a more tart taste. In the case of homemade apple butter, I like to use a more tart apple, because I'm going to be adding a little sugar anyway.

I used Jonathan apples for this recipe because they were available as seconds at our local orchard. I also love eating and cooking with Jonagold apples. Jonathans are sweet and tart. They're also crispy and juicy.

The best apples for apple butter may include:

  • Jonathan
  • Jonagold
  • Braeburn
  • Fuji
  • McIntosh Red
  • Cortland
  • Winesap

WHAT TO EAT WITH APPLE BUTTER

This recipe makes probably about 4-6 pints of apple butter. It's so delicious served on toast, homemade biscuits, and especially scrumptious on a Dutch Baby apple puffed pancake. Yum!

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

128

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 15Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 1mgCarbohydrates: 4gFiber: 0gSugar: 3gProtein: 0g

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86 thoughts on “How to Make Easy Instant Pot Apple Butter”

  1. Happy autumn to you too, Melissa! Thank you for stopping by. I did actually use a little more than 1/4 cup, but I whittled it down in the recipe because it’s a bit too strong…. but it still turned out great. I just love how it makes the house smell all day. You know fall is really here when apple butter is simmering in the slow cooker.:)

    Reply
  2. Do you have to put the jars in a boiling water bath after you can them to seal them and preserve them from spoiling? Or to do put them in a pressure cooker to seal the jars

    Reply
    • Patty, if you’re not freezing them, you would need to follow canning safety procedures and either use a pressure cooker or water bath to preserve them. I’d recommend using a pressure cooker designed for canning.

      Reply
  3. I made my apple purchase today so I’m planning on making this tomorrow. I inherited my pressure cooker from my mom and haven’t used it for much of anything but a couple beef roasts so I’m still in my learning curve. I have never made apple butter in my life but remember my grandma Martin’s apple butter in all of it’s devine yumminess. I can’t wait. Because I saw so many questions in the comments about canning this recipe I did some research. So I ventured into the world wide web of answers and found out that you can water bath or pressure can this. For pressure canning at 2800 feet (western Nebraska) the www tells me I should bring the pressure to 7 pounds for 10 minutes. Here is the web address for those that are interested: https://extension.psu.edu/preserving-apples

    Reply
  4. This is absolutely amazing! My whole family is thrilled with the results of your recipe. Absolutely delicious! I used water bath canning for this and am planning on giving them away for Christmas…if we don’t eat them first! My only question is, does the apple butter thicken up, or does it remain an apple sauce type of consistency?

    Reply
        • I’m looking forward to using this recipe. In the past, I’d just let my apples simmer longer in the pot to thicken it up. Just put in on the warm cycle with the lid off for an extra 45-60 minutes to thicken up. Is smells better and becomes more concentrated.

          Reply
          • Estina, thank you! I hope you enjoy the recipe; I’m actually making another batch this weekend. This is a great tip for getting it to a thicker consistency. Thank you!

  5. I wondered if you put the jars in the freezer? I haven’t done that before. How long does this last in the refrigerator?

    Reply
  6. Hi, nice to see your recipe, I am going to try it in the instant pot tomorrow. I have made apple butter in the past in the slow cooker and it was great. Just so you know, there is no need to add anything for sweetness, the apples will be plenty sweet once cooked down. I also saw a question about using a thickner, again not at all necessary, if you cook it down long enough to get the beautiful brown color, it will be plenty thick. Water bath canning works fine, start with clean, hot jars, I like to use mine fresh from the dishwasher, fill, put the lids on and tighten, water bath for the designated time and then pull out of the water and let cool, when you hear the lids pop down, they are shelf ready. Enjoy!

    Reply
  7. Hello Mel, I have the small version of Insta pot, will this version be able to be cooked? Read you cooked this in larger 6 qt instapot???? Would love to try this reciepe but scared my instapot to small??

    Reply
    • Hi Bonnie, how big is your Instant Pot? It would need to hold between 4 to 6 pints after it’s all cooked down. But the ingredients may be too much before it’s cooked down, depending on the size of your Instant Pot. If you have a larger slow cooker, you could also make this recipe in that, just with a longer cooking time.

