Instant Pot Apple Butter is thick, rich, and full of ultra-concentrated, spiced apple flavor. It's a fall condiment that is perfect for slathering and dolloping on all of your favorite things. Making it in your Instant Pot is super easy and really speeds up the process!
With two apple trees bursting with fruit every year, making apple butter has become a yearly ritual for us. I'm not always around to let it slow cook all day though, so I've been busy perfecting my Instant Pot Apple Butter to really speed up the process.
In this easy recipe, crisp apples are pressure cooked down with spices, brown sugar, and vanilla, then blended and reduced until they become a rich, deep, mahogany brown-colored apple butter.
In this post:
The incredibly thick, concentrated, and almost spreadable texture is where Apple Butter gets its name. It tastes like an ultra-concentrated, spiced, richer, sweeter, thicker version of applesauce and is so incredibly delicious!
Here is what you need at a glance, along with some ingredient notes and substitution suggestions:
And some ingredient notes:
- Apples - Such as Mcintosh, Braeburn, Golden Delicious, Fuji, Red Delicious or Gala. The variety doesn't matter too much, although I prefer to use a couple of different ones because I think it makes for a better-tasting, more balanced apple butter. The only apples I don't recommend using are Granny Smith and Bramley unless you particularly enjoy their tartness.
- Sugar - I use dark brown sugar for the rich molasses flavor, and lovely color it gives the apple butter. You can use light brown if you prefer, or even half sugar and half maple syrup. For refined sugar-free and sugar-free options see the FAQs.
- Spices - I love the combination of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and vanilla extract, but you could experiment with pumpkin spice, Chinese five spice, apple pie spice, allspice, and ginger too.
- Apple cider vinegar - For balance and brightness. It intensifies the flavor and gives a very slight tang. Lemon juice is a great alternative.
- Liquid - You can use apple juice, apple cider (not the alcoholic kind!), or water. The liquid is needed for the Instant Pot to come to pressure. We'll be reducing the mixture after pressure cooking so that the liquid evaporates and the apple butter thickens.
How To Make Instant Pot Apple Butter
Can't wait to make homemade apple butter in your Instant Pot? The full printable recipe is below, but first, let me walk you through each step and show you some photos so you can have success when it’s your turn to make it!
Add everything except the vanilla to your Instant Pot.
Pressure cook for 1 hour. By then it will look something like this:
Blend with an immersion blender.
Simmer gently using the slow cooker or saute function until the apple butter has reduced and thickened. Turn off, then add the vanilla. At this stage, it should be very rich, dark, thick, and almost like caramel:
Success Tip - Using the saute function is the quickest way to reduce your apple butter but it does tend to splatter a lot, even on low, unless you stand stirring it constantly. The slow cooker function on high takes longer but does not cause splattering so it is my preferred method.
How To Use Apple Butter
If you can, give your homemade apple butter a few days to age before you enjoy it. A little time allows everything to mellow and meld together and the flavor will be way better.
It can be enjoyed in much the same way you would any other fruit jam, chutney, or spread. Here are some ideas:
- On freshly baked sourdough, wholewheat bread, or no yeast bread.
- On toast, sweet potato biscuits, apple muffins, and English muffins.
- Dolloped on pancakes and waffles.
- Swirled through oatmeal, vegan yogurt, or ice cream.
- In cozy hot drinks and cocktails.
- Instead of pumpkin puree or applesauce in recipes.
- In grilled cheese sandwiches or with vegan cheese and crackers and on cheese/charcuterie boards. It's especially good with Miyoko's sharp cheddar!
- Tossed through veggies like squash and Brussels sprouts before roasting.
- As a glaze for vegan ham or chicken.
- Make apple butter BBQ sauce. Use my vegan BBQ sauce recipe and switch out half of the ketchup for apple butter. Or mix some apple butter with store-bought BBQ sauce.
- In pies, cakes, and hand pies.
- For gifting in a pretty jar with a ribbon!
Storing Instant Pot Apple Butter
Store apple butter in a sealed container in the fridge for up to one month or freeze for up to 1 year.
See my Slow Cooker Apple Butter recipe.
See my Stovetop Apple Butter recipe.
Apple Butter can be canned but this isn't something I have personal experience of. I just store mine in the refrigerator or freezer. I recommend checking out Bell's Canning & Preserving Guides for expert information on canning.
I like to peel them, but you don't have to. If you want to save some time by leaving them intact, by the time the apples are pressure-cooked and the apple butter has been blended, you probably won't notice the skins anyway.
Yes, you can. Switch the sugar for maple syrup or a few pitted Medjool dates. Artificial sweeteners will also work, and no sugar or sweetener at all will also work. All of these options will mean you will need to reduce the apple butter for longer to get a nice, thick, texture, and of course, they will change the flavor and appearance of the finished apple butter.
More Apple Recipes
If you try this recipe, let me know how you like it by leaving a comment and rating below! And be sure to join my mailing list for more deliciousness!
Instant Pot Apple ButterAuthor:
- 6 lb (2.7 kg) apples , peeled, cored, & chopped roughly
- 1 cup dark brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp ground cloves
- ½ tsp ground nutmeg , or 1 tablespoon pumpkin or apple pie spice in place of the 3 spices)
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ⅓ cup (80 ml) apple juice , apple cider, or water
- 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar , or lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Add everything except the vanilla to your Instant Pot. Seal the vent and cook on manual, high pressure for 1 hour.
- Let the pressure naturally release for at least 10 minutes then carefully release what's left.
- Remove the lid and blend the apple mixture thoroughly until smooth with an immersion blender. Be careful because it will be very hot. If you don't have an immersion blender you can transfer it to a regular blender, or mash it really, really thoroughly with a potato masher.
- Now you need to reduce the apple butter to thicken it. You can either turn the Instant Pot to "saute" on the LOW setting, OR you can turn the Instant Pot to "slow cook" on the HIGH setting. Keep the lid off the whole time so evaporation can occur effectively. The quickest method is "saute" but there will be a lot of splattering unless you stand and stir constantly. Doing it this way will take about 30 minutes. Slow cook on high will take 60 to 90 minutes but it won't splatter and you will be able to leave it semi-unsupervised. This is my preferred method.
- When it's reduced enough and ready it will have reduced in volume by about half, you will see visible tracks when stirring it, and it will feel thick when you stir it. See my video below for a visual of this. To test it's ready dollop out a spoonful onto a plate. Leave it to cool for a few minutes then scrape it back up onto the spoon. If you turn the spoon upside down it should stay there and not fall off immediately.
- Turn the Instant Pot off, add the vanilla and stir it through, then spoon the apple butter into clean, dry containers or jars.