Making apple butter at home is so much easier than you think! This Instant Pot Apple Butter takes just a few hours to make, but will taste like it simmered on the stove all day long. Enjoy it on toast or package it up for a fall gift!

Glass jar filled with apple butter, with apples and more jars of apple butter in the background

Every year right around this time, we usually venture to a local apple orchard with E’s school for a fall field trip.

However, given the current circumstances, field trips aren’t exactly happening right now, but we’re still yearning for a little fall fun.

Instead of a field trip, we’re going to take a family trip and head to our favorite orchard to pick up pumpkins, cornstalks and loads of apples for all kinds of recipes like our favorite Crockpot applesauce, caramel apple crisp and this super simple homemade apple butter conveniently made in an Instant Pot.

HOW TO MAKE APPLE BUTTER IN THE INSTANT POT

Apple butter is one of those things I used to buy at the orchard every fall and think to myself, “This must be so hard to make.”

After all, it is so thick and rich and flavorful, it must take forever and be tricky to make, right?

Overhead view of whole apples and the spices for Instant Pot apple butter arranged on a wooden board

Turns out, I was totally wrong. When I finally screwed up my courage and tried making Slow Cooker Apple Butter, I realized – it’s actually really easy to make at home! 

The only downside is that making it in the slow cooker does take about 12 hours. Even though it’s almost all hands-off time, it’s still a bit of a time investment.

Spices and sugar for apple butter being whisked together in a white bowl

I’ve used my Instant Pot to speed up slow cooker recipes before – like using it to turn my Easy Crockpot Pulled Pork into Instant Pot Pulled Pork – so I figured, why not try that with apple butter, too?

I was excited when I realized that cooking the apple butter in the Instant Pot cut the cooking time down from 12 hours to just 3 hours. And it’s still super easy!

To make Instant Pot Apple Butter:

  • Peel, core, and quarter 6 ½ pounds of apples
  • Add the apples, sugar, and spices to the Instant Pot
  • Cook on high pressure for 90 minutes, with a 10-minute manual release
  • Puree the mixture using an immersion blender
  • Cook on “slow cook” for 2 more hours with the lid propped open
Peeled, cored, and quartered apples in the bowl of an instant pot, topped with sugar and spices for making apple butter

Just like with the slow cooker version, most of the 3 hours is hands-off time. The most work you’ll do for this recipe is peeling the apples.

If you don’t mind if the apple butter is perfectly silky smooth, you could certainly leave the peels on. But I don’t mind spending a few minutes peeling apples, so I like to take that extra step. 

Overhead view of cooked apple butter in the bowl of an Instant Pot, ready to be pureed

THE BEST APPLES FOR APPLE BUTTER

I like to use a mix of apples whenever I make apple butter or even Crockpot Applesauce

Since all apple varieties have different levels of sweetness and tartness, using a mix will get the best flavor.  

Freshly pureed apple butter in the bowl of an instant pot

Generally speaking, softer varieties of apples such as Fuji, Golden Delicious, McIntosh, or Jonagold work better since they cook down faster.

I used a mix of Granny Smith, Gala, and Fuji when making this Instant Pot Apple Butter. Even the crisper varieties broke down well for a smooth apple butter.

Glass jar filled with apple butter, surrounded by apples

HOW TO STORE YOUR APPLE BUTTER

Full disclosure, I am not a canner. It’s not something I have experience with, so I have never canned my Instant Pot Apple Butter. 

But you know what I am good at doing? Freezing stuff. It’s why I have a big freezer in my garage.

Overhead view of a board filled with crackers, cheese, sliced apples and a small bowl of apple butter

You can store the finished apple butter in jars or other airtight containers in your fridge for up to a week, but I like to freeze it for longer-term storage.

Just make sure you leave plenty of room at the top of the jar so it doesn’t break after the apple butter freezes. Don’t ask me how I know to warn you about this. 

Whether you’re spreading your apple butter on a slice of English Muffin Bread or Cinnamon Swirl Bread for breakfast or serving it alongside Potato Rolls or Buttermilk Biscuits at a holiday dinner, you’ll be glad you took a few hours to make apple butter at home. 

Glass gar filled with apple butter, with apples and an instant pot in the background
Glass jar filled with apple butter, with apples and more jars of apple butter in the background

Instant Pot Apple Butter

Yield: About 4 pints
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 5 minutes

Making apple butter at home is so much easier than you think! This Instant Pot Apple Butter takes just a few hours to make, but will taste like it simmered on the stove all day long. Enjoy it on toast or package it up for a fall gift!

Ingredients

  • 6 1/2 pounds apples - peeled, cored and quartered
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Place the apples in a 6-quart Instant Pot. In a medium bowl, combine sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg cloves and salt. Pour the mixture over the apples and mix well.
  2. Turn Instant Pot to “Manual” and pressure cook on high pressure for 90 minutes. Allow to natural release for 10 minutes before releasing any remaining pressure. 
  3. Use an immersion blender to puree the apple butter until smooth.
  4. Turn Instant Pot to “Slow Cook” and cook on high for about 2 hours, stirring occasionally, with the lid propped on about halfway to allow steam to release. (Do not latch lid.)
  5. Stir in vanilla.
  6. Spoon the mixture into sterile containers, cover and refrigerate for up to two weeks or freeze.

Notes

I have made this several times without adding any liquid to the Instant Pot. If your Instant Pot model is giving a burn warning, however, you can add 1/2 cup apple cider or unfiltered apple juice with the apples and spices. I find that I need to slow cook the apple butter for closer to 3 hours during the 2nd stage of cooking to get it to my desired thickness when using the extra liquid.

I often use a combination of Granny Smith, Fuji and Honey Crisp apples for this recipe.

How much sugar you need to add will depend upon the sweetness of your apples. Adjust according to your apples and preferences.

I have not canned this recipe.

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