      Reply
  8. I have about 3 lbs of apple pears that fell when a branch broke in a storm. Would that work the same as apples? They are really small, since they didn’t get a chance to grow big enough, so peeling them will be a lot of work. I’m wondering if worth the effort? Can we use them skin on?

    Reply
    • Suzan, I’m not sure; I’ve never used apple pears before. I have made pear butter, though, and it’s pretty much the same as apple butter, so I don’t see why not. And you can leave the skins on; in fact, I may be adding that into the recipe, since the skins hold a lot of the nutrition on apples. You’ll have to let me know how it turns out if you try making it.

      Reply
  9. On the apple butter you said spices but not what. Also no amounts? Is this somit can’t be copied or a mistake? I haven’t used my pot yet. So I was trying to find recipes tips etc. thank you ! It does look delicious!

    Reply
  10. I’m going to try this recipe this weekend! My husband just told me that’s what he wants me to try next in my pressure cooker. Your apple peeler looks like a classic Pampered Chef product. If you ever need replacement parts, give me a shout!

    Reply
  11. Wow! I am super picky about my apple butter is there an app on it I’ve been gifted it and this recipe is absolutely perfect. It’s thick and amazing just the way you posted the recipe!! Thank U thank U !

    Reply
  12. I made this today. It is so easy and so delicious! I just cored the apples and sliced them in a food processor, skin and all. I didn’t have molasses so I used maple syrup. I will be saving this recipe for next year!

    Reply
  13. So a few questions…

    1. Natural release? Do you basically do nothing for 20 minutes and then release the rest?
    2. How long do you boil it for, for canning?
    3. After I canned it, liquid separated at the bottom… why? Will it still be good or too liquidy?

    Reply
    • Samantha, to answer your questions.
      1. Yes, I just let it naturally release. It takes a little time, but I’m usually busy jarring up applesauce or doing something else.
      2. I recommend you consult a canning guide. We process our jars in a water bath for at least 15 minutes.
      3. I’ve never had mine separate like that, so I’m not sure why it did that. I’d guess you could give it a stir and it should thicken up. Mine is always nice and thick.

      Reply
  14. Just curious, you say can them or freeze… what do you do to freeze them, what type of container do you use? Thank you.
    We have a bucket of apples that I need to do something with, and this sounds amazing!!

    Reply
  15. I just made this today. First time I used my instsa-pot! Mixed Fuji and Macintosh red. Tastes great. Very easy to follow your instructions! Thank you !

    Reply
  16. I just now made this recipe. When I took the lid off there was a lot of juice. The recipe did not say to drain any off but I drained almost all of it and then used my immersion blender. I’m so glad I did because it would have been way to watery. I tasted a spoonful while it’s warm and the flavor is amazing. Can’t wait to try it on toast in the morning. Next batch I’ll probably drain all the juices off to make it thicker. Thank you so much for the recipe.

    Reply
  17. This may be a simple question but I have a bunch of apples in my fridge, some of which are a bit withered. Been hoping to find a way to use them. Can I use them in a recipe like this, if I cut out any brown spots?

    Reply
  18. I bought my first apple corer/peeler/slicer at a home goods party back in the mid-70s. It must weigh 5 pounds, heavy metal. I bought an additional shaft (I forget whether it’s wider or more narrow). It has helped me through a hundred apple pies, at least. LOL A few years back I bought a plastic/metal apple corer/peeler/slicer off HSN, in case my original one breaks.

    Reply
    • Kathy, we picked ours up at a secondhand store, and it’s been one of our most used tools, especially during apple season. That’s a great idea to find an extra one just in case.

      Reply
  19. I made this recipe today and it is perfect in every way! The Apple Butter is sweet, tangy, and not overly spiced. I used this recipe to teach myself how to can and there was just a little left over for me to try. I couldn’t be happier! Thank you for sharing such a delicious recipe!

    Reply

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